The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) is a semester-long business and entrepreneurship program at the Haas Business School at the University of California, Berkeley. The program consists of various business and technology courses, from Organizational Behaviour to Marketing Analysis as well as courses that provide in-depth analysis of technology innovation and start-ups.
The program is open to business as well as non-business majors and consists of 3 core subjects and 3 electives. Of the 3 electives, 2 electives are a part of the program and 1 A concurrent enrolment course can be taken from the UCB course catalog. The course relies heavily on experiential inputs from faculty as well as visits to companies in Silicon Valley to gain exposure to innovative companies and their techniques. The instruction methodology relies heavily on student research and papers every week as well as a comprehensive term paper.
More details on courses/ electives offered can be found HERE
This can best be described by Meghana Ganesh, a Final year CS student from PES University based on her personal experience as part of the BHGAP Spring 2020 Cohort at UCB:
“The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Berkeley was how rich the campus culture was and the depth of the pride in this culture. Living complexes were decked in blue and gold, and the campus logo could be seen on anything – from clothes to cars to windows. The entire city seemed to be influenced by the university.
The next thing I noticed was how diverse the student body was. There were people from different backgrounds, countries, ages on campus. The campus was always lively, classes would often start early morning and go on till night. Apart from classes, there would always be some activity going on – club activities, events, competition, sports. Even on weekends, there were several activities in progress – either student would be found studying in the library or attending networking events or even just relaxing on campus.
Class schedules were completely flexible and students could choose when they wanted to take classes as well as their professors and could even select classes from other majors if their credit requirements were satisfied. Apart from the normal curriculum, there were even student-led “DeCal” courses that offered courses in almost anything – from photography and media to yoga and chocolate. Classes themselves offered a lot of freedom – there was no strict structure that had to be followed and the syllabus, grade weighting, and assessment format were entirely up to the instructors.
Classes were highly interactive and hands-on and we were encouraged to ask questions or even just express our thoughts and opinions on the material. We were even given weekly readings about content for the following week so that we would be prepared to be able to participate in discussions. There was a lot of emphasis on group activities and we would often have a group task or activity in every class. We were given weekly assignments which would be either case studies or essays. Instructions were deliberately kept ambiguous so that we could think and interpret them. The purpose of these assignments was to ensure that we understood the course content and could practically apply the principles we learned.
The professors at UC Berkeley were extremely student-friendly. They were very easy to reach out to and were always willing to help us in any matter, be it academics or even personal or career-related issues. They were also very understanding and accommodating and willing to listen to the students’ needs, and they made sure that every one of us was comfortable, especially during the pandemic.
I noticed that culture was extremely important in UC Berkeley. Haas itself had their own 4 defining principles – Question the Status Quo, Confidence without Attitude, Students Always and Beyond Yourself These 4 principles held immense value. The professors spent time explaining the principles and what it meant to them and Haas, and we were expected to reflect these values in ourselves and everything we did.
Academically, the program gave me a better outlook on business and technology. I was able to learn a lot about entrepreneurship and innovation and the various aspects of running a business. I understood what qualities are needed to start up a business, which leads to innovation and the importance of solving the right problems using the right tools. The program also helped me realize the value and importance of leadership and its role in innovation.
Other than academics, there were many takeaways from the program. We were taught how to determine our value proposition and find a job that matches it. Additionally, we were also given tips for building our resume, writing cover letters, and networking.
The program sharpened my communication, presentation skills, and networking skills. There were also many opportunities to work with my peers from different countries for team activities which gave me a better outlook on diversity and culture.
Studying at UC Berkeley allowed me to experience a completely different style of education and gave me a chance to grow as a person and thrive in an international setting. Being in the Bay Area allowed me to experience the diversity and uniqueness of Silicon Valley and helped me understand the reason for it being so conducive to innovation and business.
I greatly enjoyed this experience which was transformational, something that I would remember/cherish for a long time to come.