Tess Krasne, MBA 2022

MBA Special Projects Intern & Associate at Getaway & Alante Capital

I worked with the CEO and Chief of Staff at Getaway to explore new strategic growth opportunities in the “free time” space. I put together pitch decks, financial models, and pilot tests for two compelling options. For Alante Capital, I researched innovations in bioplastics and other synthetics with applications in the sustainable apparel space.

At Getaway, my role involved turning a nebulous idea into a concrete pitch and plan. It was difficult to iron out the details and develop a business idea that could stand on its own. But I totally loved it!

Overall, my favorite part of my roles was the brilliant and kind people I was able to work with both at Getaway and Alante Capital.

Sabin Ray, MBA 2022

MBA Associate at Ecosystem Integrity Fund

This summer, I learned what it takes to successfully invest for impact and return — from deal sourcing to partnering with portfolio companies. In particular, I researched the food, agriculture, oceans, and materials sectors and sourced sustainability startups that fit my fund’s early stage investment thesis.

Too often, technology is searching for a problem to solve and we forget to listen to the customer. Although not often talked about in our MBA class, listening is an essential skill in finance too.

I love talking to founders and hearing the story behind why they founded the company and what continues to motivate them. Investing in startups is ultimately about investing in people!

Sophie Westover, MDP 2022

Researcher at Berkeley Economic Advising and Research (BEAR)

I conducted research with BEAR for the Asian Development Bank’s Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program. This research included co-authoring a report on the impact of COVID-19 on the agrifood sector in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Essentially, I was examining all the ways that lockdown policies were impacting agrifood producers, traders, and consumers and what the knock-on effects of the pandemic were/are for food security on a global, regional, and national level.

Conducting research on the impact of COVID-19 was challenging because the situation I was trying to understand was rapidly changing. The GMS had experienced relatively low cases rates at the beginning of the pandemic, yet this summer the region witnessed peak infection rates. This meant that many of the resources I was relying on were out of date within months of being published and the policies I was evaluating were actively changing as I was writing the report. It was a constant struggle to find up to date information and to work to predict how the current rise in cases will impact food security and the agrifood industry as a whole moving forward.

My highlight was attending working group meetings (remotely) with government officials, policy makers, private sector leaders ,and academics from across the GMS. It was rewarding to see so many dedicated stakeholders get together to discuss regional issues and work to develop solutions to them.

The benefit of working remotely this summer was that I was able to travel to visit friends and family. This photo is from my trip back to the East Coast where I was reunited with family I had not seen since 2019!

Jordan Bennett, MBA 2022

MBA Brand Management Intern at Danone North America

I worked in Brand Management at Danone North America on the Premium Dairy Business Unit this summer. My project involved developing a 3-year innovation pipeline for Growing Years, a new kids-targeted sub-brand of Horizon Organic milk. I conducted and analyzed market research to recommend benefit and category expansion opportunities as part of the brand’s long-term strategy, and the visibility I had to senior leadership given how strongly they believe in this new brand made my summer even more memorable!

The biggest challenge was navigating a remote internship in an industry and role I have 0 background in. I couldn’t just walk to someone’s desk to ask questions and the learning curve was steep, but this experience taught me to be proactive in scheduling meetings with my cross-functional partners, to not be afraid to ask questions, and to be confident in my abilities. Even though it was remote, I learned more in those 10 weeks than I had in some of my previous roles!

I flew to Colorado to meet my team over the summer, and it was great to connect with them outside of the work environment!

Jake McIntosh, MBA 2022

People Consultant – Inclusive Growth at Cisco

This summer, I supported an internal orchestration team to develop a change management framework that will enable project leaders to successfully launch and sustain organizational and behavior changes such as hybrid work.

Developing working relationships and friendships with colleagues within a short timeframe and remote environment was a challenging environment to work within. But, exploring the wide variety of functions and pillars that enable strategic HR work was a highlight of my summer experience.

Kimberly Lam, EWMBA 2022

Municipal Manager at Republic Services

I am an EWMBA student so I was at my full-time regular job for the summer 😉

Something I have been working on this past summer is preparing programs for SB 1383 – California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy. This new California state law focuses on reducing methane emissions – organic waste in landfills emits 20% of the state’s methane, and makes up half of what Californians dump in landfills. Municipalities and haulers are now tasked with implementing and improving edible food recovery programs, residential and commercial organics recycling programs, monitoring contamination and participation, and closing the loop by procuring recovered organic waste products. I worked with our local governmental agencies as well as our own Operations department to plan outreach and logistics for our organics recycling program expansion.

Outside of my regular day job, I also had the opportunity to go on a few camping and backpacking trips, including the beautiful Ansel Adams Wilderness in the Inyo National Forest.

The pandemic continues to have a big effect on our business – although most of our residential and commercial customers have resumed “normal” service, we have had operational challenges this spring and summer due to a number of drivers and mechanics out for COVID-related PTO, delays in truck parts due to global supply chain issues, and more. Although the pandemic feels like it is “over” for many people, the effects continue to be felt here.

Coordinating community Compost Giveaway events in early summer with my team. Residents were excited to see the closed loop system play out – we take the yard waste and food scraps that they put in their green carts, to our compost facility, which produces nutrient rich soil that we then return back to the community. This tangible experience can be very effective in reinforcing zero waste principles.

Mahon Walsh, UG Environmental Engineering Science 2022

Intern at Guidehouse

I supported projects in diverse areas of energy, sustainability, and infrastructure. Primarily, I worked to improve hurricane response using satellite imagery analysis. In addition, I gained experience working with GHG accounting protocols.

The biggest lesson I took from this summer is to have confidence in your research. Sometimes it can feel intimidating to tell a client how to proceed after weeks of research. Still, I have come to realize that if you support findings with clear data and are transparent about any shortcomings there is little to worry about.

My highlight of the summer was going into a professional office for the first time, especially the free coffee!

Cindy Liu, MBA 2022

Innovation Intern at Allbirds

This summer, I worked in a strategy role on the innovation team at Allbirds. I completed a competitive landscape assessment for plant leather (a new material that will launch in 2022) helped define the recommerce strategy for end-of-life shoes, and led design sprints to ideate for future products.

I’ve only ever worked at big companies before, so I was definitely not used to working in a startup environment where there’s not as many processes or documents in place, which made for a very exciting summer full of learnings!

My highlight of the summer was meeting and working with all of the passionate, hardworking people at Allbirds (and getting a pic with the Co-CEOs, Tim and Joey).

Madeleine Wong, UGBA & Environmental Economics and Policy 2022

Factory Compliance and Sustainability Intern at Kohl’s

This summer Madeleine worked remotely in Kohl’s corporate office splitting her time between the Factory Compliance and Sustainability teams. With Factory Compliance, she helped track where garments were sourced and produced and followed the sustainability story at each facility to help showcase transparency within the supply chain. She also worked within the Higg FEM to create a targeted plan for factory’s improvement in Cambodia and Guatemala. With Sustainability, she researched and benchmarked peer sustainability goals, specifically taking a deeper dive into water related goals and projections to help inform the future of Kohl’s water goals. She also worked on creating an updated Electric Vehicle Charging dashboard to show areas of growth in supporting the transition to EV.

One of the biggest lessoned she learned this summer was about the complexities within the supply chain and how factory compliance impacts both the environmental aspect of sustainability but also the people facing side in regards to safety, wages, and community health. She hopes to continue learning how her future work can tackle both the environmental and social issues that climate change raises.

The highlight of her summer was working with and meeting amazing people who supported her throughout all of her various projects. She also swam in waterfalls this summer!

Natalie Valentin, MBA 2023

Consultant at Matriark Foods

Matriark Foods is an upcycled food company that creates healthy, sustainable, and affordable products for institutional foodservice. I worked for Matriark Food’s CEO, Anna Hammond, on a variety of research projects. My primary project was a detailed market analysis to identify growth opportunities within new product lines and sales channels.

Upcycled food is a relatively new and niche industry, which meant that I had to make a number of assumptions as part of my analysis. It was an exciting challenge to determine the appropriate balance between ambition and conservatism.

I have been fascinated by the upcycled food movement for years, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about the space while helping Matriark Foods grow their impact.

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