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Real Humans of the UC Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2022

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Jesse Ruiz, Haas MBA Class of 2022

Age: 26
Hometown: South Gate, CA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Interdisciplinary Studies at UC Berkeley
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Media/Tech

Why business school? Why now? 
First, the people. Being surrounded by classmates who are leaders/aspiring leaders in industries completely different than what I am familiar with helps challenge my views and gives me an opportunity to grow. Second, education. During my undergraduate years, my courses were not technical or business focused (a true poet I guess) but Haas offers a solid foundation of courses through its core curriculum and the proximity of Berkeley/Haas to Silicon Valley creates a natural connection to Tech and some pretty cool classes to go along with it.

Why Berkeley Haas? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The people. Alumni, current students, and faculty were all so giving with their time during the application process and the defining principles are not just a slogan; folks here really embody each and every one of them: Student Always, Question the Status Quo, Beyond Yourself, Confidence Without Attitude. Some bonuses: The Bay Area is the epicenter of tech, the weather is great all year, and UC Berkeley’s student population is massive, making the city of Berkeley a place filled with thought leaders and subject matter experts from around the world.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
If you look at the industries of most top MBA programs, media/entertainment is usually one of the smallest industries represented.  If you look at the numbers of Latinxs in top MBA programs, you’ll find that we represent a small percentage of the population as well. That said, my professional experiences in media/entertainment combined with the unique perspective I carry with me as a first-generation Latino from a low-income background out of South East LA differentiates me.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I’m always working on something creative, most recently writing and acting in a comedy series with a close friend of mine. I’m obviously biased but it was hilarious putting it together so hopefully, that translates into some laughs.

Post-MBA career interests?
I’m still exploring and solidifying my answer to this but some of my interests include Product Marketing at a Tech company and/or content acquisition/corporate strategy at an entertainment company.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Talk to as many current students and alumni as possible. In most cases, they will provide you an unfiltered perspective of what your experience as a student will actually be like.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Not necessarily change but just want to emphasize that everyone has unique reasons for pursuing an MBA. Don’t get caught up in other people’s reasons, focus on your own, and take a hard look at your current situation and how an MBA will help you get to where you want to be. An MBA application has several components (essays, GMAT/GRE, letters of rec, interviews, etc). Give yourself enough time to tackle these components one at a time. If you scramble to put the pieces together, it will show.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The essays are meant to make you reflect and think critically about your What are you hoping to get out of this experience? These are tough questions to answer with a limited word count. What helps you through is starting this process early and normalizing these conversations with people that you trust so your why is crystallized by the time you get to your apps.

What is your initial impression of Haas’s students/culture/community? 
Students are critical-thinking, optimistic, go-getters.  It’s in the DNA: “Question the Status Quo.” People don’t do things just because they’ve always been done.

One thing you have learned about Haas that has surprised you?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how tight-knit the community is. Our class size is smaller than some of the other MBA programs, but whether it’s needing a hand moving or getting coffee with someone who worked at a company or in a role you’re aiming for, people are generally willing to offer support.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Getting back into the groove of being a student is going to be challenging, but I’m excited at the same time.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Meeting all my classmates (albeit virtually)

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.