Robert Hass is a seasoned intrapreneur. He has a professional career history of taking risks and creating solutions to problems within a company. It's a relatively new concept that allows people like Hass to behave like entrepreneurs, but within a large organization. “Corporations have a bad rap these days,” he notes. “But I think there's a lot you can do within a corporate model and have a positive impact on society.”
But Hass' career path hasn't been a straight one—it's one that combines his background in technology, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for serving people and mission-driven organizations. Today, he's pursuing a master's degree at D'Amore-McKim School of Business, a place that fits with his dynamic background and drive. He will graduate in 2020 with an MBA in Corporate Finance and Leading People and Organizations.
“There are a lot of prestigious business schools in the Boston area, but the schooling can seem theoretical and abstract,” says Hass. “At Northeastern, I knew I could do more. The culture appealed to me, and they have an impressive network and co-op program. It seemed like a practical choice to pursue my master's degree at D'Amore-McKim.”
I want business to be a force for good.Robert Hass, MBA'20
Hass holds dual degrees in computer science and cognitive science from the University of Pennsylvania, which he says helped him learn how to think in structured ways, but toward the “greater good.” That perspective spurred him to move to Detroit with a friend after graduation to start a business.
They developed a web platform connecting police, firefighters, and military personnel. There, people could share ideas about starting businesses, social projects, and community initiatives. While his venture was short-lived, he learned invaluable lessons about how, and how not, to run a company. Next, he returned home to Boston, where he worked on freelance tech projects and taught HTML and Python at Girls Who Code. It was then that he decided to apply to Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.
Hass was hired to assist with help desk and IT infrastructure. But shortly after joining the company in 2014, he began volunteering for one of BHCHP's programs for chronically ill patients who were too sick to be in a shelter, but not sick enough to be in a hospital. Through the program, homeless patients learned the basics of how to use phones and computers in ways that would help make their daily lives easier—and in some instances save their lives. The effort morphed into the Patient Technology Workgroup; a digital literacy training program comprising 20-plus volunteers, a Wi-Fi network for patients, and a co-led research trial.
It was the perfect fit. He was able to channel his entrepreneurial spirit toward a good cause while applying his background in technology and working with diverse teams—all within a large, established company.
Now, he's looking to add skills like corporate management, leadership, and finance to complement his strengths and eventually carve a new intrapreneurial path for himself—possibly in the government sector. “Based on what I've seen, government could use some help modernizing,” he says. “They use antiquated systems and they need to catch up. I could see myself being a part of that digital conversion effort.”
For now, Hass is focused on getting the most out of his education and channeling his altruistic spirit toward campus life. He's serving as vice president of Northeastern's Net Impact Club and as a senator for the Graduate Student Government. He spent the majority of the year preparing for co-op and taking MBA core classes. In spring 2019, he heads to Prague to work on a consulting project for a multinational corporation.
No matter what he decides to pursue after graduation, he knows one thing: “I want business to be a force for good.”