Jolin Wu is dedicated to furthering her education. She holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literature and an M.A. in Journalism from National Taiwan University. As she began exploring her next steps, Jolin considered earning an M.B.A. She looked into UC Berkeley Haas’ full-time M.B.A. program—visiting our campus and auditing one of the classes—but still wasn’t sure if she wanted to dedicate two more years on another degree.
So when Jolin found out about the UC Berkeley Haas Global Access Program—where she could receive a taste of an M.B.A.-level education without the two-year time commitment—she jumped at the chance to apply. Having completed the program and an internship, Jolin recently shared her experience with me.
What was your experience like in the classroom?
I was in the Advanced Track for students who either have an M.A. or work experience, but most classes were a mix of undergraduates and graduates and professionals. Undergraduates may not have a lot of experience, but their point of views are fresh and inspiring. I learned a lot from my classmates who come from different cultures and backgrounds.
Professors are all amazing! I was so impressed by their professional background and passion. The way they led the discussion encouraged us to speak up in class, which was so different from my Asian educational experience. It was demanding and sometimes stressful, but I became a different person after all of these challenges.
What courses did you take?
I loved them all, but here are my top 3 classes:
- Leading People: lots of theories about organizational behavior, which urged me to reflect on my past working experience.
- Opportunity Recognition: great class with lots of case study discussion. No correct answers. It's all about critical thinking and asking powerful questions.
- Cultural Perspectives of Food: It's like a dream come true to study sociology in Berkeley! The workload was insane, but I absolutely loved it. It was also a good chance to learn with domestic students and observe how they ask questions.
What was your experience on campus?
Berkeley is quite diverse, so I felt comfortable as an international student. It was great that we had access to libraries and many campus facilities. I never felt like I was not a Berkeley student.
The time in BHGAP was a total game-changer for me.
Why did you select to do an internship?
I wanted to work in the States. Doing an internship helped me step my foot in.
I worked at video advertising startup company Turgo. I helped them develop social media strategy and SEO strategy. It was my first time working at a startup, and I liked the culture where my ideas and expertise were easily seen and valued. It's amazing to be treated as a full-time employee, not simply as an intern.
What is next for you?
I am looking for a job and will start my OPT next year.
What advice would you give an international student coming to Berkeley on how to best succeed?
School work is important, but networking is even more important. Be ready to challenge yourself, but don't stress out. As my favorite professor Andrew Isaacs told us, "You win or you learn."
What are your "5 must see or must do" things?
- Libraries: You'll get good grades and find inner peace in any of the libraries.
- Jupiter: If you don't know where to grab a drink in downtown, Jupiter will never let you down.
- Free House: It's near Haas and it's a sophisticated place to have burgers and beers.
- Find networking events on Eventbrite.com.
- Watch NBA (basketball) and/or MLB (baseball).
What has completing this program meant to you both personally and professionally?
Personally, I became more assertive. Professionally, what I learned from school helped me understand what professionals in the industry are talking about and thus made me feel like an insider. The time in BHGAP was a total game-changer for me.