Iris got the opportunity to talk to Vani Vemula, a current Business major at UC Berkeley. She tells us about her life, from the consulting clubs to the job search.
Tell us a bit about your high school experience.
“I am originally from the Bay Area and went to a high school in Cupertino. It was extremely competitive and primarily Asian dominant with a huge focus on grades. Most students did apply to Berkeley and from my year there were about 20 of them that ended up going.”
How did you decide Berkeley was the best choice for you?
“I think when deciding on a college I knew I wanted to go into the economics and data science side of things so prioritized universities that had programs strong in these areas. In addition, location was a big one where I wanted an area that would allow me to get an internship and job after. Berkeley has great alumni connections and was exceptional academically so it seemed like the best choice.”
How was the academic support when you transitioned?
“Definitely going to college changes your work ethic in terms of no longer having professors telling you about deadlines and due dates. However, though the environment is competitive like my high school it isn’t toxic. People will help you out if you ask and there is academic support in terms of regular advisors and lecturer GSI’s (graduate student instructors) for specific classes with walk-in availability. In STEM classes there are also often internal tutoring services and group study sessions available. We also have organisations that have students that apply to tutor others. With an average class of 600-700 people, I will admit contact with the lecturer is hard but if you are proactive you can always utilise the resources to get the help you need.“
What is club culture like?
“Huge. I made a lot of my friends through the clubs I applied to and it really helped in social acclimation. Currently, I am part of Valley Consulting Group and The Berkeley Forum. I would say the business clubs are really competitive, with 500+ students applying and 5 of them getting accepted. Most of the time students apply every semester till you get in. I would say however, that you have a lot of chances to join and the clubs do want a diverse population so it’s okay if you aren’t successful on your first try. Recruitment typically starts on the first day of school so I would suggest to look through the organization pages before you go to campus to get familiar.”
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