This is the first of a two-part series that features my and other Haas students’ experiences in pursuing a minor, double, or triple simultaneous degrees during our residence in the business program.
Coming into Haas as a junior transfer in Fall 2012, I was focused solely on earning my degree early and landing an internship for the summer. Being so new to the program, not to mention the university, I did not have any time to inquire about academic opportunities outside the Haas business curriculum. It was not until last Fall, my second-to-the-last semester at UC Berkeley, that I began contemplating the possibility of pursuing a minor or another major.
Before making the decision, I consulted with a couple of friends who had already declared their second major or were graduating with simultaneous degrees. The opinions varied a lot, of course. Some thought it would look nice on their resume, some simply wanted to develop perspectives separate from business, and others were just immensely passionate about learning something different.
As an international student from the Philippines, I took my first Southeast Asian class in Summer of 2013. It felt really enlightening to study the histories and cultures of my home country and its neighboring nations. Nonetheless, I was still set on graduating in December, and did not change my mind until it dawned on me that I will be working in the corporate world post-university on out. That being said, I thought: why finish early to do what I will be doing for the rest of my life? Hence, I finally decided to pursue my second degree, a B.A. in South & Southeast Asian Studies.
While everything turned out pretty well for me, I think I could have avoided needing to take 30 units now and rushing my honors thesis last minute had I explored these options much earlier. Thus, you will see below and on the second part of this article, here, insights from Haas juniors, seniors, and alumni who have gone through the minor, double, and triple simultaneous degree application process. Their profiles/blurbs are arranged randomly.
“I double majored because I wanted to make a big impact on the world, and after assessing my skills, I thought either politics or business was the best way to go. It’s great to get such a variety of skills — for example, my political science professors often assign 35 page papers while my business professors get upset if we write more than 1 or 2 pages for a brief.”
“My name is Melina and I am doing a double degree in Business Administration and South & Southeast Asian Studies (SSEAS) where I choose to focus on Indonesia. I chose to double with SSEAS because being an Indonesian myself, I was educated abroad all along and never had the chance to study my own country’s history and culture. Reading SSEAS has exposed me to both past and present situations in Indonesia and the region. Having seeing myself in Indonesia for my long term career, the SSEAS major complements my Business degree, not only by helping me understand the region better, but also by bringing up various areas of opportunities and challenges that I can play a part in while being engaged in the business side of things in the country.
I would recommend doing a concurrent degree with Business if you have other subject matter that you are passionate about, as it will definitely give a more wholesome education by opening up different perspectives and encouraging one to look at the business world with multiple lenses.
As for advice on how to complete two majors in time, I think early and careful planning for your courses in the upcoming semesters is key.”
“I decided to pursue a simultaneous triple degree because I want to analyze business issues from an interdisciplinary lens. With business and economics, you get to zoom in and analyze how a business operates on a fundamental level and zoom out to evaluate the situation from a macroeconomic perspective.
Cultural geography comes in with academic theories to assess business practices from a social, environmental, and global angle, which is very important in today’s increasingly connected world. Many employers understand the value of this integrated approach and will value it highly, given that one’s GPA does not suffer.
Students interested in adding an extra degree or two must make sure that they are genuinely passionate, or at the very least, committed. They should plan their 4-year schedule in advance — ideally during their freshman year. Finally, they should be ready to take a heavier course-load for letter grades!”
Read part two of this article or other student insights here.
Class of 2014