Alumni Stories : How One Haas Graduate is Taking the Silicon Valley Tech Industry by Storm |

Alumni Stories : How One Haas Graduate is Taking the Silicon Valley Tech Industry by Storm

By Amelia Hopkins

Updated April 5, 2021 Updated April 5, 2021

Itamar NovickTo coincide with the release of our much-anticipated Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2018, has been speaking to high achieving graduates of the world’s top business schools. Our aim is to find out how their MBAs helped them find success. Itamar Novick is one such graduate. The Israeli native and Haas MBA graduate is making waves in the west-coast technology industry. He’s currently the chief business officer of Life360, a mobile family safety platform that allows family members to connect wherever they are. A graduate of the Tel-Aviv Jaffa College, the entrepreneur previously worked as a senior associate at Morgenthaler Ventures, a leading venture capital firm and was head of product manager at Gigya.

We spoke to him about his experience at the prestigious Berkeley-Haas, why he chose the Silicon-Valley based location and how it’s impacted his career since.

Why did you choose Haas School of Business?

I considered many top schools. I concluded that, for me, with my focus on technology and venture capital, the finance-oriented schools (Wharton, Booth, Columbia) were not a perfect fit. It seemed like the logical choices for me were Stanford (I didn't get accepted), MIT (I chose West Coast over East Coast) and Haas.

I ended up getting accepted to many top schools, (including Wharton, Kellogg, MIT Sloan) but I chose Haas because I liked the small class size, being close to Silicon Valley, and the school’s strong, dense network in the Bay Area and in global technology in general.

How did you finance your studies?

I was granted a 50% financial aid and paid for the rest of it myself.

What were you doing before your MBA?

I was a product management executive in a startup (Gigya Inc., a technology company which provides customer identity and access management platforms to enterprise clients, founded in Tel Aviv).

Did your MBA influence the path your career has taken? How has it prepared you for your current role?

The MBA experience has had a profound impact on my career path and thinking. With Haas's connections in the venture capital community, I was offered a senior associate position just a few months after the program started. Additionally, the mix of Bay Area network and entrepreneurial and new venture finance coursework proved invaluable for my career path.

The coursework, as well as the training in soft skills, for example, leadership and presentation skills, have had a huge impact in preparing me for the leadership roles I'm undertaking now

What attracted you to your current position?

I do a mix of startup operations roles and venture capital. I love helping founders and companies lift off the ground and Haas has helped me achieve my dream job.

Did you participate in any extracurricular activities during your MBA? How have they shaped who you are?

Yes, many. I was heavily involved in a number of clubs – Haas Venture Fellow is one example - and that helped me build a network in venture capital. I was also a leader in the Jewish Business Club. Through that, I've connected to the local Jewish communities here in the San Francisco East Bay area. This ultimately led to us staying in Berkeley over five years after I graduated; joining a congregation in Berkeley; and sending my two young kids to their wonderful pre-K childhood education programs.

Is there anything that you consider to be a ‘beyond expectation’ experience, while you were at Haas?

Quite a bit actually. I have to admit that I was ‘hustling’ and working hard, but getting a job offer to become a venture capitalist just a couple of month into the program was mind blowing and exceeded all my career expectations.

Also, I'm still so close to many of my classmates and 70% of them are within a one-hour drive from me. Years later, we still hang-out together and help each other - for example I'm an investor and advisor in two startups founded by classmates of mine.

This article was originally published in October 2017 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

Amelia Hopkins is a writer for TopMBA, covering the latest news in business and business education. A graduate of the University of Leeds and Yorkshire native, she enjoys reading, travelling and talking incessantly about the countryside.


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