The end of Fall 08: the end to a great semester

I write this post at the end of the day of my last day of Fall08, mid way through my second year at the Haas MBA. As I look back at the last six months I now realize why this semester has zipped by. I have loved every second of the last six months, quite different from how I felt at the end of Fall 07.

The sem started with me moving to the south bay to pursue my summer internship at Apple. I worked in product management and the experience was great. The highlights of the internship were attending the executive speaker series and hearing from talented leaders at Apple. This included Tony Fadell, Ron Johnson, Scott Forestall, Peter Oppenheimer, Jony Ives and (needless to say) Steve Jobs. I was able to add a lot of value to my team by way of the internship and worked across levels and organizations to execute my projects. At the end of the 3 months I was delighted when I was asked to continue working part-time while in school. So one day a week, I’m back at my office in IL1 and this foot in the real world makes for a great experience. It brought back memories to my post grad at MICA (98-00) in the second year where I worked part time at Channel V while in the last sem. On that occasion I had to make weekly trips to Mumbai from Ahmadabad, at least this time around I only had to drive up and down the bay area. Both resulted in a similar outcome, an offer for full time, and I just accepted my position in product management at Apple :)!.

Unlike last year when I lived in an apartment, this semester I decided to try and live in a house in the Berkeley hills. I shared a house (57 tunnel road) with my classmates Lan (China), Jose (Portugal) and Andreas (Italian) and this has been a great experience. It always makes for interesting conversation having an outspoken Chinese girl along with loud Southern Europeans :D. Hilarious at times. It also meant that we had 4X Parties given our different club affiliations and the last one (The Mojito Party – Latam club) had the cops coming in. Great fun all the same, even if it sucks for our neighbors. This year like that of 07 I once again worked for our much loved >play conference. I co-led the Telecom panel and the Expo, both of which turned out to be a great success. The big change this sem was that I made the time to spend more time with my classmates and I finally feel I’m back to my real self. I guess it took a whole year to adjust to a new environment, school, people, culture and country.

At a macro level this was also a crucial time to be in the US. The historic election saw Obama getting elected and the reactions in Berkeley (dominated by liberal Democrats) was unprecedented. Needless to say the US is also going through one of the worst recessions in modern history and while the experience is extremely difficult it did make for a unique experience to be in B-School when some of the fundamentals of capitalism are crumbling. I’m thankful for the way things worked out for me and I really hope that the rest of my classmates find what they are looking for. Hopefully we see a recovery towards the end of 09. Fingers crossed.

I finally found the time for the things I enjoy doing. I bought my first electric to get back to playing the guitar, my first SLR so that I can move-up from using a point and shoot, did a bit of sailing in the bay and played some golf at Tilden park. All in all an enriching and interesting semester.

So here I am, a few hours from taking my flight back to India to spend the next 6 weeks which is going to be filled with fun and relaxation, feeling almost a bit sad that this semester has come to an end. The consolation is that Spring 09 promises to be even more fun. So here is to good times with great classmates and an awesome MBA program. Thank you Haas for giving me this experience.

Here are pics from today, the last day of Fall 08.

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