This is the second of a two-part series that features Haas students’ experiences in pursuing a minor, double, or triple simultaneous degrees during our residence in the business program. You can read the first part here.
The insights shared by students below are purposely arranged randomly in an attempt to fulfill the goal of this article, which is basically to provide diverse perspectives to pursuing a minor, dual, or triple simultaneous degrees.
“My name is Sergio Ruiz and I am currently a junior at Haas. I am majoring in business administration with a global management concentration and a minor in public policy. My academic path has definitely been challenging, given the requirements that I need to complete while still graduating in a two-year period after starting the Haas Undergraduate Program.
Currently I am working towards completing the Haas core requirements, my business electives, and the classes needed for my minor, my concentration, and Berkeley’s seven-course breadth. Timing is definitely the biggest constraint when pursuing diverse fields of study aside from business. In my case, I must also keep in mind that I need to study abroad for one semester to obtain the Haas Global Management Concentration. This intensifies the time constraints given that I cannot complete any of the core requirements abroad, which means that I need to finish all ten core classes in three semesters.
Cross-listed courses have been a helpful resource to graduate on time. I have been able to take public policy classes and breadth courses that end up fulfilling either the area studies or the language requirements needed for my concentration. Considering summer sessions or completing breadth requirements through community college classes are also good options that have helped me get ahead on my coursework.
In the end, even though my academic pursuits have kept me busy, I wouldn’t change anything. For me, it is nice to step outside the business context to experience Berkeley’s academic richness in diverse areas. At the same time, classes outside Haas can be a great way to complement unconventional business interests.
Through my minor I’ve had the opportunity to work on policy consulting projects in subjects such as aviation, healthcare, and border security in North America. Therefore, my minor has allowed me to further explore my interest for business-government relations and international affairs. Furthermore, I am simply thrilled to have the chance of obtaining a minor from the Goldman School of Public Policy; the top ranked school of public policy in the nation.”
“Practically speaking (for recruiting purposes), if doing a simultaneous major will take away something important/significant from your life outside of school (such as an extracurricular), then it may not be worth it. Practical skills are much more important for recruiting purposes. In fact, having an additional degree may make one seem more like a bookworm, which is why I never voluntarily mentioned my degrees in any interview. It’s not my degrees that make me someone a company wants to hire / the interviewer wants to work with, but what I’ve learned, what skills I’ve developed, and who I am as a person.
However, if both areas happen to be ones that you enjoy, then a simultaneous degree is definitely worth pursuing, as it helped me learn and develop the skills that helped for recruiting and beyond. In fact, it helped enrich my perspective and allowed me to explore and understand more of the world. It exposed me to new areas that better directed me to find what I truly enjoy doing.
My strategy was to always pick interesting classes rather than select based on how difficult the grading scheme was. I found that I naturally put more effort into courses that were interesting. As long as tuition isn’t a concern, when you finish isn’t a problem, at least from a self-enrichment and professional recruitment perspective.”
Hillary Le, Class of 2014, B.S. Business Administration, Minors in English and Creative Writing
“Early in my college career, I chose to pursue a Haas degree knowing that the experiential learning and repute of the school would provide solid groundwork for dealing with (quote-on-quote) real adult life in the (quote-on-quote) real world.
At the same time, my interest in English literature was undeniable, and only intensified in the walls of Wheeler. I originally intended to pursue simultaneous degrees in Business and English – until I discovered Creative Writing, a wonderful interdisciplinary minor that spoke to my interest beyond analyzing prose and poetry – in writing. It was a tough decision to drift away from my original plan, a sort of compromise between the liberal I’ll-live-in-a-box-on-Telegraph path (as my mother says) and the straightforward I’ll-work-120-hours-a-week-and-live-in-my-office path (as people looking at Haas tend to think).
I think what pushed me to pursue two minors instead of simultaneous degrees was introspection into what it was, really, that I wanted to get out of my college experience. In the end, that turned out to be studying what I love, but also realizing that there’s more to the college experience than a degree or two – like making the most of my last semester at Berkeley.”
“I would say I sort of ended up in my triple major because I was taking classes in all different sorts of disciplines and ended up fulfilling the requirements to declare.
The pros for me are that I get a chance to study so many different subjects and see so many different perspectives since the undergrad program for all of my majors are all highly regarded here at Berkeley. It definitely keeps everyday exciting and I’m being challenged every day. It also teaches me time management.
The cons are that I don’t get a chance to explore my major as deeply as I would if I had a single major. I would only recommend it if you’re truly passionate about your majors equally, not if you’re looking to do the major for the sake of doing so, since the rewards of doing a simultaneous degree in my opinion are purely intrinsic.
Finishing on time is definitely contingent on how well you plan your schedules in advance. Knowing how to balance schedules will also be important so you know which classes to pair together. Lastly, your advisor is also a good resource since they will always be supportive of your endeavors!”
“My college career definitely took some twists and turns. I initially started out as Molecular and Cell Biology major in the hopes of becoming a neuroscience researcher, but ended up pursuing a dual degree in Business Administration and French.
I enjoyed learning about different subjects, so it was difficult for me to just choose just one major. As I took courses in different disciplines, my professional goals changed trajectories. While initially apprehensive about changing a path I had been bent on since the 5th grade, I found that by pursuing my passions systematically, I discovered where my natural skills and passions intersected. I chose my Business degree because my hobbies seemed to suggest I had a knack for marketing.
As for my French degree, I like to joke that it preserves my soul. I love discussing literature with other people and understanding their reactions to what we read in class. It can be a humbling experience to do that in another language. My advice to those pursuing a double major or minor is to study what challenges you to think differently and what leads you to appreciate your education more.”
“I’m really glad I chose to double major in psychology and business. Growing up, I’d always love people watching and the chance to learn about human interactions and behavior was what really drew me to psychology. I saw a multitude of applications of psychology to business and it has helped shaped my view of the world of business. I would definitely recommend double majoring if you are passionate about both majors.
In terms of finishing on time, I’d recommend planning your classes early and make use of every semester you have! Summer classes can also help give a little bit of room in your schedule.”
Read part one of this article here.
Class of 2014