When Scott Landay (Haas, ‘17) moved to Berkeley to start business school, one of his goals was to make sure he exhausted every possible opportunity during his 2-year MBA experience. Despite the many things that were thrown his way, Scott has been able to spend this year working towards that goal, and had a chance to share some of his thoughts on his first year at Haas.
MBASchooled: What’s the most important lesson you learned from your first year of business school?
Scott: Prioritize. Business school will throw a lot of things at you, from classes to recruiting to social events. Doing it all is nearly impossible. Classes will be demanding, especially the core. For the first time in your life, you may have to be okay with not being a perfect “A” student in all your classes. But that’s fine, getting an “A” may simply not be your priority. Take some time out at the beginning of each quarter or semester to lay out your goals and prioritize them. That’s what I did with my study group at the start of each quarter, which helped each of us lay out on the table everything we would be working on that semester and to make a commitment at the outset which things we were going to prioritize. For many of us, career came first and social/networking came second. It will feel uncomfortable at first not prioritizing classes, but I assure you in the end it will be okay.
MBASchooled: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Scott: Even though I consider myself a social and outgoing person, it was very hard to leave my previous network of friends and colleagues in Boston and have to create a new network in Berkeley. With that said, I cannot say enough about how friendly and approachable all of my classmates at Haas are. The culture really is one that supports one another and wants to get to know each other on a personal level. I’ll never forget when I was going through my recruiting process for my internship in the fall, several of my classmates proactively asked me how they could help me prepare, whether it was mock interviews or just talking through my thoughts and questions. The Haas community definitely welcomed me with open arms, and even though I miss my east coast network, I feel like I have a solid foundation here in Berkeley.
MBASchooled:What was the most memorable or exciting experience from your first year at school Haas?
Scott: Haas Boats – Labor Day weekend. Every year, shortly after classes begin, 300 or so Haasies drive north of San Francisco to Lake Shasta for what has affectionately been dubbed “Haas Boats”. Gathering on 20+ houseboats, we set out on the lake for a fun weekend of watersports, BBQ’s and bonfires. Being out on the lake and in the California sun was not just a fun weekend getaway, it was a chance to disconnect from classes and get to know my classmates a little bit better. It was on that trip that I feel like I formed the base for many of the friendships I have today with my classmates.
MBASchooled:If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?
Scott: I made the choice this year to use my winter break and spring break to go home to Tampa, to my former home, Boston, and to travel with my old friend group. Thus, I did not go on any of the plethora of trips organized by students over these breaks. Some of my Haas friends went to South Africa, others to Japan among other places. Going on these trips is an integral part of a lot of people’s MBA experience. I think I could have gained from going on some of these trips in my first year of the MBA, especially in deepening my relationships with my classmates and solidifying a network that could last a lifetime. These truly are once in a lifetime kind of opportunities that I don’t want to miss too many of.
MBASchooled: What are you most looking forward to out of this summer?
Scott: I came to Haas to primarily switch out of the consulting industry and into brand management. I’m thrilled to be interning this summer in an brand management role with Neutrogena down in LA. I’ll have a chance to put into practice some of the things I’ve been learning in my core marketing class and marketing electives. I’m excited to explore a new career path and hopefully pave the way to a full time career with Neutrogena.
MBASchooled:What’s something you are looking forward to during your second year of business school?
Scott: The MBA is a whirlwind 2 year experience. To add to that whirlwind, in the fall I will be participating in Haas’ exchange program with the London Business School. Prior to coming to Haas, I said to myself that I wanted to get everything out of this experience that I could. Having not studied abroad in undergrad, I set one of my goals to study abroad. I cannot wait to join LBS in the fall and build more friendships and networks on a global scale.