2019 Best & Brightest: Jeshua K. John, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

Jeshua K. John

University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business

“Indian-Malaysian & German-American; global citizen on a sustainability mission, human rights activist at heart.”

Fun fact about yourself: I speak Mandarin, Malay, Indonesian, and Spanish.

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

High School: SMK Taman SEA – Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Major: Business Administration, with focus on strategy, leadership & sustainability

Minor: Global Poverty & Practice (GPP), Blum Center for Developing Economies

Favorite Business Courses: My top 10: Human Rights in Business; Competitive Strategy; Management Consulting Skills for Social Impact; Alternative Investing: Venture Capital; Private Equity and Hedge Funds, Business Sustainability: Strategies and Tools, Startup Discovery; Project Management; Social Media and Social Movements and Macroeconomics & Improvisational Leadership.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Haas Business School Association (HBSA): Director of transfer student integration, Senior Bear cohort leader, and Vice President, MBA & Alumni Relations
Director of finance and social impact – Tiny House in My Backyard (THIMBY)
Founding team member, Envision Haas – Berkeley Haas
Student coach, National Diversity Case Competition (NDCC) 2019 – Berkeley Haas
Alumni judge, External Case Competition simulations – Berkeley Haas
External Case Competition Team (Singapore) – Berkeley Haas
Undergraduate student reader, Macroeconomic Analysis for Business Decisions – Berkeley Haas
Senior advisor – Microfinance at Berkeley
Floor manager and bartender – Nico’s 1508
Head volleyball coach, Berkeley High School
Indoor volleyball team captain – Cal Intramural Sports
Covenant team leader – Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
Volunteer, CalSTAR Program – UC Berkeley Recreational Sports Facility

Awards and Honors

Two-time Leadership Award Recipient, Cal Alumni Association (CAA)
Legacy Student Leader, CAA
Student Affairs Department Award, Berkeley Haas
Dolores Cerro Department Award, Berkeley Haas
The Undergraduate Scholarship, UC Berkeley
Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, UC Berkeley
Phi Theta Kappa, Gamma Nu-Vista Honors Society
Scholarship recipient, The Bernard Osher Foundation
Academic honors (dean’s list), Berkeley City College

Where have you interned during your college career?

Associate intern, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) – San Francisco, CA (Current)

Sustainability consultant and research intern, Professor Omar Romero-Hernandez, Berkeley Haas – Berkeley, CA

Consultant intern (microfinance), PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan National Tbk (BTPN) – Jakarta, Indonesia

Growth and partnerships intern, ThreadWeather – Oakland, CA

Where will you be working after graduation?
I hope to return to BSR in San Francisco as a full-time associate after completing my internship in May 2019. BSR is a global nonprofit business network and management consultancy dedicated to sustainability.

What company do you admire most? I admire companies that challenge and innovate in sustainability– hybrid business structures exemplified by Certified Benefit Corporations (B-Corp) that shifted away from the consumerism-driven approach to maximizing shareholder value. Corporations such as Patagonia have shown a commitment to improving their supply chain and procurement processes and are investing profits back into improving the community and environment. Startups such as Foundationals, co-founded by my classmate Tim Tembrink and his partner, Philene Tan, have chosen to exclusively use sustainable textiles and ethical labor practices, and offer customers back-end insights into the fashion industry through 360-degree virtual factory tours.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Omar Romero-Hernandez is a sustainability icon at Berkeley Haas. Omar is one of the kindest, attentive, and inspiring professors that I have ever met. Omar’s classes highlight the growing generation of socially-conscious business leaders who believe that businesses should be held accountable internally and externally for their practices. Under Omar’s guidance, I have worked on projects relating to Tesla’s supply chain sustainability and optimization, the feasibility of waste-to-energy production in the United States, Life Cycle Assessments of Levi’s jeans, and stakeholder management of Forest Resilience Bonds (FRB), successfully contributing to four sustainable business publications.

I do also want to acknowledge Erika Walker, Cort Worthington, Susan Snyder, Ori Brafman, Janet Brady, Roger Mcelrath, Faris Natour, Frank Shultz, Joe Dougherty, Krystal Thomas, Rob Chandra, Stephen Etter, Donatella Taurasi, Jorge Calderon, David Levine, Alan Ross, Khalid Kadir, Cleveland Justis, Yiangos Papanastasiou and David Harris. It has been a pleasure learning from all these outstanding professors.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The interpersonal relationships! While the business environment is competitive, the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles (Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Student Always and Beyond Yourself) set an expectation of culture that all students, faculty and staff could aspire to in their own way. Additionally, about a third of business students are transfers from community colleges, adding a diverse range of perspectives to the classroom. It has been a life-changing experience to share spaces with such unique, passionate and forward-thinking Berkeley students, engaging topics from blockchain to bail reform.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Embark: Be keenly aware of where your passions lie and understand how business intersects with those spaces. This can be as simple as starting with a list of things you care about or that are interesting to you!

Explore: Regardless of whether you are certain of your passions, explore new fields of study, industries, and opportunities. Be curious, love learning, embrace content that is new and challenging, and question your motivations along the way.

Experience: Because business is a toolbox and not one isolated skill; gain the necessary experience to back-up your passions. If possible, pair these experiences with analytical processes that will allow you to create data-driven outputs. Having a knack for managing data is increasingly valuable.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying International Relations (Peace & Conflict Studies/Global Studies) and Public Policy. Being biracial and binational dictates that I work at complex intersections; it is not something that I can separate from my identity, nor would I want to. I care deeply about global issues, which are affected by policy, and do not envision an alternative route where I could part ways with these passions. There are many people working for the individual, I want to work for the collective.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mom did! Before moving to California, I was dead set on applying to UC Davis to pursue a degree in Zoology. Seeing that I had not found the “joy of learning” through the rigid public education system in Malaysia, she convinced me to research academic fields that would involve less memorization, more interactive learning, and allow for my gregarious side to flourish. Both my parents supported this: my dad made sure I had a three-year game plan, and they were right! I found the joy of learning – and so much more – from pursuing business and accessing community college as a starting point.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? There was a point during high school when I felt uncertain that formal educational settings were for me. Because my parents were unable to support me financially after high school, I had to decide whether investing in college would be worth it. In deciding to take the plunge, I moved 8,447 miles from my home of 18 years to California. I worked nine shifts a week at restaurants and bars, saving for two and a half years before enrolling in community college, and eventually gaining admission to my dream school – Berkeley Haas. I am proud of overcoming these life circumstances and continuing to fulfill my life-long commitment to remain compassionate regardless of my own circumstances, never neglecting or forgetting those around me.

Which classmate do you most admire? Rani Mavram is one of the standouts. Not just for her wit, but also her contagious enthusiasm, humor, passion, and grit. As a double major in Computer Science and Business Administration, she consistently shows incredible discipline, maturity, and truly embodies what it means to be a “Student Always”. She somehow has also managed to find time to get her motorbike license, travel to Europe, begin instruction for her pilot’s license, and teach a student-led class on product management. She is bold, has strong integrity, and is unafraid of voicing a dissenting opinion. On more than one occasion, Rani has inspired me to reflect on how I can be a better leader and member of the business community. It has been an honor serving alongside Rani on the Haas Business School Association (HBSA) Executive Board.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank God and my community of support. Throughout my seven-year educational journey from Malaysia to California, I have found unconditional support. From my high school friends and classmates (Ixoraians), restaurant industry crews (T-rex, Henry’s & Nico’s), 2510 Regent and 1640 Scenic houses, my family, Berkeley City College friends, Cal students and alumni, Berkeley Haas staff and faculty, the 2018 UBSLC cohort, 2017 PreCore class, and the incredible transfer student community at UC Berkeley. Thank you all. You have shaped me into who I am today!

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Travel the world – Beyond Asia and the Americas (maybe get my pilot’s license too!)
  2. Play in an AVP Beach Volleyball Tournament

What are your hobbies?
Beach volleyball, strategic board games, crafting cocktails, baking and cooking, skiing, attending live sporting and music events, watching The Office, and adventures with friends that typically include food and travel.

What made Jeshua such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Jeshua is the epitome of our Defining Leadership Principles, in particular, “Beyond Yourself” and “Confidence without Attitude.” He’s a transformative leader with an innate sense of purpose and genuine compassion to help others. A model student, he stretches his comfort zone and goes above and beyond expectations.

Jeshua quickly engaged by joining the Haas School of Business Student Association (HBSA), the undergraduate student government. During the first semester, he quickly moved into a leadership role while adjusting to the academic rigor of UC Berkeley. He graciously agreed to serve in any capacity to support student outreach, program activities, mentoring or just rolling up his sleeves and helping out – most often without being asked.

I’ve also had the pleasure of coaching Jeshua on an international case competition team, as well as work with and observe his many contributions to program activities and events. It is not surprising to see Jeshua in our office on any given day, ready to join a meeting, support an event, or just say hello. His presence energizes others around him and his ability to influence without authority at this stage in his professional career is amazing to watch.

Jeshua represents the best of Berkeley. He puts forth an extensive amount of dedication and seriousness toward all of his endeavors. His approachability, humor and humble yet diligent and authentic leadership style translate well in all of his peer, faculty, and staff interactions. Additionally, his excellent interpersonal skills enable him to develop a great rapport with people of all backgrounds.

Jeshua will be successful at anything he puts his mind to. His commitment and positive outlook make us proud. His initiative, academic performance, commitment to service, and extracurricular involvement lead me to genuinely believe that he will become an influential member of his generation in whatever he chooses. He is a leader amongst his peers, and I have no doubt that he will continue on this path after graduation.”

Erika Walker
Assistant Dean of the Haas Undergraduate Program


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