Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Travis Bautista, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

Travis Bautista

University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“Ocean-farer championing for a fairer climate change, bit by bit.”

Hometown: Honolulu, HI (chee!)

Fun Fact About Yourself: I visited all 50 U.S. states before I was 25. Sorry it took me so long, Oklahoma!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of South Florida; Major: Marine Biology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Waybury Capital, Venture Capital Intern

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? Confidence Without Attitude. Many positions in the military require a steep learning curve and they are quick to put you in leadership roles. I found a lot of success operating from a position of humility when I’ve led those with 20+ more years of experience than I have in an industry.

On my submarine, it was important for gaining buy-in that I clearly communicated the ship schedule changes. I also helped load cans of food onboard for 10 hours a day before deployments. This type of humility and awareness of how to motivate people is core to how I think about leadership, and I’m excited to be surrounded by people who place it as a core value.

When you think of UC Berkeley, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Humble. I was so impressed by how accomplished and unassuming Berkeley students are. As a first-generation college graduate and a racial minority in a lot of spaces throughout my life, it has been essential for me to model learning to overcome imposter syndrome. That mindset of vulnerability is consistently on display here at Berkeley, whether through the Story Salons, group mindfulness practices, or willingness for Haasies to respond to a coffee chat or help one another.

Aside from classmates and the Defining Leadership Principles, what was the key part of Berkeley Haas’ MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I am transitioning out of the military and, like most doing any type of pivot or transition in life, I want to challenge how I think, what kind of person I want to continue to become, and what kind of society I live in. Berkeley has the largest number of startup founders of any public university in the world and has the entrepreneurial resource to change the fabric of society!

For anyone interested in the innovation ecosystem – whether venture capital, start-ups, or just being in an environment where you are encouraged to think differently – Berkeley is the perfect place to be vulnerable and take risks. You have innovation-focused classes and clubs (e.g., BHEP, Lean Launch Pad, Cleantech to Market), start-up accelerators like Berkeley SkyDeck, well-networked access to Bay Area funding sources, and purposefully designed spaces both in and out of the classroom that encourage open conversations and vulnerability. Berkeley is the ideal entrepreneurial environment to challenge how you think not only about yourself but about society.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Berkeley Haas? I come from an interdisciplinary educational and professional background. For example, I studied marine biology and worked in a data/ecology/biology climate change research lab before the military, this being so I am most excited about opportunities to continue to expand on my business acumen and how I think as a leader.

From Japanese classes to entrepreneurial environmental classes such as Cleantech to Market, I am excited to be at a well-rounded world-class university surrounded by some of the best and brightest in their respective fields of study and industries.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: With a great team, I enjoyed jumping into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and turning the USS Henry M. Jackson and its logistics department into the top-performing nuclear ballistic submarine in the United States in 2021.

At this point, what do you hope to do after graduation? Having grown up around the ocean in a very multicultural place like Hawaii, I am excited to leverage data and the innovation ecosystem to accelerate the clean energy transition more equitably.

I hope to explore roles at climate tech start-ups in the short-term and climate entrepreneurship in the mid-to-long term in the carbon accounting/data, ocean tech, transportation, and city planning spaces. This is fascinating to me because they intersect widely with social equity and small-company-size opportunities.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Duke Fuqua, Stanford GSB, MIT Sloan

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Berkeley Haas’ MBA program? Be honest and vulnerable and gravitate towards people and places that energize you. As much as a school is picking you, do not lose sight that you are picking a school too! Use the MBA application process as an opportunity to reflect on the amazing things you have done, the person you have become, and who you want to continue to become. The business school acceptances will be the icing on the cake!!


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