Avi Pahi - “You need to be will fed in order to feed others”

January 13, 2019

In the thirteenth episode of Designing An MBA, we check in with what will undoubtedly be my most personal and open interview subject, Avilash Pahi, who bravely shared major life transitions he recently went through just a few weeks ago. He is funny, stylish, a little foul-mouthed, a consummate salesman, and, most importantly extremely intelligent and empathetic. Enjoy.


Ishita Ghai - “It is about taking the best of every person you see”

January 7, 2019

In the twelfth episode of Designing An MBA, we open 2019 with perhaps the most ambitious and tireless student in UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Ishita Ghai, catching her at the perfect moment, just returning from her recent wedding in her home country of India! With a unique mix of deep social consciousness, self-awareness, and drive, she truly embodies the "beginner's mind" goal of these interviews and provides an intimate peek into the questions being tackled by an international MBA student.


Gazi Apa - “Life is going to be easier for them, the next generation”

December 26, 2018

In the eleventh episode of Designing An MBA, we close out 2018 with an interview with new father, Gazi Apa (though the interview was recorded before his healthy child was born!) The lone resident of Turkey in our program, he brings vividly to life the struggles and the rewards of traveling to America for an MBA, and details his incredible journey that spanned four years of trying to become a student a UC Davis. An affable guy with a sneaky sense of humor, I can't wait to talk to Gazi in a year from now as he grows more comfortable in his new home.


JP Mulligan-Hawkins - “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t trying to learn and broaden my horizons”

December 15, 2018

In the tenth episode of Designing An MBA, we interview JP Mulligan-Hawkins, a small town kid from Napa Valley returning home. He discusses that and a wide range of other topics, from the part-time internship he landed in his very first week at school, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management marathon three-week orientation, having a classmate for a roommate, preparing for interviews, and much much more.


Maria LaBouyer - “I really only want to use my experiences as an encouragement”

December 7, 2018

In the ninth episode of Designing An MBA, we interview Maria LaBouyer, who takes on us an intimate journey through growing up with a sibling with a disability, the power of being an athlete, the learning that comes from a Fulbright Scholarship, and the unique challenges and opportunities of being recently married and continuing a part-time job while engaging in a full-time MBA program. She delivers her insights with a wonderful mix of humility and accomplishment!


Sophie Linnett - “There’s this whole group of talented women out there who are left behind”

November 30, 2018

In the eighth episode of Designing An MBA, we interview Sophie Linnett, who combines a curiosity and willingness to speak her mind to make a truly compelling interview. She speaks about her unique place as the only mother in the full-time program at UC Davis, and takes us on unique journeys into the lives of military wives and her career in standardized test prep. She asks big questions of herself and others, and I can't wait to see where she is a year from now.


Andrew Dang - “We’re talking about building something for people to use”

November 20, 2018

In the seventh episode of Designing An MBA, we interview Andrew Dang in an unforeseen moment in our graduate school experience, amongst an air quality crisis in Northern California that has seen classes canceled for over a week. He speaks to that as well as his unique and singular focus on building a career in video game development, and the reasons for his particular engagement at the intersection of entrepreneurship and creativity. Andrew speaks softly and chooses his words carefully, making for a really different and powerful interview.

Here are some links to content he suggests at the end of the interview for further exploration into his interests:





Jonathan Lee - “People don’t see a different side of me”

November 11, 2018

In the sixth episode of Designing An MBA, we interview Jonathan Lee, who gives voice to the vulnerability so many of us feel in this journey.  He speaks deeply about what it feels like to be a first-generation American, living between cultures, and does it with a voice just made for radio (and a great singer at that! Thanks, Jonathan, for really addressing what it means to come to a graduate program and embrace your beginner's mind.


Jingjie Fang - “Woah, it’s California”

November 7, 2018

In the fifth episode of Designing An MBA, we interview Jingjie Fang, our most verbose guest to date, and she does so in her second language! With her unique perspectives on American culture and education to her ten+ year journey in deciding to get an MBA, Jingjie has wonderful insights to share. She also has a great sense of humor - listen till the end for her hilarious story of learning how to answer the American phrase "how are you doing?"


Jae Hwan Kim - “This is the first time for all of my family living overseas”

October 23, 2018

In the third episode of Designing An MBA, we interview Jae Hwan Kim, our first guest who is not only an international student but is studying in the US with English as his second language. He shares the extra challenge of being an introvert, and the inspiration he has found in his mom and his boss at the company he will return to once he finishes earning his degree. We will interview Jae Hwan again at this time next year to see how it's going with the adjustment and he may even sing for us!