Humans of Haas: Grace Xia
Grace Xia is a junior at Haas triple majoring in Business, Economics, and Art. An international student from China, she moved to California to attend Berkeley. Grace is also a successful YouTube content creator who sings in three languages and plays the saxophone and guitar. She is interested in the marketing industry.
Why Berkeley and why Haas?
There’s actually a bit of a backstory here. I already knew I wanted to go into Business in high school, but I wasn’t sure if I could get into Haas. So once I came to Berkeley, I set that goal. I wanted to attend Haas because of its renowned quality of education and the resources the school provides. Also, the four defining principles resonate with me personally – like “Student Always” , for example. I always like to find new opportunities to challenge myself and grow.
How did you find your passion for marketing?
During high school in Hawaii, I bought products from China to sell in the U.S. on Instagram. I found joy in bringing different versions of products like stationeries, earrings, and Airpod cases to the U.S. , where there isn’t a wide selection of these Asian products. I saw unfulfilled demand, and brought those products here, where they became popular among my classmates. I promoted on social media first, recorded the orders I got, and then ordered the products online. This taught me marketing in a very hands-on way.
Marketing is a convergence between art and business – those are my two passions combined, and that’s why I started exploring it first when I came to Berkeley. I’m very passionate about it, but I’ll continue to explore finance and consulting, as well as other fields.
You had a YouTube video go viral on a Chinese platform in 2020. What was that like and how did you start posting on the platform?
Someone reposted my video – a Spanish cover of a Chinese song – on Weibo, where it got around 4 million views. All of my friends were telling me that they’d seen me, which was cool!
I started YouTube in 2016 because I was inspired by another YouTuber, Conor Maynard. He’s a cover artist, and I really like his covers. I literally flew to New York to see his Broadway show and got to meet him. He invited me backstage, and it was super cool. His channel was a major motivation because he started at 14 or 15, which is also the age I started YouTube. I also wanted to share my interest in music in the form of uploading videos online. I try to find innovative ways to perform a song, such as making mashups, combining different instruments with singing, or translating the lyrics of a song into a different language.
What do you see yourself doing in the future? Would you want a career that allows you to utilize the full scope of your Art, Business and Econ interests?
I want to do a job I like. I’ll most likely go into marketing in the future, at a company and in a role that I’m passionate about. That would be a dream, and my ultimate career goal. I wouldn’t necessarily want to use my art skills much, but I feel that having an artistic sense could be utilized in a business setting, such as reviewing design components. Taking math-intensive Econ classes provides a relatively more technical background for me, and that’s helpful in the workplace since basic quantitative knowledge is in high demand.
You’ve previously engaged in marketing, running your own online store, and creating content – all of which are highly relational and audience/consumer-facing positions. What do you like about this aspect of Business?
One thing I can say is that I can see the impact of my work directly. For example, by implementing a marketing campaign, I can see the impact in whether or not consumers buy the product. I’m also interested in consumer psychology – like coming up with strategies to compel people to act. Thinking from the consumer perspective is pretty interesting to me, and so is seeing how I can tailor strategies to appeal to consumers.
Lastly, what is some advice you’d give to someone hoping to be a YouTube content creator?
Learn about marketing and how to build a personal brand. Come up with a differentiator that sets you apart from others, especially if you want to get involved in a very popular genre such as lifestyle. Also, persevere! If you persevere for a long time, it makes sense that you will be seen at some point. Stress about it less, don’t let it be a task, and be passionate about what you’re doing. A lot of it is luck. As a beginner Youtuber, it’s really hard to get your videos seen by anyone, and that’s normal. Perseverance and finding your differentiator are key!
- Early bird or night owl? Night owl, but my mom really wants me to be an early bird. So sometimes I try.
- Favorite color? Purple and yellow!
- Favorite study spot on campus? Environmental design library. I like rocking in the round chairs!
- Hobbies? Drawing, music, sports, planting succulents, and collecting crystals. I also like taking pictures of random fruits – fruits in the wild.
- Favorite song? Drops by FKJ
- Favorite place on campus? Garden in front of the Women’s Faculty Club
- Favorite dining hall or non-dining hall place to eat? Poke bar
- Favorite class? UGBA 175 with Alan Ross