Blog post from MEng ’14 Brian Dong Zheng
This was one of the most important questions I asked myself while I was in the process of deciding where to study for my Master’s degree. I asked many of my close friends and professors for their opinions, but it seemed like everyone had a different suggestion depending on their own experiences. This was when I realized I needed to decide for myself. I’d like to share some of my personal perspectives on why I enrolled in the Master of Engineering Program here at Berkeley and why it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
As an international student, coming to Berkeley would be my first time studying abroad. In addition to having to adapt to a very different culture, my daily schedule would be fairly heavy: doing well in all my coursework, working on the Capstone project, and landing a job before graduation. Would I be able to do all of this in just nine months? I seriously considered choosing a longer Master’s program that would span 1.5 to 2 years so that I would not only have more time to study, but also the opportunity to complete an additional internship in the summer for more industry experience and possible job offers.
Then it dawned on me: why wait? If I could complete all of these objectives in nine months, why waste another year? So I accepted the offer and came to Berkeley, which turned out to be the right decision.
What put me at ease was that everything actually started before I even arrived on campus. The MEng program has career advisors dedicated to helping us refine our resumes and cover letters in early May. We were also assigned class readings over the summer to prepare us to hit the ground running, and social groups were created online for students and professors to exchange ideas.
The MEng program began with a two-week boot camp prior to the start of the Fall semester. During this fortnight, we got to know each other, honed our business skills, and prepared for the upcoming career fairs. I learned many invaluable skills and had an incredibly positive experience. When the academic year finally began, everything just flowed smoothly. The workload for my cohort (IEOR) was designed perfectly, as it allowed us to conduct our virtual internship (the Capstone project) and hunt for jobs at the same time. In addition, there have been plenty of social events with other engineering and MBA students to develop our network and have a good time.
I still cannot believe that one semester has already passed. Many of my peers and I have landed our first and second job offers. I received offers from two well-known consulting firms and I feel privileged to be able to make a career of what I like the most—business and technology. So far our Capstone project has been running smoothly. We have been closely analyzing market trends and cooperating with our industrial and faculty advisers. The Capstone Poster Session was quite a success and we received a lot of good comments and feedback. However, ultimately, the MEng program is not only about searching for jobs and academics — it is also about having fun. We have all enjoyed making friends with such a diverse group of people, and due to this program, I have met some of the nicest and most inspirational people who I can trust and share true feelings with. Those are the people who will always be there for you and fight together with you in the long journey ahead. All in all, it is not about how long a Master’s program is, but what you can make out of it. With such great support from the Fung Institute, we did it, so why can’t you?