Meet The Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2019

Leslie Brian 

U.C.-Berkeley, Haas School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Deep questions, ginger tea, daydreams, Taylor Swift 1989, hikes with views, singing in the rain

HometownPasadena, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can recite all 45 US presidents in order (Thanks Dad!)

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, BA International Relations

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

Account Manager, Buyer | EAT Club

Marketing Manager | Revolution Foods

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Not letting my relative inexperience prevent me from taking advantage of opportunities for leadership and growth. When working at a start-up, you rarely have the luxury of formal training in the projects to which you are assigned. I quickly learned that it’s not expertise that matters per se; it’s the ability to quickly become the expert. When I reflect back on my professional experience, I believe this mentality was critical to deepening the quality and substance of my work. Without a traditional marketing background, I was able to develop, launch, and manage a national marketing program simply by asking questions and learning about needs of the organization.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  The GMAT is an intimidating test, yet there are only so many hours in the day. As such, not everything is the best use of your time. Once you’ve identified your weak spots, don’t be afraid to prioritize those areas. After taking four or five GMAT practice exams, I realized that my verbal scores were stabilizing. From that point on, I decided to focus 90% of my energy on my weaker quantitative section. This prioritization paid off, and I was able to up my quantitative scores significantly without sacrificing my verbal scores.

(Also, take as many practice tests as you possibly can! Time management is key.)

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? This one is easy. Culture. From the minute I set foot on campus, I felt completely at home at Haas. Something about the student body was unlike anything I had sensed at other schools. They were incredibly sincere, down-to-earth, determined, open-minded, and warm. As someone who cares deeply about how to make a positive contribution to the world through her career, I knew I wanted to surround myself with individuals who shared those values.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Success in the first year of business school would mean honing my ability to prioritize. There are so many incredible opportunities and competing interests at business school; how do you decide what to spend your valuable time on? If I can learn to identify what is the most important thing to be doing at any given moment and then do that thing, I believe that skill will set me up for success throughout my career and my life!