2017 Best & Brightest: Grace Lee, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Grace Lee

University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“Big Asian Girl and Big Booming Voice You’ll Find Hard to Miss.”

Fun fact about yourself: I read spoilers to make sure there will be a happy ending before I begin!

Hometown: Fremont, CA

High School: Mission San Jose High School

Major: Business Administration, focus in Finance and Management

Favorite Business Courses: Contract Law, Negotiations & Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Corporate Finance and Financial Statement Analysis

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Undergraduate Student Body President – Haas Business School Association
  • Associate Director – UC Berkeley Undergraduate Student Legal Clinic
  • Haas External Case Competition Team – Haas School of Business
  • VP of Technology & Communications – Haas Business School Association
  • Haas Cohort Leader – Haas Business School Association
  • Haas Undergraduate Research Assistant – Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program
  • Marketing Director – Oratory @ Berkeley
  • Senate Intern – Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC)
  • Graphic Designer – Innovative Design
  • Intramural Basketball – Cal Intramural Sports
  • Passion Fellowship – Livingwater Chuch
  • Mathematics Tutor – San Jose City College

Awards and Honors

  • UC Berkeley Leadership Award Scholar
  • Mildred Jordan Sharp Scholarship Finalist
  • Amazon Student Scholarship Semi-Finalist
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honors Society
  • UC Berkeley Dean’s Honors List
  • Berkeley Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Student Speaker, Berkeley-Haas Donor & North Building Celebration

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • J.P. Morgan – Investment Banking Credit Summer Analyst (TMT) – New York, NY
  • J.P. Morgan – Investment Banking Credit Summer Analyst (FIG) – New York, NY
  • Competition Economics – Research Associate Intern – Emeryville, CA

Describe your dream Job: My dream job would be to work in the cabinet under a United States President whom I truly respect and look up to, driving impactful, positive change with a team I trust and admire. I also eventually would love to return to Berkeley-Haas to teach business law to students.

Who is your favorite professor? This question is so difficult because I’ve had so many amazing professors at Haas, and I really want to give a shout out to Alan Ross, Dan Mulhern, Holly Schroth, Janet Brady, Krystal Thomas, Stephen Etter, and Frank Schultz, all who have been outstanding teachers and really go above and beyond to do a wonderful job.

The teacher that especially stands out to me is the one and only Professor Alan Ross, a contract law and ethics professor at the Haas School of Business. Professor Ross is an amazing speaker who has phenomenal mastery over the material he is teaching and the classroom he commands. He also genuinely cares about students, both in and out of the classroom, and has this incredible humor and wit that makes me come to his class every day with a huge smile on my face, inspired and ready to learn.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Everyone, and I mean everyone, has something to bring to the table, but you have to make sure it is open.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I will be working at J.P. Morgan in New York as an investment banking credit analyst on the technology, media, and telecommunications team.

What are your long-term professional goals? As an Asian female, I hope to break glass ceilings and become someone who can effectively fight institutional socioeconomic inequality on a micro or macro level—with constant humility and self-awareness, always being mindful of the privileges and opportunities I have been fortunate enough to have.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I realized my love for the practical AND the flexible, and realized in high school that a business major was the most practical and flexible major out there. I think it just may have been one of the very few times I was right back then.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…studying economics and going to law school.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…first impressions always deserve second chances! And maybe a third, fourth, and fifth, too.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? The moment I found out that my mom went from being a cancer patient to being a cancer survivor.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am so proud of the work that our Haas undergraduate student government (HBSA) has done this year. Together, we’ve launched the first MBA mentorship program for all students, established a Humans of Haas campaign, solidified an undergraduate mentorship program, inaugurated the first Haas Winter Formal (with 300+ attendees, cruising on a boat around San Francisco), instated the first Haas Orientation Week, successfully hosted an entire HBSA Case Competition Series, and launched a Philanthropic Campaign that raised more than $10,000 for our school. Serving as president alongside some absolutely phenomenal classmates has been one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A wolf. Wolves are sleek, mysterious, intelligent, but also must work in teams (packs) and require strong and sacrificial leadership from the alpha to survive. That sounds pretty awesome to me.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3

Thank you God, family, friends, teachers, mentors, James.

I can’t thank my dad, mom and big brother enough for everything they do behind the scenes. Never for a single moment did they hesitate to invest in my education and growth, despite the financial hardship and struggles faced when they first came to America. They’ve taught me the best of lessons and raised me to stand up for myself, and to believe differences can be made. I also want to thank every friend, teacher, and mentor who’s been there to take a chance on me, encourage me, was patient with me, and believed in me. Finally, I want to thank James, for making every joy sweeter and every setback less bitter, for his endless support, and for being my constant and best friend for the last 10 years.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? “More than anything else… Grace genuinely cared.”

Favorite book: The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks. Favorite Quote: “What the younger generation didn’t understand was that the grass was greenest where it’s watered.”

Favorite movie: The Longest Yard. Favorite Quote: “It ain’t easy… Being cheesy!”

Favorite musical performer: Switchfoot

Favorite vacation spot: Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and South Korea

What are your hobbies? Basketball, strategic board games, piano, photography, gymming with friends, writing, and searching for the newest tech gadget.

What made Grace such an invaluable member to the Class of 2017?

“Grace Lee is a superb student. Indeed, of the many thousands of students that I have taught over the years, Grace stands out as one of the finest. She is very perceptive, diligent, and immensely likable. Grace is always ready to accept new challenges and works well individually or in a group. Her outgoing and friendly personality, combined with her strong work ethic, earns her both the respect and friendship of her peers. With Grace, it is always about the other person or the group and never about herself. Her presence in the classroom makes the learning experience richer for all. She demonstrates a maturity and empathy one generally only finds in a much older person. Grace’s tireless efforts and strong passion for her work are contagious and elicit the very best in her fellow students. She is truly an amazing, generous, and kind individual whom I have been honored to have in my classes this year.”

Alan Ross
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business



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