Humans of Haas: Bryan Silfanus
What is your story?
I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. But despite growing up in Indonesia, I feel like my life wasn’t too different to those of my friends who lived in the United States. Since Jakarta is a metropolitan city, my life was more Americanized compared to most Indonesians. On weekdays I played for my high school’s volleyball and basketball teams, and on weekends my friends and I would go the mall and watch movies, so in a way, it was pretty similar to people who grew up in America. I feel very lucky to have had the resources and opportunities I did growing up, because I know that not many other Indonesians are as fortunate as I am to have been able to make it to Berkeley. I came to Berkeley because I wanted a better education and during my time here, I am very grateful to have met people here who inspire me to continue to better myself. Back in high school, I didn’t work as hard as I could have, but coming to Berkeley has pushed me to work harder. People here are passionate, kind, and are willing to fight and chase after their dreams. (Not to mention, Berkeley itself is a really great college city with its many kinks and quirks!)
Being surrounded by so many bright, driven, and eager people at Berkeley has helped me realize my passion for tech, and inspired me to pursue it when I go back home. Currently, the new technology and startup movement in Indonesia is working to tackle some of Indonesia’s most complex issues, like banking the unbanked and increasing Indonesia’s minuscule minimum wage problem. Banks are creating new financial products that cater to the unbanked population and startups like Tokopedia and GoJek are helping to bring higher wages to Indonesia’s workforce. I want to bring the knowledge and experience I have accumulated here in Berkeley to further the work of improving Indonesia.
Why Haas and why donate to Haas?
I wanted to do Business because Haas has an amazing program and upholds great values. During my time here in Haas, I’ve learned a lot from my peers and professors, one of whom was Rob Chandra. In his UGBA 195T course, he compared endowment funds between different schools and pointed out that all great schools are great because of their large endowment funds. He emphasized the importance for alumni to give back so that schools can continue to provide valuable resources for its students.
Rob’s lecture was what inspired me to start the habit of giving back. Even though $15 doesn’t seem like a lot, it is a good start as a student. Donating $15 to Haas, and Berkeley as a whole, is the start of my journey of giving back to the place that has given me so much.
Check out more on the Student Give Campaign here: bit.ly/HaasSGC