How I Got Into Haas Without Joining a Business Club

Totally not clickbait! No, but seriously. My name is Mikayla, and I am a Business Administration major at the Haas School of Business. After hearing that, most people assume I’ve climbed the ladder through a Haas-sponsored consulting club or competed in finance case competitions for years when, in fact, none of that is true. I’m here to tell you about how I got into the Haas School of Business without joining a single business club.

To begin, I want to touch on a passion of mine: music. (I promise this all ties together in the end). I’ve been inspired by music from an early age, and I feel like that passion has only grown as I’ve gotten older and attended college. From middle school, I was consistently involved in music-related organizations, from orchestra to choir to just forming my own little bands and making covers together. It not only filled the time outside of academics for me but also allowed me to harbor feelings of security and confidence that I didn’t always feel in other organizations. 

At Cal, I found these same feelings in the performing arts community. In my freshman year, I joined a cape-wearing, song-loving a cappella group called DeCadence. In it, I truly feel like I found my home away from home. Every member brings something so unique (vocally and otherwise), and I’m truly inspired to work harder in not only my musical career but in my personal and academic life as well. The beauty of a cappella (and other performing arts) is that members come from all walks of life and all majors– beyond business, I’ve sung with EECS majors, rhetoric majors, and even law school students! It’s truly moving to see so many different individuals come together to work towards a common goal- in my case, that’s making music.

My love for a cappella then extended beyond the musical aspect, and I found myself intrigued by the way the organization ran. It was so cool to see how smoothly our events ran, how elections were held, and even how we were able to afford to run our organization (from purchasing merchandise to holding a 200-person concert). I began wondering what happened behind the scenes to make our group function so seamlessly, and from there I ran to be our team’s External Business Manager. I got to see the functions of a student run, 17-person a cappella group, and even got to arrange gigs and events myself. One of my favorite events that I got to work on was UC Berkeley’s “Blockeley” Commencement, in which we performed “Hail to California” for the graduating class of 2020. In the midst of a raging pandemic, it was heartwarming to see people (via Minecraft figures) coming together to enjoy the music my group created.

While Haas has a holistic approach to reviewing applications, one portion they look closely at are extracurricular activities. Despite not being in a finance club, I feel that my dedication and commitment to DeCadence (and music in general) has really shone through, and is one of the reasons why I’m a Business major today. I’m truly grateful for the opportunities that the performing arts community at Cal has given me, and I’m excited to continue spreading my passion for music at Cal! I also hope that this story goes to show that you don’t need to change who you are to get into a certain major or school– authenticity manifests itself in the most beautiful ways and is bound to lead to success. 🙂