The Stereotype-Defying MBAs In The Class of 2018

Nahry Tak

Nahry Tak

University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
Tall, dark, and handy
with team leading, strategy,
home economics

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: Around September every year, my friends and I can over 100 pounds of locally-grown tomatoes!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, Berkeley – Art History

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
The Trust for Public Land, Director of Prospect Development (plus a few other roles)
San Francisco Opera, Assistant to the Executive Offices and Board of Directors
Asian Art Museum, Assistant to the Director of Museum Services

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Building a strong base of major donors who will continue to support a charity year-after-year is incredibly challenging work that is more akin to running a marathon than a sprint. At The Trust for Public Land, I helped build a stronger foundation to cultivate a network of major donors to invest in the organization’s transformative mission. I was given a lot of leeway to recommend how we could fundraise more effectively. I met our goals by leading strategy meetings on top donor prospects, redefining donor management protocols, designing performance reporting tools for fundraisers, training the Philanthropy division on new processes, and incorporating analytics for donor identification. These efforts, taken as a whole, helped shift the mindsets of fundraisers so that their plans were driven less by immediate, opportunistic motivations and more by long-term, strategic motivations. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to help The Trust for Public Land undertake change management in its fundraising operations.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Get the GMAT or GRE out of the way far in advance of starting your MBA application journey, and do not underestimate the length of time and amount of effort that will be required to prepare well for either exam. Start writing your essays and getting to know your target schools as early as possible. I found it difficult to prepare for the GMAT and write essays while I juggled work, volunteer commitments, and visits to target schools. As you take stock of what you want to do to prepare, plot out a reasonable timeline for accomplishing your goals and be sure to stagger the preparation and application components effectively.

Start the process of introspection early as well. Try to dig deep in order to unearth your motivations and goals for attending business school. This level of reflection can be surprisingly difficult and can require a lot of time to get through. You don’t want to shortchange the amount of time you will need to present the best you in your applications.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? My experience as an undergraduate at UC-Berkeley influenced significantly the values that I hold and how I wish to make an impact on society. The more I interacted with the Haas community, the more I realized that this is a community that truly lives and breathes its Defining Principles. Haas embodies what I admire most about the larger UC Berkeley culture, in an even more concentrated and immediately accessible way.

While the MBA students at Haas are diverse on many fronts, I find that all of them share a concern for positively impacting others. I recently heard Dean Rich Lyons say that Berkeley-Haas cultivates leaders who “instill purpose in those around them.” This idea resonates strongly with me, and I am thrilled to return to the institution that I know will challenge me to become the best and most impactful version of myself.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? After spending the last several years in nonprofits, I’m looking forward to finding new challenges and accelerating my professional growth in the private sector. My goal is to seek a job and an employer that would offer me opportunities to engage in multi-level problem solving and to build relationships across the company. At this point, I’m still exploring which industries and functions will be good matches for me and where I can make the most impact. I would love to one day be a C-suite executive and part of the wave of women and individuals of color who are gaining more prominent roles in business.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like to be remembered as someone who is authentic, warm, approachable, compassionate, dependable, impactful, and perhaps a little goofy. I try to balance seriousness with a dose of fun.