From Undergrad to Exec MBA: A Berkeley Education Across Generations

By Susan Petty

A Cal education spans generations for Berkeley EMBA students Jay Srinivasan (L.) and Sandeep Garg (R.) and their respective daughters, Puja and Jasmine

Unlimited curiosity. Unbridled enthusiasm. And an understanding that, no matter how much you think you know, there is always so much more to learn. That’s the sentiment behind “Students Always,” one of the Berkeley-Haas Defining Principles. And at Haas, there are countless members of our community who embody this value.

Take Jayanthi (Jay) Srinivasan and Sandeep Garg, students in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, Class of 2015. Jay is a Cupertino-based director of product management in the software industry, Sandeep a cardiologist in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Both decided that a Berkeley MBA was what they needed to take their careers in a new direction. And both have daughters at Berkeley who are sophomores, Class of 2017: Jay’s daughter, Puja Subramaniam, and Sandeep’s daughter, Jasmine Garg.

We sat down with the four Cal students to hear what it’s been like for two generations to experience Berkeley at the same time.

How has your parent or daughter inspired you?

Jasmine: I’ve chosen to follow in my dad's footsteps, majoring in pre-med. I’ve watched him do surgeries since I was very young, and it’s really influenced me.

Sandeep: One of the key things I’ve learned from Jasmine is the importance of creating a life balance between hard work and a social life. I’ve been too work-focused.

Puja: As a single mom, she definitely encouraged my being independent and resourceful and knowing that I could do anything, no matter what.

Jay: I’m always amazed at Puja’s work ethic, her organization skills, and her commitment. If anything, I have to push her to have more fun.

Why did you choose Berkeley?

Puja: The minute I came to campus, I felt it click. I just love the student lifestyle here, the amazing diversity, and the way the campus is so integrated into the city.

Jay: Growing up in India, you hear "Berkeley, Berkeley, Berkeley." The community and spirit are really special, plus there's all this fabulous research and fascinating academics.

Jasmine: Being from out of state, I wondered, do I take the leap? Do I not? But Berkeley is so unique –with limitless research and cultural opportunities, and then on top of that, you're right in the Bay Area.

Sandeep: For me, the thing that resonates the most about Haas and Berkeley is the “Students Always” mentality. The whole culture here is to focus not on the problem, but on the solution.

What do you plan to do with your Berkeley degree or your MBA?

Jasmine: I am pre-med right now as a field cell biology major, and want to go into cardiology like my dad.

Sandeep: I’m passionate about my work in medicine, but my impact has been very one-on-one.  With my MBA, I may move toward something more inventive or entrepreneurial or in the corporate world.

Puja: I came in as a pre-med, but changed to public health and statistics – Berkeley broadened my focus and made me want to work in a larger community.

Jay: I’m very interested in social entrepreneurship – social impact and the whole green movement. I feel like my degree is going to lead me somewhere very exciting.

What has it been like to be at school with your parent or daughter?

Puja:It’s been a really good learning experience to see that education doesn't stop at undergrad or even grad school. There is no age limit on education and learning. It is inspiring to see how much my mom does.

Jay: I just didn't realize how much time pressure there is on students now. Being able to empathize with the demands and pressure on Puja is a huge shift for me.

Jasmine: There is a common ground between us now. There is a lot more to talk about. I can’t believe that my dad has already accomplished so much in his life and he still wants to do more.

Sandeep:  It’s so great to see Jasmine, even for just a few minutes between classes. She had a midterm yesterday. We had a big exam two days ago. I could feel her pain. She called me and said, "I think I did very well." And I said, "Well, I think I bombed!"

Jay: Every time I come to Berkeley, I feel like I take five years off of my life. I am getting younger every time I come to class.

Kirsten Mickelwaite

Want that Cal experience (with or without your kids)? Learn more about the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program.

Find More:  The Berkeley MBA for Executives Program


Topics: Executive MBA
Susan Petty
Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.