Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Sabrina (Shiyu) Tan, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

Sabrina (Shiyu) Tan

University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“A world explorer passionate about meeting people with diverse backgrounds.”

Hometown: Qingdao, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak five languages and my legal Chinese name literally means poem and language – I have been wondering if that’s where my passion for foreign languages came from.

Undergraduate School and Major: UC Berkeley; Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Aspecta, Director of Business Development & Marketing

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?  Beyond Yourself truly resonates with me at the core. My journey in career exploration began on Wall Street during the summer of my sophomore year, where I found myself immersed in the world of investment banking. It was an experience that felt like a dream come true. I gained invaluable insights into various industries, building a solid foundation in finance. However, I was desperate for an opportunity to use my expertise to create a meaningful impact that would benefit more people, particularly in my home country, China.

So when I returned to Asia, I joined a seed-stage startup dedicated to empowering developers. Here, I could fully leverage the finance knowledge to support fundraising efforts and daily operations. Our new product introduced hundreds of thousands of people to the transformative realm of technology, opening doors to boundless opportunities.  I am grateful for the unwavering support I received from fellow students, faculty, and alumni. Their guidance and encouragement have shaped me. I hope to give back to communities and inspire others to pursue their passions, empowering them to create positive change on a global scale.

When you think of UC Berkeley, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? When I think of UC Berkeley, the word that instantly springs to mind is innovation. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, UC Berkeley embodies the very essence of innovation. From the cutting-edge design of Moffitt Library to its groundbreaking experiential learning initiatives, UC Berkeley is committed to technological advancement and trailblazing ideas. This dynamic and welcoming campus fosters an atmosphere that encourages students to fearlessly pioneer new frontiers in their respective fields with an innovative mindset.

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’ MBA curriculum particularly appeals to me as I appreciate its focus on both quantitative and qualitative perspectives in the curriculum. The real-life business world is dynamic and forever changing. The practicality embedded into the curriculum will prepare us to be well-rounded business leaders with comprehensive skill sets.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Berkeley Haas? Haasemite excites me the most. I believe that an MBA experience should go beyond the textbook and classroom.  I’m looking forward to getting to know my classmates and establishing life-long friendships.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Transitioning to an early-stage start-up from the hand-holding guidance I received in finance was challenging. My biggest accomplishment in my career so far is that I built up the marketing and business development team within our company from scratch, which involved recruiting, planning, strategizing, and much more. While leading the team, I was constantly learning on the job, which was an eye-opening experience.

At this point, what do you hope to do after graduation? Consulting or corporate strategy

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Berkeley Haas’ MBA program? Be genuine and think about what truly matters to you. Choosing to pursue an MBA is a big decision and it is a huge commitment. Thinking through what you hope to get out of business school and what matters most to you is a fundamental step before hitting that submit button. Make sure that Berkeley Haas is actually the best fit for you as you want to attend a school that aligns with your values. Once you sort out all of these questions, bring your most authentic self to the process, free from any attempt to be someone you are not. Haas is a diverse community that welcomes students from various backgrounds. Genuinely showcasing who you are and what matters to you are the biggest keys to your dream offer. Good luck!


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