Meet Berkeley Haas Global Access Program Graduate Karla Valeria Puppo Saravia

A true entrepreneur never stops looking for new opportunities

Even before attending the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program, Karla was an entrepreneur in the making.

“I started the JackStudios Peru company with three partners two years ago,” Karla says. “We focus on the dubbing industry development in our country, providing translation, adaptation, dubbing and voice-over services in neutral Latin American Spanish, as well as the education of new voice talents in Peru. Nowadays, there is a huge opportunity for Peru to be part of the countries involved in this field and we want to be prepared and contribute to this growth in the best way we can.”

Wanting to grow her entrepreneurial acumen while still completing her undergraduate studies at Technological University of Peru (UTP), Karla began looking for study-abroad programs that could help her take JackStudios Peru to new heights.

And she found that—and so much more—with our Berkeley Haas program. Recently graduating from this fascinating study-abroad option, Karla is happily taking lessons learned in class and applying them to that entrepreneurial venture.

“There is always something new to do every day at my company,” Karla explains. “We are surrounded by a lot of decision-making and marketing strategies for the services that we provide. At this moment, we are going through an important digital transformation in our business, searching for new ways to innovate—it is very important to reinvent ourselves and try harder to exceed the expectations of our clients.”

And Karla isn’t stopping there. She’s also planning on starting a new business that provides marketing solutions to small- and medium-sized Peruvian businesses. “Many small businesses had to stop all of a sudden due to COVID-19, and people were not prepared for this,” she says. “I would love to encourage these people to not give up, and together we can find a solution to create or reinvent any business project that they have.”

As a true entrepreneur, Karla used her experience in our Berkeley Haas Global Access Program help her in the next steps in her career. With a bright future ahead of her, she now takes time to reflect on her study-abroad experience.

How did you learn about this program?

On my university’s Facebook page, I saw a picture of three students holding our university flag in front of the Haas building’s Cronk gate. I was immediately interested in being a part of the program.

One year later, my university opened the application to get full scholarships for the Fall 2019 program. The more I kept researching UC Berkeley on the Internet, the more I wanted to get the scholarship. I was looking forward to being part of this experience and learning from the people, their culture and their way of thinking.

Out of almost 90 students who applied for the scholarship, only five students got a spot—and I was one of them! It is a blessing to have achieved this, and I am thankful to my university to have had this amazing experience at Berkeley.

What courses did you take with the program?

I took seven courses in my Fall 2019 semester.

In Thriving at Haas and Beyond, we got firsthand information about the working life in the U.S. and personal assessments for our professional careers.

The second was Opportunity Recognition in Silicon Valley, where we navigated through case studies and debated different strategies, decisions and points of view at class.

The final core course was Fundamentals of Design Thinking, which was enriching for my marketing career and as a young entrepreneur.

Then, I chose two electives: Introduction to Entrepreneurship and International Marketing. Both of them helped me grow and consolidate my knowledge.

Also, I was able to choose from a vast catalog of UC Berkeley courses to take a concurrent enrollment course. I decided to take the Leadership Communication course, which helped me develop and enhance soft skills, as well as learn the tools to become a true business leader.

Lastly, I chose a DeCal course called Board Game Design. It was guided by four senior students from UC Berkeley who were part of the Design and Innovation Department. It was a very creative and innovative course in which we had to develop and prototype a board game addressing a social issue. There I had the opportunity to connect with other UC Berkeley students from other majors.

What was your experience taking our classes?

It was a whole new experience for me. It is different from what I was used to at my home university. First, at UC Berkeley I was overwhelmed by the architecture and campus life. There is always something interesting to do. This program allowed me to share classes with a lot of smart people from different countries, sharing valuable experiences and building an important network group.

This wouldn't have been possible without the help of our instructors and student advisers, who were there for me at any moment during the program. Their constant assessment and guidance, and—best of all—the connection I built with them will last a lifetime. I enjoyed every minute of it, and even had the chance to get together with an entrepreneur in the voice-over industry in San Francisco, thanks to one of my Haas instructors.

How does taking these courses fit in with your academic and professional goals?

After participating in this program, I can see huge changes in me that I would have never imagined before. Having an exchange experience was one of my main academic goals. Achieving that at one of the best business universities in the U.S. makes it even better.

I am very proud of this achievement. I surely believe that the courses I took in the program continue to improve my performance to reach my other goals, such as receiving an M.B.A. at UC Berkeley. I am looking forward to coming back to this amazing university!

Why should other international students participate in this program?

Studying at UC Berkeley gives you another mindset when moving abroad. Also, the culture at Berkeley Haas and embracing the school’s defining leadership principles will have a huge, positive impact on your life. Both make you want to get more information about things, and question new ways and strategies to approach a problem.

Also, the site visits provided by this program allow you to connect with companies in the Bay Area and learn from their vast knowledge. You will be inspired and motivated to work for these companies, for a startup or even build one on your own.

What are your top 5 things to do in Berkeley and in the Bay Area?

1.     There are plenty of events to attend in the Bay Area, with interesting topics on technology, social and entrepreneurship. (I took some time organizing and selecting the events that I wanted to attend in advance—this was a must to make the most out of my time here.) There is always something new to learn, and that is the most exciting thing about being in the Bay Area.

2.       I enjoyed visiting Golden Gate Park, Twin Peaks, the Computer History Museum and the Google Park. I also had fun visiting Sacramento with my Peruvian friends.

3.        Walking around campus, taking pictures of the school architecture, visiting Sather Tower and enjoying all the open places that the UC Berkeley campus can provide are all comforting after a long lecture.

4.     There are a variety of restaurants to try new dishes from different countries and cultures. I had a blast sharing these moments with my friends from the program.

5.     I found it relaxing to walk around the Bay Area and discover new and interesting things, like new businesses and retail stores in the area, museums and Catholic churches.

What advice would you give to a student who is coming to study at Berkeley?

Organize the best that you can—a planner is going to be your best friend! Whether it is digital or physical, a planner is a must to keep track of everything that you are doing: classes, essays and projects due throughout the semester. This will also help you stay calm and enjoy the time here.

What does earning this certificate mean for you personally and professionally?

Earning this certificate was just amazing and comforting. It keeps me motivated to go beyond everything and think positive about life. I look forward to not only continuing with my company and contributing to the dubbing industry in Peru, but also being open to opportunities to work with other companies and to keep growing professionally.

I will treasure these excellent memories for the rest of my life. I am sure future students will as well!