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Hi, I am Sakshi Jain from India. I joined the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) in January 2022. Prior to coming here, I did my Masters in Business Administration from IIM Lucknow, India, and worked in the consumer goods industry for more than five years.
How Time Flies!
The first time I heard about UC Berkeley was when I was pursuing my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering back in India. One of my classmates intended to do their Masters in Engineering here. Little did I know at that time that I would find myself here very soon.
After working for a few years in the corporate world, I decided to hone my skills further and get the right global exposure. Berkeley was my top choice; after all, it’s one of the best public universities in the world! Fast-forward three months in the BHGAP program, and it is almost the end of the semester. I can’t believe how time flew so quickly here.
I am still learning new things in class every day, finding new favorite hangout spots on campus, experimenting with food from all over the world, and finding new hiking trails. With mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, Berkeley has the best weather, huge variety of flora and fauna for the nature lover, and some of the most diverse food options available.
Learning from the Best!
BHGAP is a unique program designed for students interested in entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. Coming from the Indian academic culture, it was a big change for me to be calling professors by their first name. The classes follow a case-study approach and expose you to the business, cultural, administrative, and economic aspects of different regions and countries. It also makes learning fun as you are taught to think and find solutions to problems proactively.
Another thing that I found good about the program is that we had plenty of course options to select from. Apart from the core courses, there are many electives on offer wherein you get to learn with students from other departments.
Be it the guest speakers in class or the Dean’s speaker series session, they all provide a brilliant platform to learn from leaders themselves while providing ample opportunities to network and connect with the people from the business world. One of my favorite speaker series sessions was this one:
My favorite course this semester has been Changing Climate and Business Strategy with Andrew Issacs, which is extremely relevant given global warming. For my concurrent enrollment (elective), I took up the Plant Futures Challenge Lab where I got to work with a Silicon Valley startup.
Life Beyond Classroom
Whether you want a quiet place to study, a nice shade under the tree to enjoy your lunch, or soaking up some sun while picnicking with your friends, I bet you will find a new spot every day.
The Berkeley campus has 24 libraries and few of my absolute favorite ones are The Doe Library, Library at Haas School of Business, and the East Asian Library. There are plenty of books and journals available, and one can easily get multiple books issued. Even if you want to book a study session with your teams, it’s just a few clicks away.
Apart from the libraries, I loved spending time at the Glade just soaking in the sun while chit-chatting with my friends and munching on snacks. Here is a photo of the time when I celebrated my birthday at the Glade with friends. If you haven’t done a picnic at the Glade, your Berkeley experience is incomplete!
Living the big city life in New Delhi, India, I was craving to be close to nature and just spend my weekends hiking, listening to birds chirping, and breathing in some very fresh air. Berkeley has so many amazing hikes around campus. Few of the must-do hikes would be The Big C, Panoramic hike, strawberry and fire trails. Also, don’t forget to visit the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley and find some of the popular trees and flowers from your home country. They are in full bloom in the spring and you’ll see all colors possible here.
If you are a sports lover, Berkeley is the place to be. I love spending time at RSF and enjoyed group exercises. There was yoga, pilates, HIIT, and many more other classes. Apart from this, you can also go skiing at Lake Tahoe during February, surf in the San Francisco Bay, or go paddle boarding/kayaking at the Berkeley Marina.
As They Say: People Come for the Weather and Stay for the Food!
Berkeley has a very vibrant food scene. You’ll find food from all over the world around the campus. Some of the most popular and my favorite spots include: Imm Thai (Pad Ke Mao is my new found love), Pasta Benne (love their signature pasta benne), Mezzo (their salads will fill you up for two meals at least), Thai Basil (Pad ke Mao again!), Gypsy’s (everything Italian), Cheese Board Pizzeria (their green sauce is heavenly), Little Gem Waffle (their signature Nutella strawberry waffle is totally drool-worthy), and boba from Plentea.
Apart from the various food options, one should also visit the famous Berkeley Bowl and check out all the different varieties of fresh produce this store has to offer. You’ll find a minimum of 20 varieties of apples, oranges, and mushrooms on the shelves.
It’s been just three months and Berkeley has offered so much to me and given me an opportunity to make friends from all over the world. Not to forget the fabulous team of student advisers and the BHGAP team who keep on making our experience more memorable with different on- and off-campus activities.
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