Why is UC Berkeley so popular

Voices blog

Editor's note: The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program brings international students to Berkeley for an interdisciplinary study of business administration and related fields and concentrations. This post originally appeared on the College Contact website. It has been edited for clarity and length.Find the the English version here.

Innovation, technology and entrepreneurship shape not only Silicon Valley, but also the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP), an exclusive one or two semester course in which international students study at the renowned Haas School of Business and immerse themselves in the culture, Mindset and culture can immerse yourself in Silicon Valley activities. BHGAP Director Alex Budak visited Germany and spoke to us about the program, the workshops offered and the benefits of visiting the University of California at Berkeley.

The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program enables German students to study abroad for a semester at the renowned Berkeley Haas School of Business. Why is this a special experience and a unique opportunity for you?

Alex Budak: I am very happy to be able to tell you about the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program here in Germany. The program combines the excellence of the Haas School of Business with the very best of Silicon Valley and is accessible to the world's most successful students. Right from the start we thought: What is special about UC Berkeley? What is special about Silicon Valley? And how do we combine these unique strengths in one program? This is how we designed the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program. It consists of courses on entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and business management as well as practical experience associated with the "Silicon Valley Eco System". The students don't just read or hear about start-ups. You will visit Silicon Valley and meet mainly Berkeley graduates who work in start-ups there. The BHGAP program participants get an insight into why Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are so special.

How is the BHGAP program structured and which courses can international students take?

Alex Budak: We welcome the best students in the world. You can take three courses from the Berkeley Haas program. We've selected UC Berkeley's most popular subjects and the faculty's top faculty. Instructors teach special versions of their courses specifically for the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program. I'll give you a few examples so that you can get a feel for the types of courses we offer. One of the courses for the next year is "Opportunity Recognition": Perhaps you are currently in a laboratory or you are on the road and you come up with a brilliant business idea. How do you know it's really a great business idea? And how do you take the first steps to turn the idea into a successful start-up company? We also offer a course on Marketing Strategy in a Digitally Disruptive World. This exciting course is all about how we can use social media and viral marketing to grab attention in this crazy, chaotic, noisy, fast-paced world. The idea behind the course is called “Design Thinking”, a completely new approach to solving problems. This course is particularly exciting and makes students leave their comfort zone. Most likely, you have never dealt with this unconventional process and it will affect your way of thinking in a forward-looking manner.

"The students don't just read or hear about start-ups. They visit Silicon Valley and meet Berkeley graduates who work in start-ups and get an insight into why Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are so special."

The BHGAP is divided into two different tracks. For whom is the "Preparatory Track" suitable and for whom is the "Advanced Track"?

Alex Budak: We want to ensure that students from all disciplines can participate in the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program. The "Preparatory Track" is suitable for every student who is not studying business administration but is interested in it. The "Advanced Track" is intended for Bachelor and Master students in economics. As long as the applicants have an interest in economics and want to immerse themselves in the Silicon Valley system, they are suitable for the BHGAP. We want to include prospective engineers, sociologists, anthropologists or musicologists in our program. Everyone can use so much of the entrepreneurial and innovative mindset after their time at university. We therefore welcome diversity in our program.

The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program also includes a number of events away from the classroom. Can you tell us a few of the activities and workshops on offer?

Alex Budak: I am enthusiastic about the BHGAP, because the program not only takes place in the seminar rooms, but is networked with the Silicon Valley Eco System. One of the most exciting excursions is visiting different start-ups in Silicon Valley. We get to know the companies of these start-ups. These range from newly founded companies with four employees working on an innovative idea that might become the next Google or the next Facebook, to a visit to Google or Facebook or Apple or LinkedIn. These exciting excursions give students a diverse insight into these great companies that they have only heard or read about until now.

Berkeley is a vibrant university town with a fascinating history. The campus is right in the middle and is a fine example of the true American college experience.

Why is the UC Berkeley campus experience particularly interesting for international students?

Alex Budak: UC Berkeley campus is in an incredible area. Berkeley is only 30 minutes from San Francisco. The metropolis on the west coast is one of the most geographically beautiful cities in the world. It is a diverse city, offers delicious food, a wonderful landscape and a dazzling art and culture scene. Berkeley is a lively student town with a fascinating history. The campus is right in the middle. It's beautiful and offers the typical American college experience. Students receive discounted tickets for American football games and benefit from numerous theater performances. The participants of the BHGAP can use the university libraries, the fitness studios or the sports fields - they are real Berkeley students for a semester.

And where can the international students who participate in the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program live?

Alex Budak: We found that program participants choose very different accommodation options. For example, you can live in the International House, which my grandmother lived in when she was a student at UC Berkeley. Students from all over the world live together in this dormitory-like house. You have the choice between a single or a double room. Many students also live in shared apartments near the campus or in San Francisco. Berkeley is only 30 minutes away from the world metropolis by public transport. Students in the San Francisco Bay Area have a number of options. Which one you choose depends entirely on your budget and interests.

Learn more

The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program brings international students to UC Berkeley to study business and entrepreneurship. Want to learn more? Visit our website or read more BHGAP blog posts.

Learn more about College Contact: visit the UC Berkeley page on their website, or contact them.