Early December, I glanced at my calender to see when I'd get some relief from the continuously pile of work that just never seemed to reduce - no matter how much I toiled. From academics to sports to extra-curricular activities and student associations, I feel like I'm on a full-speed journey.
I marked Dec as the month when things might have temporarily slowed down, and took some time to reflect on what I've learnt since becoming a quarter of an MBA
Academics: I'm no longer scared of financial jargon. Shorting T-Bills to going long on tech stocks, I thank my finance professor who mercilessly ensured that we spoke the language, and spoke it well. And that we understood the numbers. Coming to b-school with a non-finance background, the finance and accounting courses seemed intimidating at first. Now, I'm happy to have taken at least the beginners steps. Over the next year, I hope to take some more advanced courses that will help me get a stronger understanding of corporate finance, managerial accounting and valuations. I loved Marketing - and Rashi Glazer (I think almost everyone in my cohort and batch would agree that he is one of the best Marketing professors ever). As an international student, I absolutely loved the way experiential learning is incorporated into the curriculum. For instance, in our Leading People course, we conducted a real organizational audit and presented our findings and recommendations to companies. And of course, let me not forget Micro - after all, it was a Haas professor who took the Nobel for economics this year.
Student Activities: Wow, now that I look back, I'm shocked I ever got time to do stuff apart from club activities. First, I volunteered to help out with >play 2009 - Berkeley's Digital Media and Entertainment Conference. As part of the Expo team, I had an opportunity to invite and interact with some of the neatest tech startups from the Bay Area. It was a very memorable experience to meet some of the smartest tech entrepreneurs and to see their gadgets, tools and products. Of course, preparation for this event started even before classes, so you can imagine how much time and effort this took. Next up, I signed up to be an executive committee member for the Haas Tech Club - and spent quite a bit of time brainstorming how we could further improve the club's agenda. I'm also part of the marketing team and technology panel for the 2010 Asia Business Conference and on the organizing team for the 2010 women in leadership career panel. At Berkeley, student associations and conference are one of the best ways to supplement your learning experiences. By interacting with students with similar interests and passions, I've gained very interesting perspectives and built some very strong networks, both within and outside Haas.
Career: Some may argue that career stands to be the most important aspect of B-school. The career center at Haas recognizes this, and in my experience, has done the utmost to support the aspirations of MBA students. Even before the academic year started, I had the opportunity to speak with career advisors and 2nd year career coaches to figure out my plans of getting my dream internships. Over multiple advising sessions, mock interviews, resume and cover letter reviews, I do feel OK with my preparations. Berkeley and Haas provide innumerable resources such as a massive database of 100's of alumni in various industries, adjunct advisors (who have helped me out even during holidays and vacations!) and a vast career portal. While the next two months will tell me how the efforts and preparation pays off, there is no doubt in my mind about the transformation and refinement that's come about in students in just a few months.
My first quarter at Haas has been exhilarating - and my post just about skims the surface of my experiences. If I had to rewrite my admissions essays on "Why Haas", I know a 1000 words would just not be sufficient. Imagine then, what a whole 2 years here would be!