Participation is Worth 10% of Your Grade

We are over halfway through the semester already! This week I want to touch on the importance of participation.

Nametags are a familiar sight at Haas. Professors actually want to learn your name, and you get the opportunity to build a relationship with him or her. But, I’m going to be honest. I was surprised by how much Haas classes emphasize participation. Going from my pre-req classes where there were about 300-500 students per class, where there was no room to participate, to about 60 students per class in Haas is something I’m still adjusting to.

Participating can be nerve-wracking, especially for people like me who want to be right every single time or for people who are introverted and have a tough time speaking up. There’s always a feeling of self-consciousness – the feeling that if I say the wrong answer people are silently judging me. But that its definitely not true. People are more encouraging than you think. Everybody has been wrong at some point in their lives, so we can all relate! Recruiting season is also a busy one (insert in all my friends who are doing i-banking and consulting). In between casing, interviews, networking, and coffee chats, it can be hard keeping up with assigned readings. Sometimes students naturally fall behind, and the fear of getting cold-called when you haven’t done the reading is too real.


But having participation be worth 10% of your grade, keeps me motivated. The readings assigned are topics that I actually want to talk about. For example, the case study in UGBA 106 on Kate Spade is something I could speak for centuries on. I love Kate Spade and for anybody who is in that class, I definitely identify with the Kate Spade New York girl! It’s a great feeling knowing that Haas professors care about my opinions on a certain topic or video we discuss in class. It’s also refreshing being able to hear other people’s thoughts, especially if they differ from mine. So, don’t worry. It’s okay if you don’t like Kate Spade, because then we can have a great discussion on why you should like it (just kidding)!


At the end of the day, being able to participate is a useful skill that can translate into the real world. It’s important that we practice participating and speaking up now, so that in the future we can learn how to connect with our colleagues in the workplace.

Make sure to subscribe at the top right to stay updated on life at Haas!


A Haasie Abroad

Hello readers! I hope everyone is settling into Fall nicely and gearing up for Patagucci season; I know I am. Today, I’d like to share my experience with studying abroad in Australia.

I have been particularly fascinated with Australia since I was a wee lad. I don’t know if it was Steve Irwin’s radical videos of Aussie wildlife or the fact that it’s the world’s largest island; I just can’t get enough. When the opportunity to study abroad through UCEAP (UC Education Abroad Program) arrived, I knew exactly where I wanted to go – the land down under!

“Are you silly? I’m still going to send it!”

I have three pieces of advice for those of you who are considering studying abroad:

  1. Do the application on time
  2. Choose your classes wisely
  3. Make time for travel and take lots of pics

Warning: The UCEAP application process is not nearly as hard as UC Berkeley applications, but don’t underestimate it. Despite all the research and planning I did, I missed the deadline by two weeks. When I told my dad, he tried to comfort me with a ‘maybe next semester.’ I told him, “Are you silly? I’m still going to send it!” Needless to say, I negotiated my late application into the pile waiting to be sent off for approval.

After my application was approved and I chose my host city of Melbourne, I had to decide what classes to take. My two favorite classes are Management Consulting and Managing Entrepreneurship. Yes, I am interested in consulting. And yes, I can handle the business side. Management Consulting requires 5 hours/week of fieldwork with a client solving an actual business problem. I love all my classes but unfortunately, they take up a lot of my free time. My advice to those thinking about studying abroad – take one or two hard, interesting classes and then sprinkle in a wine tasting class with a street art module.

Taking less time-demanding classes allows for more travel time. Making time for travel is essential to a well-rounded experience abroad, especially if you are planning on going to Europe or South America where taking a train is so easy and affordable! Australia, on the other hand, is less train friendly and can be a bit more expensive. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten around and taken lots of pictures to prove it! Here are some of my favorites so far:

IMG_6580.JPGpasted image 0.pngpasted image 0 (1).png

Australian Business Culture

It goes without saying that there are many cultural differences between Australia and the United States.

One of the more striking differences is that 99.8% of Australian businesses are SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises; <200 employees). It’s not that they don’t like big corporations, it’s just that they appreciate entrepreneurs and small business owners. For example, Melburnians LOVE their coffee and yet there is only one Starbucks in the whole city. There are, however, loads of independent, family-owned cafés that successfully capture market share in the growing industry.

Aussies have a unique sense of humor, and it reflects in their advertisements. I’ve seen some hilarious ads (a lot of them too inappropriate to share in America). Here’s one that is more subtle but still gives a sense of what I mean:

pasted image 0 (2).png

Another impressive statistic is that Australia has experienced consistent economic growth for the past 26 years, and is set to keep on growing. It’s quite a hot topic and the discussion is very polarized. Some think that the housing bubble is bound to pop, while others see Chinese investment as a never-ending stream of money.

There are lots of reasons to love Australia, in fact, Melbourne was just listed as the world’s most livable city for the seventh year in a row!

Future Plans

I’m still considering moving to Melbourne and working here for a couple years after graduation, but I miss America. And the ozone! I almost forgot to mention that Australia literally has a hole in the ozone above it. They don’t even sell sunscreen below SPF50 because it’s that serious.

Travelling gives valuable perspective on life back home. It’s a challenging but rewarding experience, and I encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone and see the world. There is something about immersing yourself in another culture, another way of life, a new way of thinking, new friends and new languages; something that you can’t get from watching TV or reading about it online.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” – Saint Augustine
If you enjoyed this post and want more, make sure to subscribe at the top right to stay updated on life at Haas!

How You Have Time to Finish More Books

Hello readers, my name is Matt Clagett. I am a senior here at Haas and one of the new undergraduate bloggers. I plan to share some perspectives and insights on topics that I have grown to love as a student here, ranging from innovation, data science, sustainability and travel.


As the semester progresses, it is increasingly difficult to keep up with readings. Not just assigned cases and textbooks for classes, but pleasure reads – you know, that pile of books sitting in the corner of your room that you will get to once you have time.  Yes, reading to learn the material for a class is one thing, but if we neglect the books that we really find a strong personal or professional growth-value, we are getting robbed of awesome material.

What if I told you that I have finished five such books already this semester. Well you would probably think that means I have just neglected reading my textbooks and readers, which is partially true, but that has only been true because of recruiting. I finished these books not by reading, but by listening to the audiobook versions of them.

The trick is to choose times to listen to them during low-focus parts of your day, such as commuting to and from school. Maybe you want to lay on Memorial Glade and rest your eyes and listen. Doing laundry? Buying groceries? Eating those groceries? Use that time to be a Student Always. It is likely you have at least an hour a day that you can optimize by listening to books. This translates to 365 hours, or roughly 40 books in one year. That’s a lot of knowledge.

Audiobooks are Better

Have I still not convinced you? On top of their inherent portability and ease of use, audiobooks have many great advantages over traditional books.

Text can be limiting. Often, messages are not clearly articulate, so key ideas are unintentionally brushed over. You have probably encountered this when trying to text message somebody using sarcasm, then having to follow it up with “lol jk” or an emoji.  When an author or reader reads an audiobook, they often vocally emphasize key ideas and points, and add footnotes to elaborate. Not only do you hear the words, but you can hear the author’s emotional tone, making it easier to empathize with the message being expressed.

Just as your favorite song can make you excited, when you hear the intended emotion behind the author’s words, you can more similarly emulate their perspective. This is a powerful concept, as you can use it to set the mood and mindset. Listening first thing in the morning, when your mind is clear, has the power to set the tone of your day. If you listen to a book on productivity, you start your day thinking like a productive person. Listen to books related to your courses, and you will have stronger perspective from which to understand the course material.

Audiobooks make exercise better and exercise makes audiobooks better. Time flies when you are lost in a book. An audiobook during light endurance exercise might make you forget you are even on a treadmill. This will also get your blood flowing and extra oxygen delivered to your brain, giving you the power to digest even more of the book. I suggest walking though, as famous philosophers including Neitzche and Aristotle would often do in order to think. Too strenuous of activity requires too much focus, so you are probably better off listening to Taylor Swift or whatever pumps you up.

Just as you can learn to read at a higher level, as you start listening to audiobooks more often, you will better be able to understand the material. As you listen to learn, you learn to listen.

How I Got Started

I first downloaded the Audible back in community college, when my life was not what I wanted it to be and I needed some extra guidance to help reach my goals. I knew what I needed to work on – my time management, motivation, and productivity. I found some great reviewed books on each topic, and feeling as though I did not have the time to read them, I decided to use my 30-60 minutes of commute time to listen to the audiobooks. Bike rides turned into libraries. My free time was always spent learning from people that I admired. Instead of taking time out of my day, listening to audiobooks made me more focused and gave me knowledge that enabled me to positively change my life’s trajectory.

How to Start, and What to Start With

  1. Download a listening app, I suggest Audible.
  2. Search for that book you always wanted to read. Seek out something you want to improve on, or something that you know will prove valuable to your life.
    • Stressed? Download a guided meditation book!
    • Looking to contribute more in your Marketing class discussion? There are plenty of highly rated marketing experts waiting to share with you.
    • Want to know about the life of Steve Jobs? Don’t watch a movie. Get a biography.
  3. Find a time and place where you will not get too distracted, and start listening.

A Few Great Audiobooks That I Have Recently Finished

  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
    • Biography of the legend.
    • Time taken: Two weeks of commuting on BART.
  • Data and Goliath
    • Nonfiction about big data usage, policy, and ethics.
    • Time taken: A drive to LA and back.
  • On Power
    • Abridged biographies on NYC urban planner Robert Moses and President Lyndon Johnson that illustrates sociopolitical power in the US.
    • Time taken: A five mile Sunday hike.

My On-Deck for Listening

  • Back Channel to Cuba
    • Cuba and US relations history,  I am studying abroad in Cuba this winter.
  • Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of the Human Brain
    • Structured / logical thinking strategies for life.
  • The Autobiography of Gucci Mane
    • BURR.

No Substitute for Books

Another option would be to listen to podcasts, which I often do as well. It is all personal preference on what you want to learn. I prefer books because you can dive deep into the story or subject, and cross them off your reading list at the same time.

As much as I love audiobooks, there is nothing like the focus when reading a physical book (I can not stand PDFs). Although audiobooks are convenient and can communicate on a more emotional level, they fall short for quantitative and visual topics. This is why I would not suggest finding audios to replace a textbook. As students, we have obligatory readings that should come before exploratory or pleasure reading. Adding audiobooks, we do not have to make that choice. We can learn our coursework and any supplementary topics simultaneously, having more control over the direction of our education.

Feel free to share if you found helpful, and make sure to subscribe at the top right to stay updated on life at Haas!

Welcome to Slytherin

Hello! My name is Annie. I’m a junior and a new undergraduate Haas blogger. I love Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes, shopping, and long walks on the beach. This blog post is about my first impressions of Haas.

My whole childhood I wanted to be in Gryffindor with Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Yet here I am in Slytherin, following after the footsteps of Draco Malfoy and Lord Voldemort.

As I headed to the House of Serpents, I had a few first impressions:

  • I will probably never use this backpack, but I want it because it’s free.
  • $200 worth of free printing!!
  • The MBA students look way more put together than me.
  • No, I am not that interested in consulting or being a part of a Goldman Sachs case competition, but thank you for the 10,000 emails.

I was nervous as to whether or not I needed to be a Parselmouth to find my community at Haas. As someone interested in marketing in the retail and consumer packaged goods industry, I was not sure if I would fit into a place that so highly emphasizes consulting and investment banking. With only 700 undergraduates, I have already noticed that I see the same people over and over again, so it could be difficult to find people that match my interests within marketing. However, being surrounded by people with different interests gives me the chance to interact people with diverse interests, expanding my own background. I’ve come to realize that Haas is an unique place where different people bring different things to the table. There’s a place for everyone, regardless of business interest.

After a month at Haas, I can say that I have met many people that exemplify the principle Confidence Without Attitude. It is a pleasure to be in a graduating class with such hard-working, ambitious, and interesting people. I hope I can learn from not only my peers but also my professors. It is an honor to be taught by professors who have valuable industry experience such as Professor Brady who was the CMO of Clorox Company for over 10 years, or Professor Thomas who owns her own production company. Professor Brady has quickly become one of my favorite professors and UGBA 162A (Product Branding and Entertainment) has quickly become one of my favorite classes. So, maybe Haas is not full of the snakes like people make it out to be, and it’s actually just another Gryffindor in disguise.

I can’t wait to take advantage of all the opportunities we have to meet people here as an undergraduate, and to expand our networks. As undergraduates we have so many resources at our disposal that really improves the college experience. Hopefully like Assistant Dean Erika Walker, I can, too, find my husband here.


I can’t wait for my next two years exploring this magical part of campus. What were your first impressions?

Make sure to subscribe at the top right to stay updated on life at Haas!

Who are Connie and Kevin Chou?

Hello readers! My name is Timothy Berggren and I’m new to the blog this year. I transferred into Haas from Monterey Peninsula College last year, which has been a challenging but rewarding experience thus far. To add some flavor to my undergraduate experience, I decided to study abroad in Melbourne, Australia this semester and will be writing more about that in coming posts. I look forward to sharing my insights with you all and I hope you enjoy the blog this year!

Head and Shoulders.png

If you haven’t heard of the new Berkeley-Haas building, Connie and Kevin Chou Hall, where have you been??

This beautiful addition, which is completely community-funded, is dedicated to growing and enhancing the student learning experience. Chou Hall’s 6 stories, 8 tiered classrooms, 28 study rooms and 300-person event space was designed by Perkins+Will and supports Haas’ goal of zero-waste. Ten Percent of building materials are from recycled content, 75% of construction waste will be recycled or salvaged, and water use is reduced by 40%. Its café has outdoor seating amongst towering redwoods and its view of the Bay Area is absolutely breathtaking.

Students and faculty are raving about the new facilities, and not just because of the whiteboard walls. Brad Brenner, Haas UG class of 2018, said,“the new building is beyond lit, it’s honestly next level stuff it’s so rad.” Clearly, Chou Hall is by far one of the coolest buildings on UC Berkeley’s campus, but who are Connie and Kevin Chou?


Kevin Chou is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and ex-venture capitalist. He received his bachelor’s degree from Berkeley-Haas in 2002 and has been intimately involved with the community ever since. He started his career in banking, moved to startups, then venture capital, and finally found his passion in entrepreneurship. His first company, Kabam, became a global leader in online and mobile gaming before being acquired for nearly $1 Billion. His second entrepreneurial venture and current project, KSV eSports, combines the tech savvy of Silicon Valley with the prominent Korean gaming culture to represent the next generation of eSports.

Dr. Connie Chen is a physician, entrepreneur, and angel investor. She received her MD in Health and Society from UCSF and founded the UCSF Health Technology Interest Group. She worked as the Digital Health & Innovation Principal at Kaiser Permanente before moving onto her current role as Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Vida Health. She is passionate about making medicine more compassionate, affordable, and patient-centered with new breakthrough technologies.

Connie and Kevin Chou boast impressive resumes, but that alone doesn’t earn your name on a building. The couple shares many interests – technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and above all, philanthropy. Their gift of up to $25 million helped finalize the funding needed to finish the construction of the building. In fact, this is the largest personal gift to UC Berkeley by an alumnus under the age of 40. For comparison, Bill Gates didn’t start sharing his wealth until he was 45!

So why the generous donation at such a young age?

Kevin Chou is committed to supporting the Haas School of Business in its mission to provide the best quality public education. To solidify this commitment, he signed the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge, a non-binding pledge to donate a portion of his venture’s wealth to the university. Dr. Chen said, “We’re excited about bringing together students of all backgrounds – not just business students – to formulate ideas that will improve the world.” Talk about going Beyond Yourself! Chou has fond memories of his time at Berkeley-Haas and made this donation to show his gratitude for the lasting impact the school had on him. From a current student’s perspective, the new building is definitely making a lasting impact and will continue to do so for years to come. Although I am not in Berkeley to experience the building first-hand, I’ve heard great things and can’t wait to return in the spring to sit under the redwoods at the new building.

Make sure to subscribe at the top right to stay updated on life at Haas!

Not 106…Just My Experience

Following the end of a potentially restful or work filled summer, school is now in full swing. With that comes a whole slew of club invitations, new classes, and of course an entire inbox filled with welcome emails. Exciting? Yes, but also overwhelming.

So this post is not meant to add to that pile or to be another round of UGBA 106,  but rather it is meant to express my experience. I share this with hope that yes, maybe you will consider writing for the Haas Undergraduate Blog but also with the hope that no matter what extracurriculars you select, you can take the time and reflect on why you spend time doing what you’re doing.

Keeping a Record and Learning From It

Instagram, Blogs, Journals, Snapchat…these are all ways of keeping some kind of record of your life. There is value in investing time in these forms of record. That is for a number of reasons, but it is important to consider that you can actually learn from yourself. Looking back at my previous blog posts, I read a record of my past beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. It is easy to identify ways in which I have grown and opinions that have changed. By publishing work that is recorded, I have published accountability. That is powerful.

Contributing to the Larger Haas Community

Everybody reading this post has a unique perspective, and that is incredibly valuable. The way you think about the world, about business, and about others around you may be different than your peers. Sharing that diverse thought challenges both yourself and others in our Haas community. While I am able to share my stories briefly with peers in classes or in the courtyard, the blog has allowed me the opportunity to express and share my story in a completely different way. I have enjoyed getting to share glimpses of my life through the Haas blog and who knows, maybe you would too.

Giving Others a Voice

One of the most powerful aspects of the Haas Undergraduate Blog is that it allows you to feature professors, students, and high achievers on campus. Through these means, you, as a writer, have the unique power of giving others a voice. Not only this, but you are able direct interviews and learn from others in ways that you may not have previously. If there is a cause that you personally care about or a professor that you personally find fascinating, the blog can give you the power to share it. From my perspective, I have enjoyed learning from features on the Haas Blog and getting to better understand how my peers have been successful in their particular passions.

So, there you have my thoughts on why the blog has been valuable for my growth as a student, for the Haas community as a whole, and for other peers and causes that need a voice. No matter what you choose to pursue outside of the classroom, I hope that this encourages you to think of why. And of course, if you are still looking for a way to express your perspective on a larger scale…consider the Haas Undergraduate Blog.

Make sure to subscribe at the top right to stay updated on life at Haas!

RacialEquity@Haas: Alankrita Dayal’s Racial Equity Journey and Invitation to Engage with the Authors

Guest Post Written by Alankrita Dayal

Alankrita Dayal is pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Business Administration, minors in Public Policy and South Asian Studies, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California-Berkeley. She is a Fellow for Net Impact as well as College of Engineering’s Fung Fellowship for Technology and Wellness Innovations. Alankrita is extremely passionate towards finding data-driven solutions to better the lives of everyone in her community, and from an early age, she has been actively developing projects that allow her to utilize her technical talent, diversity, and strategic thinking in best doing so; she has been nationally recognized on multiple platforms for her extensive technical and leadership work. She also serves as the Board Director for the 96-unit Berkeley Student Cooperative and newly-elect President of Rochdale Village, working hard to voice policies and programs to benefit the diverse student body.

Racial Equity Journey

Issues of race, class, and culture often hinder the learning process, even in progressive learning environments, when left unattended by community leaders and members. It has truly been the most reflective journey, working on this blog series and opening up racial equity conversations. Through the Racial Equity@Haas blog series, I have been fortunate enough to form a palpable community discussion about the racial atmosphere in Berkeley, specifically within the Haas School of Business.

For as long as I can remember, I have advocated for equity in all dimensions of life. In hopes to catalyze critical thinking, self-inquiry, transformative learning, healing, and change when it comes to racial equity, I have actively designed projects that bring together a diverse range of populations in order to best tap into the deep human connection that we all share. I strongly believe in leveraging the power of dialogue to educate minds and open hearts.

Since the beginning of 2017, I have worked diligently alongside with my co-authors, Charlie James and Naayl Kazmi, to maximize our impact on racial equity in Haas and the wider community! Week after week, by presenting the diverse range of voices among the students, faculty, and administrators of the School, our Racial Equity@Haas blog series has been effectively serving as a means of publicly addressing barriers that have made this topic one that is too often overlooked and misunderstood. As a Net Impact Fellow since Fall 2016, I have had the splendid opportunity to participate in multiple such projects. More specifically, earlier this semester, I organized a Diversity in Academia Panel to initiate discussions regarding the importance of diversity and the need to raise awareness and take action regarding student equity concerns within the College of Engineering. I leveraged partnerships with multiple clubs and engineering professors to form a deep and personal equity-focused discussion. As Executive Director for Program yoUr Future (PUF) and Vice President for Robotics@Berkeley, I have focused my energy over the last 6+ months towards mentoring our undergrad/grad developers in creating educational technology to empower minority students underrepresented in the tech fields. In addition, my passion has fueled my contributions within the Racial Equity@Haas project to best provide a platform for racial equity learning and open dialogue. Through work in such projects, I have aimed to amplify the creativity that already exists within the Berkeley community in order to build stronger community networks, solve racial equity problems, and enhance the sense of comfort and acceptance in places that individuals live, study, work, and grow.

I am extremely excited to provide our community and student leaders with the language, frames, and tools necessary in creating inclusive environments as well as having constructive and productive conversations. In the City of Berkeley and the greater Bay Area, the Racial Equity@Haas project has widely enabled both young people and educators to take part in conversations and actions around how we can better empower students and staff from racially underrepresented backgrounds and create inclusive learning environments.

Invitation to Engage with the Authors

My co-authors and I would like to cordially invite the Berkeley community and the greater Bay Area to come have a discussion with us this Thursday, May 4th. We will be having a drop-in event from 1:30 to 3:00 PM at the Rochdale Village common room. The common room can be tricky to find, so I have attached a screenshot of a google map of Rochdale Village that has the pin on the common room:

RE@H Open Hours

We are very eager to have you with us this Thursday, and thank you for being a part of this journey!