University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: Summer Sessions
After I heard from a colleague that he was doing summer courses in the USA with MicroEdu, I was curious and I found out about the so-called summer sessions. MicroEdu gave me great support and helped me to find a suitable university, since our German semester break does not match all of the summer sessions. In the end, I decided on UC Berkeley because the courses there appealed to me the most and it is a renowned university in the USA. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Victoria University of Wellington.
The application process then ran absolutely smoothly with the support of MicroEdu. Being able to enroll in courses earlier when registering through a partner meant that most of the courses were not yet taken and there was plenty of choice.
studies and courses
After looking at all the courses and reading their content, I chose Marketing (UGBA 106) and Brand Management and Strategy (UGBA 162) in Summer Session D (6 weeks). I was totally satisfied with both courses and learned a lot of new things, because the Americans are pioneers in these areas and sometimes teach completely different content than German universities.
Marketing was held by a British professor (Dave Robinson) who was very nice on the one hand but very demanding and strict on the other. After the first lecture, our class dwindled by 10-15 people (down to 60) who didn’t feel up to the professor’s demands or who were just quite intimidated. The level of the course was then also quite high. In the grading Various factors were included: Oral participation in class, several homework assignments (individually and in a group), a group presentation and two exams. The workload of the course should not be underestimated, since there was also the fact that you had to read and prepare longer texts for the case studies every day. For the oral grades, a tally was kept (one point for attendance, two points for “once something was said” and three points for “advancing the lesson” and one point deducted for forgetting to name a tag or not preparing a case study), which was quite stressful, because you had to participate always and everywhere in order not to slip down in the class ranking.
Brand Management and Strategy was held by a very nice lecturer (Judy Hopelain) who really put a lot of effort into listening to the students’ requests regarding the topics. Sometimes it seemed a bit chaotic to me, the deadlines for term papers were postponed several times and hours/topics were swapped, but I didn’t think it was bad at all. The highlight of the course were several guest lectures from Google or VISA, among others, who reported to us about “reality” and their strategies. The grading included two homework assignments (individually), for which you had to read both books (250 pages each) in a short time, two group presentations and an exam as well as oral participation. In contrast to the marketing course, however, the lecturer did not keep a tally, so that there was not quite as much pressure to get involved every time.
Grading at UC Berkeley is ultimately determined by class rankings: those with the most points get the best grade, those with the fewest points get the worst grade. This means on the one hand that you can get a good grade in a bad class with a mediocre performance, but on the other hand that you only get a mediocre grade in a very high-performing class with a very good performance.
Ultimately, the two courses together were a lot of work and I definitely couldn’t have done more, but I can still recommend both Marketing and Brand Management. The lecturers work really practically, which is a very good supplement to the German, theoretical background knowledge.
During my time in Berkeley, I stayed at International House, which ended up being a very good decision for me. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s the most convenient. The iHouse is right next to the UC Berkeley campus, so it wasn’t a long walk and the view of the San Francisco Bay was great. There’s always someone there to talk to if you have questions or problems, and you get to know a lot of people because of the size of the house.
The rooms were relatively small but perfectly fine. I chose a single room because I wanted to study in peace and quiet, and in the end it was a very good decision. The single and double rooms are exactly the same size, which means that I had a room to myself while others had to share exactly the same space. I had to get used to the shared bathrooms, but since they were really neat and cleaned regularly, it wasn’t a problem anymore.
The food in the iHouse canteen was okay, but unfortunately the meal points were only valid there and nowhere else. Highly recommend the waffles on Saturday and Sunday brunch and don’t miss the pizza night.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
There are many options for trips out of Berkeley, whether it’s sightseeing in San Francisco or LA, shopping at outlet malls, trips to Yosemite NP, or sporting events in SF, Oakland, or Berkeley itself. Several trips have been organized by iHouse and via the Facebook -Groups offered many ride-sharing opportunities. Most of the time, however, you get together with your new friends and organize something yourself. It’s a bit of a shame that the Berkeley Bears don’t have games during the summer months, so you have to fall back on baseball with the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland Raiders / SF 49ers pre-season football games.
All in all, I can only recommend the Summer Sessions at UCB with MicroEdu, I would do it again!