Beyond Yourself Across the Globe
Written by Doris Yuan, Lauren Zinzer, Terry Xu, and Brian Khan
The orange street lights seeped through the blackout curtains of the overnight bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap as our team struggled to sleep through the rumbling and rattling of the ride. Four of us had embarked on a journey 4 months prior to support an EdTech startup in Cambodia on their plan for expansion. Sala.co had been the focus for so long that it felt surreal to now be across the pacific ocean living the plan as it unfolded before us. What we had not anticipated was how Haasies current, future, and past would be going beyond themselves at every step of the journey to help us accomplish our goal.
From thousands of miles away Joey Yujuico (Haas MBA ‘71) from Manila, Philippines had been introducing us to stakeholders we would be interviewing during our visit. His weekly calls were instrumental in our ability to make our trip to Manila a success as we validated whether the Philippines was the right country for Sala.co to expand into. Joey not only tapped into his network, but made sure we were taken care of our whole time here. He made an impromptu Cal alumni gathering happen and introduced us to a community of folks that from across the ocean embody the values of UC Berkeley and continue to support new students and alumni.
IBD isn’t all work, Terrence Chan (Haas MBA ‘24) was kind enough to organize a small trip to his home town of Singapore for those of us with projects in south-east Asia. Getting 48hrs to unwind a bit before diving into an intense 2 weeks was the perfect way of getting over the jet lag of the 17-hour flight. What made this small stint even more special was the opportunity to welcome Umar Masagos, a new Haasie joining the class of ‘25. Brian in our team also had the chance to meet his mentor, Jamaur Bronner (Haas MBA ‘16), who, not only has been supporting Brian through his journey in the MBA, but also opened up his rolodex and made connections for us across the region.
So much had happened before we even got to Phnom Penh and in the middle of so much uncertainty, it was great to have another Haas IBD team working in the same city. Their client, Samai Distillery, was the perfect venue to welcome a group of students from the National University of Management in Cambodia that had visited us at Berkeley Haas just a couple months before our trip.
Our first week in-country ended with an amazing trip to Siem Reap to visit one of the wonders of the world, Angkor Wat. This set the stage for the next leg of our journey to the Philippines.
Reflecting back on all that happened over the past five months, our understanding of the value of a Berkeley Haas MBA really came together as we were able to not only bring Sala.co the value of our training, but also the expertise of, and access to, generations of Haasies who without hesitation step up and go beyond themselves no matter how many years have passed since they walked the halls of our university.