2018 Best & Brightest: Elyse Weissberger, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Elyse Weissberger

U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

“Passionate, funny, loves working in teams. A few gray hairs, wear & tear, from chasing dreams.”

Fun fact about yourself: I like to wear ties and bowties once a week and have even made a few of my own.

Hometown: Canyon Country, CA

High School: Canyon High School

Major: Business Administration and Environmental Economics and Policy

Minor: Food Systems

Favorite Business Course: Improvisational Leadership, The Business Case for Investing in Women, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Edible Education, and so many more!

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Haas Business School Association (HBSA)- Student Body President
  • Haas Business School Association (HBSA)- Student Affairs Associate
  • Cal Women’s Rugby
  • Food Equity Entrepreneurship and Development (FEED) Consulting Club

– Associate (2 semesters); Project Manager (1 semester)

  • Youth Director for Jewish youth group

Where have you interned during your college career? I work at the San Francisco REI as a sales associate in the Customer Service and Camp/Climb Departments.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be interning this summer at Greentech Capital Advisors.

Who is your favorite professor? I have had so many influential professors in my time at Haas, including Ryan Sloane, Todd Fitch, Holly Schroth, Kellie McElhaney, Alan Ross, Krystal Thomas, etc. My teaching team for Improvisational Leadership deserves special mention, however. Cort Worthington, Ori Brafman, and Susan Snyder challenged me to think about business and life from a new perspective. Their course changed the way I engage with the world.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Haas is focused on creating culture and using business as a tool for social change. To this end, Haas has developed the Center for Responsible Business and recently opened our newest building, which will be the first on any college campus to be zero waste by 2020. I am proud to be a part of a school that is redefining business’ role in the world. Our students truly embody our defining principles: Beyond Yourself, Question the Status Quo, Student Always, and Confidence Without Attitude. It is such a pleasure and honor to be surrounded by a group of students who really want to change the world.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?I have learned that the study of business is really an integrative study of so many different fields. Business touches everything. It is responsible for a lot of the world’s problems, but it also has the power to be the solution to so many of them.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would advise potential business majors to take a holistic approach to their studies. Often times, business students will study the quantitative aspects of business (accounting, finance, etc.) and disregard some of the softer skills necessary to be a great leader. Business degrees prepare people to be managers, and it is important to understand how to connect with people and inspire them. Don’t take the qualitative courses lightly!

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…I am actually a double major already. I am pursuing a degree in Environmental Economics and Policy with a minor in Food Systems. I am fascinated by agriculture and by businesses that require agricultural input.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I have been most surprised by how much of the introductory theorems we learn are not evident when analyzing the real world. I enjoy studying economics, but it seems from my studies and from my life experience, that we lack integration of many different fields. The subjects we study have so much crossover, but often times we fail to make connections between them.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My twin sister, Danna, most influenced my decision to pursue business. She seemed so knowledgeable, skilled, and put-together after she graduated and has continued to be successful. I really look up to her and wanted to be able to talk with her about the subjects she became an expert on. I am impressed by her holistic and integrative approach to problem-solving.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I served as a basic training commander in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. I moved to Israel right after my 18th birthday and I barely spoke a word of Hebrew. In sixth months, I had learned enough Hebrew and performed well in my own basic training that I was sent to commander training course. I commanded groups of recruits who, like myself, were new immigrants that could not yet speak Hebrew. My service tested me physically, mentally, and emotionally and has made me the person I am today.

Which classmate do you most admire? So many of my peers have had such influence on me that it is difficult to pick just one. I have been incredibly inspired by the lives and work of my transfer class. Many of these students are veterans, parents, or folks returning to education after long gaps. They have such determination and their life experience allows them to contribute to our classes in a unique and meaningful way. I truly believe that this group of people will be a part of great change in the world. They are such a powerful bunch, who have already accomplished so much. I am so grateful to have had the chance to learn with and from them.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would most like to thank my parents for my success. My parents encouraged my sisters and I to try everything and to take risks. Most importantly, they taught us how to live and to do so in a way that consistently reflects our values. I am so grateful for their influence and support.

What would your theme song be? My theme song would probably be “The 59th Street Bridge Song” by Simon and Garfunkel. I play this song to remind myself to slow down and enjoy life’s little gifts. I’ve been trying to make the message of the song my mantra: “Slow down, you’re moving too fast. You’ve got to make the moment last.”

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 1.) Hike the John Muir Trail 2.) Perform slam poetry in front of an audience

Favorite book: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Favorite movie: The Intouchables

Favorite vacation spot: Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort

What are your hobbies? Rugby, poetry, snowboarding, playing the guitar, reading, cooking, bartending, gardening, puzzles, political debates, and watching the TV show Friends.

What made Elyse such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Elyse sets a consistent example for her classmates.  She’s bold, direct, and highly attentive, while remaining sensitive to her peers. As a student in our Improvisational Leadership class, she paid careful attention to the course’s wider course goals.”

Cort Worthington
Haas Lecturer, Improvisational Leadership


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