2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Charlie Yates, UC-Berkeley (Haas)

Charlie Yates

University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“Health equity strategist, value-based care enthusiast, and proud biracial Latino who runs on iced coffee.”

Hometown: Greenbrae, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I love music! In addition to performing in three choirs in college and minoring in music, I also published multiple research papers on cross-cultural music cognition.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Pitzer College: BS, Psychology, Science, Technology & Society, with a minor in music.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Epic Systems Corporation as an implementation project manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? CVS Clinical Trial Services, Corporate Strategy Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Co., Summer Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • MBA Association VP of Admissions
  • Co-President of the Haas Healthcare Association,
  • Career Peer Advisor (Consulting and Healthcare industries)
  • Graduate Student Instructor/Reader (Work, Wisdom, and Happiness; Leadership and Happiness, Design Your Life)
  • Social Sector Solutions Team Lead,
  • Career Cohort Representative
  • Application Reviewer (MBA/MPH cohort)
  • Consortium Fellow
  • MLT Professional Development Fellow

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Serving as a team lead for an experiential learning course, Social Sector Solutions, is my proudest academic achievement. During the second semester of my MBA, I led a diverse team of six undergraduate and graduate students to define the strategy of a career training and placement program for our client, a nonprofit focused on addressing poverty. My team and I conducted participant surveys, interfaced directly with customers, brought in experts from the field, and met regularly with our client to develop concrete recommendations around program implementation. The program has been extremely successful, and the increase in job placement rates resulted in the nonprofit being featured in the local news.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While enrolled as a full-time student at Haas, I also served as a corporate strategy intern for a healthcare company throughout the school year. In my role, I conceptualized, designed, and launched a call center to forge a new, inclusive clinical trials program. This elevated both my industry knowledge of clinical trials and my ability to balance conceptual strategy with downstream implementation. Not only did I launch a call center that patients call into when seeking care, but I was given the green light to expand the program nationwide. As someone who cares deeply about democratizing clinical trials and prioritizing the patient experience, it means a lot to me that I was able to bring a life-saving service for people around the country to life.

Why did you choose this business school? One of the key reasons I chose Haas was their unparalleled MBA/MPH (Public Health) program. This thoughtfully crafted, decades-old program allows students to receive both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Public Health in 2.5 years. Furthermore, the deep connection between Haas and the School of Public Health offers unique opportunities for all MBA students to enjoy, such as Innovations in Healthcare or Health Policy Advocacy. While most business schools have specializations in healthcare, I believe that a rigorous and deliberate public health curriculum will strengthen my approach to addressing health disparities.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Solène Delecourt is without a doubt my favorite professor! She teaches Negotiations, one of the most popular classes at Haas, and is the professor I most admire because she exudes the UC Berkeley and Haas spirit. She brings compassion and an infectiously positive attitude to deconstruct what many find to be an extremely difficult or taboo topic. What I most admire about Solène is how she approaches DE&I: as power differentials in negotiations and conflict negatively impact marginalized individuals, she spent a significant amount of time highlighting this issue and providing strategies for addressing this inequity. This way of discussing equity and inclusion is exactly how I would hope all professors bring these topics to light, especially in business school.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Designing Financial Models That Work (DFMTW) taught by Jenny Herbert Creek is an absolute must-take class! I came into Haas with a non-traditional background and found difficulty with both finance and modeling. In DFMTW, I grew to love both. Jenny used a mixed-method approach, with projects, lectures, discussions, paired modeling, and independent work. Furthermore, I came away every class with five to 10 tangible Excel skills that I was able to use in other classes and at work. Not only do I think this class should be taught in our core program, but I believe that every business school should have a similar course. I enjoyed DFMTW so much that I even took the advanced version of this class for people seeking finance careers!

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth at Haas that is actually true is how students embody the “Beyond Yourself” principle! People genuinely care about each other. In the first two months of school, I fractured my spine and planned to drop the program. Through the support of my academic study team, administration, and professors, I was able to stay enrolled full-time. Moreover, people across Haas signed up to drive me to appointments, brought me groceries, and even kept me company at my home when I was bedridden. I don’t know if I would have received the same level of support and love at any other institution.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? While Berkeley is a fantastic college town, I need to share my experience living in the Bay Area. Public transportation here is solid. Whether by train or bus, you can get to Oakland or San Francisco in under an hour. All UC Berkeley students receive a public transit card, meaning that getting around the Bay even on a school night is feasible. I find myself going to San Francisco once every week or two to hang out with friends at Dolores Park, go to brunch at the endless eatery options, attend concerts, or even network at professional healthcare events.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose?  I was intentional about which questions I asked people during the application process. While I believe that “no question is a dumb question,” asking random questions to the wrong person can make a poor impression. For example, I didn’t ask students about admission logistics or admission officers about student experience, or faculty members about topics outside of their class or expertise. By intentionally asking all of my questions to the right people, that ensured I would get the best information through valuable, deep conversations.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire and respect my fellow MBA/MPH candidate Roxana Obregón. Roxana gives her absolute all to everything she does. She holds multiple leadership roles on campus, participates in student government as our fearless MBAA VP of Academics, and is an active part of our community’s social life. I mentioned Roxana’s name to a first-year student and he responded, “Oh, I know Roxana, she is Haas-famous!” I cannot imagine anyone else more worthy of receiving such a distinction, because Roxana is always present and focused: whether changing the course of DE&I in the classroom or being actively engaged in a multiple-hour conversation. The world isn’t ready for the greatness that Roxana will bring when she graduates Haas!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items I’m aiming to cross off my professional bucket list involve international projects and returning to Haas. I’d love to do an international project where English is not the primary language. I’ve had the opportunity of working with folks internationally, but always within an English context. I also have always enjoyed teaching, so taking a moment to guest lecture at a Haas class would be a dream come true!

What made Charlie such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“In my role as head of admissions at Berkeley Haas, I’ve read more than a few applications that espoused the values of servant leadership. In some cases, these are just words on a page meant to impress the admissions team. This was not the case with Charlie Yates. Charlie’s application focused on his deep desire to tackle large-scale healthcare challenges through technological innovation. However, where his application truly stood out was in the stories of his motivations and drivers, whether they be supporting the US Coast Guard during Covid or his own family through academic challenges.

This is exactly how Charlie showed up on campus. It was no surprise to me that he put himself forward and was elected by his peers to serve as the VP of Admissions for the student body. In that role he advised countless prospective and admitted students on how to tell their stories, how to shore up their applications, and how best to navigate the Berkeley Haas community. In addition, he worked closely with my team to ensure we took an equity lens to our engagement process. True to his application, Charlie pushed us to look optimized our use of technology in our outreach efforts.

I’m thrilled to write this letter of support on Charlie’s behalf as he’s been such a huge asset to the Haas community.”

Eric Askins
Executive Director, Full-time MBA Admissions
Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley


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