Haas School of Business, University of California-Berkeley
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Proud Pole living in USA, striving to make my life more fulfilling.
Hometown: Warsaw, Poland
Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a competitive diver for 15 years. I won multiple National Championships in springboard and platform events and competed four years in the NCAA Division I. Thanks to diving I traveled the world, met some of my best friends, and ultimately got to come to the United States to pursue my very own American dream. I even got to coach a group of celebrities on a TV show that was watched by 2 million people every weekend.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Utah, Finance and Management
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Navigen Inc. (biotech startup): Manager, Business Analysis
Describe the biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was hired as the fourth employee at a biotech startup company in Salt Lake City. As the company grew, my responsibilities and the company dynamics changed. With no institutional knowledge and best practices in place, I had to rely only on my resourcefulness, overcome ambiguity, and express forward thinking. I would say my biggest accomplishments were successfully navigating through this completely unstructured environment, providing quality deliverables, and directly contributing to the company’s overall success.
The startup I worked for was wholly dependent on government funding. So my more measureable accomplishment was seeking out a highly competitive funding opportunity and successfully leading the project team in securing $3 million.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Do not rush the process. Figure out who you are and what you want first, then find a school that will get you from point A to point B. The vast majority of applicants will be smart and talented, and will have very impressive resumes and high GMAT scores. As cliché as it may sound, to differentiate yourself you have to tell an honest and transparent story that will allow the admissions team to get to know the real you. Finally, do your research. If you can, schedule a campus visit, sit in on a class, grab lunch with one of the current students. If you cannot, try to reach out to local alums or attend information sessions near you. It is critical that you truly understand the culture of the school and principles that the program stands for.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? From the academic standpoint, I had no doubts that the two years spent at Haas will get me more than ready for succeeding in my post-MBA career. The small class size, the focus on collaborative learning experience, and (of course) the location of Haas were very important.
Ultimately, though, the deciding factor in my decision was the quality of people I met during my interview day and the admits weekend. I was blown away by the community and quality of individuals that Haas attracts. I was able to connect immediately with almost every single person that I came in contact with. We were all from different parts of the world, different industries, different experiences, yet the connection seemed seamless and natural.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life. Due to my previous employer’s size and its flat organizational structure, I had an opportunity to work next to some of the brightest scientists and accomplished business leaders. These individuals fostered my fascination for drug development. Despite all the progress made in biomedical research in the last decade, there is still a shortage of innovative medicines for patients with unmet medical needs. I would love to work at a nonprofit focused on neglected and orphan drug needs of the world — the indications that Big Pharma passes on because they may not be profitable enough for them. How amazing would it be to work at a place that measures success not by millions of dollars made annually but by number of lives saved instead?
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope that my classmates would say that I was an honest, reliable, and caring individual and that I managed to enrich their learning experience and contribute to their growth over the past two years. Most importantly, though, I hope they would say that I was a loyal friend that they could always depend on.