Guest Blogger: Betsy McCormick, MBA 2015 and Haas Student Ambassador
One of my Haas highlights is the number and quality of international opportunities I have had. Over 40% of students in the Berkeley MBA Program students hail from other countries, which is a tremendous boon in the classroom and enables us all to broaden our perspectives on the challenges facing business leaders today.
I remember a marketing class in which a classmate from China pushed us to consider the difficulty of social media marketing in his home country, where access to and censorship of the internet is vastly different from our US customs.
Berkeley-Haas students taking a break from their economics project in Cuba
Beyond classroom discussion, Haas offers a number of internationally focused courses. For example I am currently taking a joint class with the engineering school where the goal is to design products for the developing world. Along with three engineers, I am tackling the problem of how to improve cervical cancer screening in Ghana. We will even be applying for USAID funding at the end of class in hopes of continuing our research.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding classes I have taken so far is Social Sector Solutions. It is a consulting based class in which I am helping my client build a go-to-market strategy in Latin America. The company makes high quality, low cost prosthetic devices and in recent weeks I have found myself on dozens of calls with doctors, hospital administrators, NGO leaders and regulators throughout Latin America.
Last year, over one hundred of my classmates took one of Haas’s most popular classes: International Business Development (IBD). It is another client-based class in which teams solve a problem for an internationally based client and then travel for three weeks at the end of school to finish research and present final recommendations. My friends worked on projects ranging from energy in Kathmandu to cosmetics in Shanghai to education in Saudi Arabia.
Haas students on IBD in India, following a welcome ceremony from their client
I’ve done my fair share of international travel as well and found myself in Cuba last spring break as part of an independent study project. Along with ten classmates, I researched the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Cuban economy. We met with entrepreneurs, journalists and politicians to try to understand what opportunities and risks small business owners faced. We also managed a day at the beach and a tour of a cigar plantation.
Haasies find ways to explore new frontiers outside of the academic curriculum as well. Many students go on international treks to visit classmates’ home countries, or simply to experience new cultures. I traveled to Cambodia last winter, and will be headed to South Africa in January. A number of classmates also explored international career opportunities. Over the summer, good friends landed internships in Malaysia, Spain and Singapore (to name just a few).
Me and fellow classmates visiting Angkor Wat while in Cambodia for winter break
Haas has been the perfect place to explore the challenges and excitement of doing business internationally and I am so grateful for all that I have learned from my professors, travels and my classmates.
Betsy McCormick, MBA 2015
Haas Student Ambassador
Want to learn more about how Haas helps you go hands-on—including with international opportunities? Check out our Applied Innovation courses.