I Graduated!

Haas Graduation

After two long and extraordinary years, I’ve finally graduated from the Haas School of Business. On Friday, May 24, 2013, I officially became an MBA. And now, I’m off to the working world.

It was a surreal experience to be surrounded by so many friends and family in the Greek Theater at Berkeley. I can hardly believe that it’s over. These two years have flashed by so quickly and I know that when it hits me, I will miss the group projects, the overseas adventures, the parties, and most importantly the friendships.

Since I’m a big fan of lists, I’ve listed some of the things I already miss about my Haas experience.

Class Treks: Traveling overseas is expensive and logistically difficult. Not only do you have to use vacation days from work, but you also have to research the country beforehand. One of the nice things about class treks was being able to plop down $3,000-$5,000 and essentially get a guided tour of a foreign country with friends. I’m not sure I’ll ever have such an opportunity again in the future.

During my two years at Haas, I had the opportunity to embark on two official treks: South East Asia (Thailand, Philippines, and Singapore) and Japan. They were undoubtedly the highlights of my MBA experience.

International Diversity: While it’s true that Silicon Valley tech companies have a lot of diversity, it won’t be the same. I really enjoyed getting to know people from France, Germany, Brazil, China, India, you name it. We all learn so much from one another’s experiences and it’s one of those little things that really sets the full-time program apart from the evening-weekend program.

Consumption Function: Free food. Free drink. Awesome music. Cultural exchange. Seeing cute babies. It’s an opportunity to catch up with classmates and find out what they’ve been up to and exchange tips on job hunting and salary negotiation. Haas is a small class (only 240 students per class) and Consumption Functions are a big reason why everyone is so close.

Cheap Indian Curry: Berkeley has the cheapest and most delicious Indian curry. The prices are about 30%-50% lower than anywhere else in the Bay Area. The eternal penny pincher in me can’t justify eating Indian food anywhere else… except maybe in India.

Cats At Pegasus Books: I walked by Pegasus Books every day to get to class and often stopped by to play with the cats. They are fluffy and cute.

Berkeley In Bloom: Berkeley weather is gray and depressing for 9 months out of the year. But in the summer, the city is absolutely beautiful. The trees are green. The flowers are in bloom. And the gray clouds have parted to reveal blue skies. It’s rather bittersweet that the first day of school in August is usually also the first day the leaves fall.

Facebook Group: Our class has a private Facebook group and it is a constant source of drama and entertainment. I don’t know if people will continue posting in it after graduation, but I sure hope so. Now that we’ve all returned to our hometowns or home countries, I’d like to keep in touch and find out what everyone is doing.

Airbears: This is UC Berkeley’s WiFi service for active students. Being able to connect to the Internet anywhere on campus for free is a luxury that I’m going to miss. When I return as an alum, I’ll have to pay for an account or (gasp) beg for a guess pass.

Teaching UGBA-10: In Fall and Spring semester, I thought two sections for UGBA-10, Principles of Business and ended up receiving the Outstanding GSI Award. I really enjoyed teaching this class because most of the students were eager and attentive. UGBA-10 is a prerequisite class for the undergraduate business major and there’s an urban legend that only students who get an A in the class will be accepted. (By the way, the rumor is false.) On the other hand, I don’t miss having to grade 60 papers every two and a half weeks.

Thanks for the memories, Berkeley.

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