Experiences and lessons at Berkeley help Shreya succeed
Shortly after completing the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) and returning to her native India, Shreya landed a career-changing role as a growth manager at Froogal, a startup that’s into customer loyalty and engagement SaaS.
She credits her time at Haas as opening the door to this exciting role:
“Berkeley played a major role because the subjects that BHGAP taught me were very relevant to the real world, especially my classes in pricing, high technology, marketing, management, and opportunity recognition,” Shreya enthuses. “All of these subjects covered various aspects of marketing, especially around market research, industry analysis, and product positioning. So all these learnings are something I’m applying right now to help the startup scale.”
Shreya’s path to BHGAP began while working as a hardware design engineer at Thales, a multinational company. During her year-and-a-half tenure at the organization, Shreya found herself pulled to a more managerial role based on her personality, skills, and drive. This self-introspection compelled her to apply and earn a management degree from Melbourne Business School.
And that’s when you found out about BHGAP, correct? “Yes,” Shreya answers in a recent Zoom call. “I was super thrilled when I was admitted!”
First and foremost, Haas is the top business school in the world—so no doubts there. Berkeley, itself, is an entrepreneurial environment. Every student is always coming up with new ideas and there is so much entrepreneurial energy around. People are filled with creativity and have diverse opinions — diversity in ways of thinking — and that contributes to your learning curve.
I was also attracted to the environment and support that Berkeley provides. I also heard about Berkeley Skydeck and the opportunities it opens up.
The classes, most of them are taught by or feature venture capitalists. So the lecturers are experienced and bring in their real-life examples, which is a great way to learn. I could just go on and on and tell you about how amazing Berkeley is! [Laughs]
You started BHGAP during your last semester in your master’s program. How did our courses fit in with your master’s?
When I was at the Melbourne Business School, my courses covered foundational subjects such as strategic management, marketing, and leadership. However, at Berkeley, the courses I took — such as entrepreneurship, pricing, high-technology marketing, and blockchain—focused more on practical and real-life scenarios.
Shreya Nemani and friends enjoying some much-needed relaxation time after their hard studies!
What was your experience like with your classmates?
Amazing — there were students from all over the world: Europe, China, the UK, and more. We all came to Berkeley with different experiences and opinions. In class, when there were questions about a market scenario that involved politics, regional, or psychological behaviors, everybody had different opinions based on where they’re coming from and diversity in perspective.
All of those types of contributions actually helped us to think outside of the box and think of various possibilities in every scenario posed to us. Furthermore, everybody was super friendly and there was always a lot of energy and enthusiasm around.
Did you work on any group projects?
Yes, for every subject I had a group project. For example, in my entrepreneurship class, we had to come up with an idea, perform market research, study the industry, and see if we can bring that product to market and launch our own startup. Super interesting! I learned the most from group projects and enjoyed team conversations.
What about outside of the classroom?
It was pretty amazing! We would always love to go to the Haas School of Business cafe, Cafe Think.
In terms of the clubs, I joined CALPIRG, the California Public Interest Research Group, that supports many social causes such as getting voters registered, promoting sustainable energy in California, and a lot more.
Closing ceremonies — time to celebrate all of our achievements!
That's wonderful! Where can we find you five years from now?
I would like to be in a head of marketing role. Once I have enough experience and exposure, I would like to launch my own startup. I had been working on a couple of ideas when I was in Berkeley: Something around sustainable clothing is of interest. Right now, I'm working on gaining more skills and real-life market exposure.
What were your top five things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Oh my, I have a big list. Network with people; you meet some of the smartest people at Berkeley and it’s definitely motivating to interact with them. Second, I really enjoyed hanging out on campus — Berkeley is so beautiful.
Third, exploring the Bay Area using BART — Bay Area Rapid Transit — it is very convenient, especially for students. Fourth, don’t miss out on visiting the Golden Gate Bridge. Finally, visiting the corporate offices of tech giants in Silicon Valley.
Shreya and friends enjoy some time at the beach.
What advice would you give somebody who is just starting the BHGAP program?
Speak up during your classes and interact with other BHGAP students. There's so much that you learn from the classes itself. The types of interactions and discussions that are being initiated are all very, very relevant to the business world. Just make the most out of this program! It's a beautiful place to be in with so many opportunities!
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