Humans of Haas: Stephanie Pham
Why did you decide to study business at Haas?
Before coming into college and transferring to Berkeley, I was set on molecular cell biology at UCSD, and I didn’t like it. There are certain things that click in your head and don’t when you go to school, and biology was not as intuitive for me. When I was in community college, I had a great economics teacher. He taught us business principles, like macro and micro, which were more intuitive than biology concepts like mitosis. When that clicked in my head I realized I should not pursue something I’m not truly interested in.
Speaking of recruitment, what are your plans after graduation?
I did an internship with Blackrock last summer in New York and I took their full time offer. Their firm is just so unique in that there’s fluidity with every office location, and the people there are not your typical finance people. Everyone is so open and knowledgeable, and if you ask questions they will answer them regardless of position.
What made you interested in Blackrock?
I’ve always been interested, but I never thought about applying. What changed was when Meg Roundy (who manages student-alumni relations at Haas) pushed me to pursue everything I ever wanted to do. She helped me get in contact with people who could answer my questions and help me get a better scope of the company, because when I first heard about Blackrock, it sounded so intense. When she connected me with all these people and pushed me to apply I realized it is a much more inclusive company than I initially thought of it.
What advice would you give to your past self?
I remember struggling so much during my first semester at Cal. Everyone was recruiting, and all the continuing students already had banking internships. I was freaking out and so set on Goldman or J.P. Morgan, and I wasn’t thinking about any other path besides investment banking. I would be a lot less stressed if I had been more open to new possibilities.
I would tell myself to try a little bit of everything before settling your decision on something. I thought I was going to be good at Biology, and I thought that’s what I liked because everyone told me that’s what I was going to like. I never chose to discover anything else. Be open to change, and if you don’t like it at first or you don’t think it’s going to work out, just ride the wave and see how it goes. Everything happens for a reason and things do work out in the end.