After Kat Crimmins (Haas, ’17) decided to leave the East Coast to move to Berkeley, she was immediately greeted at Haas by a community of intelligent, hard-working and career-oriented individuals. This supportive community helped Kat, a life-time east coast resident make the transition to the West Coast. During her two years at Haas, Kat took advantage of all business school had to offer through various classes, activities, and travel adventures. In her Final Reflections, Kat talked to us about the importance of taking risks, and developing a mindset of “confidence without attitude.”
MBASchooled: What is your favorite memory of business school?
Kathryn: From the extracurricular side, I would have to say the opportunity to represent Berkeley in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) with a wonderful team of three classmates along with a PhD in Chemistry. After winning the Berkeley round of the competition, we competed in the Silicon Valley regional round hosted by First Round Capital. By working together over a fast-paced couple of days in both rounds to analyze various startups and meet with founders as well as investors, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the venture capital experience and how companies are valued.
The competition greatly complimented some of my Haas classes such as New Venture Finance and brought important valuation concepts to light. Beyond the venture capital exposure, I also learned from my teammates while having a ton of fun over the intense few days. From the personal side, I would say my trip over winter break to Bali and throughout Vietnam. It was the longest time I have spent traveling (4 weeks) and I was surprised how much I could be present in each day of our travels, really “go with the flow” and soak in the cultures. Traveling for 16 days with a Vietnamese American classmate and a dozen of my classmates was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to invest in such a trip.
MBASchooled: What will you miss most about your MBA experience?
Kathryn: The opportunity to be in a community of so many intelligent, thoughtful and career-driven individuals. It’s easy to forget how special and unique it is to be in this type of community, and I am grateful for the nearly two years with my Haas classmates who went all-in on this experience with such openness, allowed me to navigate so many different opportunities, and participated fully in very important discussions.
MBASchooled: What are you most proud of from your MBA experience?
Kathryn: I am most proud of working with LAUNCH, the UCal startup accelerator. As Programming Lead, I spent the majority of my 1st year dedicated to designing and managing the mentorship and experience for our cohort of 20+ startups in the 12 week program. After bootcamps, biweekly sessions, expert workshops, and ongoing coordination with various members of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, watching the startups pitch at Demo Day was an extremely exciting and special moment. The team was committed to building a brand and long-term strategy for LAUNCH, and this framing allowed us to create something that will hopefully continue for years to come.
MBASchooled: What part of you has undergone the most transformation while in business school?
Kathryn: I recently joked that as a New Yorker in California, I now wear slightly less black than before school. Beyond that, I do believe that I now am more confident about who I am as a team member and leader. It is somewhat cliche perhaps, but school has been a really special environment to take risks, learn new things, and realize how I can tackle various situations and problems. One of the “defining principles” of Haas is confidence without attitude, and this principle is something I have aspired to and naturally become more comfortable with over my nearly two years in the program.
The confidence to share my opinion, take on leadership positions, and tackle challenging problems will be extremely important as I enter back into the workplace, and I am grateful for the space to find this additional confidence.
MBASchooled: Who is someone who has had a positive influence on you while in business school?
Kathryn: I would say Eddie Gandevia, who was Co-Chair of LAUNCH, a VCIC teammate, and generally a wonderful friend and role model. Eddie sets high standards for himself and his teams, and leads by example. He is also incredibly humble, gracious, and warm, and his commitment to work, family, and faith inspires me constantly. He constantly pushes me to be better and aim higher while also providing positive encouragement and feedback to help me reach those new heights. I feel extremely grateful to have worked and learned from him, and to be able to call him a friend.
MBASchooled: Is there anything that you haven’t gotten to do that you wish you had done?
Kathryn: I do wish I invested in taking classes in some of the other programs on Berkeley’s campus – perhaps a Spanish or public health class. However, as a Psychology undergraduate major from Boston College (Go Eagles!), (Editor’s Note: #SOAR) I felt it was important to invest in MBA classes and related extracurriculars while at Haas.
MBASchooled: Where do you hope to be in five years?
Kathryn: The further into my career I am, the less I try to optimize for where I will be in five or ten years as I have learned it is hard to predict where my career will take me. I do hope to still be at a high growth technology driven organization with a mission and product I care about while working with smart, funny teammates. I hope to be a respected leader both within my organization as well as my community, and to be a role model and mentor for women in business. Lastly, I hope to be balancing the pie chart that is life and investing in my career alongside my family, friends, and personal health to find as much balance and happiness as possible.