Humans of Haas: Charlie Fu and Ashvin Dhawan
The Haas School of Business provides students with the opportunity to thrive in an environment that embraces community. Two disparate programs, the Global Management Program (GMP) and the Mechanical, Electrical, and Technology Program (M.E.T), have made a big university feel small. Yet, GMP and M.E.T have allowed individuals with similar, yet different, backgrounds and interests to collide, and thus develop life-long friendships. A prime example of this encounter occurred between Charlie Fu and Ashvin Dhawan.
How Charlie and Ashvin Met:
Initially, Charlie and Ashvin established their friendship by joining the Berkeley Consulting (BC) club. Ashvin described their friendship as an instant bond that developed over time, specifically growing during Fall of 2021. They have strengthened their friendship through a vast amount of “ski and snowboarding trips to Lake Tahoe.”
1. Describe Berkeley Consulting.
Berkeley Consulting is Berkeley’s oldest management consulting club! We really focus on breadth of experience, constantly trying to find new industries to explore, that as a club, we’ve never worked in in the past. For example, in the last couple of years,we’ve explored new industries such as sustainable fashion, movie production, gaming, and crypto. Our members reflect that focus on breadth, coming from tons of different majors and backgrounds.
2. What has been your favorite project you have worked on?
Charlie: My favorite project was for one of the big film production companies, automating their production finance process. The project involved a significant amount of coding as well as an inside look into how large production companies worked, which was extremely interesting.
Ashvin: My favorite project was definitely when I was a Project Manager for a renewable energy nonprofit. We researched the emerging space of recyclable-by-design plastics and helped the nonprofit find corporate clients to partner with in order to reduce their carbon footprint. It was an amazing way to take the lead on an issue that I care deeply about while also learning about a new vertical that I had not been exposed to in the past.
3. How will this club assist you in reaching your future goals and aspirations post graduation?
Ashvin and Charlie: Both of us feel that BC has enabled us to adapt and learn quickly on our feet. Every semester we are thrust into a new industry and not only become experts in that space, but solve problems and make recommendations to clients well-versed in each industry. No matter what we do in the future, learning to problem solve in unfamiliar situations is something we are ready for after our time in BC.
Background on Charlie Fu:
Charlie is a current Senior in GMP, studying Business Administration and Data Science. Outside of his academic ambitions, he enjoys traveling and learning about various cultures. Specifically, Charlie began learning how to speak Hindi after his solo trip to India over Winter Break. Charlie’s passion for divergent cultures established his interest in international relations, which influenced his decision to apply to GMP. “Haas has provided me with a surplus of career and extracurricular opportunities and I credit a lot of that to the broadness and international aspect of my education,” Charlie revealed while describing his experience at UC Berkeley thus far. Born and raised in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Charlie believed that Cal was a place to interact with individuals from various backgrounds due to the size and location of the Bay Area. Furthermore, learning technical skills alongside a traditional business program allowed Charlie to experience flexibility in regards to his academic interests. Post graduation, working abroad for a macro hedge fund or in a field that entails international relations fascinates Charlie. He believes that his background in Global Management will allow him to “navigate culturally-sensitive situations,” as he hopes to obtain a career in Asia.
As an out-of-state student, Charlie established himself in his new environment by joining the Berkeley Investment Group (BIG), a student-run equity fund on campus. Currently, Charlie is the co-fund manager at BIG which entails writing investor updates for investors, managing investor relations, and ensuring diversification and appropriate risk exposure for their portfolio. Fu’s favorite aspect of the club is the knowledge and education he has received. Specifically, BIG’s internship program has enriched his understanding of Finance, as well as inspired him to pursue a long-term career in the field. “As someone who personally worked in Finance for my Junior summer internship, I believe BIG has and will continue to provide me with recruitment resources/opportunities as well as a strong alumni network of like-minded individuals with ample experience in the industry,” Charlie revealed.
Background on Ashvin Dhawan
Ashvin recently graduated from the M.E.T Program, studying EECS and Business Administration. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ashvin described his transition to UC Berkeley as a “way to get out of my shell and have new experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to get if I stayed close to home.” Due to the fact that Ashvin was the only student moving to Berkeley from his high school, he considers his cohort as his first sense of community at Cal. Thus, the M.E.T community holds a special place in his heart, as he described his initial interaction with his cohort as his favorite memory. While establishing lifelong friendships, Ashvin revealed that the program allowed him to alter his perspective on his career path. “After watching individuals pursue non-traditional career trajectories, I am quite excited to pursue a nonlinear career path as well,” stated Dhawan. In order to maximize his engineering and business degree, Ashvin plans on pursuing a career in Product Management. Yet, he aspires to transfer into the Political realm of Civil Technology, either through a nonprofit organization or a position in government.
In regards to Haas, Ashvin “loves how it’s so much more than just core classes- from student organizations, to decals, to the vibrant business community.” In fact, Ashvin had the opportunity to take a Haas decal on Product Management (PM), which he described as his best experience at Haas. As he had the opportunity to learn from current students pursuing careers in PM, Ashvin developed an understanding of how to leverage all that he has learned in Haas. Furthermore, Ashvin joined the Political Computer Science Club (PCS) to explore his newfound interest in technology and politics. In the past, Ashvin revealed that he “could never find an efficient or accessible way to combine technology and politics,” as well as utilize his technical skills for political advocacy, in an impactful manner. Yet, PCS provides Ashvin with the opportunity to explore casual discourses on politics and current events. For example, he has recently discussed topics such as American Foreign Policy, Algorithmic bias in the Justice System, as well as the Will Smith/Chris Rock Oscars debacle. In addition to educational conversations, Ashvin worked on a tool to aggregate listings for house/apartment leases from Craigslist, Facebook, and Apartments.com for the Berkeley Area onto one centralized platform. Ideally, the project would reduce Berkeley’s housing crisis, as well as make the process efficient. Although the project is currently in its developmental stages, Ashvin emphasized that he enjoyed the initial process of identifying the problem and creating solutions with his team. “In addition to building the website, I got to design and select the features that benefited students the most; getting to work end-to-end on such an impactful project was a really special opportunity.” When he graduated, Ashvin realized the degree to which technology can impact politics and local governments; and he is eager to further explore the path for himself.
Charlie and Ashvin’s experiences prove how individuals from different backgrounds and academic paths can develop a strong bond. By utilizing their out of state college experience to develop interpersonal and networking skills, Charlie and Ashvin have maximized the resources that UC Berkeley offers, resulting in the development of their careers. Thus, their friendship emphasizes the importance of disassociating from the limitations and boundaries that can be apparent when individuals who lack similar interests and goals interact with one another.