Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Joshua Pollack

Joshua Pollack

MBA 20

Executive Director of Special Projects
Stockton Unified School District

"As a former teacher, who learned a lot from my students when I was in the classroom, I believe each experience and interaction provides an opportunity to reflect and grow. At Haas I learned from professors, my classmates, and from experiences in applying my studies in the real world."

Driven to make an impact

I followed five years in policy positions with the US Department of Education in the Obama administration with three years teaching middle- and high-school math in high-needs schools. I wanted to get a better sense of where I could have the most impact, to understand what filled me up.

I want to lead organizations in solving their most critical problems, aligning their human and financial resources into a coherent and cohesive strategy to bringing solutions to scale.

I’m very mission-focused and I use that lens in my decision making, from resource allocation to developing partnerships.

When a part-time program makes sense

I applied for the full-time program and was lucky to get an email from the Admissions Office suggesting the evening & weekend program. I had just gotten married and moved to California. I wanted to put down roots, to be present in my family and my career. That email changed everything.

I always thought I would accelerate and graduate in two years. Finding out that I would be a first-time father at the end of the second year, I went full bore.

Choosing a program requires self-reflection. Think about who you are and about which program will allow you to be your best self. The EW program let me be a good husband and now a father, to stay true to myself, and do work I love.

Professors play to their strengths and students’ needs

I really appreciated having industry professionals teach. They delivered information in a practical way that I could take back to work the next day.

They talk like humans, not like textbooks: ‘I used this framework, here’s how it worked and how you might use it.’ The practicality was valuable and exciting.

Economics professor Shachar Kariv was incredible. His attitude was ‘take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Let’s all be humble and learn together. Have fun with it.’ That was terrific.

Choose a challenging curriculum

Don’t shy away from the course you’re scared of. Courses that forced me to be super-disciplined or demanded a lot of work were the most valuable.

The members of my core study group were my rock. Two of us in the group accelerated our studies. We talked a lot about course selection and time management.

What Peter Goodson teaches in Turnarounds may not seem to align with my career, as it primarily looked through Private Equity lens, but that is where I learned about KPIs and how to use them as leading indicators in social impact. That was a revelation I’m using on the job.

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