Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Erin Gums

Erin Gums

MBA 18

Brand Manager
Electronic Arts

Enabling a switch in function and sector

The conventional wisdom says that you can make either a functional change or an industry change through an MBA. I am proof that you can do both with the right MBA program and the right opportunities.

I loved working in the education field, and it remains a passion for me. However, after eight years, it was time to try something new. I knew I needed to fill in knowledge and skills that were missing from my toolkit to take my career forward in a new direction.

The immediate return on investment for me is the big career leap I made from consulting and the non-profit education sector to brand management in the tech sector. But the true ROI will be down the road, as I keep unlocking doors and uncovering more opportunities.

Fostering racial inclusion

My involvement as VP, Diversity was incredibly worthwhile. We focused on building an inclusive environment on campus, ensuring that subsequent classes will benefit from, and build on, our efforts.

Our Race Inclusion Initiative had three prongs: culture, admissions, and academics. We used ‘dialogues over dinner’ to advance cultural understanding, developed recommendations for a stronger application process, and created a rubric for an inclusive curriculum.

As a member of the Alumni Diversity Council I remain connected and committed to seeing that Haas continues to advance the Race Inclusion Initiative, with rigor and dedication.

Tipping the balance: location and culture

As a Bay Area native, location was a major reason I wanted to go to Berkeley Haas. After 11 years on the East Coast, I was ready to come home.

The Haas application process is indicative of the school’s culture: warm, friendly, enthusiastic. On the very first day that I could, I reached out to a Haas Student Ambassador and got together for a coffee chat. He responded right away suggesting he could meet the same day!

After Days at Haas, I remember reflecting on my experience and my mentor said, ‘you used the word ‘love’ a lot.’ That told me Haas would be a good fit for me.

Relying on relationships, skills, and savvy

A Haas alum at Electronic Arts reached out to me after seeing my profile in Poets & Quants. Even though I had no experience in the industry, my internship in brand management, my proven strategic skills, and the Haas connection convinced him I could do the job.

The Haas network is an incredible resource. That alone is a great return on investment.

The social side of MBA programs gets either glamorized or ridiculed. In truth, it is a very important element. It is one way to build deep connections, to establish a comfort level, and to gain an ease with your both classmates and with prospective employers.



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