H@H: Ep 25 – On this episode, Ray talks with Kyle Cook, a data analyst at Vanguard & fellow EW student, about his time at Haas. We delve into Kyle’s experience as a student leader, a commuter, and a devoted husband. Kyle gives some tips on balancing the work, school, relationships, and why it’s ok to give yourself a break every once in awhile. Also, Kyle shares a few exclusive stories on some embarrassing moments thus far in the program.
Advice on commuting – “I think it’s just planning ahead as much as possible and giving yourself a break when some things go wrong.”
On work/life/school balance – “Business school is really about tradeoffs. The tradeoffs are spending a little bit of extra money now to have more time with your spouse.”
Prioritizing your partner – “You really need to prioritize your partner over your friends because they’re giving up quite a bit of their energy to help things move forward.”
Ray: Welcome to another episode of here@haas. I’m your host reg wand. And today we’re joined by Kyle Cook, data analyst at Vanguard and evening weekend student from the class of 2021. Welcome, Kyle.
[00:00:20] Kyle: thanks for having me, Ray. I’m very excited to be here today.
[00:00:24] Ray: So, tell us about your background and what brought you to Haas.
Background & Path to Haas
[00:00:29] Kyle: Oh, sure. So, it’s a little bit of a Securitas route. I’m from Madison, Wisconsin. For those that don’t know, it’s about three to four hours North of Chicago. There is more in Wisconsin than cows, I promise you. And so, I attended undergrad at UWA Whitewater which is about an hour and a half south of Madison.
[00:00:53] And I majored in finance and Spanish and I had a Mandarin Chinese minor. And then, learning languages actually helped me understand English a little better. During my time in school, I participated in a couple of different study abroad opportunities.
[00:01:14] So then after that I graduated in 2010 and I was really excited to get a job in there is, uh, the last recession, the impacts were still being felt. So, I applied to probably in the order of a hundred different companies, I couldn’t even get a call back at most.
[00:01:33] A lot of my friends were in the same boat. So, then I randomly decided to apply at Vanguard which is a mutual fund company. And then I’ve been at Vanguard for almost a decade now.
[00:01:49] So then, I decided, okay, a master’s program is the next step for me. I started studying for the GMAT and then, uh, originally wanted to go into a full-time program, but my GMAT scores weren’t up there. And, I was taking an online class for the GMAT and one of the benefits was to talk to an admissions counselor and they said that Berkeley had a really good part-time program.
[00:02:20] So I had never really heard of that before and then I was on a vacation in Greece with my mom and I found it that I didn’t get in the first time.
[00:02:29] So, after not getting in, I had a conversation with the admissions team. They gave me some feedback. I spent some time making some changes and taking on more leadership. One thing that I spent a lot of time with was the volunteer income tax association. So, I was a site coordinator. And volunteer income tax association does taxes for lower-income individuals in a lot of elderly individuals and it’s an IRS sponsored program that’s totally free of cost to them.
[00:03:06] So, with all those other updates, you know, I applied again, ended up getting into Berkeley. So, you know, it was my third kind of higher, higher level, you know, education opportunity hinders my second time but I ended up here.
[00:03:24] Ray: Well, that was a very eventful journey. I want to circle back to something you mentioned at the very beginning, actually. So, you mentioned you were a double major in finance and Spanish with a minor in Mandarin Chinese and all of that at University of Wisconsin Whitewater. And I think on top of that, you mentioned to me previously that you were married to an Indian woman.
[00:03:51] So there is a lot of just different cultures and different languages. I’m curious what prompted someone who, you know, from Wisconsin to be not only so open-minded but to be so interested in seeking out just different cultures and different languages.
[00:04:13] Kyle: That’s a really good question. I guess I don’t really have an answer I can speculate. So, I think just, you know, growing up in Madison, it’s actually a pretty, fairly, multi-cultural city. There’s a big college there so there’s a lot of individuals that come from across the globe to study there.
[00:04:33] And I guess, it’s just, I think a lot of it is the way that my parents raised me were just to evaluate like people as they are and just trying to be as open-minded as possible, you know. You can’t know everything about someone so the only way to kind of start learning is to ask questions and take on opportunities.
[00:04:56] And I was also lucky my mom was a travel agent so we ended up taking quite a few trips. We had been to Mexico a couple of times before, to the Bahamas around the Caribbean. And so, I just got some early exposure at a young age and I guess I was just excited to continue doing that.
[00:05:16] Ray: Wow. That’s fascinating. So, I want to circle back to, I think you mentioned that you applied the first time didn’t get in.
[00:05:24] And then obviously this time you got in. One of our previous episodes with Maggie Lau, this exact same thing happened to her. So, what I want to ask you is, is there anything that’s changed from your first to your second around in terms of the questions that you’re asking yourself? So, like your goals, the reasons for doing the MBA.
[00:05:47] Kyle: Yeah. So, I guess I would say just exploring the motivations is to what I really wanted from business school and also spending more time researching the program and talking to some of the students to kind of understand how you fit in the overall ecosystem. So that was one of the things that I think was helpful was spending time, doing more introspection, trying to understand why do I wanted this so bad?
[00:06:23] And, how can I explain that more effectively? The leadership experience with the VITA I think helped me articulate the impact that I can have in different areas because you know, I’m still an individual contributor at work but being a coordinator of volunteers in dealing with some, you know, unruly clients can help.
[00:06:46] And then I guess I could say, you know, I would like to say that the feedback, the admissions team, it was a 15-minute feedback call but it was really specific and helped me to take action to improve my application. And then one other thing that really helped me and kind of showed me what it really meant to go beyond yourself is I had done a class visit and I added a social cohort rep on LinkedIn.
[00:07:15] And she spent time explaining to me kind of what business school was really like. And then also she helped review some of the essays that I had as well. So, I had quite a lot of reviewers but she was the only one that was actually a current student. And now knowing what it’s like to try and balance everything for her to take the time, really, you know, exemplified what go beyond yourself means.
[00:07:44] So that really helped quite a bit at the end.
[00:07:48] Ray: Cool. So, you mentioned that you’re at Vanguard, Kyle, and maybe just for our listeners who don’t know, can you tell us a little bit about what Vanguard is and just speak to some of the different roles that you’ve held there?
[00:08:05] Kyle: Sure! I’d be happy to. Vanguard was started back in the seventies and essentially what it is it’s in a mutual fund complex in an investment manager. And so, it started on the premise that active management. Actually, for the most part, will not beat the market. So, John Bogle, who I was lucky enough to meet before he passed is a legend in the mutual fund space.
[00:08:33] And his senior thesis at Princeton was starting an index fund. And it’s really funny. If you look back at old posters, indexing was seen as un-American because America wants to beat everybody and be number one. But he realized that if you just bought the whole index, then on the average, you know, you would outperform most other investors.
[00:08:59] So Vanguard is one of the biggest investment asset managers out there and it’s really well known for its indexing. Although there are a lot of active funds as well.
[00:09:11] And then the roles that I’ve had there. So, when I started, I was on what they call the retail phone queue. So, my job was to help people with their mutual fund investments if there’s administrative stuff. And then also we couldn’t give investment advice at the time but we could give high-level guidance around the importance of diversification and stuff like that.
[00:09:40] In, uh, at this time I was also working on the Spanish queue, using my Spanish skills which are unfortunately kind of falling apart a little bit. And then I went over to the brokerage department and I worked the IPO of Facebook which ended up being a debacle due to some technical issues.
[00:10:02] And I saw firsthand a lot of people that were really interested in Facebook had never invested in their lives before so they didn’t even have brokerage accounts. So that was a pretty interesting experience. And then from there, I went to the margin department, it’s basically people borrowing money from Vanguard or who trade in ways that are against federal regulations.
[00:10:28] We’re kind of like the financial police more or less. So, we would actually restrict accounts quite a bit. So, the margin environment, you see, people lose quite a bit of money. Some people may money. It was, it was, it was a wild time. And then for about the last four and a half years I’ve been a data analyst in what’s now known as the global investment data management team.
[00:10:52] We don’t really try and provide analysis other than just making sure the data is accurate and complete. So, like an analogy here, I guess, would be like a Disneyland, how they keep all of the stuff that keeps the park functioning like the trash and the pipes and everything.
[00:11:12] You don’t really see that. So that’s kind of what the data teams, um, that had been on that’s what we’re like is we just kind of keep everything moving and keep the pipeline so have data flowing.
[00:11:26] Ray: Yeah. Is it similar to quality assurance in a sense?
[00:11:29] Kyle: I guess I would say similar. So, there is like accuracy and validation, and then we also, I’m on a different team. We kind of split up, had a reorganization last year. We would also update security, so like a real kind of quick example is like, let’s say there’s a coupon like you started company raids, podcast business, and you need to, you know, raise some money.
[00:11:55] So you have a variable bond and the coupon changes from 4 to 5%. My team would make sure that that coupon changes process correctly. And so, we deal with a lot of stuff. So, it’s very interesting.
[00:12:11] Ray: Right. It’s funny because this morning I actually just had a final exam on finance. And so, when you mentioned coupon bonds, that just took me back a few hours when we were frantically trying to input the correct numbers in our Excel sheet.
[00:12:29] Kyle: Hopefully it’s not too much PTSD.
[00:12:31] Ray: It’s all right, Kyle. Um, so reading through your LinkedIn profile, I think you mentioned some of this earlier as well. I noticed some of your accomplishments at Vanguard have to do with creating programs or events that also hone on people’s soft skills.
[00:12:49] So as someone who also works in the financial services industry myself, I find that soft skills are actually very underrated aspect of the job and should have just more deliberate focus. Can you speak to some of these initiatives?
[00:13:05] Kyle: Yeah, so I’d be happy to talk about that. So, the way it worked when I started at Vanguard, we would try and find a Spanish speaker. There was a list so you’d have the customer on hold, you chat somebody, and then transfer them over.
[00:13:24] But that’s not really sustainable because there’s not really people that were, you know, waiting around for those calls. So, after some analysis, we experimented with the pilot where I would just take Spanish calls all the time and write emails. So then instead of having a wait in, either be sent to voicemail or somebody else, you could get somebody right away.
[00:13:50] Um, so that was one program that I started for that. And then in my current role I started or worked with two different programs. So, there’s one that was just for the Arizona site. And essentially what it was, was just kind of a reflection of what you were saying about the soft skills, that it’s important to hone in on your presentation styles just to get some feedback.
[00:14:13] And we structured it somewhat off of Toastmasters in terms of like looking for filler words and stuff like that. Having somebody who would count how many ums as you know, ahs, and filler words can be quite different depending upon who it is.
[00:14:32] So, then we would also help people give feedback on their presentations because if you try and fit a lot of charts on do a PowerPoint slide, nobody’s going to see what it is. And then they’re going to spend all this time instead of looking at you, the speaker, they’re going to be scrutinizing your slides.
[00:14:52] So it’s in, you know, the less you have on your slides, more credibility that that has, that gives to you. Cause if you’re talking and talking and talking and there’s not much on the sides and obviously, you’re an expert. So then, that program kind of rotated into something different. And then I started working with a cross-site program that had essentially the same similar foundations of helping somebody put together a presentation.
[00:15:21] And then the long-term skills that are with that are, you know, understanding like how to properly designed slides, how to tell like a compelling story, just one piece of advice I usually give is like give an example with the person because it’s a lot easier to remember. And in visuals is also important just trying to make your visuals as good as possible.
[00:15:46] So, those are some of the programs that I’ve been involved with to try and help us, uh, communicate more effectively with each other.
[00:15:55] Ray: Yeah. And I think one of the classes that I’ve taken and you have as well in the first year is leadership communications. Right? And I think they stress that same point that you just made is if you put too much information on a slide, well, you kind of lose people’s attention spans because you know, information, you can put as much information as you want.
[00:16:18] But people’s attention spans are finite. So, instead of having their attention focused on you, it’s a lot of the times on the slides or whatever is more visually appealing.
Time at Haas
[00:16:32] Okay. So that’s actually a good transition now into your time here at Haas. Tell us about some of the favorite classes that you’ve had been almost two years finished with the evening weekend program.
[00:16:46] Kyle: Sure. So definitely leadership communications was one of the classes that was really transformative. So, we’ll say a curtain map if Mark Rittenberg is listening, hopefully, he laughs at that. So yeah, that was definitely really transformative and a chance to learn some really intimate stories that people, you know, were comfortable sharing in a smaller group and really helped transform communication skills.
[00:17:15] So, I guess like the classes that I really enjoyed this semester are financial information analysis with Panos. He’s very passionate. He actually has a YouTube channel FIA to the people.
[00:17:30] Because he wants more individuals to understand how to properly allocate their portfolios and understand what drives the company’s returns. So, that class has been really awesome. There’s a class, Audience-focused Communication with Adam Leipzig and he is a really great and passionate professor.
[00:17:52] It’s a one-credit, so it’s just two Sundays. But there’s a ton of excitement in there. There’s a lot of really specific feedback around how to present effectively and it’s one of the most fun classes that I’ve taken. Uh, you know, it was originally designed to be delivered in person but him and, uh, Nancy, the GSI, did a great job of making it remote and very transformative class as well.
[00:18:22] So, those two are great. Um, I took Digital Transformation with Greg LeBlanc. That one was really good because, you know, spent a lot of time in the financial space but I’m a little bit behind the digital learning curve, I guess, would be a polite way of saying it. You know, I didn’t know what an API was at the start of the class so it’s a foundational class in understanding.
[00:18:49] A lot of different aspects on how to compete in then in the new economy. So, you learn about APIs and do some cools site visits as well. So, I guess those would be some of my favorite classes so far.
[00:19:04] Ray: Yeah. Wow.
[00:19:06] Ray: Okay. So, Kyle, why don’t you tell us about some extracurricular activities that you’ve been involved in? And I know that you are one of our VPs for the evening weekend MBA association. So, if you could also just tell our listeners what that is and how to get involved.
[00:19:28] Kyle: So, my first year I was in academic cohort prep. And, for anybody who doesn’t know what that is, essentially your liaison between multiple stakeholders who are your fellow students in your cohort. And, cohort is about 70 people. There’s four per year. And you take all your core classes together just to provide a little context there.
[00:19:55] And then, so you work with your fellow students, you work with the program office and then you work with the faculty as well. So, a key thing that we do is administer, the main course evaluations just to give the professors some feedback as to the pace of the course if the content is, you know, being sent too fast if there’s too much work to do or any kind of other activities like that.
[00:20:24] And then we also meet once a month with the program office to kind of bubble up suiting complaints and also positive messaging which is a lot more effective rather than having hundreds of students email the program office, it can be funneled and kind of aggregated a little bit more.
[00:20:44] So, that’s one of the things that I did my first year. Then I was also have been in admissions ambassador. So, in this capacity, you contact students that have been accepted into Berkeley but haven’t yet signed up and paid the deposit. So, you answer any questions that they have about the experience.
[00:21:05] And then you also connect them. If somebody is really interested in healthcare, I’ll find somebody who works in that space and can kind of explain, you know, a little bit more about what it’s like, you know, pursuing healthcare as an MBA student. I was the EWMBA VP of the food club.
[00:21:27] So, I organized a potluck through that. I was a social impact VP for the EWMBAA and the EWMBAA is the evening and weekend business association. I’ll have to fact check that name. Hopefully, that’s right.
[00:21:48] Ray: I think it’s evening weekend MBA association.
[00:21:52] Kyle: MBA association. Okay. Hopefully, hopefully, they don’t kick me out. So, as a social impact GP, we did a volunteer event in Alameda for the Alameda point collaborative. So, this is where they put low-income individuals into houses that used to be part of the, I think it was the Navy base there.
[00:22:18] And then they sell some gardening products in, plants and stuff. So, we did a volunteer event there to kind of get out in the community. And then we also had an event that we called social impact at work, which is where we had individuals from the San Francisco public library, we had somebody from the women’s building which is a nonprofit in San Francisco, we had a student entrepreneur come in and kind of talk about how they exemplify social impact in their professional day to day life, to kind of help business students understand, you know, how can they also do social impact?
[00:23:03] And then I was also a volunteer for We Launch last year. So, that was a lot of fun. The cohort acts won the skate competition. So, that was awesome to see that.
[00:23:16] Ray: Thanks for the alcohol.
[00:23:19] Kyle: And then this year, I was elected executive vice president of the evening weekend MBA association, got it right this time. So, essentially what it is, is similar to kind of the academic cohort rep where you’re aggregating student feedback and interacting between multiple stakeholders. Instead of just doing it for the cohort, we work for the entire student body. And then we also build the program Going Forward. You know, the court rep position has only been around I think three years and students who came up with it and envisioned it were planting seeds for the future. So that’s another thing that you have to do is, you know, we’re not just running the program for the students that are currently in it, you’re running it for future students.
[00:24:16] So, you know, Berkeley keeps the top rankings and you know, we produce great outcomes and great students of the future want to come here as well. Um, so you’re building, you have to deal with current day to day issues but then you’re also building for the future. So, we’re the voice of the students.
[00:24:36] So, people funnel ideas that they have that they need funding for if they want to put on new events. And we work with the other VPs. I think there’s 40 something VPs. Everybody on the e-board is aligned with different VPs. I work with academics, incoming student experience, and social impact.
[00:25:01] My style is to let them be the drivers and have all the ideas. And if they run into roadblocks, then I’m happy to help them overcome the roadblocks. So, they don’t have to spend, they can spend time implementing their ideas and they’re not worried about who do I reach out to and that sort of stuff.
[00:25:20] And then we also are working with the program office to share the impact that, um, it’s happening to students due to the current COVID situation, to help the program office get an idea of the scale and scope of issues so they can effectively, you know, respond in that scenario. And one cool initiative that the social impact VPs are working on as a new case competition that they call Haas Hearts.
[00:25:52] So, essentially what this is connecting students existing and the incoming class of 2023 students with some nonprofits that have been impacted due to COVID and to help them. So, it’s different than most case studies because they’re actually going to be focused on implementation as well. So, that’s a cool thing that they’re doing.
[00:26:14] And, an example of some of the stuff that our VP used to.
[00:26:20] Ray: Yeah, that’s a great example of, I guess, even going beyond yourself, which is one of our defining leadership principles. And I think the point that you bring up that also illustrates this is that for us in VPs, you know, whether it’s part of the evening, weekend MBA association or extracurricular clubs.
[00:26:43] Yeah, we are setting up our program or our clubs for the future. So, it’s not just focused on the people that currently attend the university or the people that are in current leadership positions. It’s for, you know, prospective students and leaders of tomorrow and students of tomorrow in addition to faculty and staff as well.
[00:27:07] And I think that’s just a great point that you bring up.
[00:27:11] Ray: So, Kyle, how can prospective students or other current students who aren’t in leadership positions get involved?
[00:27:20] Kyle: So, I didn’t mention this effectively, but, you know, students, like anybody, can be a leader, you know. You can, if you see some issue or see something that you want to change, like go ahead and do that. One really cool thing that happened right when I started, was somebody knew the full time ran Haas Boats, which is a trip in Lake Shasta and it’s a weekend of houseboats.
[00:27:49] So, somebody from the full-time people set it up and shared the event on the Facebook page in July before any of us had met in person. So, signing up to that was a really transformative and awesome event. And, you know, nobody told them to do it. They just went ahead and gave it a shot. So, you can, anybody can make a change is what I’m trying to.
[00:28:15] Ray: Right. That’s a great point.
Life as a Commuter
[00:28:18] Ray: So, Kyle you, since year one, have been commuting on a regular basis to class. Can you tell us your experience as a commuting student and maybe just share with us a bit about what that’s like?
[00:28:34] Kyle: So, commuting definitely has some additional challenges to overcome. And, there were even some students that are committing with children. So, it’s definitely quite a bit of a scale, you know, as a commuter, I think it’s just planning ahead as much as possible.
[00:28:55] And I guess giving yourself a break when some things go wrong. You know, occasionally I would forget to book one of my flights. So, it ended up costing quite a bit more or there was a time I’d forgot to book an Airbnb. So, it had to get our hotel last minute.
[00:29:14] And I mean, that’s, I guess one of the bad things for the cost of the program, you know, other spending doesn’t seem as bad when you do spend so much. But it’s, yeah, it’s definitely not ideal though. So, I would suggest that like double check your travel plans a little bit more effectively than I did. And then I think it’s just, you don’t have to work a hundred percent of the time. A lot of the times when I would fly in the morning, uh, I know some people do readings on the flights.
[00:29:49] I would, you know, pass out or watch something on Netflix like BoJack Horseman or something because if you don’t stop, your brain is going to go crazy. And then, I think it just adds a level of complexity but helps you, I guess, be more resilient. And there was actually kind of a crazier story. And we can see if this makes sense to keep in or not this part.
[00:30:18] Um, so, it was the first cohort rep meeting with the program office and they provide breakfast because we’re there for two hours on Sunday.
[00:30:31] So, I bit into a breakfast sandwich and my tooth partially snapped.
[00:30:39] Ray: Oh!
[00:30:40] Kyle: But didn’t quite fall out all the way. And this is an exclusive story here.
[00:30:46] Ray: Exclusive to here@haas.
[00:30:48] Kyle: Yeah, so, I didn’t really know what to do because I obviously didn’t have a dentist in Berkeley. Oh, and I forgot to mention I’m a commuter from Phoenix.
[00:30:58] So probably should mention that at some point. And, it was a, started a two-hour meeting and it wasn’t falling out all the way. Uh, just most of the way.
[00:31:10] Ray: So, at this point, no one knew. It was only you that knew.
[00:31:14] Kyle: No one, uh, I think I told one person, kind of, but
[00:31:20] Ray: If you’re able to talk.
[00:31:21] Kyle: I was able to talk. I had braces, so I was able to like curl my lip. And I still was able to participate in the meeting. And then, you know, I ended up flying back with the two things going on and then got it taken care of first thing Monday morning but that’s, you know, you can’t really plan for that at all.
[00:31:42] I guess you just have to kind of keep moving forward as much as possible.
[00:31:48] Ray: Wow. I guess that’s also not every endorsement of the bagel company that served that breakfast that day.
[00:31:56] Kyle: No, that was, my braces moved too much. It was a really tasty breakfast sandwich, couldn’t have anymore.
[00:32:04] And, you know, I guess the other thing to do, and this is a tip for incoming students is make sure you plan to stay over.
[00:32:15] You know, when it’s safe for guidelines and everybody’s back physically in school together, book yourself some overnights in advance. Maybe not every night, if you have family or, you know, other reasons, but periodically when you get a chance to spend more time with, your students, with your fellow students at free house, and you get some hot dogs at Top Dog. It’s really tasty. Because I mean, we’re really paid for the academics but also to meet awesome students as well. And if you get a chance to spend more time with the students, you get better connections and get to learn more about them.
[00:33:00] Ray: Recently, we were talking with the other members of the One Haas podcast and I think we shared our favorite experiences from the MBA so far. And a few of ours was that since I’m on the weekend cohort as well.
[00:33:17] And there was a night where we had a class on Saturday and then leadership communications on Sunday. And there were a bunch of people that were forced to stay over. And we had a great amount of fun that night, just catching up and sharing stories of our lives that normally as a commuter, there’s just not enough time because you’re usually rushing into class and after class is over, you’re just rushing to the airport.
Work-Life School Balance
Earlier you also mentioned that it’s important to have work-life balance, right? So instead of maybe, you know, cramming and reading on the plane, you just want to chill, relax, make sure you have that extra amount of sleep and energy that you need for class.
[00:34:05] What advice do you have for students who in addition to having work, also have partners in terms of creating that work life-school balance and balancing relationships as a component as well?
[00:34:21] Kyle: Yes, this is, uh, definitely a tricky question. So, I would say the first thing is, you know when you get accepted, you have some lead time before school actually starts and you have an idea of what, you know, working full time and going to school. And then also meeting with your study groups and any clubs, extracurriculars, you know, like three months from now, 10 hours a week doesn’t sound like a lot.
[00:34:51] That sounds great. But then what happens is, something blows up at work and you, you stay there till seven and then you need to meet with your group at eight that night but then you also have to have dinner. I have two dogs, so walking dogs is important. And then you want some time to spend with your partner.
[00:35:11] So stuff really piles up really quickly. So, I guess trying to have as much communication as possible. And when you do have some free time, making sure you’re showing them that you do appreciate them as much as possible. Uh, so quick, quick shout out to my lovely wife, uh, J and D. You’re the best, babe.
[00:35:33] Um, and we try and do a couple of things like meal planning so you can have good food. And it’s something that we usually do together. She does most of the work, her kind of sous chef. And then one thing that helped a lot was like, we got a Roomba, vacuuming kind of isn’t fun. Maybe some people like it.
[00:35:57] Sorry if you, if you do. But you know, with two dogs and stuff, it’s not something you want to do all the time but the Roomba just kind of does its own thing, you know. Business school is really about trade-offs. And so, the trade-offs are spending a little bit of extra money now to have more time with your, with your spouse is definitely important. And another thing is with communication is sharing what are other activities you want to be involved in? So, I definitely make sure, you know, I really wanted to run for student government but I had to share what the commitment was going to be.
[00:36:33] So, if I just showed up one day and was like, Hey, by the way, I’m going to be spending all this extra time without telling her, that wouldn’t have gone so well. So, communication is like the most important thing. And then also, I guess just explaining as much as possible, you know, this is a temporary situation, you know, you’re not going to be in school forever. And, it’s gonna take some time away from other things in the moment. But I guess just creating as much of shared goals and communication atmosphere as possible.
[00:37:07] You know, my wife and I try and go for a walk in the morning and it’s just us in one of our dogs. So, just doing those things and then I guess I would say telling your friends like that, you’re kind of going to be a little bit absent from social activities.
[00:37:26] You know, you really need to prioritize your partner over your friends because they’re giving up quite a bit of their energy to kind of help things move forward.
[00:37:40] Ray: Those are great tips. I think it’s important to, like you said, treat business school as a component. But of course, in life, there are other trade-offs and just keeping a well-rounded itinerary of activities is probably the best for both your physical as well as mental wellbeing.
[00:38:00] Ray: Next, we have some lightning round questions that we just like to ask our guests.
[00:38:06] What are some of your favorite podcasts, Kyle?
[00:38:09] Kyle: So, my top podcast is Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. Uh, so it comes out Sunday night slash Monday morning. So, it’s, uh, the first thing I’d like to do on Mondays. And I have a friend that listens as well. So, we text each other out of context stuff, it’s really funny. He’s totally different than he is on a show.
[00:38:30] And the guests, the guests have been, pretty varied. Michelle Obama was a guest. Ricky Gervais was a guest. He had a famous historian Robert Caro who wrote a bio of LBJ was the guest. So, he’s kind of all over the place and it’s really, uh, kind of goes off the rails, but it’s pretty funny.
[00:38:52] Ray: It’s a, I mean, it’s obviously not stand up. It’s more of an interview format where it’s like a con or is it more of a conversational format then?
[00:38:59] Kyle: Yeah, it’s a zany conversational format. So, the premise is that his only friends are his employees which is obviously not true. So, they ask at the start of every episode, you know, I feel blank about being Conan O’Brien’s friend and they’re kind of all over the place from there. So, it’s some interviews, some zany conversation. And then another one that I really like is Econ Talk by Russ Roberts from the Hoover Institute at Stanford.
[00:39:32] Oops. I can’t say Stanford. Sorry. There’s a huge archive on there. He’s probably been doing it about 20 years now. He had Milton Friedman and a lot of giants of economics on there. And I really like it because it’s really in-depth around policy and impacts and it’s very, I guess, unbiased as much as possible.
[00:39:58] So he, the host does a good job asking questions to really educate the audience as well. So those two are good. And then another one that I’ve started listening to was All the President’s Lawyers which is about legal issues which is pretty exciting. And Animal Spirits, which is about investing in the market.
[00:40:19] So those, but there’s a ton more out there.
[00:40:23] Ray: All right. So, uh, next question, if you could have dinner with three people from history, who would it be?
[00:40:30] Kyle: It’s a great question. So, I would like to have dinner with Claude Shannon who was the father of information theory. He was an electrical engineer from Michigan. And he was a big polymath, so he had a ton of expertise in a lot of different areas. And then he kind of became a break loose and stopped publishing papers but he’s one of the most influential and unknown individuals of all time.
[00:41:00] And guess who else? I guess Teddy Roosevelt because he was headed pretty wild childhood of become changing from being sickly to one of the most physically robust people out there. And then I guess Jeff Goldbloom would be my other guests and he was actually on Conan’s podcast.
[00:41:21] That episode is pretty great. I’ve always wanted to meet Jeff Goldbloom. So, those three.
[00:41:28] Ray: Awesome.
[00:41:30] Ray: Next question. What’s been the most embarrassing moment so far of your academic career?
[00:41:37] Kyle: So, this is another here@haas exclusive. So, this happened when I was in undergrad at UWA Whitewater. And I was up really late working on a paper and I decided to, you know, I was procrastinating trying to get it done. And for some reason in my youth, I decided to post the lyrics of All About the Benjamins at the end of my paper. I don’t, I don’t know what my thought process was if that would somehow help me write a better essay.
[00:42:13] Ray: Right.
[00:42:14] Kyle: And then, someone who shall remain nameless did not notice when they submitted it that the lyrics were still on there. And it’s not exactly safe for academics, I guess.
[00:42:28] Kyle: So, then I realized that I should probably reach out to the professor. I emailed the professor and went into his office and profusely apologized. But I guess I’d try and keep an even keel as much as possible. One way that I do that is, there’s a school of thought or principles called stoicism.
[00:42:54] Ray: What is stoicism actually kind of embarrassed to admit that I don’t actually know what that means.
[00:43:00] Kyle: Yeah. So, uh, stoicism is pretty ancient. Um, it’s been around since the third century BC and you probably embody a lot of the principles. It’s just essentially a school of thought around, you know, the endurance of hardship or pain without the display of feelings and without complaint. So, one of the most famous works is, uh, Marcus Aurelius’ meditations.
[00:43:26] So, he was the most powerful man in the world at his time. And he kept a daily diary, kind of saying, you know, am I good enough? What, you know, what do I need to do to get better? That sort of stuff. Ryan Holiday has done a lot of work, kind of making stoicism a little bit more snackable, I guess. He has some famous books.
[00:43:55] Uh, like The Obstacle is the Way is really good. And Tim Ferris, he also talks a lot about it on his podcast as well. So, it’s something I would definitely explore. I mean, you’re probably familiar with most of it.
[00:44:10] One of the early Stoics used to spend some time he was a fairly wealthy merchant and he would go on journeys without any money and basically live as like a, like a beggar or a homeless individual. And so that helped him kind of understand, you know, what it’s like to kind of live on the other side.
[00:44:33] Um, so it’s, it’s definitely a very interesting school of thought in philosophy. And so, yeah, definitely give it a shot. Ryan Holiday, Tim Ferriss, or if you just Google stoicism.
[00:44:47] Ray: Right. And I feel like all of this Berkeley students, you know, balancing work, school, life, uh, kind of display that to some extent.
[00:44:57] Ray: So, lastly, Kyle, I want to ask you, um, what are your plans after the program?
[00:45:04] Kyle: Well, I don’t quite know yet. I guess that remains to be determined. I would say I’ve definitely been interested in product management. So, I’ve got some books that I’m reading about the subject, trying to connect with some alumni and potentially current students to understand that space and what sort of pivoting it would be to get over there.
[00:45:30] I spent quite a bit of time with the career management group. They’ve been super helpful in helping me go through resumes. I took the VIA, the values test, and humor was my top value.
[00:45:46] Ray: Oh, nice.
[00:45:47] Kyle: So yeah
[00:45:48] Ray: Right on.
[00:45:49] Kyle: Just exploring as much as possible, you know. Long-term I would like to start some sort of like social impact incubator.
[00:45:58] And how one of the things I didn’t get out of undergrad that I wish I would have gotten was some more relevant work experience. I worked at a hospital as a custodian and as a produce clerk. So that didn’t really help with post-college opportunities. So, giving people a chance to get some of those opportunities.
[00:46:22] A relevant skillsets would be, I think, very fruitful for both advancing the cause of social impact and giving undergrads something to do other than playing animal crossing all the time.
[00:46:37] Ray: All right. Well, this has been a pleasure, Kyle. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.
[00:46:43] Kyle: Thanks for having me, Ray.