Berkeley Global alumnus Luis Aguirre always wanted to work in the business world. It's why he went on to study business at his home university of Universidad Tecnológica del Perú (UTP).
During his undergraduate studies, Luis accepted an internship position at CARVIMSA, a paper and packaging company. “During this internship, I was able to identify different areas in business that I enjoyed most and practiced what I learned in my classes in Peru.”
And one of those areas was entrepreneurship and business development. But Luis did not feel fully prepared to begin his career yet. He knew he needed to enhance his résumé in addition to receiving his undergraduate degree.
So Luis attended a study-abroad event at his university, where he learned all about our Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP).
“They explained all the benefits that you will gain from a study-abroad experience,” Luis recalls. “They even had a video call with the Executive Director of the BHGAP program, Alex Budak. The program immediately caught my interest because it meant I could get involved in a competitive business landscape in the heart of innovation and entrepreneurship: Silicon Valley. It also seemed like a great opportunity to increase my network.”
So one application and acceptance letter later, Luis found himself beginning a new adventure in Berkeley to immerse himself in all things entrepreneurship. After completing one semester of the program in 2018 combined with his undergraduate degree from UTP in 2019, Luis had the theoretical and real-world know-how and network to land his first job.
“The certificate gave me an advantage when I applied to my current job at the British Peruvian Chamber of Commerce,” Luis enthuses. “I am currently working in developing the international trade area. My role is to work with British companies that are open to doing business in Peru. I help facilitate their market entry and increase the Chambers’ network for our members.”
By studying abroad with Berkeley Global, Luis was able to gain the confidence he needed to thrive instantly in his new business career.
Why did you choose to study at UC Berkeley?
My goal is to build an industry around a service or product that stands out among the traditional ones. In order to reach this goal, I needed to see how businesses develop in different countries. The best way to approach this was by studying with Berkeley Global and in the San Francisco Bay Area, where some of most of the successful entrepreneurs are based.
I wanted to experience how these entrepreneurs develop companies and learn why Silicon Valley is so attractive to others. And I did just that.
What courses stood out to you most?
The Opportunity Recognition course was remarkable due to its composition. I enjoyed the way Professor Andrew Isaacs taught using real case studies from companies in different sectors. The best part was after you solved the case independently, you found out what the real outcome was. Berkeley Haas professors brought the case studies to life with the class so you felt like you were involved in the case yourself.
The Blockchain Fundamentals course helped me understand the decentralized application and how to take advantage of this globally available resource for different purposes. I enjoyed it so much that I would love to take a more advanced class in this subject in the future.
What was your experience taking classes?
The main difference in taking Berkeley courses compared to those at my home university was the diversity in the classroom. I could interact with students from all different backgrounds, which makes it an enriching experience. I was able to build a network and develop interesting projects with my cohort.
I also enjoyed how easy it was to ask questions about the coursework or topics that we discussed in class. I could always schedule a meeting with a professor to help me clarify any doubts.
How does taking these courses fit in with your professional goals?
These courses and experiences in the program have put me on the right track in brainstorming the perfect idea for my future company I hope to build one day. My goal is to become an entrepreneur in the two major productive sectors of Peru—mining and agribusiness. I want to improve a specific service or deliver products related to these businesses. There is a growing interest from other coutries for Peruvian products so I think this could be a great opportunity.
The best way to prepare for my future career was by having the chance to learn from other entrepreneurs and listening to their advice.
Why should other students be interested in applying to the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program?
This program is great for students that have a growing interest in being a part of a larger community of professionals. They will have the opportunity to learn certain skills to accomplish projects and goals. BHGAP offers the resources to help students in this process. They give you personalized assistance to help you develop skills and lead you on the right career path. Also, Berkeley Global offers different activities around campus—and believe me, you will always discover something new!
What are your top 5 things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area?
1. Enjoying the sunset on Grizzly Peak with friends.
2. Cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and catching the ferry to Sausalito.
3. Visiting the Piedmont area of Oakland for great food and cool shops.
4. Visiting the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and different buildings around campus.
5. Definitely paying a visit to the SF MOMA Museum and walking around the city.
What advice would you give to a student who is coming to study at Berkeley?
I would strongly recommend scheduling a meeting with a career coach or program adviser so they can advise you on the right classes or club to be a part of. Enjoy all the opportunities that BHGAP offers you!
What does earning this certificate mean to you?
Personally, it means a great accomplishment and is a reminder of my time and effort on finishing the program successfully. It has given me an added value for my professional career by endorsing my knowledge in certain skills.