What to Expect in Your First Months at Haas as an International Student

I’m Hélène Guo, a French Chinese graduate student majoring in business. I studied at EDHEC Business School in Paris, Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul and then worked in sustainable finance and private equity. In August 2021, I joined the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) with Berkeley Global as part of my last year of studies in my academic program, GETT.

Being “Student Always” and Learning From Brilliant Professors

The Haas School of Business has a distinctive culture that helps students become future leaders. One of the four defining leadership principles is being “student always.” Students are encouraged to stimulate their intellectual curiousity as there are always opportunities to learn more! 

It is very easy to have a conversation with passionate professors. In addition to guest speakers in the core classes, renowned entrepreneurs and international business leaders regularly visit Haas to share their experience as a part of the Dean’s Speaker Series. They provide great opportunities for thought-provoking discussions and insights into business issues. For example, I have participated in conversations with Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann (senior adviser at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & Google Ventures), Mette Morsing (head of PRME, UN Global Impact) and John Hanke (CEO of Niantic Inc.).

In addition to taking engaging business classes, students also have the opportunity to enroll in elective classes, called “concurrent enrollment,” from other departments. I decided to apply for the Leadership and Decision Making class in military science. I was, to my surprise, accepted! Why did I choose this elective? Because in this course we are taught teamwork, humility, integrity and leadership values by the Military Affairs Program. This undoubtedly results in more effective leadership skills that can be applied to many business situations.

Challenging Yourself by Practicing New Sports

If you enjoy recreational sports, UC Berkeley is the perfect place for you! Not only are there more than 1,000 student clubs, but there are also several campus sports facilities in or near the campus. This includes swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, treadmills, weights rooms and so much more.

Additionally, a wide range of group exercise classes are offered through the Berkeley Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) every day. You simply have to pick one that suits your schedule best. For example, I attend a once-a-week High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercise class with my friends.

My favorite sport spot among all UC Berkeley’s facilities is Cal Adventures located at the Berkeley Marina. Here you can rent kayaks and paddleboards by yourself or with friends and also take classes. I was fortunate to get a spot in the three-week intensive sailing class with five other UC Berkeley students. In this class we learned how to sail a boat by ourselves! I would have never imagined that I would learn to sail, let alone rent a sailboat by myself to enjoy San Fransisco’s skyline from the bay! I also had a lot of fun taking a windsurfing class that is offered every two weeks.

Exploring Sunny California: From UC Berkeley Campus to National Parks

From the Lawrence Hall of Science to the Campanile, Berkeley’s 178-acre “bear territory” is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the U.S.! If you’re lucky, you might bump into Oski the Bear, the official mascot of Cal! There are also many hikes in the surrounding area such as Grizzly Peak, named for grizzly bears that had lived in the area until the late 1800s, and is a place where you can enjoy watching the sunset over San Francisco.

On weekends, you may have time to visit California's diverse geographical landscapes, vibrant cities, national parks or Silicon Valley’s most famous headquarters. You will always have the opportunity to explore with other ambitious students from all around the world!