Club Coffee Chat: Berkeley Economic Review

Berkeley Economic Review is one of the leading student-run, student-produced economics journals in the university, covering all things from political science to public policy. Iris sits down with Parmita Das and Selena Zhang to learn more about the community behind their phenomenal work.

How do members learn about BER?

Parmita: “Members apply for and join the department within BER that aligns with their interests. In that department, the members work towards accomplishing their duties which ultimately plays a role in the functioning of the club. To facilitate professional development, the department head teaches them how to improve their skills. Furthermore, there are many opportunities for BER members to learn from each other and grow professionally through events such as career panels and coding workshops. Members also have opportunities to transfer between departments so that they can learn new skills.”

Selena: “Our website,, is where we publish our articles and previous editions of our journal and magazine. At the beginning of the semester, we host several recruitment activities where prospective members can chat with current members and learn more about the club before submitting their application. Each semester, we also host several professional developments throughout the semester that are open to the general public. “

What are some areas BER covers and what has resonated most with the student population?

Parmita: “BER covers areas ranging from web development and marketing to peer review and editing. This perfectly resonates with the wide variety of interests represented in the Berkeley student population, which is why all majors are welcome in our club and have a role they can fulfill. BER is best known for being the leading undergraduate economics journal, and for the original content it produces covering a wide range of interesting topics in economics.”

Selena: “BER is Berkeley’s premier undergraduate economics journal. We are a leading publication both at Cal and across the country. We publish original staff-written articles across a wide variety of different fields of economics, professor interviews, a magazine, and finally a peer-reviewed journal showcasing some of the best economics papers. Because we do so much every semester, our club consists of several departments, ranging from web development to marketing to graphic design. As such, our club is made up of students with a wide variety of interests. Students at Berkeley and across the world enjoy reading the work that we produce and attending the events that we host.”

What is the best part of the BER community?

Parmita: “The best part of the BER community is that it is a community of wholesome intellectuals that feels like home. Berkeley is definitely a big college and it is easy to feel swept away in the tide of students. BER provides you with a safe harbor in the form of a close-knit community of students where you are valued as an individual and have the opportunity to make lifelong connections with your peers. The BER experience is definitely reflective of what you invest in it; I found that if you invest your time and interest, you will be given plenty of opportunities to grow, feel comforted and cared for, feel intellectually challenged, and enjoy intellectual independence. Finally, because the club is still so new and relatively small, you will be able to leave a legacy and have an impact in the direction it takes.”

Selena: “The best part of the BER community has been the lifelong friends and memories that you make along the way. BER hosts several social events every semester, where you will be able to get to know some of our members in an informal setting. As a student who has interdisciplinary interests, I love being able to hear from diverse perspectives and have greatly enjoyed learning about each member’s passions, from jiu-jitsu, labor unions, electric skateboards, and everything in between. Many of our members have been able to form strong connections with BER’s community that will last well after their times at Berkeley. “

How do you think the BER experience contributes to your student experience + your pursuits beyond college?

Parmita: “I think BER is definitely a highlight of my college experience because it is at the intersection between college and a professional career. It helps bridge the two and has been an avenue for my personal growth in going from a college student to a future member of academia/industry. BER provides plenty of leadership opportunities to showcase your professional growth and a dedicated alumni network that you can reach out to for help or advice. It helps you build your portfolio of skills or publications to make you a capable candidate in your pursuits beyond college. It also helps you connect to members of the faculty and industry leaders by providing productive avenues for networking.”

Selena: “In addition to helping me be a better teammate and problem-solver, BER has also given me invaluable connections to the academic and professional industries. Current members have helped connect me to research assistant jobs in the Economics department, and I’ve learned so many invaluable skills from my time as a BER member. This summer, I am interning with the Transfer Pricing Practice at a Big 4. A BER alumna who completed the same internship the year before helped me navigate every step of the application cycle, from interview prep to transfer pricing research. Her support empowered me to confidently complete the application process and eventually receive the internship offer. The support I received from BER members is truly unmatched anywhere else, and it has helped me figure out my personal and professional interests.” 

Any last words of wisdom for incoming freshmen?

“College is a whole different world from high school, and it’s normal to feel like the routines that you had in high school aren’t working as well for you now that you’re in college. It’s important to know that everyone else is feeling a similar way. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help! “

Have further questions for BER? Visit their website or ask them below and Iris will get you the specific answers you need.

Iris Education

© Iris Education LLC 2020

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