A Reflection: Haas Class of 2013 Orientation

Note: This post was uploaded on behalf of one of my awesome bloggers, James Chan. – Catherine Limcaco, Senior Media Manager

Since I’m new, I’ll introduce myself first. I’m James, a third-year business and psychology double major that will be blogging for the Haas Undergraduate Student Blog this year. I’m involved in the Undergraduate Marketing Association and lead the Berkeley Admissions Student Ambassadors, so some of you have probably seen me from one of their events. I joined this blog to be able to share some Haas events and other happenings from a peer’s perspective, so hope you enjoy my articles!

Now, on to the Class of 2013 orientation.

For returning students, it feels weird going to an orientation during junior year, to embark on the start of another program in the midst of their college careers. For transfers, the feeling was one of intimidation with coded vocabulary such as “BoA Forum” and “Callisto” bandied about as common knowledge. But for all 350 members of Haas Undergrad’s Class of 2013, the August 23 orientation represented a starting point, met with a combination of excitement and trepidation.

Upon entry, we got our nice little USB wristbands. Not only is it a rare example of a useful freebie, but it also marked our cohort- our social circle of fellow Haas undergraduates we will work with in events and “cohort challenges.” I was in the Haaski cohort, so I got a neat little green wristband. I caught up with a few friends and exchanged summer stories until we were ushered in to Andersen Auditorium for the general assembly.

After we arrived and settled down, Haas Dean Rich Lyons and Haas Alumni Association president Brad Howard greeted us. Both had different speaking styles: Mr. Lyons was soft-spoken and eloquent, while Mr. Howard was hilariously brash and enthusiastic. Both congratulated us for making it against all odds (amen) and reminded us of the benefits of Haas’ defining principles and rich alumni network. I normally don’t expect much from orientation speeches, but our speakers were inspiring, each in their own way.

We then broke up into our cohorts for our rotational workshops. First up for me was an introduction to the Career Center and its resources, covering the center’s mission, its website, and the drop-in appointments available. Although most of the returners were already familiar with Callisto, I found the fact that they had interview prep and alumni resources available for different industries from marketing to corporate finance intriguing. Even though it’s down on Bancroft and Fulton, students should definitely schedule an appointment and make a visit.

Next up was a section titled “interested in graduating?”, which seemed pretty relevant. The academic advisors there gave an overview of our core requirements (some changes were made this year) and some schedule planning resources. It was a good refresher focused on ensuring we wouldn’t be clueless come next Telebears appointment. They also had a segment on studying abroad and the Global Management Concentration, popular gateways to get a head start on gaining international business experience.

Next came one of the key events all the students were looking forward to: lunch! After wolfing down a roast beef sandwich, I spent the hour chatting with some friends and people I just met in my cohort. To me, this is the best part of being in the Haas program: you get to interact with people with such diverse and entertaining stories.

After our pit stop, Haaski marched on to our next section: “Building Your Alumni Network.” There, a panel of four Haas alums (two of which are new Haas MBA students) gave us an overview of their years at Haas and how it contributed to their careers. Since they were only about 4-6 years older than us, they brought fresh insight that we could relate to easily. We even recognized some of the professors they listed that inspired them! All in all, having recent alumns come talk to us definitely made their paths and accomplishments that more tangible to us.

The fourth workshop dealt with the particulars of writing a resume. To be frank, I felt that many other organizations and older students already give bountiful tips on writing a professional-looking resume, so most of what they covered was familiar. The advice that the resume should tell a coherent story, however, was original and beyond the typical “fonts and headings” treatment.

Finally, we went to the “Community and Resources” workshop, where the speakers covered online resources we could use to connect with Haas and its alumni and students, such as LinkedIn and this blog (interesting fact: Oski has a Facebook profile. And he’s popular.). It’s nice to see Haas being proactive with the social media trend, and I see great potential with using social media as a networking tool. In addition, we got an overview of some of the student clubs of campus- HBSA in particular- and where we could find information about their events.

At the end of orientation, we received what is considered the most visible symbol of the Undergraduate program: our shiny new Class of 2013 backpacks. It’s satisfying: we spent two years envying the upperclassmen with their backpacks, and now we can lay claim to one of them as our own. It’s a memento to the efforts we exerted, but also a reminder that we still have two more years to shape our college stories.


James Chan

Class of 2013

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