Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Shefali Agrawal, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Shefali Agrawal

University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“I’m an environmentalist and amateur photographer who approaches life with creativity and curiosity.”

Hometown: Cupertino, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I learned how to sandboard in the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Chicago; Political Science and Anthropology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer

Berkeley Haas is founded on four Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Which principle resonates most with you and why? The ethos of service, humility, and empathy inherent in Beyond Yourself speaks to me strongly as someone who has dedicated her career to service. I appreciate how this principle builds community and prompts reflection on the impact our decisions and actions can have on others. When we commit to living by the principle “Beyond Yourself,” we work to make a positive difference in the world around us. I find this to be an inspiring way to live.

When you think of UC Berkeley, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Welcoming. The warmth, inclusion, and genuine care I have felt from members of the Haas community – from alumni to faculty, administrators to classmates – fosters a supportive environment where every member is valued and celebrated for who they are. I had a sense of this as an applicant, but as a first-year student, I feel it even more strongly. I relish being part of a community where everyone looks out for one another.

Aside from classmates and the Defining Leadership Principles, what was the key part of Berkeley Haas’ MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Berkeley Haas is a foremost leader in socially responsible business, and I am eager to get involved with the Center for Responsible Business. As a leader, I am motivated by a strong sense of responsibility towards the people and communities I work with, and I want to learn how to harness the power of business to drive positive change in our world. Haas fosters a culture of responsible innovation, which I see as the necessary future of business.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Berkeley Haas)? There is so much I am excited about here at Haas! I’d love to take the International Business Development and/or Sustainable Capitalism in the Nordics classes given my interest in an impact-based, global career. I’m keen to tackle hands-on projects with the International Development and Enterprise Club, and to unwind in nature in the Bay Area with the Redwoods Club.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When governments around the world began to close commercial airspace during the height of COVID-19 pandemic, I helped organize evacuation flights to repatriate U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and their families from Pakistan to the United States. I led a team of 50 volunteers from within my organization and worked closely with leadership and counterparts across the U.S. government to safely return over a thousand passengers to their homes. On flight days, our team worked check-in at the airport. I will never forget how moved I was to see hundreds of Americans assembled at the airport, eager to return home, all because of my team’s efforts.

At this point, what do you hope to do after graduation? I am excited to explore opportunities in corporate or marketing strategy for a social impact enterprise, ideally one with an international footprint. I hope to draw on my background in management consulting, public affairs, and diplomacy to help my organization expand into new markets around the world.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford GSB, Michigan Ross

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Berkeley Haas’ MBA program? Talk to alumni and current students! It’s truly the best way to get a sense of the program and gain an understanding of the school’s culture. Haas alumni and students are friendly, encouraging, and accessible. The students and alumni I connected with during my application process helped me brainstorm my career goals, network with other alumni in my target industry, and fine-tune my application approach. They were unflaggingly supportive along the way. Reaching out to the Haas Student Ambassadors is a great place to start.


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