Avanthika Ramesh has more than one “first” under her belt. Not only is she the first student to finish UC Berkeley’s Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology (M.E.T.) program, she’s also the first to finish a year early.
A joint program launched in 2017 by Berkeley Haas and the College of Engineering, M.E.T. allows students to earn two undergraduate degrees in business and engineering in four years. Ramesh did it in three.
“It was an amazing experience,” said the 20-year-old, who is now at home in Georgia, working remotely for Salesforce in its competitive two-year Associate Product Manager program.
“An amazing young woman”
Undergraduates admitted to M.E.T. combine business courses with one of three engineering tracks: electrical engineering & computer sciences; industrial engineering & operations research; or mechanical engineering. They spend time in class at both schools throughout the four years.
Michael Grimes, EECS 87, the head of Global Technology Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley and the founder of the M.E.T. Program, said Avanthika took full advantage of the M.E.T. curriculum, which offers deep technology skills, along with management and leadership education. “As a rising star associate product manager at Salesforce she is putting those skills to use with her trademark poise, excellence, and empathy,” he said. “The sky’s the limit with Avanthika.”
The sky’s the limit with Avanthika.
“She’s one of the most glorious students I’ve ever had the honor of working with,” said Chris Dito, executive director of the M.E.T. program. “She’s smart and humble and eager for information. She’s an amazing young woman and her accolades speak for themselves.”
A change in plan
It was almost by chance that Ramesh ended up in the M.E.T. program at all.
She planned to study electrical engineering and computer science (EECS). But when she was applying, she spied an option on the application to do EECS only, or EECS + Business. “I thought I’d give it a shot and picked the ‘EECS + Business’ option,” she said.
Soon after, she was invited to submit a supplemental essay for the M.E.T. program. After learning more about the program, she got excited about it.
A budding entrepreneur, Ramesh said she was drawn to taking integrated coursework from Berkeley Haas and the College of Engineering.
“M.E.T. offered what I wanted to do in the future, but I never knew there was a program out there,” said Ramesh, who in high school founded her own tutoring business, HiFive Tutoring.
“What I learned from Haas was so useful for me,” she added. “Haas courses like marketing, finance, business communication, and organizational behavior, which in particular was one of the most useful classes for me, taught me a lot.”
She credits those courses in helping her to grow HiFive Tutoring from 15 to more than 500 clients. The dual major also allowed her to participate in hackathons and business competitions at Haas, as well as take on research and undergraduate student instructor opportunities.
While participating in case competition training workshops over the weekends, Ramesh said she received valuable mentorship from Dresden John, the undergraduate student experience manager, and Finance Lecturer Steve Etter.
An MBA in the future
Although she took on extra credits that enabled her to graduate early, Ramesh made time on the weekends to take morning hikes on the Berkeley fire trails, explored the city, and tried out restaurants in Berkeley and Oakland. She said her most memorable Haas moments were attending the Haas Gala and Haas Formal.
Ramesh said she’s planning to earn an MBA in the future. She’s already been admitted to three MBA programs, including Berkeley Haas through the Accelerated Access program for UC Berkeley seniors, which lets students defer for several years to work. Ramesh will spend the next two years at Salesforce, training in product management at departments across the company.
“All of us in the Salesforce APM program are very strong in computer science but also have a lot of experience in business, leadership, and entrepreneurship” she said. “Salesforce wanted just that combination that M.E.T. prepared me for.”