Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

James Parnham

James Parnham

MBA 18

Product Manager
Cisco

Learning to Lead with Empathy

I learned more about empathy in my two years at Berkeley Haas than ever before. That happened in the classroom—Leading People, for example. But mostly, it came from working through challenging situations with classmates, from all of us acknowledging our weaknesses, and understanding how our actions affect others.

Supportive Community Encourages Risk-Taking

My classmates were absolutely amazing: smart, willing to speak up, take risks, and organize around issues that mattered to them. I learned so much just from watching and listening to them.

I wanted an IBD project that would give me experience in how a tech company operates. I got that, and valuable lessons in teamwork. We all learned to trust each other, to create a safe place where we could work collaboratively and disagree respectfully.

The people at Berkeley Haas come from a place of love. That may sound strange, but I really felt that people cared for me. They valued my perspective and were concerned for my well-being. Because I felt their support, I was able to take risks that I wouldn’t have taken otherwise.

Finding Meaningful Work with Tangible Impact

The Career Management Group takes its work very seriously. My career coach took time to talk with me about what I wanted from my career. He understood and supported my desire to do meaningful work in a setting where I could have a tangible impact.

I didn’t even know what product management was when I came to Berkeley Haas, but within my first month in the program, I realized it was perfect for me. I love the tangibility and being close to the consumer.

At Cisco, I have a real feeling that we are changing the way people live, work, and play. That is very satisfying.

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