Meet The Berkeley Haas MBA Class Of 2020

Malia Latin

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Risk-averse rock climber who enjoys talking data-analytics or sustainability over a glass (bottle) of Malbec.”

Hometown: Portland, OR

Fun Fact About Yourself: Performed in musical theater professionally during high school.

Undergraduate School and Major: Occidental College, Economics, Public Policy Emphasis

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: NERA Economic Consulting, Senior Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment so far was leading a 15-person research team to draft a report and develop, execute, and format analyses for a large class-action litigation. Our work led to a settlement of $17,000 on a multi-million-dollar claim.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Open and engaged. Everyone I’ve met has come to interactions curious to learn more and get to know our fellow classmates. Haasies are eager to know you, help each other, and are driven to use our opportunity in b-school to help make the world a better place.

Aside from your classmates, 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? I came to Haas because the whole community is committed to using its significant resources to improve the world. The defining principles are ingrained in the culture and embedded in the courtyard concrete, and people live them here. I want to learn business in a place where people understand how lucky we are to have this opportunity and are driven to use their education to help others.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m most looking forward to working with the Center for Responsible Business to learn more about ways to integrate sustainability and the triple-bottom-line into my work.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’m pursuing an MBA now because I want to pivot my career to more directly align with my values around sustainability and to gain skills that will help me start a business post-MBA. You can’t be what you can’t see, and business school will help me find how I can best leverage my skills and passion to have a large impact and will propel me into my next career.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I looked at the opportunity cost of switching industries and starting from near the bottom again, both in pay and time. Weighing that against two years of learning, traveling, making friends, and investing in myself, it became a much clearer choice. That said, paying tuition is still painful.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford GSB, MIT Sloan, Michigan Ross, and UCLA Anderson

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I wanted a smaller school (~400 or fewer). I looked at the class statistics to ensure I was a competitive candidate, then looked at which schools had a sustainability program or emphasis. After that, I spoke with people I knew in the relevant programs and visited to assess fit with the students. I looked at employer relationships the schools maintained and where they had alumni. I also evaluated how the school presented itself to prospective students. Haas recruiters were very approachable and did a lot to demonstrate that they cared about the whole person.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was finishing a 3-week solo backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada (the John Muir Trail) in 2017. It was a tough trip, both mentally and physically, and it gave me a new benchmark against which to measure challenges. Many tasks and opportunities don’t look so tough when compared to schlepping 40+ pounds over mountain passes in the snow and racing thunder storms down steep slopes. Completing that trip has made it easier to say, “Yes” to challenges and pursue stretch opportunities.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to work in sustainability, applying those tenets to my challenging problems with an analytical context. I’ll be working hard at work worth doing.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself with a strong network of classmates and a career that I’ve built post-MBA working on high-impact projects to help my employer or my clients run their businesses in more sustainable ways.

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