Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Sean Li

Sean Li

MBA 20

Founder and Director of Business Development
Ventures FM

Strengthening Entrepreneurial Skills, Discovering a Love of Finance

Sean Li initially pursued his MBA to build finance skills that would help him scale the e-commerce and co-working businesses he had launched and led, as well as, help start-ups he mentors and consults. While exploring the intersection of tech and finance he found a renewed passion to pursue a career in high finance and made the decision to enter investment banking.

Deeper analysis of customer data

After almost 10 years of being an entrepreneur, I had worn multiple hats and not really developed any, one dominant skill. I always felt like I wanted to learn more about finance because it plays a big role in scaling business. I wanted to hone my quantitative skills so I can help businesses grow on a global scale.

So far, I've used what I learned in class to dig deeper into the analysis of our e-commerce businesses and take a look at customer data that I never knew how to read before.

Choosing Berkeley for access to tech

I initially sought to grow my network of tech enthusiasts and peers who could lend guidance in the next steps for a career move in finance related to tech, but my experiences at Haas have helped me realize that I want my next chapter to be in finance, specifically in banking.

Through my podcast interviews with students on the path to banking, and our core finance course and the Mergers & Acquisitions class, I found my next big challenge; I want to learn how to advise higher-stake businesses and I want to be involved in major business deals before they hit the newswire.

The Haas network has been extremely helpful in all of this, sharing resources on how to get from point A to point B, introducing me to professors who can connect me with summer internships and advising me on the clubs to join to improve my exposure to finance opportunities.

Connecting with a strong community

As a student who commutes from LA to the Bay Area, I’m still constantly interacting with classmates, digitally if not in person, and rarely feel like I’m out of the loop. There are school and club events that occur during the week that I prioritize based on my interests, and I have always been able to participate in case competitions. One example is the Van Berkom JMSB Small-Cap Case Competition, where our team was 1 of 9 selected out of 60 teams to participate in the final competition in Montreal. Our entire team was scattered around the Bay Area and Los Angeles, but we were committed to connect weekly online.

As I’ve met with other students, I’ve learned how they shifted from other roles, like consulting or supply chain management, to banking and finance, and have been able to plan my own steps based on their valuable experience and advice.

Because I'm always networking and meeting with Haas students, I thought a podcast would be a great way to share these conversations and connections with others, so I launched the OneHaas podcast. I get to interview and talk with interesting students while helping spread their stories with listeners who may be interested in similar work. I want to be part of others finding their network.

Haas is the kind of culture that is driven by self-initiators. It's very compatible with my approach as an entrepreneur, and it’s this kind of culture that will prepare me the most when I use my MBA to enhance higher-stake businesses in the future.

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