Meet The Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2018


Amanda Parker

Haas School of Business, University of California-Berkeley

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Often known as “cheese girl,” as I am passionate about innovation and education in the food industry.

Hometown: Rye, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am one of nearly 600 Certified Cheese Professionals, industry-recognized experts in all things cheese. I developed a national training program to equip other students to prepare for this certification exam.

Undergraduate School & Major: Brown University, Modern Culture & Media / Italian Studies

Employers & Job Titles:

Murray’s Cheese, VP of Business Development (most recently!)

Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Merchandising Assistant

Food Network, Executive Assistant

Describe the biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Over the past six years, I was part of a small leadership team dedicated to scaling a specialty food retail concept across the country. As part of my company’s partnership with the largest supermarket in America, I oversaw the opening of now over 300 cheese shops in nearly 30 states. While I am certainly proud of this accomplishment and its implications on mainstream food culture, I am even prouder of my part in creating a strong community of dedicated, passionate team members, focused on educating America about cheese.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Be patient with yourself! This is undeniably a stressful, high-pressure process, and you are most likely putting yourself through it because you are driven, ambitious, and willing to push yourself to a new level. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and trust in your passions, experience, and motivators. If you let yourself get wrapped up in the stress, the negative, the self-doubt, you run the risk of getting in your own way and diminishing your chances of showcasing yourself to the people you are most looking to impress. Slow down, take it step by step, and give yourself the time and space to dedicate yourself to the hard work that it will take to get through, while allowing yourself the breathing room to stay sane.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? When weighing my options for a full-time MBA, I was looking to balance several personal and professional considerations. I was interested in a top school with strong academics, of course, but was more focused on finding a place with a creative, collaborative culture that would help shape me into an even better leader. I felt immediately connected to the people I met at Haas, their incredible enthusiasm for every aspect of the MBA program, and to the school’s emphasis on impactful, selfless leadership and personal transformation. Its location in the Bay Area was just another perk as I look towards a future in the food industry — not to mention the amazing restaurants, farms, and innovators just minutes away!

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life. While, like many, I am using my MBA experience as a time to explore the broad array of jobs and employers available. I would be thrilled to work in the food innovation space in a strategic, creative way. I look to places like IDEO and its food and beverage group, or to the many companies, both large and small, at all points in the supply chain that are looking to solve issues in our food systems.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope that post-Haas, my peers will think of me as a strong, motivated leader and collaborator, engaged in and excited about learning, and interested in contributing to both the Haas community and the world at large.

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