M.E.T. program celebrates first graduating class
Completing a Berkeley bachelor’s degree in engineering or business is already a great achievement. Now imagine finishing both in just four years. That’s exactly what 32 students are accomplishing as part of the inaugural cohort in the Management, Engineering, & Technology (M.E.T.) program — a collaboration between Berkeley Engineering and the Haas School of Business. This spring, those students will represent M.E.T.’s first graduating class.
Launched in 2017, the M.E.T. program has attracted students from more than 10 countries who aspire to create new companies or become innovative leaders within existing ones. The program, entirely donor-funded, has grown from two academic tracks to seven, offering simultaneous bachelor of science degrees combining business with a wide range of engineering disciplines.
One of the leading forces behind M.E.T.’s creation was Michael Grimes (B.S.’87 EECS), managing director and co-head of Global Technology Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley. Asked why he felt the need to establish M.E.T. at Berkeley, Grimes sums up the problem succinctly: “There’s a shortage of leaders who code and coders who lead. As undergrads, these students are now graduating with everything they need to get them to the C suite and stay there.”
Take Leah Kochendoerfer (B.S.’21 IEOR/Business), who will be working as a business analyst at Activate Consulting. M.E.T.’s Entrepreneurial Fellows Program, which offers students a stipend for summer internships at affiliated startups, gave her the chance to work as a user experience research and strategy intern at Dispatch Goods. “Because of the startup environment, I was faced with several ambiguous and complex business problems, but I quickly learned that the root of the solution to nearly all of them was the consumer,” she said.
Or Aditya Ganapathi (B.S.’21 EECS/Business), who will stay at Berkeley for a fifth-year master’s program. He has spent the past two years doing research in the Berkeley Automation Lab (AUTOLab) working in deformable object manipulation — a subfield of robotics. Ganapathi will intern with Google this summer, and his fifth year will be focused on a collaboration between the AUTOLab and Google Brain. “I hope that one day I can apply this research in the real world as an entrepreneur,” he said, “and my M.E.T. degree will help me get there.”
The program continues to grow and evolve, attracting a steady increase of applicants each year. “We’re reimagining M.E.T. offerings to promote the true integration of engineering and business, including a redesign of the freshman and senior courses, new capstone experiences and new entrepreneurship opportunities,” said Saikat Chaudhuri, the program’s inaugural faculty director. “Another priority is to create a summer program for high school students, which will provide a pipeline of talent and further our goal of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Grimes hopes that all M.E.T. alumni will look back on the program as the single best career decision they ever made. “I expect that, by age 30, they’ll all have careers that are unrecognizable to where they’d otherwise have been,” he says. “They’ll be the founders and CEOs who are going to help change the world.”