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!!

Guest Blog: All aboard the Haas Express!

Sonny: This year we are trying out a new concept – Guest Blogging! We think this will help us capture interesting Haas experiences even from students who are not on the Blog Squad. Manaswini Sawant is our first contributor. She is a first year student who shares her experience of riding the Haas bus for the first time. Fun story…read on…

So, because I have a year-old convertible, I really do enjoy my drives to and from Berkeley. The weather has been superbly cooperative and I get to blast my favorite music or just listen to the wind as it rushes by.

But there are a lot of weekday events for which taking the Haas bus makes sense. Its prime carpool hours, the freeway is pretty much crowded to the point of being stop-and-go traffic in some places AND its the green thing to do.

Unlike the Hogwarts Express which only leaves from platform 9 and 3 quarters, there are 2 locations in the South Bay from which to board the Haas Bus. Once aboard the bus, there is cold bottled water, cookies and wireless connectivity (of course!).

When I told the driver that this was my first time taking the bus, he promptly whipped out a self-printed business card with his cell phone number and his supervisor’s email and phone number.

He told me to use his cell phone number to let him know if I was running late and needed the bus to wait for me. If I was happy with the service he provided, he would appreciate it if I could email/call his supervisor to let him know that. Perhaps if I weren’t in business school, I would have found this to be a little odd. But after learning all about the Art of Self Promotion (AKA Artful Bragging), it all made perfect sense to me!

There are other reasons to take the bus besides the cookies and the wireless of course. You can actually get some homework / discussion done with your fellow riders in the hour it takes to get to Haas. The air is thick with Accounting homework and Marketing case studies. And before you know it, you are on campus, well in time for classes to begin. No worries about finding parking either!

When classes are over, the bus fills up fast for the ride back home. The atmosphere now does a complete 360! Its almost like being at Henry’s but without the beer or the wine (or the fries). But …. we do have the very latest from Hollywood for our entertainment! Our bus driver offered us a selection of movies we could watch and by popular consensus, Robin Hood was chosen.

Conversations were more relaxed as people rehashed funny things that happened in class or simply watched Russell Crowe‘s antics on the tiny TV screens.

All in all, a delightful experience and one I am sure to repeat again.

All A-B-O-A-R-D!!