How to be more competitive at Berkeley!

grouppeople1If you’re a new transfer, a baby face freshman, or are only recently becoming involved in the Berkeley recruiting process, then chances are you might still be learning how to deal with the competitive nature of everything at Cal.  If you’re at Haas, you’ve likely seen anywhere from 10 to 100+ people apply for a single open position on a committee, decal, scholarships, or really anything that was worthwhile.

Now some prospective students out there might be wondering “But wait, if you’re at Haas doesn’t that make you BAMF certified?” While I do keep my BAMF card on my person at all times, it doesn’t carry as much weight when everyone else has one too. So in a world where everyone around you is the cream of the crop, how do you stand out as an individual? Well you could hire a professional that would charge you $300 an hour, just for them to tell you “be unique” or “just be yourself.” Being yourself is universally accepted as some of the best advice you’ll ever receive, but then the challenge becomes how do you convey “yourself” as someone who is both a unique individual and someone who is worthy of a second resume glance.

That’s a lot of questions to tackle before you have to get back to your midterm studying. But before we get started its important to note that while these tips may not solve all your problems, they will at least give you some insight into what the competition is doing and how you can better market yourself in the future.

1.Tell a powerful story

Something that I learned at pre-core this summer that seemed to be pretty obvious, but never really sunk in as something that I should actively prepare for was having a powerful story to back up a claimed interest or resume bullet point. For example, if someone asked you why you were interested in finance you would probably want to have something more than just “I like money” you might get a chuckle if they’ve seen Idiocrasy, but even then you’d be taking a risk. At the same time, you don’t want to open with a cliché like “Ive been interested in business ever since I started my first lemonade stand at 10 years old” even if it’s true, it’s just not a very powerful story. What you should be doing is utilizing the STAR method! Situation: What was the problem? Task: What had to get done? Action: What did you do? Result: What happened? Preparing your answer ahead of time and delivering it with this method will allow you to tell your story in the most structured and organized fashion!

2.Develop your personal brand

If you’ve ever talked to Tai Tran then chances are you know how important your personal brand is, for those of you who have been skipping his coffee chats, your personal brand is essentially the cloud version of your elevator pitch. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, puts it like this “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” So when you and others think about you as a business professional what kinds of things come to mind? A quick example would be “Mike Sauce? He’s a third year business major, Marine Corps veteran, and an all-around good guy” but as awesome as that guy sounds, your personal brand is going to need more substance than simply claiming to be a good person. Earlier this month I was at a Deloitte info session where one of the recruiters put it simply as “It’s not enough to just say you’re punctual, you have to actually be punctual” meaning that if you want punctuality to be a part of your personal brand then you need to exemplify that it actually does matter to you.


You might find this surprising, but a single resume will not be able to capture all of the different qualities that recruiters are looking for, and neither will it capture all of the relevant skills that you could contribute to a specific role. At the very least you need to target your resume and Personal Brand to a specific industry, if not for the specific role. This way only your most relevant and significant experience will be brought to the table. Now some of our younger readers might be asking “But I only had a part time job in high school, how do I use that to target a specific industry?” Well Laszlo Bock, a senior advisor at Google wants to help YOU, and he’s offered this formula to help you improve: Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]. The goal is to put your impacts at the front so that even if recruiters skim through your resume they can still see your biggest contributions. At the same time, you want to relate it to the job description or any other information about the job as closely as you can!

There are of course hundreds of other tips we could go over and even the ones here are just a brief overview, but you get what you pay for. If you’re still interested in learning about how to become more competitive, then I would strongly recommend going to the career center. The services and events they hold would literally cost you hundreds of dollars in the private sector, and unlike the private coaches and businesses who do what they do to make money, the people at Cal’s Career Center are extremely friendly and genuinely want to help you succeed.

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Career Profile: A Glimpse into Non-ABC Roles


In the midst of October where the sun will set earlier and the leaves from the trees start to fall, it is also the time when recruiting season start to ramp up for many. Strolling through the Haas courtyard, you are bound to see one of three observations:

  1. Someone practicing cases with another person
  2. Someone in a business suit holding a leather folder
  3. Someone seeking advice/feedback from someone else

Haas is composed of a diverse group of driven, intellectually curious, and well-connected people. As we learned in the beginning of our orientation, the network we build here will be the network we can use forever. Yet from looking around, it seems that a significant amount of students work within a narrow scope of the ABC (accounting, banking, and consulting) for one reason or another.

Therefore, today I decided to question the status quo and draw attention to the non-ABC route because I want to encourage you to think beyond that narrow scope and take time to self-reflect on what you truly enjoy. To facilitate this process, I interviewed four Haas students who did incredible internships this past summer without following the ABC track.

Evelyn Wang
Company: Nike
Position: Procurement Intern

How did you get involved in supply chain?
My mom worked in a similar industry so I was able to see bits and pieces of the work she did while I was growing up. With a general idea of the role, I applied and was accepted to be the Supplier Management Intern at Boeing; Boeing helped me reinforce my interest in this role. I found it incredibly rewarding to see the mechanical parts come together to form a product. Full disclosure though, there’s a learning curve; but once you get the hang of it, it’s really fun. You get opportunities to collaborate with different departments like IT, finance, marketing, inventory management.

Can you share a few projects you did at Nike?
Sure! I worked on the Packaging & Components team. For example, the Jordan shoes and Air Force 1 shoes is made up of many parts; I had to look into each individual component such as the eyelets, shoelaces, dubraes to find ways to reduce costs. I spent a lot of time researching historical price trends as well as explore different supplier options, partnership location, delivery costs and more.

Another fun project that I got to work on was solving the answer to “how might we fit a larger size shoe in a smaller size box”. By figuring out this problem, Nike could reduce fiber usage and increase sustainability. Like a case study, I went to the employee Nike store to measure the boxes and shoes of the top 10 best sellers and do analysis on those shoes to see if they could fit into a smaller box. Turns out it could! My internship ended before I could find the solution for that though- perhaps it could be something the next intern could work on.

Mari Wu
Company: Uber China
Position: Competition and Product Operations Intern

Why did you choose to apply to Uber China?
As an international student, I faced a dilemma between looking into opportunities in the USA or return back home to China. I ultimately chose Uber in China because I wanted to test out what the working life would be in China in order to decide whether I wanted to return to China for my full-time job or recruit in America.

What was exciting about your role?
As you know, Didi and Uber China recently merged. I spent most of my summer doing extensive research on our competitor, Didi. I would analyze their data and act almost like the CIA of Uber to form conclusions on how we could perform in similar ways and also predict Didi’s next strategy.

What was a key finding you found?
For example, I did an analysis on one of Didi’s most popular cities, Hangzhou in order to find patterns against our operations. I discovered that unlike a typical business cycle where there were two peak hours, Hangzhou had three. The unusual hours were from 9PM to11PM on weekdays. It turns out that the top technology firms like Alibaba was located in this city and apparently workers would stay late because they were provided with free dinner.

Do you have any thoughts on why Uber China ultimately merged with Didi?
They actually merged on the last day of my internship. I cannot disclose too much but one overarching idea that I think led to Uber’s merge in China was largely due to the lack of local customer insight.

For example, Uber partnered with Baidu Map and Didi worked with WeChat. Unlike America whose applications develop a one-point solution (one app solves one problem), Chinese customers like all-in-one package deal that WeChat offered. In this all-in-one capability, customers could the hail the taxi service (Didi) without even downloading Didi’s app. WeChat is not a social app, it’s a lifestyle app. By partaking in this partnership, WeChat provided Didi with the user inflow that made it that much stronger. Therefore, I think if Uber had understood the customer’s app patterns, they would’ve formed the partnership accordingly.

David Li
Company: Google
Role: Associate Product Marketing Manager Intern

What is your background and why are you passionate about marketing?
Growing up in the vibrant diverse city of Hong Kong, I was a rather observant child, exposed to an environment filled with the jarring juxtapositions of wealth and poverty and of modernist constructs immersed in underlying rich cultural heritage. It always fascinated me how these landscapes were shaped, and the nuances that built these complex dynamics. Marketing is all about understanding this sensibility and exposure, and the interaction between individuals with society and with products.

My exposure to these forces and underlying complexities that shape interactions were reinforced through my traveling adventures with my dad on his fashion business endeavors. I recall a specific fashion fair in Dusseldorf where I was puzzled over two similar pieces of clothing marketed in two fashion booths. One was charged a mere $5, whilst the other at a blatant $500. I came to realize that it boiled down to a brand’s power to liberate this difference, building a perception of premier. Marketers thus are equipped with the ability to conjure up the magic and hype behind a product or brand. There is a sense of excitement and cheekiness to marketing, serving as a voice of your company to your consumers, that really excites me.

Why was it an eye-opening experience to be a part of Marketing at Google?
Google Marketing is a truly unique organization, as no other organization has the breadth and depth of products Google has to offer. We are also at the forefront of developing the intersection between marketing and technology, ‘art, copy and code’ as we call it, to explore new ways in which technology can help build brands in a digital world. The fast-paced nature of the work conducted was particularly eye opening. We have a phrase called ‘launch and reiterate’ which describes the rapid ways we launch and execute campaigns and churn out more exciting ways of connecting the consumer to our products.

What is the role like for an APMM?
APMM at Google is a rotational program that allows you to touch upon different verticals within Google’s products (ie. YouTube, Android, Chrome). The degree of breadth is unique to the company; from potentially touching on B2B marketing to brand marketing, Google APMMs gain exposure and training to different types of marketing. The icing on the cake is also that the program is global. This means that after 18 months, you can travel to an international location, be it in Singapore, Rio, London, and learn how marketing differs in these local or regional markets.

As an APMM intern, I had the opportunity to execute a project with Google Play surrounding how we can create bigger and better partnerships. This involved working with different global and cross-functional stakeholders, creating pitch decks and other super cool things that I cannot disclose!

The most important aspect of this role is the ability to self-drive your own projects, take complete ownership of your work and embrace ambiguity. You have to be okay with dealing with uncertainty and pivot when necessary.

We have all read stories about the incredible perks at Google. What was your favorite?
After a training bootcamp we had in the SF office one day, we hopped on a shuttle to Safari West in Sonoma! It was an amazing two days of sunshine, good vibes, and touring around in jeeps to see safari animals. Other than that, I looked forward to my daily dose of Noosa yoghurt for breakfast.

Any final thoughts on Google?
If you’re interested in applying to any role at Google, be genuine and tell your story. We want to hear what have shaped your experiences and how you can bring your whole authentic self to work!

Adam Sloane
Company: Annie’s Inc.
Role: Business Development Intern

What were some of your projects as a Business Development intern?
So as a business development intern, I worked quite closely with the Sales department. I analyzed a lot of product data- data on our product, competitor’s products, as well as pattern searching in relation to promotion spending and general sales data. Ultimately, it was to see how certain products were performing in their respective food categories.

Can you share some of your projects?
Of course! We recently changed the structure of the ketchup bottle from an upright bottle to an upside down bottle. I tracked the new packaging style to see how its statistics performed against the old product. I also spent some time analyzing our fruit snack product line to understand why in some retailers we were losing market share.

What’s the culture like at Annie’s?
Even with the General Mills acquisition, the culture I’ve heard has managed to stay the same. It’s a tight-knit group of around 60-70 people; I could sit down and talk to the different directors -sales, marketing, operations, and logistics. Actually, I even got to sit down and chat with John Foraker, the CEO of Annie’s, about his perspectives in Annie’s.

What’s a fun fact about working here?
There is a garden right outside and a gardener comes and picks the produce for employees to take home for free; this is just one example showing how Annie’s really spends a lot of time emphasizing clean and healthy eating.

So now that you’ve read up on some amazing internship experience, where are you planning to go? I hope that I could show you that there are so many other jobs out there to explore. Your internship doesn’t define who you are, but it does pave way for your next experience. As Dr. Seuss says, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”

It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish


“Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”

This unpromising review for Frederic Austerlitz would certainly have discouraged a less self-confident man than the extraordinary star of stage, film, and television, Fred Astaire (nee Austerlitz). Success is not always instantaneous. In fact, you could make the argument that some failure is a necessary ingredient in the success of every venture.

Consider the start and finish of some of these businessmen:

Henry Ford: After building his first vehicle in 1896, Ford launched two unsuccessful car companies- The Detroit Automobile Company and then the Henry Ford Company. Ford abandoned these initial failures, readjusted his approach, rallied financial support, and in 1903 created the Ford Motor Company with 12 investors. Ford is now one of the largest automotive manufacturers and has been under family control for over 110 years.

Mark Cuban: Now known as a billionaire TV personality, political contributor, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban’s early jobs and businesses ventures proved less lucrative than the $5.7 billion sale of his company to Yahoo!. He was fired from his first job after college and proved incapable as a cook, waiter, and carpenter. None of those positions were right for him, he pivoted, adapted, and tried again, ultimately finding that business investment and nurturing were his strongest skills.

Sir James Dyson: After 5,126 failed prototypes, Dyson finally perfected ‘the Dyson’ (vacuum). Inspired by the failure of his Hoover vacuum’s diminishing suction and performance, Dyson sought to design a bag-less machine whose power would not be compromised. It took over five thousand tries and tweaks to get a successful model and even then he was unsuccessful at selling his vacuum to major cleaner manufacturers. Determined, he launched his own company and now Dyson is known for consistently creating innovative solutions to typical vacuum problems.

Haas Students: Whether it’s an app, a charity, a product, or an investment idea, Haas students have created unique business propositions. Some of have failed, many have succeeded (Intel, eBay, Tesla, The Gap,, PowerPoint, AIG, even Pokemon Go). Beyond having a winning idea, a cohesive and cooperative team, a dynamic pitch, clever marketing, and thoughtful financial analysis – Haas businesses have been designed by creative men and women determined to succeed. All have faced some challenges: an app design was incompatible with a new software update, a competitor beat them to market, or a good idea was pitched in a poor investment environment. Haas students realize that facing initial or intermittent challenges is part of succeeding.

After all, pushing ourselves to continually improve has been instilled in us through our interactions with Haas. The famous ‘defining principles’ of Haas – Question the Status Quo, Confidence without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself all encourage us, in at least one aspect of our endeavors, to move beyond failure, adapt, adjust, rework, fix, modify and strive to create our best possible effort.

How is it possible that failure is a good thing? Fred Astaire, Henry Ford, Mark Cuban, Sir James Dyson, and enumerable successful Haas grads would all affirm that it builds character, inspires determination, and helps dispel that insidious obstacle to success: fear of failure itself.

Recruiting and the Pursuit of Happiness


Written by Josh Wang, Haas UG Blog Writer

 Recruiting is one of the defining experiences that every Haas student has to endure. And while there is plenty of advice on how to recruit successfully, none of it addresses our personal lives. How do we successfully and effectively manage our mental and physical health, stress, and relationships?

I admit that I did not handle these things well. In the months that I spent networking and interviewing for my junior summer internship, I stopped exercising altogether, and picked up a habit of eating incredible amounts of greasy fast food. My weight ballooned, and the massive, but more importantly, uncontained stress put a strain not only on my happiness, but also on the happiness of people around me. I stopped going out with my friends, I stopped seeing my family and spending time with my younger brother, and most of all, I stopped caring about happiness altogether. I always told myself that after I got a job, I could find it again.

Yet the truth is, even as a senior who is finally done with recruiting, it has been a slow and painstaking process to return to the old Josh. I look back on my junior year, and although I found a great job and enjoyed my summer internship, I regret the lost time that I spent stressing about insignificant things and over-preparing for info sessions or interviews. I’ve had to rediscover my interests and hobbies. I’ve begun reaching out to people that I had neglected to catch up and hopefully become part of their lives again.

So, for all juniors and seniors still at the recruiting grind, here are three principles that I have realized over the last year. I hope that you’ll at the very least be open-minded to them, and at most, be shaped by them.

  1. Do not pay for your career or academic success with your happiness.

 You go to Berkeley. Academic success is ingrained in your blood. Missing a final is a nightmare that you’ve woken up from. Similarly, you are pressured by your peers, professors, and even Haas to find a prestigious career. The tagline that adorns every webpage: “Our students go on to great firms such as Goldman Sachs, Bain, and Google,” fills you with dread as you wonder if you’ve failed for not working at those places.

And as a Berkeley student, despite having midterms on your plate, despite having family or financial issues that eat away at your mental capacity, you’re still going to bust your ass to get a great job. That’s great. My point isn’t that you should give up your ambition.

But instead of giving up your happiness, give effort and dedication when you need to. For the other times, don’t forget to unwind with your friends. Don’t opt out of your hobbies, whether they are dancing, hiking, trying new foods, or binge-watching Netflix shows.

Don’t overthink emails, or let the stress of waiting on an email back from HR ruin a night out with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I can’t tell you how many times I had dinner with my bMail, with my girlfriend as a third wheel.

Continue to do things that make you happy, because your job or internship, by itself, will not.

Make weekend plans. Smile when you wake up. That smile is going to emanate in your next interview and set you apart from all the other Haas zombies you’re competing with.

  1. Your relationships are the most important thing that you have.

Think about the last time you were truly happy. Where were you? What were you doing? Regardless of your answers to these two questions, I guarantee that nothing was as important as who you were with. One of the most important things I learned last year was that no matter how successful I became or where I was in the world, I wouldn’t be happy without the people that mattered most to me.

When you start recruiting, or any stressful period in your life, it becomes easy to tell yourself that you don’t have time to see them. That is simply false. You may have less time, but if you want something enough, you can make it happen.

When you graduate from UC Berkeley, you will have forgotten most of what you’ve learned in your classes. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably already forgotten what you learned in accounting today. The only thing that you will hold onto is the relationships you form and the memories you make with those people. Don’t come away from this amazing time and community with nothing. Make time for the important people in your life.

  1. Allow yourself to be happy.

A Haas friend of mine wrote an article last year for the Daily Cal, in which she talked about the “UC Berkeley problem that has no name” – we give ourselves so much pressure that we feel guilty for making time to do things that make us happy.

Too many times last year, I found myself thinking, “I should be prepping for interviews,” when I was doing anything but. My peers have repeatedly told me that they’ve experienced this as well.

I’m telling you that it’s ok. Take a deep breath. Two hours to unwind with some basketball or to grab a drink at Tap Haus isn’t going to undermine your chances. Don’t feel guilty about having a good time and being happy, because contrary to what your world is telling you right now, it’s what you should be doing. And when you’re done, feel free to lace up those dress shoes, grab that folder of resumes off your bed, and proceed to the next info session.

Just remember, in the words of king Kendrick, “We gon’ be alright.”

Why You Should be Going to Info Sessions!

9471777067_81b663d858_mWritten by Michael Saucedo, Haas UG Blog Writer

On the surface info sessions might seem like a Royale Rumble wrestling event where you have to power bomb your resume onto the table or RKO the initial handshake with a recruiter in order to seem memorable. Its unsurprising then that some students decide to opt out of these often overcrowded and seemingly superficial events. But what if I told you info sessions weren’t meant to directly give you a job? Instead, they should be looked at as a learning experience where the goal is to gain valuable intel to prepare for future interviews. Approaching info sessions with this in mind is going to be the best way to leverage these events. Here are some examples of what you have to gain by entering the ring. 

Learn what recruiters want

You’d be surprised what kind of insight a recruiter will share with you just by asking them! I remember once I asked an Apple recruiter “What are you looking for in a competitive applicant” and then they said “Well on top of GPA and extracurriculars, we are looking for _____” (Go to your own info session to find out!) That same day I had an interview for a position that I really wanted and when I was asked “Why should we pick you?” I knew exactly what kind of skills I needed to market in order to be competitive. Chances are you already have the skills recruiters are looking for, but knowing ahead of time what those skills are will give you enough time to develop an answer that you’ll be able to talk about without stumbling. Other good questions are “What do you like about your position?” “What do you like about the culture?” etc. These kinds questions can give you ammo for later so that when you walk into an interview you’ll be able to answer questions using these conversations as references.

Develop soft skills

Most of us know how to socialize in an academic environment, but those same mannerisms and habits may or may not fly in the industry you want to break into. Going to info sessions will give you an idea of how people interact within a given field, what kinds of things are appropriate, and what kinds of conversations are typical. For example, when I talked to Blizzard at a past career fair one thing they wanted to talk about was what kind of video games I played. I answered with “Well I’m level 30 in Pokémon Go right now” and the recruiter said “Wow make sure to put that on your resume!” I’m pretty sure he was kidding, but knowing that these kinds of conversations are appropriate proved incredibly helpful when talking to other gaming companies. These same topics probably wouldn’t fly with a banking or consulting firm, so go to an info session to learn what they fancy.One thing I would recommend is just walking around and listening to the kinds of questions recruiters ask, what kinds of questions other students ask, taking note of the dress code, etc. Then, form a plan of attack based on the themes. 

Meet new people

Now some of you out there might still be thinking “But Mike, I don’t like networking, or talking to people, or people in general.” Well I’m right there with you buddy! But the fact is, meeting people and seeming friendly are a sort of requirement for coming off as a normal person that people would want to work with. What makes it especially important at info sessions is that not only do you get the chance to meet recruiters, but you also get to meet other students with similar goals and interest. When you show up to these events there’s likely to be 300+ people, leaving you to wait in lines. But, the pro is that you can talk to other students that you otherwise might not ever get the chance to meet. After you’ve waited in line and made what is sure to be a long lasting BFF, you get to meet someone who already works and has experience within the industry of interest. By shifting your focus from how this person can get you a job and instead concentrating on what you can learn, you’ll end up having a much better time. Remember to send the recruiters you meet a thank you note for their time!

It’s fairly well known that info sessions aren’t very likely to directly lead to a job offer, but by leveraging the connections you make and the conversations you have, you put yourself one step closer than the person who opted out. And while it might start out feeling like a trip to the dentist office, the more events you go to and the more people you meet, the more comfortable you’ll become!

Internships during the School Semester: the Challenges and Outcomes


Written by Mina Seo, Haas UG Blog Writer 

Last semester, I worked for a marketing company, while also taking on 19 units. This was extremely challenging but fulfilling and would have to be one of the hardest semesters that I’ve taken on. But my experience overall was full of learning and growth – I learned more about marketing through the internship than I did through classes and large lecture halls. I learned that time management, my best friend, didn’t include time needed for eating. I learned how to sleep while standing up on BART. But most of all, I learned that internships during the semester are largely equivalent to a full time job, minus the salary and benefits. For those considering working as an intern during the school semester, I recommend these tips below to help you juggle school, work, and social activities.

Too Many Activities, Not Enough Time

I have always been a busy body, always thinking of things to do, and finding ways to do them. I was never one to stand still. But interning 10 hours, working a work-study job for 10 hours, participating in club activities, and taking classes 18 hours a week took a toll on me. I was always in a rush to do things. I would sometimes give up work-study hours so that I could get more interning hours. I barely had any time to study.

To combat this, I decided to reduce my participation in club activities. Most of my college career has been about doing things I wanted to do now, but now I had to focus on what I wanted to do in the future. Because of that, I dropped my dance team club, so that I could study and develop my professional career. This helped me improve my time management. I was still involved in other clubs that didn’t require much time commitment, like the Korean American Student Association, so dropping dance didn’t leave a huge hole in my heart.

Adjusting to the New Schedule

Since I’ve never worked in the City before, it was extremely hard for me to get the hang of things. I struggled to wake up, go to work, and do just about anything for the first few weeks of the semester. I was extremely excited, but I was also extremely tired from the new adjustment. That was why I made my planner my best friend. It told me anything and everything I needed to know in order to do things on time. I adjusted my schedule and such to accommodate the new changes.

Expect Overtime

One thing that really affected my time was that I had to work outside of my assigned work schedule. For someone extremely clueless about traditional work culture, I realized that the hours they tell us are only the bare minimum. I had to attend events for work every week, sometimes every two weeks, because one, I wanted to, and two, I had to. People who went above and beyond got the most out of the internship, and I wanted that same experience. It was challenging to say the least. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the learning that came from putting in the extra time.

Don’t Go Through the Motions

After working for a while, it can get really easy to find a nice routine to the weekly schedule, and it is also really easy to settle. People can burn out and just do exactly what the supervisor wants them to do, but it is important to enjoy and find innovative ways to do work. My experience at my internship was extremely fun. I did something new each week, even if the assignments were largely the same. Whether it was to search for events or call potential organizations to promote something, every assignment was a new mission that I had to fulfill.

It’s Your Decision

I believe that any experience, good or bad, can be beneficial in the long run. I found out that the industry that my company focused on was not something I would do in the future. It was extremely fun doing all the things I did, but I felt that my efforts could be spent on something I loved, rather than on something I was only slightly interested in. The company culture at the internship was perfect. It was casual and relaxing. I definitely want to work somewhere that shares those values.

This article has largely been about my experience interning during the semester. If some of these things don’t apply to you, then that’s ok! Although summer is a great time to intern, it is still a great feat to be able to work during the semester while juggling a full time student work load. I recommend anyone to intern for at least one semester during the academic year. If you hate your internship, be glad that you’re only spending a maximum of 10-15 hours with the company. If you love your internship, add more hours and devote your time outside of your intern hours.  Like I’ve said before, experience is really important to narrowing down what career to go to. Through any internship, good or bad, experiences like this are there to help you grow.

Interview with Kunal and Rahul, the minds behind Dot.


Interview conducted by Janina Morrison.

Have you heard of Dot? If you haven’t, it’s the latest tech project taking Kickstarter by storm. Within 12 hours of launching, it met its goal of $20,000 and has been featured on sites like Digital Trends and Product Hunt. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kunal Chaundhary and Rahul Ramakrishnan, the Haas seniors behind the physical push notification product.

JM: Let’s start from the beginning. How long have you two been friends and how did you meet?

Kunal: Rahul and I met during second semester freshmen year in a consulting club called Venture Strategy Solutions, which is a consulting club that focuses on startups.  I came into college wanting to do startups (which has been 3 years now), and Rahul was also interested as well so I’m always pitching him ideas. He’s also my roommate and we’re both at Haas, so those are some of the things that drew us together.

Our first company was Stash, which is like an Airbnb for storage, and we launched that the summer before our Sophomore year. It did pretty well; we were able to secure $5000 worth of space, sold about 10,000 sq ft of space, which is about the size of a warehouse, and had a couple hundred users. Unfortunately, the team fell apart since we all then took summer internships and didn’t put as much time and effort into it because of that. During that same summer, I came up with a new idea and approached Rahul with it. When we finally decided to work on it, we were picked up by the Citris Foundry, they invested about $30k into [us]. This past summer I went full time with it and now here we are today.

JM: So that last idea you pitched to Rahul is what we now know as Dot?

Kunal: Yes.

JM: So when did this idea of Dot first start?

Kunal: I’ve been sitting on this idea for probably 7-8 months-while we were still doing Stash-before I even told Rahul about it. It was pretty rudimentary in that we were just using the light to replace different notifications. For the longest time the only use was for the weather.

Rahul: It was a very idealistic idea. In the beginning we thought, ‘We don’t want people to use their phones at all.’ Kunal was telling me about something called “no-interface design,” this movement where instead of people just having screens and interface in front of you, getting rid of all of that and having a light that can flash on or off, with binary information to tell you what your phone would tell you, and you wouldn’t have to use your phone at all. That’s how it started, and that’s the main ideal situation. Then through different iterations, we decided that we needed to make it contextual, make your smartphone smarter.

Kunal: It was a long development of the idea, that’s really what last year was about. It really came about because we are both avid Sci-Fi fans who played a lot of video games in high school. A lot of this idea comes from those two worlds, worlds that aren’t constrained by physical limitations. If you’ve played video games, when you’re controlling your character, the way that developers relay information when you walk into a new area is by having a pop up on your screen, and there’s no real world equivalent to that. In Sci-Fi, computers are very aware of their surroundings, they can interact, they can consume data as much as we can. It was kind of inevitable that we came into this cross-section when we did.

JM: So is there a particular movie, TV show, or video game that inspired Dot? Especially since you mentioned that you both were influenced by Sci-Fi?

Kunal: Ideation is an interesting idea, because it’s very difficult to pinpoint what exactly the inspiration was. If I had to say what passively influenced us, for me I’d have to say Star Trek, mainly Data from Next Generation.

Rahul: You can draw analogies to Dot being like a smart secretary or something, like C3PO in Star Wars who updates you on information.  

JM: What is something that you know now about starting a project that you wish you knew at the time when you started this journey with Dot?

Kunal: It would’ve shaved off 8 months of our development time if we’d realized that we don’t have to build the entire product out when you get on Kickstarter. You can just get a functional prototype and then get the marketing assets. Marketing is extremely important. In this sort of climate with all the noise, you need to really hype yourself up. The most successful projects on Kickstarter, they are less developed than what they seem to be and the rest of it is just beautiful artwork and visuals, etc. You really have to sell your product before you make the product otherwise you’re just wasting people’s time.

JM: Oh interesting, I didn’t know that’s how it worked on Kickstarter. When I saw yours I thought, ‘Oh, they have the product, they need funding to put it into production.’

Kunal: Yea. We have a workable prototype and everything we’ve demonstrated in the video are all things that we’ve been able to do and replicate. To finish it, we require money and more importantly we require a lot of time. We realized that we can’t do this in school anymore; we’ll just hate our lives since it’s too stressful. The reason you do entrepreneurship is for the customers, the people, and when you go that long without really interfacing with enthusiastic people, it’s demoralizing and emotionally draining. If I had to do it over again, as soon as we got into the Foundry I would’ve gone over to Jacob’s, printed out a couple Dots on their high quality 3D printers, taken pictures of those, put them up, built the prototype and then launched before the semester ended.

JM: Where do you see DOT in 5 years? 10 years?

Kunal: We’re just trying to make it through the next month and then the next year! If Dot is still around in 5 years, we’ll probably be ditching the hardware and just becoming a big software platform that works with a lot of these interconnected devices. Hardware is really cool in the beginning but it’s difficult to scale, and the tech is moving towards a trend where we probably won’t need the hardware in a couple years. So our idea is just to become a software company.

JM: Where do you guys see yourselves after Dot?

Kunal: My thing for entrepreneurship, at least my take on it, is to start off with stuff that’s easy doable. My goal is to continually tackle harder and harder issues with technology and do something more and more complicated every single time. It’s unlikely I’ll get back to consumer hardware, I’ll probably move on to stuff like solar. It really depends on what the climate is like after we exit, our company fails, or whatever happens. Based on that, I’ll might go back to school, finish my degree, get masters, get an MBA or something like that, and then get back into the game.

Rahul: My take is kind of different from Kunal. I like taking internships at corporate companies; not the huge companies that move slow, but the faster moving ones. I think I learned a lot from the product managers. The past two internships I’ve had in product management, and it’s very relevant in terms of how to build product, release mbp, how to scale and learn from your customers, and move forward. By doing those I learned a lot about how these successful companies make new products, change them, and how they iterate on them. I take that information and put it back into startups. That’s what my approach is. Starting with easier technology is better because we’re college students and we’re learning about all of this new technology. Just applying what we’ve learned in the classroom with real world problems is really fun. It’s really rewarding to see what you’ve learned put in action and helping people around you.

Editor’s note: By September 21st, Dot raised over $115K on Kickstarter

*This post is an excerpt from the interview that Janina conducted. Keep an eye out for the full interview, which will be posted on the HBSA website at in the near future.


Welcome Haas Undergraduate Blog Team (2016-17)!

The Haas Undergraduate Blog is a platform dedicated to providing an “insider perspective” into life as a student at Haas. It aims to serve as a valuable resource for Haas alumni, as well as current, non-major, incoming, and prospective Haas undergraduates, who are interested in learning about the culture and current happenings in the prestigious business program.

We are excited to introduce the Haas Undergraduate Blog Team (2016-17)!

We have a diverse group of bloggers ranging from various backgrounds: continuing, transfer, student veteran, and international. Meet the team!

Katherine Krive, Class of 2017

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Katherine Krive, Managing Director

Hello, Haas community! I am thrilled to be the Managing Director for our Haas Undergraduate Student Blog this year. I am originally from Petaluma, CA (just an hour northwest of here) and will be finishing up my business administration degree this coming May. Mentorship is one of my passions. I’m involved as a mentor in several organizations throughout campus, including the Haas Mentorship program, SPMP for transfer students, and Livingwater Church.

This past summer, I interned as a management consultant associate in Silicon Valley, where I worked on projects within the tech industry, and simultaneously confirmed that I want to continue in consulting post-graduation. In my free time I love grabbing chai with friends, singing, finding new cafes to snapchat, and traveling. I look forward to working for you this year to continue providing a glimpse into life as a Haas student through the blog, building community, and building our brand as one of the top undergraduate business programs in the country.


Lexa Gundelach, Class of 2017

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Lexa Gundelach, Co-Director

Hello there! I’m a co-director for the Haas Undergraduate Blog this year and a senior at Haas. I am from the Bay Area and I am a proud transfer student. With the time I’ve been at UC Berkeley, I have had the chance to get involved in multiple business organizations, co-teach a DeCal, and land an awesome internship at a tech company. I have also been able to give back and help community college students transfer to UC Berkeley through the Starting Point Mentorship Program.

Although I haven’t found my true passion, I am pursuing a career in either marketing or consulting – ideally consulting in the marketing space. Besides academics, I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, and skiing. Fun fact: I ski 2-3 times a year in New Mexico! I also have a love for traveling: I studied abroad in Florence, Italy during my first year of college and I have started planning a post-grad trip to Southeast Asia.


Dana Siegel, Class of 2017

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Dana Siegel, Senior Writer

I’ve transitioned from a Newport Beach island dweller to an enthusiastic Cal Bear. I’m proud to have earned a place on the Dean’s Honor Roll as a fourth year, double major in the Haas Undergraduate Business Administration program and Legal Studies in The College of Letters and Science. I’m an active participant in the Berkeley community through my roles as President of Order of Omega, an all Greek honor and leadership society, and as a member of the Student Gift Campaign. I’m finally back from across the pond.

I’m excited to be home, having traded Big Ben for the Berkeley Campanile. My experiences are widely varied and include planning large, philanthropic fundraising events, most recently in Berkeley as Vice President of Philanthropic Service for the Sigma Kappa sorority, benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve had an interesting journalism career as Editor of three high school papers (two of which were launched by me). I have created digital marketing, designs, and advertisements included an art exhibition created during my time studying abroad, published by University College London (UCL).

I’ve combined an active social life with serious academic pursuits. I spent my past summers taking law courses from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst and ULC. My involvement in Haas and my legal studies course work have reaffirmed my desire to continue my education in law and business. The intricacies, complications, craftsmanship, and creativity used in navigating our legal system and managing businesses are both intriguing and exciting to me.  GO BEARS!


Sammy Tong, Class of 2017

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Sammy Tong, Senior Writer

Hello! My name is Sammy Tong and I’m a continuing writer here on the Undergraduate Blog. I’m originally from Hong Kong but I’ve lived in Canada and the States too. Last semester, I studied abroad in Sweden (so if you’re interested in studying abroad, let me tell you all the amazing things that make it worthwhile).

In my free time, I like to bake and cook. I am an avid subscribe of cooking channels on YouTube and enjoy making my own recipes when I need to de-stress. If I have spare time, I also enjoy going outdoors- especially hikes or water sports. I’m a morning person so I like to take a run in the morning before the day starts- it keeps me refreshed! You should consider it too! Another fun fact about me is that I’ve finally gotten around downloaded Yelp so now I’m quite obsessed with writing restaurant reviews.


Michael Saucedo, Class of 2018


Michael Saucedo, Writer

My name is Michael, I graduated high school in 2009 and as the oldest of 5 kids I helped support my family financially through the recession of 2008. After a year of working full time I joined the Marine Corps where I was stationed for 1 year at Camp Fuji, Japan and 3 years at Camp Pendleton, California. I deployed on a humanitarian relief mission in 2011 following the 9.0 earthquake that struck north eastern Japan, and deployed again with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2012. I left the Marines in 2014 and attended a local junior college to assist with my transition to civilian life. I transferred to the Haas School of Business this past June and was named a Regents and Chancellor Scholar at UC Berkeley.

My goal is to work in finance at a competitive tech company in order to exemplify as a business professional that success is possible for anyone regardless of social or cultural backgrounds. I like to shoot things and was a two time expert qualifier with the M16/M4 in the US Marine Corps, I am currently enrolled in the Archery decal at Berkeley. I also like strategy based games, particularly Texas Hold Em since it is a game that has a large spectrum of skill level and it is something you could play almost anywhere. I like to travel and I’ve been to Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Guam, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines (mostly through military service).


Mina Seo, Class of 2017


Mina Seo, Writer

My name is Mina Seo and I am a 4th year business, and peace and conflict studies major. I love to travel and stay active! Some of the places I have been to are Zion National Park, Korea, and England!

I also love to snowboard. I am on the ski and snowboard team, and I treasure every moment I have with the snow. I even think about snow during the summer and even now. My dream is to travel the world and check out really amazing ski resorts and go back country snowboarding in Alaska.

I love to sing and dance. You could say I’m a double threat but I’m no threat at all. I danced for Main Stacks Dance Team in college, and was in choir for 7 years. Nowadays I just sing and dance in the shower or car.

As a peace and conflict studies major, I am really interested in learning about history and social justice. I believe that revenge only fosters more hate, and that nothing ever justifies killing innocent (and sometimes guilty) human beings. I’m also into human rights activism, and addressing economic inequality especially in developing nations.


Arhum Ali, Class of 2018



My name is Arhum Ali, and I am a junior transfer at the Haas School of Business.  My passion in helping young people maximize their potential in their formidable years is what has driven me in becoming the founder of two non-profit organizations.  

The DJ Halal Radio project has the objective of feeding young minds with positive-spirited inspiration, and Strive Fitness is a camp that promotes and inculcates physical fitness into their lives. I enjoy basketball, working-out, and reading books. This year I had the unique pleasure of skydiving which was probably the best experience of my life.  I also love making new friends and am a very interesting person to get to know.



Federico Crivelli, Class of 2018


Federico Crivelli, Writer

I was born and raised in the Italian capital of Fashion and Business, Milan. When I was 16, I put a cross next to the box “United States, anywhere,” I signed at the bottom, and one year later I was a foreign exchange student in a VERY small farm town in Washington State. I absolutely loved it and fell in love with the U.S., so I decided I wanted to stay. I went to Santa Barbara City College for two years before transferring to Cal.

Today I am a junior studying Business Administration; I am interested in consulting and I am looking into different business clubs on campus. I am also involved in the Greek System, and I am currently pledging the social fraternity Phi Kappa Psi, where I am running for Pledge Social Chair… My biggest passion is for people, as I love making new friends and learning from others (yes, I like that more than learning from books!).

I am also very passionate about health and fitness, and I believe in the Latin maxim “mens sana in corpore sano,” which means “a healthy mind inside of a healthy body.” I believe taking care of your body is just as important as studying and training your mind, and you can expect me mentioning this in at least one blog post if I may. Swimming is my favorite type of fitness, but other than that I also enjoy traveling, exploring, cooking (duh, I am Italian), and most importantly EverythingAndAnything as long as I do it with my friends.


Josh Wang, Class of 2017

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Josh Wang, Writer

I am a senior at Haas who is passionate about people. In my last year at Haas, my ultimate goal is to cultivate my relationships with the people around me and make it an unforgettable year. I’m starting to realize that my time at this amazing school is coming to a close, and am driven to create as many fun memories as possible.

Professionally, I am interested in a career at the intersection of technology and finance, but eventually would like to start a business that brings people together and makes an impact on the community.  Outside of class and work, I love to meet people and network. I never pass up a chance to get coffee or chat over dinner, and love talking about things that matter – such as politics, philosophy, and whether Kanye’s new music is better than his old music.

Beyond that, I am also passionate about boxing and kickboxing, which I’ve been doing for about 1 ½ years, and surfing, which I’ve been trying to do since I graduated high school. Overall, I am a very active guy and my version of an ideal weekend would be a road trip to Santa Cruz to hike in the mountains before trekking down to the beach to surf.

Applications to be a Writer for the Haas Undergraduate Student Blog are Open!

The Haas Undergraduate Student Blog is looking for writers for this academic year, writing about the experiences that Haas has to offer. As a member of the team, you will have the opportunity to represent the Haas student body through blogging, build a tight-knit community of dedicated writers and fellow business students, while also working with organizations such as the Hahands-coffee-cup-apple.jpgas Business School Association (HBSA), the Haas Undergraduate Program Office, and the BerkeleyHaas Marketing Department.

We are looking for motivated students who are interested in writing about the Haas community and their experiences as business students. Our blog is a valuable resource that provides a glimpse into the first-hand experiences of Haas undergrads to prospective and current business students, UC Berkeley staff, and alumni. Bloggers do not have to be experienced, but should enjoy writing short blog posts. Authors have the freedom and flexibility to choose the topics that they write about as long as they commit to publishing 1-2 articles per month. Training will be provided if necessary.

Recruiting timeline:

9/13 – Applications are due at 11:59pm

9/16 – Short interviews will be conducted for selected candidates

9/19 – Applicants will be notified about decisions

9/22 – Welcome Dinner for selected Haas writers

Application is here. Attach in an email to along with your resume and a headshot. 

We look forward to reading your applications!

Class of 2018 Haas Undergraduate Student Orientation

This article was written by William Vasseti (BS ’18) 


Here are the logistics of orientation in case you weren’t there or fell asleep:

Overall, orientation consisted of good information about our cohorts, recruiting and careers, the alumni network, HBSA and a talk by the inspirational alumnus Lucky Sandhu (he is awesome!). There were also several opportunities to network with recruiters as well as a chance to hear from an employer panel consisting of firms like PwC, Accenture and Pandora. There was also ice cream.

What it felt like to be there:

On Monday morning, I checked in and entered the auditorium after my first of surely many rushed FIFO café breakfasts and found my assigned cohort group in the middle of the room. As a transfer student, I felt a bit out of place at first, but my initial anxiety about orientation went away just a tad after I recognized a few familiar faces sitting in the massive auditorium. I found a seat and just as I struck up small talk with the people next to me, orientation started at 9:30am. After a brief welcome and overview of Haas history, Dean Lyons took the stage. It was cool to see him speak about the four defining principles in person. He reminded us that we were meant to be in Haas and that it wasn’t a mistake (whew!). Seeing him in real life felt like meeting a celebrity, especially after having watched him on YouTube back when admission into Haas was still a hope. That’s right people, don’t forget how badly you wanted to get into Haas and how excitedly nervous you were to hear back about your application.

But, when the stress builds up and you’re in it, it’s easy to forget the anticipation of getting accepted to Haas that we all once held. Try not to beat yourself up if you feel stressed because my personal experience and preliminary research indicates that everyone at Haas, if not all of Cal, has at least one moment where stress seems to become unbearable. Please remember that we’re here to support each other and that it’s okay to talk about how you feel.

In my first week, I already felt a bit stressed. Before you know it there are assignments due, class schedules to sort out, info sessions to attend, the feeling that you “have” to network or you’ll miss out, clubs to join, resumes to finalize and on and on…

img_3588Back to orientation. After the speakers in the auditorium, we took a break to enjoy a Top Dog lunch and spent time socializing with other students. There were several companies with booths and a nice little pop-up market that sold shirts, jackets and other Haas gear. After hanging out for a while, we went back inside to listen to practical career advice about internships and resumes before Mr. Lucky Sandhu took the stage and reminded us that we are fortunate to be at Haas and that we have a purpose. It was an engaging presentation that really made orientation feel good. We then had a Q&A with recruiters, and by around 3:30pm orientation was officially wrapping up. Hopefully you collected your much anticipated Haas branded backpack and set off into the horizon. Two weeks later, I still use my backpack with a hint of insecurity about looking like a Haashole – but, hey! I made it in!

My main takeaways from orientation and the first two weeks are that 1) Others are here to support you and it’s okay to talk about your feelings. Many others are going through the same things 2) I can’t do everything at once, and 3) I am grateful to be here.