2020 MBAs To Watch: Danielle Mayorga, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Danielle Mayorga

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“A mover and shaker bridging policy and business to enable thriving communities and accelerate change.”

Hometown: Roseville, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I am a proud product of the California public school system, K through MBA!

Undergraduate School and Degree: UC Santa Barbara, B.A., double major in Communications and Language, Culture & Society

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? U.S. Water Alliance, Senior Manager of Strategic Programs, San Francisco

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Boston Consulting Group, San Francisco

Where will you be working after graduation? Boston Consulting Group, San Francisco

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Student Advisory Board Member, Center for Gender Equity and Leadership
  • Co-founder and president, Haas Latinx Business Club
  • Co-founder, The 1st Golden Grad Tailgate for graduate students across UC Berkeley campus
  • Vice President, The 1st Berkeley Female Founders & Funders Summit
  • Liaison and Fellow, The Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management
  • Committee member, Haas Diversity Admissions Council
  • Committee member, 23rd Annual Haas Women in Leadership Conference
  • Venture Partner for Amp, Haas’ Impact Accelerator
  • Mentor to fourth and fifth-grade students for Haas’ Cheetah Tank business competition
  • Mentor for Haas undergraduate student through RISE@Haas

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  As the first in my family to go to college, attending a top 10 MBA program is a major accomplishment. One of my proudest achievements at Haas was the project I conducted for our international consulting class, International Business Development. My team and I spent the semester and part of the summer working with a social enterprise in Mexico City that provides solar energy to the most rural corners of Mexico. We were tasked with helping the organization identify its next product launch. We faced a number of challenges that tested our skill set, our creativity, and our relationships. At the time, I didn’t realize how formative of an experience it would be for my leadership development, but it taught me how to lead through adversity and uncertainty, motivate teams, and be a versatile team member. I was proud that we delivered a product beyond our client’s expectations, grew as leaders, and came out with relationships intact.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When the Flint water crisis broke, I was working for a leading organization in the water industry. We knew we were uniquely positioned to push our industry to do better. I launched a project with my CEO that evaluated how water management in the U.S. disproportionately impacts vulnerable communities. I co-authored a pioneering white paper that presented recommendations to advance more socially responsible practices in the water sector. I was proud that these recommendations were adopted by cities, businesses, and environmental groups across the nation. This project exposed me to the power of coalitions to champion for change, regardless of the industry.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? We have a series of storytelling events ranging from Coming Out Monologues to Spiritual Story Salon to Stories of the U.S. Latinx Experience to deep dish dinners. I admire my classmates’ ability to be vulnerable when sharing meaningful stories about their lives. I think great leaders are those who are not only great storytellers but also those who can be open and connect with people in a personal way. It’s definitely made our class closer and cultivated bonds that I know will last a lifetime.

Why did you choose this business school? When I was looking for a business school, it was important for me to find a school that resonated with my values and cultivated community. I wanted a school where my “non-traditional” background would be valued inside and outside of the classroom. Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles of Beyond Yourself, Student Always, Question The Status Quo, and Confidence Without Attitude really spoke to me. I found that those principles are not just marketing, but something that students embody. At Haas, there is no such thing as a “traditional” background; people come from all career backgrounds. I also wanted a small class size where I could build a network that was based on depth, not breadth. Lastly, I wanted a school that was redefining the role of business in society. What better place to reimagine the future than the epicenter of disruption?

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Enjoy the process! Applying to business schools should be a very reflective time. Think about your professional and personal goals and which schools will support those goals. Find the school with the values, culture, and resources to help you achieve your goals. If it’s Haas, then I encourage you to show that in your essays. Haas isn’t looking for cookie-cutter students with off the charts GMAT scores. They’re looking for leaders who are willing to be authentic, take risks, and inspire others.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I have two myths. One is that Haas is a school for tech and startups. While we are a hub for entrepreneurship, there are also students who work in a variety of industries after graduation and that is something I’m really proud of. Two is that Berkeley is an echo chamber of beliefs. One of Haas’ defining principles is “Question The Status Quo” and I have seen first-hand how my peers are doing that in the classroom, in our dialogues over dinner, and in the companies, they are launching or joining. It’s definitely a place where a foundation of shared values allows you to have deeper and more meaningful conversations–whether or not you agree.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? ]My friend and fellow Consortium liaison Alex MacLeish. Alex, or “Mac” to her friends, always gives 100 percent to all that she does, big or small, inside or outside of the classroom. When you are with Mac, it is impossible to not be in a better mood. She exudes positivity and compassion. She is a leader, a champion for justice and equity, and an ally for many groups on campus. It has been inspiring to watch Alex fully lean into big risks during her time at Haas and come out with a stronger, fiercer leader.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? After building a career in policy through government and nonprofit sector work, coming to business school felt like a huge shift in my career. I questioned whether I was setting my career back by transitioning into the private sector (I’m not). During this time of uncertainty, my mom was a source of inspiration. She has reinvented her career multiple times, from small business owner to vice president of a Fortune 500 company. Her bravery, risk-taking, and ability to learn from each role she’s had showed me that her versatility was her superpower. That really gave me the courage to take a leap of faith in business and uncover my own superpowers.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Launching an accelerator for urban tech startups and government innovators and serving as a mayoral advisor on economic development to create cities that work for all people and all types of businesses.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A loyal friend who shows up for people in word and deed embodies inclusion, has the hustle and resilience to make a difference in cities across the country, and someone they always want at their party.

When I’m not hanging out with classmates at Freehouse (our MBA watering hole), you can find me planning my next SCUBA diving trip, cheering on Bay Area sports, hiking in the East Bay hills, at Taco Tuesdays with friends, or training for my next race.

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

“I met Danielle in her first year at Haas as part of our school-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion work of which I was a participant. Danielle demonstrated all four of our Haas Defining Leadership Principles during this work. She embodies Confidence Without Attitude, sharing her clear vision and ideas rooted in both personal experience and data. She remained open to feedback, input, and collaboration, embracing Student Always. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative (DEI) became a vehicle for Danielle to Question the Status Quo to explore what was impacting our ability to attract underrepresented students, always with the intention of contributing to a stronger and better Berkeley Haas. Danielle went Beyond Herself to provide concrete recommendations based on supporting evidence. Her poise under challenging circumstances, and her ability and willingness to illustrate with her own experiences, was a gift to staff and administration in service to their learning and growth. Through all of her efforts, Danielle has been instrumental in advancing DEI at Haas in a visible, productive way. I came away impressed by her approach, smarts, maturing and professionalism.  Other examples of Danielle’s impact on Berkeley Haas include:

  • Launching the Latinx Business Club
  • Served on the Student Advisory Board for Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership.
  • Co-lead a speaker series on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace – pushing the conversation beyond diversity hiring to think about other ways we can use the levers of business to advance equity (e.g. access to capital, marketing narratives, designing products, etc.).
  • Developing a program to support Veteran students in their interview prep & also help civilian students build their competence in the Veteran experience so they can be better hiring managers.
  • Organizing the first Berkeley Female Founders & Funders Summit
  • Venture partner in Amp, our Impact Accelerator on campus.
  • She participated in a program at an Oakland elementary school to inspire young kids into business and entrepreneurship (Cheetah Tank)

My position at Haas lets me see another side of Danielle too. As a faculty member I was lucky enough to have Danielle in my Marketing Strategy class. As a student she exhibited the same qualities I discussed above. Danielle deeply thinks through issues and asks questions at a level advanced for a 2nd year MBA. Many students ask questions that will impact their final presentations. Danielle asks questions that she is planning to use to guide her career. Trust me, you can tell the difference and you notice it.

Let me complete the picture. Danielle is a delightful person who is a pleasure to work with. That element is what makes her leadership profile so compelling. I can think of no other candidate worthier of this recognition.”

Bill Pearce
Assistant Dean, Marketing Faculty and CMO
Berkeley Haas




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