Humans of Haas: Dan Himelstein
Dan Himelstein is a Haas alumnus who currently teaches global business, leadership, and entrepreneurship at Berkeley Haas. In the past, Himelstein has also been the executive director for the Berkeley Haas Undergraduate Program, and he has started multiple companies concerning international consulting and business planning in various industries. Outside of teaching, Himelstein enjoys spending time with his family and surfing.
How has Haas and its resources shaped your outlook as a student and professor?
It has shaped me a lot since I have spent a lot of my life here. [I’ve been] working 20 years at Cal, and I think the thing that really strikes me about Cal is that [it] is a really aspirational place. As somebody who spent a lot of time in other cultures and in startups, I find myself most comfortable in those types of environments; I find myself inspired by that. I want to be somewhere where there is always something more on the horizon, and Cal is like that.
How do you think that students can expand their international business knowledge?
There’s a lot of resources on campus outside of the business school. There [are] all kinds of classes and all kinds of departments that look at the global environment in a lot of different ways than businesspeople do. As a businessperson, those are important things to take into consideration: social issues, political issues, economic issues … there’s a lot there. The other thing you can do while you are [a student] is to go abroad and study or work. I think it also enhances your Berkeley experience by seeing something else.
What motivates you?
I’ve always been a big believer in questioning the status quo, which has often gotten me in a lot of trouble, and always being a student: I always want to be learning about something. One of the joys of being a teacher or in a university environment, especially at [Cal], is that we learn a lot from the students.
What is some advice you would give to students or your past self?
If I could give advice to myself and for students: what I didn’t realize at the time and I should’ve taken more of an advantage of more while I was [at Cal] is that Cal is a place filled with tremendous resources and tremendous things to do, and I would’ve tried to find more time to explore more of those things. Go visit your professors during their office hours and don’t just go talk to them about assignments and grades; ask them about what they’ve done. We all have pretty interesting backgrounds, and you might learn a lot from just going and having a discussion.