H@H: Ep 51 – On this shelter-in-place anniversary edition of Here@Haas, host Ray Guan talks with Frances Ho about her unique journey to Haas from the animal welfare and music festival industries. The Bay Area went into quarantine in mid-March last year, and the live events & entertainment industry has been one of the hardest hit throughout. Frances talks about the challenges she’s faced, imposter syndrome (more common than you think) upon coming into the program, and the help she’s received along the way.
On imposter syndrome within her cohort – “I think one of the things that we discovered together was there were quite a few of us that were feeling this imposter syndrome, and none of us were talking to each other about it. And a lot of those individuals were women in our cohort.”
On what she’s taken away from the program – “Being an MBA student doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. It doesn’t mean you’re learning to become a CEO. It means that you’re learning to be a better leader of organizations and people.”
On how she knew it was time to transition – “…it really just came to a point where I had maxed out what I wanted to do in animal welfare at the time. I really wanted to make a change in my life because I had been in animal welfare full-time for almost eight years and I was like it’s time for me to delve into something deeper.”
(Transcripts may contain a few typographical errors due to audio quality during the podcast recording.)
[00:00:04] Ray: I’m ay Guan and this is here@haas, a student-run podcast of the Berkeley Haas community. Today, we’re joined by Francis Ho, an evening weekend student of the class of 2022. From animal welfare to music festivals, Frances has always paved her own career path that prioritizes improving the logistics and experiences for her clients. Welcome to the podcast, Frances.
[00:00:28] Frances: Thank you so much, right? I’m super excited to be here and talk about my journey.
[00:00:33] Ray: Yeah, of course. So, typically, we like to have guests tell us about how they got to Haas, but you just have such a fascinating kind of untraditional background before Haas. So, I want to kind of go back even further. Tell us about your, you know, life beginnings, career beginnings in both animal welfare and the music and live events industry.
[00:00:57] Frances: Yeah, totally. I think my first experience with even contemplating a career in business is probably when I was in high school and I was applying for colleges at the time. I was applying undeclared to the different UCs that I had selected and I was just kind of in a conundrum where I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.
[00:01:19] I knew I wanted to do something that would improve the life of whether people or animals or something, but I just don’t really know. And my mom suggested that I think about a business career. At that point in my life, I didn’t know anyone who was in a finance career, a business career. Both of my parents had done graduate programs in science.
[00:01:43] My relatives were doctors and engineers. And I was like business, like growing up in the Albany Berkeley area, we think of business as like big corporations and Berkeley being Berkeley I was like, Ooh, I don’t think that this is really my path. So, I did my undergrad at UC Berkeley in conservation resource studies.
[00:02:04] So, it was kind of like a make your own major. So, half my major was on anthropology which is the human-animal bond and the other half was on animal behavior. So, that fast track towards going to veterinary school. So, immediately after my undergrad, I was working at the San Francisco SPCA, which if you don’t know, SPCA stands for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
[00:02:33] And I started off there as a vet assistant. And then I was, I kind grew and my nursing skills there. I started realizing that the impact that I was having on the animals was patient by patient. And I wanted to kind of scale that impact and the San Francisco SPC at that time had a really interesting organizational structure where it was led by two co-presidents. And historically, always been someone that had a business or an MBA background in a vet area. And what I started to realize was the person that was kind of calling the shots, approving the budgets, launching innovative programs was really our co-president and our, I think she was the director of marketing at the time who were both MBAs.
[00:03:22] So, this person who ultimately ended up being the COO of the SPCA really became my mentor and cheerleader in pursuing MBA. And coincidentally, she is a Haas alum and she really suggested that I start looking into business programs. And as I grew with the organization, we went through a merger and we went through various projects. I realized that my skills and what I wanted to do on a larger scale really aligned with more of an MBA program than a veterinary program.
[00:04:00] Ray: Right. What role did you play at the SPCA? Sorry.
[00:04:07] Frances: Yeah, no, I transitioned through quite a few roles. And the running joke before I left was that I was singlehandedly had touched most parts of the organization. So, I started off in the public hospital there where I was a veterinary assistant and worked up to being an emergency veterinary assistant.
[00:04:26] And was considering getting a registered veterinary technician license at the time. Coincidentally, I broke my foot which means that I can’t run around for 14 hours a day. And that put me into a role where I needed to be more dust spout. So, I started becoming a project and program coordinator. And from there, I went to really being working hand in hand with our VP and executive team on strategic vision on a big project on operation logistics, where we completely changed how we sourced animals for the shelter, uh, which now having gone to business schools was really a supply chain issue and an operations problem that when you’re in an animal nonprofit, you don’t want to call your animals a supply chain problem.
[00:05:18] Ray: Right.
[00:05:19] Frances: That was one of the reasons why to get an MBA. Yeah, there are they’re our clients, our patients, our friends are companion animals. They’re not supply chain cogs.
[00:05:32] Ray: Yeah. Yeah. Right. It’s a different point of view for sure. I’d like to hear maybe an authentic story or experience that you’ve had that may surprise people.
[00:05:42] Frances: Sure. I think one of those projects was we did a joint project with HSI, which is Humane Society International, which is the international branch of the human society of the United States. We started this project somewhere between the Sochi Olympics and then when the Olympics were going to be in Korea.
[00:06:05] And we started this project because when the Olympics are in Sochi, there was a Western kind of limelight that was shined upon Sochi, that there were a lot of street dogs and homeless dogs there. Like the, well, some of the big skiers or snowboarders were adopting these Huskies and bringing them back to the US like, Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening.
[00:06:30] And Russia’s response to that was they rounded up all the street dogs, euthanize them in a horrible, terrible fashion so that they just didn’t exist for the press to see. So, in preparation for the Olympics in Korea, HSI wanted to make sure that this similar type of situation didn’t happen in Korea. And the big issue was in Korea there had been a cultural history of eating dog meat and some cat meat. So, they wanted to get ahead of looking at ways of diverting dog meat farmers into more sustainable business models and business practices. And then at finding homes for these dogs that are used essentially as breeding animals for food.
[00:07:20] So San Francisco being kind of the first airport that’s closest on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, they reached out to our organization to kind of partner and help them with immigrating these dogs to the US essentially. And we were going to work as the hub to then distribute these animals to different sheltering facilities to get adopted.
[00:07:43] So, the long story short of it is we were able to bring those animals in. We were able to get quite a few of them adopted. Some of them were definitely had never seen the inside of a home let alone flat ground cause they lived in wire cages. So, it took quite the Herculean effort of volunteers, administrative staff, of donors, of our medical team, to get these animals to a place where they would have the best welfare possible.
[00:08:15] So, I am not sure that people really realize that even your local animal rescue organizations are working on such an international scale as well. So, their donor dollars do reach quite far.
[00:08:29] Ray: I had no idea. I don’t know any pets. I was looking into, I guess they call it like a pandemic puppy but the thing is, I didn’t get one because I actually moved back home and, you know, I think it was more so I was bored and then I found some things to occupy my time, including this podcast.
[00:08:49] So, cool. Well, let’s move to you also simultaneously while working at SPCA, you also ended up being heavily involved in the music and live events industry. Are the roles that you’ve held there similar in terms of strategy and operations as well?
[00:09:09] Frances: Yeah. So, I think a lot of times people hear that I worked in like an animal shelter and in live music to be like, how do these two things relate? And to me, it really leverages and flexes the same skillset and transferable skills. You just swap the like puppies and kittens as my clients to like, celebrity artists as my clients.
[00:09:33] And so they’re both very operational roles. I really stayed on in music. I had been working in live music in the local like nightclub scene while I was at my undergrad at Cal. And I stayed doing it as kind of like my side hustle because when you work at a nonprofit, you get paid a non-profit salary.
[00:09:53] So, I was working weekends at music and I was also really passionate about it. So, it kind of satisfied both sides of my brain. One was a lot of spreadsheets and technical medical things and the other one was a lot more creative, but yeah, I mainly worked in artist relations and artists, transportation, logistics.
[00:10:13] So, thing I got a lot of spreadsheets, a lot of data, did a lot of negotiating, trying to make clients happy and working out their operational logistical flow to come to the festival and perform at the festival and how to get them out safely and quickly. And with police escorts, without police escorts.
[00:10:35] So, it really just came to a point where I had maxed out what I wanted to do in animal welfare at the time. And I really wanted to make a change in my life because I had been an animal welfare full time for about eight years. And it was just about the time where I was starting to apply for MBAs as well.
[00:11:01] And I was like, you know, it’s time for me to delve into something deeper. And especially with music festivals, it’s really hard kind of on your body in terms of we travel a lot, we are not at home, we don’t get to cook. And so, I was like, if I’m going to seize this opportunity, my twenties is when I’m going to seize it.
[00:11:24] Ray: Yeah. I guess before we kind of move on to, you know, applying to Haas. I want to ask you about just that life. I want to kind of press deeper here being a contractor. I mean, you mentioned how in non-profit, maybe with animal welfare you had to also have kind of weekend jobs, right?
[00:11:45] So, describe kind of your life as a contractor. And if that puts more stress even knowing that you’re, you know, basically being paid by the event.
[00:11:57] Frances: Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was kind of a yin and yang for me with the nonprofit. I was being paid a nonprofit salary, but I had benefits. I had a 401k, I had healthcare. I had stability. I had a desk to come to. Wherewith music festivals, you’re on the go. You don’t know when you’re going to have your next job. But I think has music festivals got more and more popular, I started seeing myself going to one music festival a month. Then it became two music festivals, so fun, and then it was starting to become three music festivals a month. And I was like, Oh boy, this is starting to come a lot now.
[00:12:39] So, ultimately, I did a kind of break-even analysis to bring in the MBA aspect of I’m now booking enough music festivals that I pay for health insurance myself out of my own pocket. Is it going to be worth it? And for me, I think it was around the start of January 2019 where I got a long contract for the January through March months to go to Mexico to work many festivals back to back that I was like you know it’s time for me to go. And I did set up my own health insurance. I figured out how to pay my taxes in advance and I was like I’m leaving SPCA. I have few need to conquer. So what I did.
[00:13:38] Ray: That’s amazing.
[00:13:40] Ray: So, I guess, I want to transition to now your time at Haas. I think pre-show, we talked about applying to Haas a couple of times and finally got accepted in the 2019 intake. What were your first impressions of Haas once the program started?
[00:13:59] Frances: Once the program started, I was just so surprised by who my classmates were. Like, there was such a diversity of people, of interests, and there is the sense of camaraderie that I was pretty surprised by it. I honestly didn’t think I going until like an evening and the weekend master’s program, there were that many people that wanted to like be friends.
[00:14:27] I really thought most of my classmates were kind of there because their employer was sponsoring it or they’re trying to move and pivot into a new job role. So, to find so many people that were genuinely interested in what you did and where you want to go was really surprising for me to find such a supportive community.
[00:14:52] Ray: I think a lot of people agree with you, Frances. And I think it was apparent on WeLaunch on that weekend. Once the, you know, kind of the shine of WeLaunch wore off, what were your impressions of the classes for the first semester?
[00:15:07] Frances: I truthfully had no idea what was going on. We will be very frank here. Coming from the non-profit world and the entertainment world, some of these classes could have been in a foreign language. Like I had taken statistics for my science bachelor’s. I had taken like different math classes. So, I understood the math, but the words that they were putting around the math I had, I didn’t know that Fannie Mae was a person.
[00:15:40] I didn’t know if she was someone that worked at Haas, like S and P 500. I was Googling S and then the letter N and then P cause I was like, what are we talking about? So, I had no idea what was happening combined with how impressed I was with my classmates. I quickly fell into this feeling of imposter syndrome, where I was like, why am I here?
[00:16:08] Why did they let me in? Especially having applied a couple of times before getting in, I was like, well, maybe they just let me in. Cause they’re like, this person has tried many times. Like we can’t let her apply for the fourth time. Like we got a letter in at this point, she’s now in the median age range.
[00:16:25] We got them. We don’t want to hear from her anymore. So, I quickly found out that I needed to work harder, I think than some of my other classmates. I had to read every single case. I had to read the suggested parts in the textbooks too. I got really good at Googling things under the table because I didn’t know what was being said in half the time.
[00:16:53] And then I really leaned on my study group. I was really blessed with being assigned to a really amazing study team of people that couldn’t be more different than I am that I could be like, what was he saying? What are talking about? And without them, I don’t think I would have survived my first year not having those that were sitting next to me and my study team to translate
[00:17:20] Ray: I mean, we have students, I’ve talked with other students that are from a more technical background, like engineering, and even they have said that they’ve felt the imposter syndrome. Would you say that your study group, amongst others in your cohort, helped you overcome that?
[00:17:38] Frances: Yes. I think one of the things that we discovered together was there was quite a few of us that were actually feeling this imposter syndrome. And none of us talking to each other about it. And a lot of those individuals were women in our cohort. And so, it was kind of a double-edged sword. Each time I found out how impressive my classmates were, it kind of made that imposter syndrome a little worse because it’s like, well, they were presenting these big flashy, glorious PowerPoints to their CEOs, and I’m trying to figure out how to get a limousine to Martin Garrix’s hotel, like, who am I? Why am I here? And what I really had to help me get through that was CMG. When I find my CMG coach, she has been such a guiding light and helping me lean into my difference and how I am unique, and what skills I am bringing to this table that while I don’t know anything about the like stocks or what PitchBook even was, to begin with what I have done. I’ve managed over a hundred people every two weeks, hired and rehired negotiated with some of the toughest A-list celebrities.
[00:19:09] And gone through some really challenging life and death situations when I worked at the animal shelter. And so, these are real-life experiences that I know how to think on my feet. I know how to improvise when all of plan A through plan F has just gone out the window and you don’t know what to do. So, it’s just a different set of tools than making really pretty put-together Excel. So.
[00:19:36] Ray: Yeah. And I’m glad you mentioned that because I did do some research on imposter syndrome because I felt that in my life as well. You know, statistically, I think most people who experienced that actually are like high performers. But they, we oftentimes have like high standards for themselves. But I guess the good thing is so far here at Haas, I would say generally, most students are very helpful in trying to help you improve your skills.
[00:20:05] Ray: What was your biggest learning so far at Haas?
[00:20:08] Frances: My biggest learning since I have been at Haas has been really tied around that imposter syndrome. I think I spent my first year and a half really trying to fit me, fit myself into a square of what I thought an MBA student should be or should know or should act or should look and we’ll start by saying that the first day of class I clearly stood out.
[00:20:35] My classmates, some of them were coming from jobs where they had to be in a suit and tie, and I was in like black leggings, a black t-shirt, black hoodie. Cause I had just come off a flight and my hair was blue. Like, couldn’t have stood out more. And my learning is that the beauty of Haas is Haas has built their values, their community, their student body, to be really inclusive of that difference.
[00:21:05] And there’s always going to be more work to be done there, but my learning has really just been what makes me different is why they wanted me at Haas and to not hide that and to embrace it.
[00:21:21] Ray: Yeah, well said. And here at Haas, you’ve also been involved in some extracurriculars, one being Haas Hearts. Can you just describe Haas Hearts and its purpose and also your role?
[00:21:35] Frances: Yeah, definitely. So, Haas Hearts was really championed by Justin Lee and Christine John who are also both EWs in 2022. I believe they are VPs on our EW student association and they wanted just to do a project at the start of COVID that would help nonprofits in a COVID era. And me being one of the token nonprofit people, Christine reached out and she was like, this is our initial idea.
[00:22:08] Do you think this will help? And I was like, I think we could improve on this a little bit. The part that we could improve was she was looking at it rightfully so from a very student-focused lens. And one of the challenges of working at a nonprofit is that you frequently have well-meaning people that want to help but they don’t quite know-how. And there has to be a balance of it being beneficial for the nonprofit and also for the person that’s helping. You never want to do a project that’s going to take away from the nonprofit’s already tight resources for someone else’s benefit. And so, I was asked on to be of assistance to help figure out what types of projects could be achievable in such a short timeframe.
[00:23:01] We were looking at just a summer-long project. What nonprofit partners would be good partners for this type of project and how can we have the greatest impact? And so, it was fun and really interesting cause I hadn’t really flexed that nonprofit kind of consulting muscle. In a couple of years, I had done a little bit of that at the end of my time at the San Francisco SPCA.
[00:23:24] So it was really great to have something, especially at the start of COVID to feel like that I was giving back and helping organizations and helping our students understand what it’s like to work at a nonprofit and how to work with a nonprofit and be a good nonprofit partner. But it also did remind me that the nonprofit path was a path that I had kind of close the chapter on.
[00:23:51] And I didn’t quite want to return onto it for a little bit of time because especially I think in animal welfare, the burnout rate and kind of the compassion fatigue that goes with it is a very real thing.
[00:24:06] Ray: Yeah, no, I mean, and I’m glad you mentioned the kind of the necessity of having or creating win-wins for nonprofits, both making sure that you’re obviously providing impact, but also, you know, not squeezing the budget too much or not taking away from that cut.
[00:24:26] Ray: And then I know you’re also involved with the DMDC, the Digital Media Entertainment Club. Do you want to describe kind of the purpose of the club and your role?
[00:24:37] Frances: Yeah. So, in the digital media and entertainment, clubs, or DMAC is a club on campus that when I joined Haas, year and a half ago it was predominantly full-time students and full-time student-run. And now that I’ve had some more time here and kind of understand the culture, I recently ran for a VP position on the board of DMAC and the platform I ran on was really about wanting to engage more of our evening and weekend and executive students because we have such a wealth of information in our program that I think it’s only best to share it with the other classes and other programs as well. So, the DMAC club really is a club of people that are just really interested in media entertainment and anything digital aspect of that. So, there’s those of us who are really interested in streaming and movies and Netflix, Hulu. There’s a group that are really interested about gaming. Gaming is a big sector that’s growing very quickly. There’s those of us who are really interested in how the music industry is shifting and changing with digitization and with COVID. All of these have such synergies that with my role on the club board. I’m hoping to continue to engage with our alumni and our current students who bring insights of industry that are happening currently into the club as well.
[00:26:16] Ray: Yeah, for sure. I think I’m in at least the last five years or so give or take streaming started out as you know, with Netflix. Right. And I guess maybe you can kind of go back with Pandora. But in recent years, it’s really expanded beyond movies into, you know, TV, into like you mentioned music into gaming.
But okay, I want to pivot next to the topic of mental health because, you know, we’re almost in kind of like month 10 now of the shelter in place. Can you share with us how COVID has impacted you and how you’ve had to overcome what has been, I’d imagine a pretty tumultuous 2020?
[00:27:04] Frances: Yeah, I think this is a really interesting topic to land on in this part of the podcast because it really ties together many of the subjects we’ve talked on already that imposter syndrome, that kind of music industry, COVID, mental health. And honestly, I think to be quite honest, I don’t know that I can say that I’ve overcome it.
[00:27:27] A lot of what I felt with imposter syndrome was that I just didn’t fit, but at least I was good at what I did. I enjoyed the work that I did and I was good at it. There’s not that many managers in the role that I do in the US at the scale to which I do it. It’s less than 10 for sure.
[00:27:48] And that’s how I started shows internationally. And to have that single kind of peace that I was holding onto of the value and how I felt confident at Haas kind of taken away in March, which March 15th was certainly one of the most challenging days of my life, was earth-shattering. And mental health has been something that I’ve really been passionate about, I think since my undergrad and it’s frequently been tied with when something big or life-changing happens. With COVID, the one piece of my identity that I felt confident about evaporated and there was no indication of when it was coming back. There were a few festivals to be scheduled where we’re like, okay, well the main ones are in October.
[00:28:45] It’s like, everyone’s like October ones aren’t happening, maybe 2021 in spring. And then it’s like maybe not in 2021 spring. And so, I was in this position where I had to figure out one, what to say to the people that I worked with when I was like, hi, I used to hire you and negotiate budgets that paid your entire year salary. And now I’m saying, let me help you figure out how to apply for unemployment. These are people who live on the road constantly. This is the family that I’ve built around me. There, you cannot find a team of people that are more dedicated and ready to come to arms when anything happens. And you have taken their life passion and industry kind of away. And were now navigating unemployment and with how it was set up, it was challenging.
[00:29:40] And it was so hard because, in that same time, I’m taking macro-economics at Haas, where we’re talking about the implications of a stimulus check of how they’re executing these stimulus checks and how the people that are going to get these checks are going to take that money and immediately put it back into the economy because they’re now buying groceries that they can’t afford normally. And to hear some of the like discussion and commentary around it, when you are truly going through it yourself was a very surreal experience I use that moment and kind of a low of my mental health to be like, you know, so many of my classmates haven’t been furloughed. They’re just now working from home.
[00:30:30] They need a face and our perspective of what it’s like to navigate California unemployment, how to like hear that this check is not just something that’s like a figure on a spreadsheet that goes somewhere like these are people’s livelihoods. And so much of that was tied to my mental health and that imposter syndrome.
[00:30:55] I was finally starting to feel a bit confident at Haas and then my industry and my job evaporated. The one thing that was really making me feel confident was gone. And it just, it totally took a plummet. I was like, I don’t, I don’t know why I’m here. Why have I taken out these loans in this moment to pursue this degree where right now I’m fighting for an industry to come back or fighting to find a new job and trying to find value in what I previously done and translate it to these other job descriptions.
[00:31:28] And so, I remembered that through our school program, we were offered eight sessions of therapy through the UC program. And so, I reached out. At that time, the therapist that was dedicated to Haas was on summer vacation, unfortunately, but it worked out cause I got paired with someone through the main medical program and we were able to really pinpoint that what I was suffering was a sense of grief.
[00:32:06] My industry had been so fast-paced. That I, unfortunately, had lost some really close friends and coworkers to addictions, to suicide, that I really hadn’t processed when I was working because it was always onto the next one. We worked so hard. We’d work 80, 90 hours a week, execute a festival. I come back, go to school on Monday, do homework on Tuesday, go to school on Wednesday, and then fly back out again that I had never really processed what had happened with my mental health.
[00:32:41] And then now I was also grieving the loss of like 2020 and the industry and job that I had. And I really had to think about how I could reinvent myself and what were my core values, beliefs, and passions that I wanted to hold true into the next part of my journey. And that’s still part of my exploration.
[00:33:01] And I think because of this time and space to explore that and feel really grounded and who I am that I’ve been able to be a better person and a better leader, ultimately, because of it.
[00:33:16] Ray: Yeah. I mean, thank you for sharing all of that. And I mean, in our career for a lot of us is a big part of who we are, right. I enjoyed the story about putting a face to numbers, right. Because in micro and macro, you know, you see numbers and charts and graphs. But it’s important I think for leaders to have that perspective.
[00:33:41] Ray: So, I know we’re kind of in this pandemic still, as we mentioned, is mental health still something that you think is underrated? Is it something that more people should be talking about?
[00:33:56] Frances: I think it is something that everyone is kind of going through to a certain extent of the spectrum and everyone has their own different struggles and that we can only become stronger as a society and as leaders for our teams if we recognize that most people are going through something. And everyone’s pain and grief is all valid, whether they’re potted plant that they’ve been fostering throughout the entire COVID has now stopped flowering or something like that to someone’s family member passing like that grief and that pain is all valid. And I hope that with my time at Haas, that I having conversations like this one and with fellow students that we feel more open to talk about it, I think by recognizing, I don’t really want to call it a weakness, I think it’s a holistic part of who we are by recognizing that we have these emotions and feelings and acknowledging how we processed them, that we only can come out and through it stronger. And I think when we talk about diversity and equity, these are all things, mental health that have to go hand in hand because one of the things that come with kind of to having a more equitable and diverse student class, is that in every sense of the word is that we do that for all types of people. That being an MBA student doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. It doesn’t mean you’re learning to become a CEO. It means that you’re learning to be a better leader of organizations and people, and you’re going to leave that organization and have a journey that’s for good and for positive. And if part of that journey means that I share my story and my struggles and how I overcome them or how I’ve experienced them to be a phase two statistic, then I’m happy that
[00:36:02] Ray: Yeah. So, then let me ask you this. What are your plans in that regard for 2021?
[00:36:09] Frances: My plans for 2021 mainly are to not be so self-deprecating. I think I frequently be like, well, I’m not currently employed, so I’m just being lazy or like I could be doing more. And I think by recognizing that I needed to self-care and do more self-care that when I am back working full time, that I have that knowledge and understanding that it can bring to my team.
[00:36:41] And so for me in 2021, I don’t know if and when music festivals are coming back. And I think that there’s always going to be a human desire for live music events and building culture in that way. But I it has changed. So, what I’m doing now is I’m really looking to see how I can adjust and pivot to still maintain and work in an industry where I can still be part of influencing how people work. And also, maybe along the way, tying in some of that music as well.
[00:37:18] Ray: Yeah. Awesome. And thanks again for sharing that. I think it’s, I know it’s challenging to, you know, be vulnerable. And so I appreciate your story and I hope, you know, other listeners can, you know, understand that like, look, we are MBA students, a lot of our fortunate are privileged.
[00:37:37] But we go through periods of grief as well. So, yeah. Anyway, I appreciate that. I want to kind of just wrap up our interview with some lightning round questions.
[00:37:48] Ray: Okay, first question cat or dog.
Ray: And then the second question, what’s a recommendation for an underrated music festival?
[00:38:00] Frances: I think there’s some really cool music festivals abroad that are very small and boutique where you can see some of your favorite artists and more of a kind of almost club, like setting where the US we’re so used to these big, large massives that there some underrated festivals there, especially, in Croatia, there’s some in Portugal, some Berlin that are some in Belgium that are really really cool and really different. And honestly there they’ll probably be back to having festivals before we are as what I’m thinking. So, get a passport.
[00:38:37] Ray: Go international. Okay. And then what’s your favorite class or professor that you’ve taken so far as Haas?
[00:38:48] Frances: Okay. My favorite class has to be Ethics mainly because I really enjoyed having those tough questions. And I would say that was probably my first core class where I was like I got this, I know what’s happening. I’ve had these conversations. And I wanted to hear my classmates’ points of view on the different subjects that were brought up.
[00:39:10] My favorite professor was actually one of my elective professors over this past summer. She is actually based out of, I think, Toronto and she’s at the Rotman School of Business. And she taught a class on leading innovation and innovative management. Her name’s Professor Angèle Beausoleil. She really adapted to teaching in a kind of a Zoom environment really well. We had really interesting hands-on projects and I learned a lot from that class. I really enjoyed her.
[00:39:50] Ray: Okay, cool. And then just to wrap this interview up, what advice would you give to someone coming to Haas from an untraditional background that could also potentially struggle with imposter syndrome?
[00:40:03] Frances: Yeah. I think knowing that you’re going to go in and potentially feel imposter syndrome and it’s going to be totally normal and you are not the only one is going to be so helpful. I think especially paired with COVID and the feeling of isolation that imposter syndrome can feel very isolating. And especially if you’re in an industry where there aren’t many MBAs and you maybe don’t even know what MBA really stood for, but it’s something you’re exploring.
[00:40:34] I would say that you should start networking, ask a current school, ask someone that might know an MBA, and trying to find yourself a mentor. I think one of the biggest learnings you’ll find in your MBA program is I think 60% of it is networking and having those conversations. So, get ahead up on that. So, you can have that help, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it is to get some extra tutoring or finding online resources, to just get you into a place where you feel like you can put your best foot forward.
[00:41:07] And whatever you find is your best foot forward into applying an MBA is enough and you don’t have to feel like you have to be anyone else other than your authentic self to come to Haas. Cause we want you here.
[00:41:20] Ray: Yeah. And, you know, the criteria to coming here is already a pretty high bar. So, I feel like people that get through they are, they should feel confident in that they do belong. Thank you so much, Frances, for coming on the podcast today.
[00:41:37] Frances: Of course. Thank you so much for having me. I’ve had a lot of fun.
[00:41:40] Thanks for tuning in to another episode of here@haas. If you enjoy the show, please leave us a rating and review and check out our website for links, show notes, and other episodes. This episode was produced and edited by Nick Gerwe. I’m Ray Guan, and we’ll see you next time here at Haas.