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Real Humans of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA Class of 2025

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haas business schoolVenkateswara Reddy Vuppalapati, Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2025

Age: 30
Hometown: Kurnool, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani – Hyderabad Campus 
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): I had seven years of experience in the financial services industry before Haas. Most of it as an equity research analyst at J.P. Morgan, focused on European Logistics with shorter stints in Nomura and Deutsche Bank, focusing on fundamental credit and credit risk ratings. 

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
My experience in Equity Research before joining Haas offered invaluable learning opportunities and allowed me to collaborate with exceptionally driven individuals. However, I found that the advisory or impact aspect was frequently limited and not easily discernible. In 2021, I seized the chance to contribute to several Initial Public Offerings as an Equity Research Analyst. Throughout the years, I’ve had the privilege to analyze numerous transactions within the logistics sector. It was during this time that I recognized the substantial impact that Investment Banking can have. This realization to pivot to banking fueled my decision to pursue admission to B-School.

Why did you choose Berkeley Haas? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The culture at Berkeley Haas is profoundly shaped by our Four Defining Principles, and the institution excels at identifying individuals who align with these values, and admitting them into the program. Forming connections and engaging in conversations with classmates becomes effortless due to the shared commitment to these principles.

Regarding my aspiration to transition into Technology Investment Banking for a West Coast banking position, San Francisco stands out as the epicenter of all things tech. Virtually every major bank has a presence here, making it an ideal location for such a pivot. Although Haas may not be widely recognized as a finance school, on the West Coast, it holds a prominent position with a strong push from the career management group and strong alumni connections. Additionally, my conversations with the current leadership of the finance club revealed a sincere dedication to giving back, adding another layer of appeal to my decision to pursue this path at Haas.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Berkeley Haas School of Business Class of 2025?
Throughout my seven years of professional experience as a stock research analyst and credit rating analyst at renowned investment banks, I’ve honed my expertise in deciphering the intricate interplay between broader macroeconomic trends and individual corporate decisions, particularly concerning their influence on a company’s financial statements and equity prices. I hope to leverage this knowledge to help my classmates interested in careers in investment management. 

On a personal level, I find that I can engage with people about the positives in their lives, despite being somewhat of a pessimist myself. Having lived and grown up in various regions of India, I bring diverse and unique perspectives from each part of the country to the table.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
When I commenced my undergraduate studies, I had already lived in seven cities and attended six different schools. Food holds a special place in my heart, with butter chicken being my ultimate comfort food. Moreover, my first encounter with hummus left such an impression that I indulged in it exclusively for an entire week.

Post-MBA career interests:
Investment Banking (Technology Coverage or Mergers and Acquisitions)

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Engaging with more people, visiting the campus, chatting with current students at the Haas Courtyard, attending classes, and participating in events like Days at Haas are invaluable steps, not just for Haas but for any business school. 

As an international student, I recognize that I might not have done enough of these activities. The culture of a school and its unique qualities are best understood through direct experiences and conversations. It goes beyond what you can gather from internet research or rankings. Taking the time to immerse yourself in the environment, interact with students, and witness the teaching approach firsthand can provide insights that are crucial in making an informed decision about the right business school for you

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?haas berkeley 2025
It’s essential not to fixate on a single exam and instead choose the one that aligns best with your abilities. Personally, I took the GMAT four times before realizing it wasn’t the right fit for me. Recognizing my natural inclination towards reading, I should have opted for the GRE, which is more attuned to individuals who enjoy reading. 

Ultimately, test scores are just one data point and should not be treated as a vanity contest for achieving a higher score. Being pragmatic about selecting the exam that best supports your admission into the program of your choice is always a wise approach.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The waiting period following the application submission and subsequent interview is a phase I would have preferred to bypass. During this time, I found solace in conversing with friends and taking leisurely strolls in the nearby parks. Engaging in human contact and even incorporating simple exercises proved instrumental in navigating this process with greater ease.

What is your initial impression of the Berkeley Haas students/culture/community?
The individuals at Haas are some of the most humble and heartwarming people you’ll ever encounter. I can confidently say there isn’t a single Haasie I wouldn’t want to engage with, as everyone here has been exceptionally welcoming. In terms of recruiting, the spirit of collaboration is unparalleled; we consistently strive to support and look out for one another.

What is one thing you have learned about Berkeley Haas that has surprised you?
The abundance of resources within the Haas/UC Berkeley ecosystem exceeded my expectations. Initially, I anticipated being able to explore and leverage these resources, but I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer breadth and depth available. 

Moreover, the integration of Evening Weekend MBA students into the community has been a valuable aspect of my experience. These students actively participate in recruitment alongside Full-Time MBA students, fostering a collaborative environment. Through this integration, I’ve forged meaningful connections, established some lasting friendships, and gained invaluable mentorship and support that has significantly contributed to my personal and professional growth.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
As I write this article, one semester of the MBA (1/4th of the MBA experience) is already done. Time seems to fly by, and I am anxious about not being involved well in the community, experiencing everything MBA has to offer. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Haas boasts a small yet diverse class, offering abundant opportunities to connect with fellow students through various social events. I am eager to meet, understand, and learn from the diverse array of individuals in this community. I anticipate engaging discussions in the classrooms, eager to absorb the varied opinions and perspectives each person brings. Excitement fills me as I look forward to embracing every opportunity that comes my way here.

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.