PURSUING ‘THE GOOD SIDE’ OF BUSINESS
By the end of spring semester of their first year, the twins say they became well-adjusted and fully acclimated into life at Berkeley. As they’ve always shared very similar interests, the two decided during their sophomore year that they’d apply to to the business school.
Cameron says his reason for taking an interest in business was two-fold. “Growing up, I was always pretty good at math and fairly good at English,” he says. “I was pretty well-rounded, but not a master of any one thing. I thought business was a good way to blend personal skills, but still learn hard skills. Secondly, growing up we’d seen a lot of people not know how to manage money well and set themselves up for their future. We wanted the sort of financial understanding that would set us up for success in life.”
Adds Tyler, “I also think Cameron and I are fairly competitive in nature. We like to strategize on things so when we got to business school and we were able to run business simulations, it was cool and it made business feel right for us. This made the competitive side of business appealing to us.”
The twins share that they are also drawn to the idea of positively impacting the lives of others. “In tech, for instance, we’re constantly innovating, innovating, innovating,” Tyler explains. “It’s making consumers’ lives easier and it’s enriching their lives. This brings about a natural competition and it’s driving people to work better and to do things more efficiently.”
Recalls Cameron, “One of the first classes we took at Haas was a class called Competitive Strategy. It got me really interested in how you set a culture in a company. It starts with the CEO and trickles down. Every decision down the line needs to line up. Every single workplace I go to, I want to make sure I’m aligned with the company’s core competencies. It’s almost like a check at all points throughout the workplace and throughout the work that’s being done.”
According to the twins, it’s these things that make up the “good side” of business that they want to pursue and that counter what they consider the “nasty side.” Says Tyler, “The nasty side of business is when you see and hear news about workplace scandals, cutting corners, or how someone is able to climb the ranks in a company based on who they know.”
HOW ARE WE EMPOWERING WOMEN?
Once they found their stride as college students, the Haberman duo made the most of undergrad life. Their extra-curricular involvement included academic research on loyalty and ethics alongside a Haas faculty member and PhD student (the group’s work has been featured in Harvard Business Review multiple times), they co-facilitated a student-taught course on interview success and how to land a job, they participated in “Boost,” a projects-based mentorship program serving underprivileged high schoolers in the Bay Area, and they joined the Native American Recruitment and Retention Center, which works to keep higher education accessible and attainable for Native Americans. In a recent article, the twins expressed knowing very little about their Native American heritage until after they graduated from high school even though their father is part Cherokee and their mother is part Muscogee.
Another badge of honor: in their final semester at Haas, Tyler and Cameron were two of just five males out of more than 50 students in a course called The Business Case for Investing in Women.
“Our first assignment was a self-reflection about a time we faced gender discrimination or harassment,” Tyler says. “I sat and I thought, ‘I literally never have.’ Yet all of my female friends had stories. I literally did not know these things were happening. I was oblivious to them.
“Now, I’m more awake to it,” he continues. “A lot of it so unconscious, no one thinks about it. Now it’s something that’s on my mind. How are we empowering women? How are we deciding who gets what assignments? I’m so grateful to have had this class. I’ll be a much more fair person and better leader because of it.”
GRADUATION, EUROPE, THEN OFF TO WORK AT APPLE
As newly minted alumni now ready to head off into the real world — not before a six-week backpacking trip through Europe to celebrate — both Habermans are preparing for their dream jobs at Apple.
Each interned with the organization as juniors and were both fortunate enough to be hired into the company’s finance development program. This is a two-year initiative where they’ll rotate once every twelve weeks serving as financial analysts in different business units throughout the company. At the end of the rotation, each will be placed on a permanent team as a financial analyst.
While their story of twinning through business school is certainly a unique one, they each have their sights set on making their mark in the business world in their own ways.
“I want to be known for being a really hard worker and for doing the right thing,” Cameron says. “After the investing in women class, I’m more on the right track and knowing how to get there. It’s about amplifying the voice of women — and minorities in general — around me who are doing great work and not being recognized. As a white male, I now know how much more privilege I have. If I can use that to help others out, it will help them and me.
“I think we’re at a turning point in the workforce. It’s something that needs to happen. I can be the person who’s willing to have difficult conversations. That’s what I want to be known for, even if it’s not part of my job description. I want to foster an inclusive environment.”
Tyler’s goal is to stake his claim as a business leader. “There’s a case study they do at Haas and it references rugby coach Jack Clark’s definition of leadership. Leadership is making those around you better. I love it because you don’t have to be a team captain by the definition. I want to be known as someone who makes those around them better.”
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