Sunday, July 13, 2008

Haas Visit

We drove around Berkeley for a while before we reached some office that sells parking permits. Since they didn't know the way to the parking lots, we spent some more time finding one next to school. A Haas student later told me: "The best thing about Berkeley is our great location. The worst thing about Berkeley is our great location". The campus is beautiful and locating the b-school in it was an experience.

Stories of festivities in Haas' open area (concrete yard? see pic) and the smiling faces of students imprinted in my brain that it is a happy place. The class itself was fun and interesting as the students were summing up the result of a negotiations simulation. There aren't that many students in the class and this gives somewhat of a more intimate feeling. The professor added to the experience with her energy, smiles and good spirit. She looked like the stereotype of a California girl (no, I don't wish they all could be California girls - because I embrace diversity [I also stated that in one application essay]).

The professor then presented us with a short film created at Google labs where they teach the same class. I found out then that Google actually has their very own Haas MBA program running within the labs(!). The film was quite amusing, simulating negotiations of phone reps with angry customers.

A current student than took us to lunch in their very own grill-restaurant, which served some good ol' American cuisine. You are not entitled to lunch as part of the school visit. We met there some more pleasant Haas students and got to - you guessed it - talk about the school and admissions.

We were then taken to meet student ambassadors and admissions staff who were very kind. Some more prospectives joined the session and I discovered another Israeli there, which was great. There was no real answer for the financial aid issue with Berkeley. There is no loan arranged by the school without co-signers. This fact is extremely important to internationals. It puzzled me that Berkeley does not remedy this when I saw how a friend of mine had to deal with the financial issue with the high cost of living in Berkeley vs. the other offer he had at another ivy league school.

Unfortunately the Haas visit was added to our traveling plans at a short notice and we hadn't managed to meet an Israeli student there. The ambassadors gave us his contact, but due to timing constraints, we only had a phone call that evening after we had arrived to Palo Alto.

That evening, we continued working on our essays for our first application - Darden - as we've done throughout every stop in this trip.
The next day was a visit to Stanford.

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