Humans of Haas: Eli Lopez
Written by Annie Wang.
Why did you apply to Haas?
It was very unexpected for me to come back to school. My desire to pursue academia began nearly 4 years ago after I suddenly lost my wife and partner of 14 years. At the time, I worked for a major railroad company as a certified Super Tech—I troubleshot, diagnosed and performed electrical repairs on locomotives. I realized the pain of my loss was easier to bear when I kept myself busy and distracted, so I decided to enroll in online classes while remaining employed full-time. Since our facility operated around the clock and schedules were based on seniority, I often worked an outdoor graveyard shift in rainy winters and under the sun in triple-digit summer afternoons. Although I absolutely enjoyed working with my hands, I did not feel I could sustain this pattern until retirement. I soon developed a personal goal of pursuing the most dynamic thinking in business so that I can return as a manager and bring a non-traditional leadership approach to a traditional system. I remained focused and applied to Berkeley Haas.
What are you passionate about?
One of the things I am most passionate about is being immersed in cultures foreign to me. I carry a profound appreciation for architecture, art, music, food—everything that culture encapsulates—and experiencing it first hand when traveling. I love being open to new experiences, broadening the mind and learning from everyone. I am impressed with the diverse group students here at Haas, and the experience of being immersed in the Haas culture and working alongside some of the brightest students has been utterly beautiful.
What is a memorable Berkeley Haas moment?
Having the Haas seniors and recent graduates (all transfers) share their stories and valuable tid-bits of information at precore last summer. It was very inspirational. On top of sharing their stories, they also let us know that they would be there for us as a resource if needed. It was such a welcoming feeling. It motivated me to give back and be that person for someone else when I reach their position.