Connections

Going the Distance

Kyle Rudzinski, MBA 14, works his alumni network to land a dream job

Michael Berolzheimer, MBA 07

Kyle Rudzinski, MBA 14, sustainability innovation manager at Levi Strauss & Company

“I pursue opportunities based on values and doing something good for the world,” says Kyle Rudzinski, MBA 14. So when the ideal permanent position hadn’t yet presented itself at graduation, Rudzinski consulted on a freelance basis and worked his alumni connections to find the right fit.

Adjunct Associate Professor Kellie McElhaney recommended consulting clients to Rudzinski, who wanted to work in sustainability and consumer behavior change. When a sustainability innovation position opened up at Levi’s, he called Desirae Early, MBA 15, whom he’d met in McElhaney’s Business Case for Investing in Women class, to learn about it. Turns out it was her position as she was leaving for McKinsey & Company.

Now Rudzinski is helping to globalize sustainability initiatives for Levi’s. In Asia recently, he discussed clothing recycling in Tokyo and how to tap into consumer psychology to change behavior for the better. He also met with factory workers in China, Sri Lanka, and India to share their stories with Levi’s customers.


Desirae Early, MBA 15

Desirae Early, MBA 15

Associate, McKinsey & Company

Desirae Early was helping Levi’s find the right candidate to promote its sustainability initiatives and knew a Haas alum would be a good fit. “I wanted someone to take this work to the next level, so I turned to Haas,” she says. “I know that many of us balance business acumen with strong values—something that’s necessary in a role that blends environmental and social issues with core business strategy.”

Kellie McElhaney

Kellie McElhaney

Adjunct Associate Prof.

Kellie McElhaney supported Rudzinski’s choice to wait for the right position—even though the mom in her sometimes felt differently, not wanting perfect to be the enemy of good. “Kyle could have easily taken lots of jobs, but he is one of the most steadfast-to-his-true-north students I’ve ever met,” she says. “His decision to look for the right job was brave. It shows his belief in himself and his purpose in life, and it paid off.”