Preparing for Second Semester Classes

Congratulations on surviving Berkeley thus far! We have just entered into the middle of the semester, and now it’s time to start thinking about your classes for next semester. If you haven’t seen already, check out Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes for class offerings for Spring 2015! Telebears start on Monday, so here are some steps I suggest you follow to ensure you can get into all of your classes by January.

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Starting Off Your First Semester

Tomorrow is the big day! Congratulations to all UC Berkeley Freshmen: you have made it. And finally, tomorrow you will begin your journey into UC Berkeley. I share with you a word of advice from a previous freshman, regardless of whether you are trying out for Haas or not. Good luck tomorrow, you deserve all the best!

Attend as many events as possible.

Freshman year is the time to explore! Attend as many info sessions to organizations that you can stuff into Welcome Week; audition, interview, socialize. It’s a great way to find out where you fit in at Berkeley, and meet interesting people.

Start something new. Create.

You’re here at one of the best educational institutions in the world! Make your mark, and show the world what you can do.

Check your emails. Frequently.

Your professors, student organizations, and potential employers all use email, and this will be your primary point of contact. You’ll know whether your class is cancelled, see midterm reminders, check out the next event, and know whether you’re interning for a company. Super important; you don’t want to show up to something and realize you’re late, or you’re not supposed to be there.

Don’t purposely miss class in the first couple of weeks.

Professors have the power to drop you from a class if you don’t show up; this includes if you’re on the waitlist. Ensure your position by going to class and participating. If you’re on the waitlist, make sure you go; you have a chance to enroll!

Sometimes, section is more important than lecture.

Section (discussions or labs) gives you the chance to solidify the material you learn in lecture in a smaller setting. This also means participation becomes pretty important, and can make a whole letter grade of a difference.

Get to know your professors, GSIs, and TAs.

On an academic level, they will help you understand concepts that are still unclear to you. On a personal level, these people are overflowing with experience and knowledge; their insight will always be good insight. On a grading level, knowing your professor or GSI puts a semester of activity to a face, which may bump you up to the next letter. Go to office hours! It won’t hurt, only help; no matter the reason.

Know your syllabi inside and out.

If you can’t remember it, write it all down! I have a calendar where I compile all my class syllabi into one, so I know what I have to get done by which day. It’s quite helpful for me, and it’s always nice when you can look at something and be able to cross it off from that giant to-do list. This isn’t high school, no professor is going to remind you all the time when assignments are due, and they aren’t going to be forgiving if you turn in something late. Make sure you’re on top of it.

Focus on your priorities.

Everyone’s priorities are different in college. For some, college is a stepping stone into the next thing: job, graduate school, medical school. For others, it’s a way to learn interesting subjects. For even more, it’s an opportunity to explore and meet new people. While the purpose of a college education may be the courses itself; remember that education is holistic as well. Knowledge may be what one derives from courses, but mentality and strong bonds can only be formed amongst people. Make sure you set some time for them. Also make sure you spend time on your important classes! With good time management, it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too. Practice it here, in your first semester.

Get to know your floor.

One of my biggest regrets as a freshman was not taking the time to get social in my dorm. Doesn’t really help that I was in a mini-suite, but regardless; make sure you find people you can connect with.

You’re going to make bad decisions. Don’t let it get to you.

Whether it’s drinking the night before a midterm, screwing up on an important test question, forgetting to write a whole paper the day before it’s due, receiving a C in an important course, getting Asian Ghetto at 2 in the morning and gaining freshman 15 in one night; whatever. We all have the little things that we regret, everyone makes mistakes. What’s more important than dwelling on the past is how you deal with it in the future, and learning from the experience.

Have fun!

Of course, what a cliche way to end a post. But there’s a reason why people say that college will be the best four years of your life! You have so much opportunity to try new things, meet the most people, learn anything and everything, and figure out your future. Make the most of it!

Good luck class of 2018! If that 6.0 earthquake didn’t set you off with a bang, then I don’t know what did. You’re going to be great.

Tips for Internships

Internships is somewhat of a craze nowadays. It seems like you need to have an internship to get even an entry-level job after graduation. While it’s not necessary to get one to apply to Haas, I believe it’s still important to think about even as an underclassmen.

Interning is one of the only ways you can receive direct exposure in a particular field. Putting it another way, it’s the only way you can determine whether a particular career is right for you. Classes give you the background behind it; internships give you the application of that knowledge. If you already have a career path in mind, internships can either solidify or question your intentions, which in my mind, are both important inquiries to have. Think about applying for them when you have that direction. Only when you have obtained job experience will you be able to determine whether you should pursue the field or change pursuits.

I’ve held many internships throughout my lifetime. I was a Fashion Marketing Intern at Shop.Share.Love! in Summer 2012. In Spring 2013, I was a Music Management Intern at Ineffable Music Group. I went to Shanghai, China and was an Intern at the Shanghai Academic Services Center in Summer 2013. That fall, I stayed local and interned in Internet Marketing for Go Overseas within Berkeley’s own start-up incubator at Skydeck. Finally, in Summer 2014, I worked (intern is what they like to call it colloquially since I’m the only college student, but I am indeed an employee) at Intera Growth Partners as a technical recruiter and office manager, where I will continue to be in Fall 2014.

As such, I have a lot of experience with how to find them. And what you should get out of them.

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Haas Specializations

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.

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Haas Requirements

The Business Administration undergraduate program at UC Berkeley is a well-thought out program; while not very flexible, provides background for every area of business and prepares students for such areas successfully. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons why the program is so valuable. The core curriculum provides a way to discover the best path suitable for you in business, and the electives provide more focus within that particular path. Haas has one of the strongest undergraduate business programs in the country, and it is due to its amazing faculty, rigorous curriculum, and wide-reaching alumni network. I would like to highlight the curriculum specifically.

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Applying to the Haas School of Business Undergraduate Program

I’ve mentioned what important Haas application criteria were previously, in addition to some myths about the Haas application process. Now, I’d like to share how the whole application works and what it looks like so you know what to expect.

Self-Reported Academic Record

In this section, you are to list the information (grades, course title, school location, semester, term length, units, etc) about each major prerequisite (listed as principles of business, calculus, calculus, economic principles, statistics, English / reading composition (A) and English / reading composition (B)), breadth requirement (all seven), and a foreign language requirement (you can choose three different options: fulfilled in high school, fulfilled in college, or through a proficiency test). There is also a comment space under each area, where you can write in your comments. For instance, I wrote to consider the whole transcript in its entirety rather than solely the breadth requirements since my grades looked better as a whole than picked apart as such.

The major pre-requisites still carry the most weight out of the whole application (with certain emphasis on principles of business and economics). I believe that breadth is only there to give perspective to compare the major courses with the fun courses; however they will indeed look at the whole transcript. Make any notes you think will be necessary.


You will be expected to write two different essays, adding up to 1000 words in total. The first essay typically asks which one of the four Haas Defining Principles you most align with and why, while the second one is similar to a previous college application essay you have written in the past. My year, the two questions you could choose from were, “If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would you change?” and “What song best describes you?” or something of that sort; I don’t remember the exact questions.


This portion is split up into employment, activities, service, and honors. Within these categories is split into other sections such as “organization/company”, “position”, “start/end date”, and “responsibilities”. Within honors, you can give a description and the date offered. You have a maximum of four organizations, companies, or positions to talk about for each area; so you should use these spaces wisely. You may also leave an area blank; for instance I didn’t have any service experience, and left the whole section empty.

Come November, give it your best shot! I wish you the best of luck.

Back Up Majors

Back-up and prospective majors are imperative when it comes to Haas. Since nothing is finite, it’s always good to have other disciplines to pursue, especially if you have other interests. Here are some examples of choices for either a simultaneous degree or a Haas replacement that many people have pursued.

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