Humans of Haas: Britney Zhang
Britney is a third-year business administration major from Irvine, California. On campus, she is the VP of MBA and Alumni Relations at the Haas Business Student Association (HBSA), as well as a Conservation + Technology fellow at the Fung Fellowship. Off-campus, she is the Head of Social for Dorm Room Fund, the original student-run venture fund backing university student founders.
Why did you choose to study business?
Coming into Berkeley I was a media studies major, and I didn’t have business in mind nor did I know much about Haas, the bay area tech scene, or business as a field of study. Growing up, I loved all forms of media – I watched so many shows that I could reference them by line, episode, and season at the drop of a hat. My ability to tell stories came from my childhood observing the entertainment industry. During freshman orientation, everyone seemed to have an interest in business and relate other majors like engineering or political science back to business. As I became more involved with organizations like the Business Careers in Entertainment Club and being able to lead media projects with tech companies, I learned that business is not a result, but a process: interdisciplinary, applicable, and not necessarily a standalone subject.
What are your professional interests?
Right now I am in the path of tech sales, which I enjoy because you interact with people every day. In tech sales, you might be the first point of contact, but you could also work on outsourcing and closing deals. Being in a customer-facing role allows you to work on your communication and negotiation skills. Overall, it is a very rewarding and exciting place to be. I am also interested in consumer marketing, specifically for product launches or advertisements. Being able to tell stories and curate experiences for wide audiences would be interesting.
I’m currently exploring the non-investment side of venture capital. Currently, as the Head of Social for Dorm Room Fund, I work with portfolio companies and investment partners to tell the stories of student founders. Building a business while in college is no easy feat, so I’m grateful to be able to observe and show wider audiences what that process looks like – currently working on a series called “Behind the Build.” I produced a segment called “Know Your Co” with Snackpass, a Dorm Room Fund backed company and a Berkeley-campus fan favorite for mobile ordering food.
What has your HBSA experience been like over the past few years?
HBSA is unique because it provides students an opportunity to directly impact the undergraduate program at Haas. As a freshman, I started as a Philanthropy Associate, where I was able to interview alumni and learn about fundraising. Then, I became the Director of Technology and Communications, working on the website, weekly newsletter, and initiatives like Office Hours with Y-Combinator, Masterclass Series, and Recruiting Roundtables.
Currently, I am the VP of MBA and Alumni Relations, where I run the B2B mentorship program and deferred programming. I want to foster a community where the MBA and undergrad network is accessible, empowering each other to create meaningful relationships beyond professional roles. With alumni it’s the same thing, how to make undergrad-alumni relations a two-way street. One thing I learned about why alumni give back is that a lot of them have no incentive – they do it because along the way people helped them so they want to give back. In that area, I’m trying to pilot more events that engage alumni and their passions.