BHGAP: My First Impressions of Berkeley

German student Markus Bendele meets his fellow BHGAP students and explores California during his first month here

Markus Bendele is a graduate of the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program, which brings international students from diverse backgrounds to study business and entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley. His post originally appeared on his blog and has been edited for clarity and length.


Month #1Wait, what?!

Exactly one month ago, I arrived at San Francisco International Airport, together with my classmate Chris. We had no idea what an incredible journey would lie ahead of us.

Markus smiling and standing on a rock with his arms outstretched, with palm trees and some greenery in the background of Huntington Beach
Markus sitting in the brand new 5.0 Mustang GT while looking out at the ocean

After spending two incredible days in San Francisco exploring every corner of the city, we headed down toward Los Angelesin a brand new 5.0 Mustang GT! The following four days felt like holidays, the first real ones in a while. We had an amazing time together with our friends in Huntington Beach—thank you again Susan and Adam! But eventually, we had to go north if we didn't want to miss our first day of class.

The first day of class, in a nutshell, consisted of various talks, networking, food, a really interesting case study, more food, and a scavenger hunt around the UC Berkeley campus.

Looking back, I think I can say I have made some serious friends with people who were strangers just a month ago.

Academic Assets

Regarding the BHGAP experience itself, I am very happy about what I have already experienced, and what is yet to come. Listening to lectures of arguably some of the best professors in the world is obviously of incredible value. But also visiting the greatest companies in the world and talking to their CEOs in Silicon Valley is just mindboggling. I am more than hyped about the projects I will be working on.

"I think I can say I have have made some serious friends with people who were strangers just a month ago."


Just to give an idea what the projects look like:

Markus and other students in the BHGAP program smiling for a group picture on a stage

1. Management Consulting: Rebuild the educational system of Puerto Rico. Winner gets to fly there and present it to the secretary of education.

2. Entrepreneurship: Build your own startup from scratch in 4 months. Every group gets to pitch their startup idea in front of serious Silicon Valley venture capitalists. 

Concluding, I can only say that even though time is passing way too fast, I am making the most of it and enjoying every single second.


Markus looking at another student while sitting at a Berkeley Haas table, collaborating with others for a project


Learn More

The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program brings international students to UC Berkeley to study business and entrepreneurship. It also offers plenty to do and see outside of class.

Want to hear more student perspectives? Read more BHGAP blogs  or visit our website.

Markus standing at the edge of a cliff, with his back turned to face the rocky shore of an ocean.