2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Geena Haney, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Geena Haney

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“I am driven, people-oriented, and passionate about gender equity in the world and in business.”

Hometown: Agoura Hills, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I grew up in a biracial household: My dad is a white American from Kansas and my mom is Indian, born in India and raised in Zambia. I’ve lived the cultural divide and am fascinated by cultural connections.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Southern California; B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Relations

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Triage Consulting Group, Senior Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Applied Materials, Santa Clara, CA

Where will you be working after graduation? Visa, Human Resources Manager in the Visa HR Development Program for MBAs

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-President, Women in Leadership
  • Vice President of Academics, MBA Association
  • Graduate Student Instructor, Evening & Weekend MBA Core Operations Course
  • Spring 2019 Admissions Lead, Gender and Equity Initiative. I led a student team to analyze the admissions process from a female perspective and offer recommendations to admissions.
  • Member, Haas Technology Club
  • Recipient, Haas Student Leadership Scholarship

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Haas for two reasons. First, I knew that I wanted to work for a tech company after graduation, and Haas’ proximity to Silicon Valley and San Francisco was perfect. Second, I chose Haas for its Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Student Always, and Beyond Yourself. Those principles are woven into the Haas community and literally etched in stone in the courtyard. I’ve found that Haas students are bright, curious, talented, and incredibly humble individuals who see opportunities to make the world a better place. Haas is collaborative, and students are constantly finding ways to climb to the top and lift each other up along the way.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As the co-president of Women in Leadership (WIL), I organized professional, social, and personal growth events for women at Haas. I am most proud of working with my co-president, Isabella Dougherty, to bring the first-ever ‘Women at Haas’ event to life. We launched the first semi-annual event bringing together all female students, faculty, and administration at Haas for an afternoon of networking and community building. It was wildly successful in connecting students to female faculty and mentors. Now, WIL will host the event every fall and spring. I am proud of institutionalizing the opportunity for women at Haas to connect with each other and tap into a broader community they never knew existed.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While working at Triage Consulting Group, I was the first senior associate to pilot a brand new software platform that the CEO wanted to roll out firm-wide. I was tasked with giving feedback to Triage product managers and identifying lost revenues for my hospital client. This technology yielded unparalleled efficiency, but I recognized that different tools and processes would slow consulting operations and lead to potential lost revenue for our hospital clients. At the end of the pilot, I partnered with a senior manager to build and co-lead a formal training that onboarded the first wave of staff, including the CFO.

Shortly after, I became one of three senior associates who built and launched the platform’s official training program. As a result of my leadership, employees are confidently using software that fundamentally changed everything they knew about identifying and recovering lost hospital revenue. I empowered Triage employees to maintain industry expertise without disrupting revenue-generating teams and client relationships. At the end of my tenure at Triage, I worked with senior leadership to scale classes and resources that would onboard over 500 employees across the firm’s San Francisco and Atlanta offices.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Reflect on Haas’ four Defining Leadership Principles – Question the Status Quo, Student Always, Beyond Yourself, and Confidence Without Attitude – and really think about how you’ve embodied them. Haas looks for students who value these ideas and bring them to the classroom and the boardroom.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
Looking back, I would definitely have chosen to take a class outside the business school for an even more interdisciplinary experience. It’s so easy to get busy keeping up with required classes, but I often remember that I’m in a world-class institution with bright students and professors from all fields from across the globe. I would have taken a class in the law school or school of public policy to round out my education.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Isabella Dougherty. She was co-president of Women in Leadership and the Vice President of Clubs for the MBA Association—two organizations to which I belong. Originally from Minnesota, Isabella has worked at the Fed, has raised goats, speaks French and Mandarin, volunteers for political campaigns, and advocates passionately for gender equity. I admire Isabella’s tenacity, courage, and willingness to be bold and different in a world where so many people are trying to “fit in.” She’s the truest example of someone who’s not afraid to be authentic, and she constantly pushes me to do the same in all that I do.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would love to be the Chief HR Officer of a major tech company, and I want to work and lead a team abroad.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as a classmate who genuinely cared about their well-being and celebrated them in all that they chose to do.

Hobbies? Acrylic and watercolor painting, yoga, swimming

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Throughout my life, my parents have always emphasized the value of education. They reminded me consistently about our family history and that education would be the inheritance I would receive from them. My dad almost finished his undergraduate studies; my mom dropped out of her MBA program due to financial struggles; my dad’s mother dropped out of high school when she was fifteen, and my mom’s father learned to read and write using his fingers as a pen and the dirt as his paper. My MBA is the fulfillment of generations striving toward the advancement of their own education.

What made Geena such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“My name is Bradley Jong and I am the Director of Academics for the Full-Time MBA Program at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Geena Haney in her capacity as the Vice President of Academics with the MBA Association.

Over the past year, Geena and I worked very closely to evaluate the MBA student academic experience and she has proven to be a great thought partner when proposing new ideas to engage students in academics. For example, when thinking about how to better message academic updates and policies to her peers, she provided suggestions to utilize Slack as a key communication tool. Not only did she convey the student perspective and the benefits to her peers, but she was also thoughtful about how to integrate a whole new messaging platform from an administration perspective. This is an example of her genuine interest in the academic experience of her peers through clarity and ease of access to policies and procedures that impact all students.

Not only is Geena an advocate for the academic experience of her peers, but she is also deeply committed to initiatives to further Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the Haas community. As Co-President of the Women in Leadership organization, Geena has already demonstrated her passion for furthering gender equity in business. For example, she helped launch a new event called Women at Haas, which brings together all female students, faculty, and administration to network and build community. Lastly, with the Gender Equity Initiative, Geena worked with a team of three students and collaborated with our FTMBA Admissions Team to research and provide recommendations on the female admit experience during the admissions process.”

Bradley Jong (he/him/his)
Director of Academics | Full Time MBA Program
Haas School of Business | University of California, Berkeley


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