While Haas only has one major, Business Administration, students can still choose to specialize in their own time. According to Haas Employment information in the Berkeley Career Center, students go into consulting, investment banking, accounting, marketing, and financial and business analysis. If you check out the employment reports on that page, it gives you a consolidated view of the career paths of the Haas respondees.
With any career path, it is best to do three different things: obtain knowledge, get involved, and gain experience. You’ll need to know the rhetoric and jargon, and the best way to do that is to take classes (and focus) in that particular field. To get involved, there are plenty of other students who have paved that way for you in the form of organizations, so all you have to do is join and obtain hands-on experience. Obtaining internships is also another way have direct experience in employment.
Below, I have outlined different career paths, and show some classes and organizations that provide more knowledge and experience about the different areas.
Note: I only have experience with consulting and marketing on the Berkeley campus, and have researched to the best of my ability to explain the other areas that we provide here.
Consulting / Business Analysis
I’ve spoken about consulting before. It’s one of the most popular paths that students choose to take (as also evidenced by the many consulting organizations at Berkeley; those that are in the form of pure consulting groups in addition to those that are housed within cultural and focused groups as well. Consulting is essentially the discipline of advising companies about major decisions. It’s more difficult than it sounds.
Haas is definitely strong in consulting, that is no thanks to the way classes are structured. Each class has some sort of consulting component in the form of case briefs and presentations. UGBA 106 (marketing) for instance, required everyone to take the role of both a marketing consultant and board participant. Other classes show evidence of such background as well.
Haas, thus, implicitly prepares you for consulting, no matter if you choose to go down that path or not. If you are interested in doing more consulting work or getting more experience in the field, participating in a consulting group at Berkeley would be the way to go.
Investment Banking / Finance
Finance is the managing of large amounts of money, while investment banking is the raising of capital by an agency issuing securities on the behalf their client. While these two fields are different, I lump them together here because Berkeley treats them similarly. I would say the most focused investment banking classes are Financial Institutions and Markets (UGBA 132) and Investments (UGBA 133); while finance classes are these in addition to Corporate Finance and Financial Statement Analysis (UGBA 131), Behavioral Finance (UGBA 136F), and the various special topics in UGBA 137. Thus, both are in the same realm. In addition, the many finance and investment related groups are presented together, examples being Undergraduate Finance Association | Undergraduate Management Consulting Group, which focuses on finance, investment banking, and consulting; Berkeley Investment Group, SFAC, and Capital Investments at Berkeley (CiB). If currently interested in any of these pursuits, I suggest you attend some info-sessions and plan out some schedules to account for these classes.
Marketing is not just about advertising. Remember the 4 P’s: Product, Place, Promotion, Price. It’s about what the product is and how it’s represented, the channels of distribution the product goes through, the way the product is advertised, and how it is priced to consumers. Berkeley so far only has three organizations dedicated to this field: UMA, which is the center of marketing consulting and design; CMG, which focuses on marketing consulting, and MComm, which works to provide a platform to allow all students to learn about marketing, as the aforementioned groups are difficult to gain admittance. imagiCal is also another competitive group that is an award winning advertising team. On the curriculum side, there are a handful of marketing-focused courses: Consumer Behavior (UGBA 160), Marketing Research (UGBA 161), Brand Management (UGBA 162), Advertising Strategy (UGBA 165), International Marketing (168), and Pricing (UGBA 169); as well as other special topics courses.
Many students in accounting are aiming to get their CPA directly out of college, which is an extremely difficult endeavor at Cal without proper planning to back it up. Accounting at Berkeley has a lot of information about what it takes to obtain your CPA at Haas. According to Haas, about 30% of Haas graduates pursue accounting after graduation.
Accounting is the measurement of financial information. As to my knowledge, there is unfortunately no student organization dedicated to the pure pursuit of accounting. However, as in my previous Berkeley organizations list, there are some groups built around Actuarial Science and Personal Finance.
But back to the CPA. The requirements are extensive, and to obtain it right after graduation requires much planning. For instance, you must obtain at least 150 semester units of coursework; 30 of which must be in accounting and 38 units must be extra in either accounting or business-related areas. For comparison, only 39 upper division units are required for Haas, which means that you must take at least 31 more units of business and accounting coursework in order to complete the basic CPA requirements. Not to mention there is still 10 units of ethics remaining. It’s possible, but difficult without focusing on it.