University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business administration, computer science
Study type: semester abroad
UC Berkeley is one of the best universities in the world and you can feel that when you are on campus. The students and professors are incredibly motivated and committed and work hard for their students. The libraries are full from day one and all students work very goal-oriented and often late into the night. There is a completely different attitude than at other universities and being a nerd is definitely “cool” here. Nevertheless, I had the impression that the fun was not neglected. There is constant mutual support and much of the homework involves group work to promote teamwork. Visit liuxers.com to get information about JCU study abroad program.
The campus is located on a mountain above downtown Berkeley and is easily accessible by bus, walking, or biking.
The buildings on campus are for the most part very traditional and almost ornate, and walking through the libraries is a bit reminiscent of Harry Potter. Nevertheless, they are all very well equipped and you can always find a place to study.
Overall, the campus is very busy and you will find a different event taking place almost every day.
Berkeley is culturally diverse and largely Asian. However, most of them grew up in the USA. This made campus life particularly exciting for me because you deal with so many cultures. Because of this diversity, UC Berkeley is generally very liberal and does not mince words when talking about the current American president.
Apart from the high academic level, UC Berkeley also offers a lot of leisure opportunities and other activities. The variety of “clubs” on an academic and sporting level is overwhelming: from student management consultancy to figure skating or a club for building a solar car, everything is there. I can only recommend everyone to join one or two clubs. So you often meet many American students and can make contacts.
There are also different events you can take part in almost every day. Well-known entrepreneurs/companies often come and give a lecture or it’s just about “networking” – something that is very important at UC Berkeley. Again, I can only recommend participating!
In addition to the clubs and events, the football and basketball games are a real highlight for many. A season ticket costs about 100 USD.
There are lots of things to discover outside of the university. San Francisco is about 30 minutes away by train or Uber/Lyft. In Berkeley itself there are also a few small bars that we visited regularly (note, only from 21).
I went surfing several times a week, about 45 minutes away by car (traffic jam included). The Surf Club often offers carpooling, so you don’t necessarily need a car.
As a group, we have also been to Yosemite National Park, Los Angeles, San Diego and many of Lake Tahoe. A trip to northern California to Oregon is particularly recommended. In most cases, several from the BHGAP got together and one or two cars were borrowed.
If you manage your time well, you always have time for leisure activities. Depending on how many courses you take, in most cases you hardly have to study at the weekend. In most courses, however, attendance is compulsory, so that you can rarely go away during the week.
The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program:
The BHGAP is a very new program at UC Berkeley and is coordinated in large part by the UC Berkeley Extension and Berkeley Haas. Essentially, the focus is on entrepreneurship and innovation. The courses are very interactive and professors teach “how to think” rather than “what to think” – that means there is a lot of group work, reflection, analysis, discussion… but less factual knowledge and almost no memorization. With the BHGAP you dive deep into life in Silicon Valley and can visit and get to know an incredible number of interesting companies.
I have taken the following courses in the BHGAP:
- opportunity recognition
- New Venture Finance
- Marketing in a World of Digital Disruption – highly recommended!
- Academic and Professional Achievement
- design thinking
I recommend people with some business experience to take the “Advanced Track” in any case. I myself have already gained a number of practical and academic experiences in the field of entrepreneurship and have put together the courses to suit me. I found the “Marketing in a World of Digital Disruption” course and “New Venture Finance” course particularly interesting for anyone interested in venture capital etc. Prof. Isaacs and Prof. Wilton were considered by most to be the best professors.
I can also recommend taking several “Concurrent Enrollment” courses (directly at UC Berkeley). However, these are often more time-consuming, but also very interesting! However, more than 15 credits are really not recommended. At the beginning I had 20 credits and no more free time.
The call :
The Haas School of Business is highly regarded worldwide and has an applicant acceptance rate of less than 5 percent. Even within Berkeley it is very difficult to switch to the Haas School. Many American students get excited when they hear about going to the Haas School.
Popular companies such as Oracle, Uber or Spotify even recruit specifically from UC Berkeley and Haas, giving you an enormous advantage when looking for a job. A lot of people only use contacts, so that networking events are even more important.
The fact that as a BHGAP student you are actually not a “real” Haas student doesn’t really interest anyone. After all, you have all the courses with Haas professors and are treated the same.
Quality of teaching:
The quality of teaching at UC Berkeley itself is of course unique, especially if you value personal development and not just pure factual knowledge. For my taste, however, some of the courses, especially in the BHGAP program, were not challenging enough and I expected a little more content. Still, I felt like I had learned a lot of new things. Due to the many group work and homework, you could memorize the material much better.
In addition to the BHGAP courses, I had taken a course in the computer science department (“CS88”). This, on the other hand, was much more demanding and time-consuming, but was also very well supervised by professors and assistants. I was immediately impressed by the mentoring and the exercise options and tutorials offered.
Quality of the professors:
The quality of the professors is world class, both in the BHGAP courses and in other faculties. Many professors have gained very exciting professional experience and make the lessons very interesting and interactive. A reason for me to go to Berkeley!
Students and the community:
We were about 70 students from 15 countries, more than half of them from China. In the future, however, this should be a little more balanced. The experiences of the students were very different, some had already founded their own companies and had several years of professional experience, a few were still at the beginning of their studies with rather little experience. This of course made the discussions very interesting, but it was often difficult to adapt the teaching to the different levels. In many cases, however, we were split up, so this was not a big problem.
Overall, however, we were able to make many friends and from the beginning we had a group that does a lot together and that you can turn to. This is not the case with most other programs and definitely distinguishes the BHGAP.
With the “Berkeley Haas Global Access Program” you have the opportunity to study at a renowned university and experience life in (or near) Silicon Valley. Above all, you can develop personally and get a different view of the world. In addition to motivated students and interesting professors, UC Berkeley and San Francisco offer a variety of leisure activities. For me it was a unique experience that I can only recommend to everyone. It’s worth the money!