New Admit Series – Part I

Sonny: Here’s a guest post from Shamik Bandyopadhyay (class of 2014) who recently started his first year in the EWMBA program. Shamik has the unique perspective of having made a decision to move to Bay Area from Seattle in order to be closer to classes and other EWMBA folks. To find out how he made the transition and what he would do differently if he had to do it all over again, read on…


I moved to the Bay Area a couple of weeks back. My move had been in the works for a while. As I started my applications for Haas I also started engaging with current students and alumni to get to the bottom of the question – “Are you better off commuting to Haas on weekends, or being a Bay Area local?” My conclusion was that it’s a matter of personal choice. The program is designed to be very commuter friendly. The program office and the professors go out of their way to make sure the program works for commuters.

For me, it came down to a desire to both be deeply engaged in the Haas community on a day-today basis and to work in the Silicon Valley. It was a big decision, given that I was a Round 3 applicant. I barely had a couple of months from the time when I received my acceptance letter, to the start of class. In this short span, I had to find a position in my firm’s Silicon Valley office, relocate and settle down. I learnt a lot of lessons and given a second chance I would do things differently. Let me share with you what I learnt, so you can prepare yourself better if you decided to move to the Bay Area:

  • Apply in the early rounds:  If you are planning to move to the Bay Area, apply in Round 1 or Round 2, the earlier the better. This would give you ample time to cherry-pick your job in the Bay Area, settle into your job and truly plan out and manage your relocation.
  • Get your statistics and math pre-requisites out of the way:  If you apply in the later rounds and plan to move after receiving the admission decision, get your pre-reqs done early. Start your necessary pre-req courses or take the waiver exams well before you even receive your admission decision. Finding a job and managing your relocation while trying to complete a pre-req class is definitely not fun.
  • Give yourself time to settle in: Moving to a new location and settling in is not trivial. There are a lot of little things that add up. Moving your stuff, finding a new apartment, getting your car registered, getting a California driver’s license (they make you take the dreaded written exam), getting your insurance and bank services transferred over and on and on. The list gets pretty long and you really need to find time to get all of this taken care of before the start of class, while drinking from the fire hose at your new job.
  • Enjoy the summer activities: The fun starts well before Orientation weekend. This summer there were at least half a dozen happy hours and dinners, a picnic and a few other outings for the Class of 2014 – all before we had even started reading a single page from our textbooks. These events really help you to get to know your classmates and get comfortable in your Haas community. Add to that the all-day Accounting Review Workshop, and Haas starts filling up your calendar pretty quickly
  • Enjoy the sunshine: If you are moving from some of the sunshine deprived cities and states, you need to give yourself time to just stare at the sunny blue sky. There has not been a single cloudy day in the past two weeks and I find myself just staring out of the window trying to convince myself that it can actually be sunny most everyday.

That’s all folks!!

9 thoughts on “New Admit Series – Part I

  1. Shamik,
    Good advice. You have hit the nail on many issues here. The prerequisites do take you off-guard and send you scrambling. A positive side to that unexpected roller-coaster ride is the natural friendship you build through Facebook, emails etc with your classmates even before the formal orientation. In my case, the grueling five day D&D workshop bonded us quicker. Looking back… it was all good!

  2. Good post Shamik. I’m considering making a similar move next year (2012) if I get accepted. I’ll be moving from Austin TX. I’m concerned about the commute to/from Silicon Valley and like you I’d like to spend more time on campus than simply show up for lectures. Where in the Bay Area did you decide to stay in eventually and how’s the commute?

    As for pre-reqs, you have a good suggestion about getting them done early. I was working with the assumption that having had Statistics and Math courses in my Engineering curriculum would suffice. Didn’t realize there’s a waiver exam! One more thing to think about.

    Your input on the commute will be greatly appreciated! Thx.

    • Nitin,
      I found a place in Mountain View fairly close to work. I don’t need to get on the freeway to get to work so the daily commute is fairly painless and quick. On Saturdays, we have several carpools leaving the area for Haas so that works out pretty well. If I need to get to Berkeley on a weekeday evening for some event, the drive is not too bad, it takes about an hour if you leave a bit before the peak commute hours. Sometimes there is extra space in the weekday shuttle which leaves from Mountain View, and I end up taking the shuttle (after getting permission from the Program Office). So all in all its working out. If you wish to spend more time on campus you might want to live in or around Berkeley. A few of my classmates have chosen that option and the end up commuting to the South Bay for work instead. Sometimes they are also able to work from home, which of course depends on how flexible the employer is.
      Like everything, the decision depends on the balance you want to strike between work and Haas and which commute (i.e. to work or to Haas) you would want to optimize for.
      – Shamik

      • FYI, the math and stats requirements can fulfilled by previous course-work, but the classes need to have been taken and passed within the past 5 years.

  3. Hi Shamik,
    Thanks for your response! For some reason I didn’t notice your reply the last couple of times I logged in.

    I do have a follow-up question. Similar to your transition, I’m planning to move from Austin to the bay area just for the EWMBA (if accepted). Needless to say I’ll have to find a job in the bay area if/when I get accepted. Did you have any trouble with the Admissions committee about them needing you to be fully employed to be accepted? I’m an electronics engineer, employed currently and don’t expect to have trouble getting a job in the valley.

    Your response will be very helpful and greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Nitin,
      Thanks for the question. It is highly recommended and expected that EWMBA students at Haas be fully employed at the start of the program. In my case, I had the good fortune of being able to move to a new position within my company. I actually made the transition immediately after getting my acceptance from Haas. In your case, I would also encourage you to time the transition right. You should also consider that the Haas EWMBA is very commute friendly and a lot of my classmates commute down every weekend. If you were unable to find a job in the Bay Area immediately upon getting accepted at Haas, it would be quite reasonable to commute for a few weeks while you explore job opportunities in the Bay Area.
      – Shamik

      • Thanks for the response again Shamik. My intent definitely is to start my job-search as soon as I get the final word from Admissions. I’m just concerned that not being employed during the app process might hurt my application. I guess I’ll find out! I appreciate your input. Good luck with your course.

      • Sorry but HTML keeps modifying my post. One last try …

        I meant to say “not being –locally– employed during the app process”

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