Shreya Nemani is completing a Master of Management at Melbourne Business School. As part of her degree, she took the opportunity to complete a semester of study at the University of California, Berkeley. While studying abroad, she shared this unforgettable experience.
As a business student, it’s hard not to be fascinated by the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area. Located near the heart of Silicon Valley, the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is an unparalleled learning lab for innovation. Fortunately, the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business and Economics offers a Study Abroad program for students to pursue a semester at the Haas School of Business. I joined the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) in August 2021 and it has been a transformative experience.
Once at the Haas School of Business, one can feel the entrepreneurial spirit. Almost every 2 out of 10 students work on a startup idea and many students get funded by the UC Berkeley ecosystem to start their venture. There are 46 programs, incubators and accelerators at UC Berkeley that can help bring startup ideas to reality. Moreover, the faculty themselves are business owners and venture capitalists, who motivate you to pursue an entrepreneurial career. Motivated by this entrepreneurial environment, I joined the Berkeley StEP entrepreneurship program, a 10-week startup incubator program that connects students with complementary skills and helps bring their ideas into the world. Currently at StEP, I’m working on a startup idea and honing my skills in business strategy and marketing. This entrepreneurship program has helped me learn various new topics: idea development, design thinking, lean methodology, growth hacking, fundraising, and gaining startup experience.
The academic experience at the Haas School of Business complements the campus culture; learning by doing and participation is the pattern. Lectures are taught through case-study discussions, strategy simulations, venture challenges, real-life negotiation exercises, weekly guest speakers and many more interesting activities. The subjects challenge you to think innovatively and come up with new solutions to tackle problems; the entrepreneurship subject offered by the BHGAP gives students an opportunity to work on a venture idea of their own. Additionally, the classroom has diverse groups of students from different parts of the world, making learning interesting and bringing diverse perspectives to discussions.
Networking is another key advantage of the BHGAP, which has given me the opportunity to interact with many thought leaders. I have met more than 20 founders in-person, two unicorn startup founders and other million-dollar startup founders, who started their businesses from the UC Berkeley campus. It was thrilling to learn about their experience.
Overall, through the BHGAP, I have gained new skills and competencies, which will help me thrive in the business world. The international experience taught me how to work in a diverse environment and collaborate with people from different backgrounds. If asked to describe my experience in three words, it would be: network, transform, and challenge.
I would absolutely recommend study abroad opportunities and the BHGAP to any student pursuing studies in business. The program helps you develop relevant skills and gain practical experience, especially if you are an aspiring entrepreneur.
Interested in reading more about Shreya's student experience? Read her blog post here.
Are you a Melbourne Business School student wanting to complete an overseas experience as part of your degree? Check out Melbourne Business School's partner institutions with top-ranked business schools across Asia, the Americas and Europe.