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Alumni Stories: Claudia Silva Fajuri, Haas School of Business

Alumni Stories: Claudia Silva Fajuri, Haas School of Business main image

Sun, sea, and Silicon Valley. California offers an idyllic environment for two-years at business school, and the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business boasts one of California’s top-ranked MBA programs.

The Full-Time Berkeley MBA is ranked seventh in the US by US News and placed first in the world for student diversity in The Economist MBA ranking in 2017.

In the Berkeley MBA class of 2019, 40 percent of the 282 students are women; 39 percent are international. The class has an average of five years’ work experience between them (ranging from two to 10 years) and a 725 average GMAT (ranging from 640 to 780).

It was Berkeley’s inclusive culture as well as its position in the San Francisco Bay Area—where 80 percent of the most desirable companies for MBAs are located—which stood out to Chilean MBA alumna Claudia Silva Fajuri.

Claudia left a job in banking in her native country to pursue an MBA in the US. At Berkeley, she joined the student-led Socially Responsible Investment Fund—there are 45 student-led clubs at Berkeley Haas—and explored impact investing. After her MBA, Claudia landed her current job as a fixed income strategist at investment management firm BlackRock in San Francisco.

94 percent of MBA students from Berkeley receive job offers within three months of graduation, typically landing positions with a median starting salary of $125,000, climbing to an average of $171,000 after three years.

Claudia says an MBA is key for internationals who want to land a top job in the US. BusinessBecause caught up with Claudia to find out more.

How did the job at Blackrock come about?

Berkeley played a very important role. The school gave me tools and a network that supported me in every stage of the process.

For an international student, it can be hard to learn what to do to be successful in finding a job. Berkeley has very good career coaches for international students and for students looking to get into the financial industry, and they helped me to learn how to operate in this market.

There are many aspects related to networking and how you present yourself that can make a big difference, and Haas gives you tools to be aware of and improve them. I’ve stayed in contact with my school coaches since graduation and they’ve also helped me with post-MBA career related questions that have emerged from my working life.

What advice do you have for international MBA students looking to start new careers in the US?

Start learning about recruiting and networking very early in the job search process, because it takes some time to learn and adapt your recruiting style to US standards. Don’t feel ashamed about reaching out to people for help. The market is so competitive, everyone is aware of how difficult it is to get a job and people try to help each other.

Finally, I think persistence is key. You can’t let a rejection make you feel insecure or disappointed. Remember all the things you’ve done and achieved to be where you are and move forward.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Berkeley Haas?

I decided to do an MBA when I was in college. My father was the main contributor to the idea and made me realize about all the benefits – both personal and professional– you can get out of the experience.

I think the US is a very attractive market because of its size and the level of technological advancement of its economy, which allows you to learn and speed up your understanding of business management and technology trends.

Specifically, I think that Berkeley has a unique advantage in terms of its location in the Bay Area, immersed in all the technological advances that are shaping our world, and at the same time it has a very special collaborative and inclusive culture that I thought would be ideal for me.

Would you be where you are today without it? 

I don’t think so. For international students looking to get working experience abroad, a MBA is a very good option. I think that the whole experience of getting to know people from many different places with diverse backgrounds and skills, enables you to get exposure and be more open to learn about best practices around the world, which is more important every day in our globalized economy. The MBA opened doors throughout my recruiting process and gave me the opportunity to access a network that was always willing to help.

Why are websites like BusinessBecause useful for MBA applicants?

BusinessBecause gives applicants important information about different aspects of the MBA process all in a single website. Applicants can look at business school ratings, tips for preparing for the GMAT, student profiles, and hiring tendencies in a condensed and easy-to-find way.

Marco De Novellis
Written by Marco De Novellis

Marco De Novellis is a business journalist and editor of BusinessBecause. BusinessBecause is a trusted source of business school news, with punchy daily editorial about the lives of MBAs and the career paths they choose, as well as practical resources for b-school applicants.

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