“We analyzed venture capital term sheets in a lesson and did in-class roleplaying — students had mock client interviews and debates with one another. Role plays are great because they give you a much better idea of how complicated interviewing a potential customer or debating with a partner can be.”On the other hand, Professor Zafar is very demanding. I wasn’t initially sure about taking this class because I was not planning to launch a business or work at a startup in the short term. But the class turned out to be really exciting and I would be lying saying it hasn’t changed how I view startups and entrepreneurship in general. I’m definitely much more interested in pursuing an idea now. There are three main reasons for that and are quite straightforward. First, you get to do a wider range of tasks than just one. Second, you have more influence within the company because a startup has very few employees, so you can communicate with everyone easier and align your efforts towards a common vision. And third, although startups come with a high risk, they also come with a higher reward making it so exciting on a daily basis. You work hard for your own dreams and not the ones of someone else.
“Business classes help [engineers] better understand the world we live in.”I think learning the business side is important for engineers because you need to know how to communicate what you do and who you are efficiently. No matter what industry you want to work in. Technical classes are great, but they don’t teach you how to communicate with peers, an audience or potential customers. Also, they focus on very specific areas of science, making it difficult to see the bigger picture. On the contrary, business classes help us better understand the world we live in. When working for a company, or even as a company, we are pieces of a bigger machine. I find it powerful to understand how it all comes together, instead of being in a bubble which takes an input and produces an output. I do not think they should replace technical classes by any means, but they are very powerful complements which help me to stay out of this bubble as much as possible and show me another way of viewing our society. Before coming to the MEng program, I had never taken any business class. I found it interesting how I was able to talk to friends in business schools about business and leadership when I went back to my home country after a semester here. As an engineer, I believe it is important to understand both aspects and stay as open-minded as possible. Oskar Radermecker is currently a Master’s student, pursuing his degree in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Before Berkeley, he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the Université libre de Bruxelles while spending a year on exchange completing a Master in biomedical engineering at the University of Warwick. Connect with Oskar.
Oskar Radermecker: ‘Business classes help engineers better understand the world we live in’ was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.