Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Katie Benintende

Katie Benintende

MBA 15

Senior Strategy Lead

Exploring tech from the best seat in the house

One of the best things about being at Berkeley Haas is just learning how things work in Silicon Valley. You have such great access, from speaker series to treks, and my classmates and professors were phenomenal resources. I felt like I learned the tech ecosystem from the best seat in the house.

Now, it’s actually my job to be curious, to look around and see what exciting technology or idea I can uncover and look at how it might be applied to define what customer support will look like at Google. It’s being a Student Always taken to a super-exciting level.

Influence without authority

The Gender Equity Initiative, a student-led effort to increase the number of women in the program, grew out of an off-the-cuff conversation with a classmate. Our initial goal was to have 40 percent women by 2020.

Being involved with the Gender Equity Initiative taught me how to expand one’s influence, in part by having Confidence Without Attitude. You can create enormous change by voicing your position in the right way with the right people.

Not being in an official leadership position in your job doesn’t mean you are without influence. Berkeley Haas helped me understand and practice asking the right questions, listening to the answers and building one’s credibility.

Valuable career connections

When I was on the fence, deciding between pursuing a technology path or exploring the social impact sector, career coaches helped me sort out the opportunities to do both.

When I contacted alumni, I was always impressed with their willingness to take a call or have coffee. And, as co-chair of Week Zero, I found their generosity and willingness to return to campus to speak and take part awesome.

When I interviewed to be a Mayfield Fellow, one of the things Professor Andrew Isaacs and I talked about was his case study about Nest Labs. He picked right up on my interest in Nest and connected me with the company. Long story short, that’s where I did my summer internship.

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