From BHGAP to OPT at Amazon Web Services

Graduate Hugo Charré has his eyes set on a tech-driven career

In May 2022, Hugo Charré graduated from a year-long stay at the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP)—the last stop to earn his Master in Management, Global Economic Transformation and Technology degree from EDHEC Business School (Paris) and SKK Graduate School of Business (South Korea). An innovation-driven degree program, it’s no wonder that Hugo thoroughly enjoyed his time in BHGAP, studying at the top-tiered Haas Business School.

Headshot of Hugo Charre

Infused with the tech and entrepreneurial spirit that is Berkeley, Hugo took no time in applying for and obtaining a year-long Optional Practical Training on the other side of the United States: an Associate Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services in New York City.

“I’m really excited with my job and the professional opportunities that going to Berkeley has given me!” Hugo enthuses. “I look forward to continuing to work in the tech sector in the foreseeable future. For now, I am part of an internal program called TechU at Amazon Web Services that trains recent graduates to become Solutions Architects. This involves learning more about all the cloud computing services that AWS provides, being able to discuss them with customers and design architectures that conform to customer needs using these services. For example, if my customer is a video-streaming company, I need to be able to design an architecture based on our services that provides low latency, high redundancy and is able to handle large amounts of video data. It’s a role that requires human skills, deep technical understanding of cloud computing, software engineering and presentation skills.”

“Once I finish with TechU, I will be moved to a permanent team where I will work for a to-be-determined large and strategic customer.”

And getting him to this role was a memorable learning experience at BHGAP. Hugo shares his memories with us—read on!

As part of your EDHEC-GETT studies before coming to Berkeley, you worked on a master's capstone project.

Naati was our master project at EDHEC, which is also a requirement toward obtaining my degree. The idea was to work on an entrepreneurial project at Berkeley to get real-world experience about “running” a startup—even though we were never actually incorporated. I am not working there anymore because we ended the project after graduation, but it helped me learn a great deal about entrepreneurship and building a tech product.

We created a proof of concept for a SaaS offering that helps companies deal with customer-advocacy efforts. Because customers are usually the best advocates for your product, it made sense to try to centralize these efforts in a single interface and streamline the process of creating customer stories.

What drew you to eventually studying in Berkeley?

Berkeley is one of the reasons why I chose the GETT program at my home university in the first place! I chose BHGAP because it’s a great way to have the U.S. university experience at one of the best—if not the best—schools in the world!

It’s appealing from both an academic and personal perspective because of the quality of the courses and the richness of the experiences. I knew that joining BHGAP and going to Berkeley would be a great way of meeting incredible people from myriad countries while learning a lot more about myself.

Which courses did you take?

In the Fall 2021 semester, I took Opportunity Recognition, High-Tech Marketing Management, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, A. Richard Newton Lecture Series and Plants, Agriculture and Society.

In the spring, I chose Data Science Applications in Finance, Leading People, Changing Climate and Business Strategy, The Business of AI, IP for Entrepreneurs and Tech Policy Speaker Series.

I knew that I wanted to take courses that were linked to technology and would teach me how to manage innovation in a business context. My major was business but I have a soft spot for artificial intelligence and software engineering.

Classes are similar in content to those at my home institution, but they are taught differently. Berkeley classes tend to be more interactive and focus on real use cases. I think you also benefit a lot from the fact that professors are easily accessible and there are many people in your classes who share the same interests as you. Resources are plentiful. If you need pointers or are interested in diving deep, there is always an opportunity to do so thanks to the professors, networking groups and events.


Hugo and friends taking a selfie during one of their myriad adventures beyond Berkeley

What experiences did you have outside of the classroom?

I have traveled a lot outside of the classroom: I’ve been all around the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Point Reyes, Marin County, South Bay and Mount Diablo. The Bay Area is filled with great stuff to do, whether you want to hike at Mount Tamalpais, surf at Pacifica State Beach, drive along the Pacific Ocean at sunset or explore the food scene in San Francisco.

I’ve also been to Los Angeles a few times; visited Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas and Mexico; and did a road trip through Arizona and Utah.

Point Reyes is definitely a personal favorite because it mixes so many varied landscapes and the views of the ocean are breathtaking.

Wow—that’s quite a bit of traveling! What were your top 5 things to do in the Bay Area?

In Berkeley, going to Grizzly Peak at sunset, eating at Top Dog after a night out, walking around campus at dusk, chilling out at the Marina and getting some drinks at Raleigh’s Pub.

In San Francisco, driving down Lombard Street, taking in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County, eating at a taqueria in the Mission, walking around the Presidio and eating a snack on top of Twin Peaks.

Hugo enjoying one of many beautiful sunsets along the California coast

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their BHGAP experience?

Seize every opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. Berkeley is ripe with things to discover and interesting people to meet! You should make the most out of your time in the U.S. to make friends and accumulate great experiences inside and outside of the classroom.

There are endless ways to travel, discover new passions, learn more about the professional paths that interest you and expand your network. Berkeley is a very stimulating melting pot and it is very rewarding to explore what the campus and the Bay Area have to offer.

Where can we find you five years from now?

At the head of my own tech startup! Or maybe just tasting food and traveling to places I’ve never been before [laughs]!