First-Person

Elisabeth Warren

Elisabeth Warren
MBA 09

Director, Product Portfolio Management
Genentech
South San Francisco, California

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Inspired by the Haas Women in Leadership Conference, Lis Warren helped launch a local chapter of Genentech Women Professionals. The process of developing the group's strategy and aligning it with Genentech's business competencies was, she says, "an incredibly valuable and innovative way to use my Haas education" on the job.

"Being on campus is one of the best things about the program. There is a buzz, a great vibe and an energy level that you don't find elsewhere."

"I liked being able to choose my own adventure at Haas. I had the flexibility to put together a schedule that combined classes that were doable with those that were really intense. I relished every minute of my Leadership class with Frank Schultz. It was like living in a leadership lab, always being expected to try new approaches. Sometimes I did it fearlessly, sometimes I wondered if I would make it out the other side. Either way, I always knew that I would be applying the new tools I had gained on the job within 12 hours, which was one of the biggest EWMBA values."

"It's easy to read a book by Peter Drucker or Malcolm Gladwell and pick up their approach to problem-solving. Our course readings at Haas weren't prescriptive. Instead, the readers gave us the ingredients and the professors challenged us to figure out the recipe and the end product. In our classes, we often role-played — for example, making pitches to 'boards of directors' made up of volunteers our professors brought in from the business community. We got real feedback from people who had been there and done that."

"I went to South Africa on an international seminar in 2008. In part, it gave me a macroeconomic perspective on where the country has come nearly two decades after apartheid. But even more, it gave me a meta-perspective on how the country's businesses and nonprofits think about the issues facing them, how they whittled and narrowed down their strategies until they had something they could accomplish."

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