Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Matthew McGoffin, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

Matthew McGoffin

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“Perpetual learner and Army Special Operations veteran skilled in global strategy and technical program management.”

Hometown: Lafayette, Louisiana

Fun Fact About Yourself: I recently discovered freediving, and can only describe it as a truly transformational experience. I was able to dive—with no gear—54 feet below sea level to get up close and personal with a shipwreck in the Caribbean; it was awe-inspiring.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy; Major: Human Geography with Honors, Minor in Computer Science.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Moonshots Capital, Venture Capital Summer Associate

Berkeley Haas is founded on four Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Which principle resonates most with you and why? Students Always. I’ve held a variety of leadership roles in the military, which required constant learning. To me, curiosity and a love for learning go hand-in-hand with humility and empathy—all essential qualities for bringing out the best in oneself and others. A quick learner with integrity and perseverance can thrive in ambiguity and accomplish almost anything.

What word best describes the Haas MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Open. Haas students are open to seeing the world differently and considering outcomes and solutions beyond the typical world of business.

Aside from classmates and the Defining Leadership Principles, what was the key part of Berkeley Haas’ MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Bay Area is where the action is, and Berkeley has the greatest number of graduating startup founders of any public university in the United States. I strongly believe that we are at a critical moment in the history of our nation where public and private trends and investments around AI and automation are aligning more closely than ever before. I am looking forward to immersing myself within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of this world-class public research university in order to build teams to address real-world problems.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Berkeley Haas? As a dual MBA/MEng student, I am very excited by the opportunity to take cross-functional courses like Data-X where I may partner with an incredible, and highly-intelligent cohort of engineers working to apply AI and data analytics to solve real-world problems.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a member of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations team, I had the opportunity to work with incredible cross-functional teams of Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and external partners to develop large-scale strategies and tailored technical solutions to address some of the United States’ toughest national defense priorities in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? Reading Scott Galloway’s book Post Corona opened my eyes to how the pandemic has rapidly accelerated existing technology trends in our society. This was one factor that motivated me to pursue a dual MBA/MEng degree and hone product strategy and product management skills in order to positively shape the future.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Nine years in the Army leading diverse, cross-functional teams across three continents opened my eyes to long-term trends and issues across societies worldwide, most recently a global upswing in nationalism, coupled with the effects of a lengthy pandemic. These issues have profound implications for the economies of the US and international partners, and are accelerating demand for domestic technological innovation across industries. I plan to hone my business and product skill set in order to help solve some of society’s biggest programs in a non-military context, either through my own startup or through a rapidly growing, purpose-driven technology company.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? The University of Chicago, Booth and Stanford GSB.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Berkeley Haas’ MBA program? Haas students, staff, and faculty authentically reflect the school’s Defining Leadership Principles. I’d recommend considering how these principles resonate with your own lived experiences and then shaping compelling narratives around them.


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