William Chen, 4-Month Finance Diploma Program

William Chen Photo

After working for three years at a management consulting firm, William Chen wanted to explore a new career path. He soon realized that finance is an area in which he is interested and began to find the best route to attain these new skills. Chen opted not to apply for an M.B.A. program; instead, he was enticed by UC Berkeley Extension's 4-Month IDP in Finance, as it offered the specific and intense nature that best-suited his goals.

"It would have been easy for me to stick with my previous job, but I believe in taking some risks in your career," Chen explains. "I knew someone who had attended the program, and she gave me a great review. So I told myself, 'Why not take the few months to learn something new and useful while making new friends from around the world?'"

Today, Chen lives and works in San Francisco as founder and owner of a local startup, P.L.A.Y., which specializes in manufacturing quality dog beds. Since its inception in 2011, the business has racked up a slew of industry awards, including BlogPaws Best Bed Products Award, Pet Product News Editor's Choice Award and Pet Business Editor's Choice Award. He credits the topics learned in the program as providing him with a platform on which to succeed. "What I learned in my finance program has been tremendously useful in my day-to-day management of business and investment decisions," Chen says. "More importantly, attending IDP gave me the opportunity to reflect on my career passion. Most of the instructors are terrific resources: Several of them gave me invaluable advice about starting up a new business, and we still stay in touch."