“Exploring the world one question at a time to identify problems and initiate sustainable solutions.”
Fun fact about yourself: I like to explore and try different hobbies; each hobby allows me to see the world from a different perspective. I have participated in cross country running, I have performed Mexican Folkloric dances, and I have performed in piano recitals.
Hometown: Salinas, California
High School: North Salinas High School
Major: B.S. Business Administration
Minor: Public Policy
Favorite Business Course: My favorite business course at the Haas School of Business was Sustainable Business Consulting. There are three main reasons why I appreciated this course.
First, it taught me the proper way to approach a problem in the context of business consulting. When I joined the UC Berkeley community, I learned about this new world of consulting where I could address problems, provide recommendations, and implement solutions. As a freshman, it was quite challenging for me to find an opportunity that would allow me to gain the proper education and skills necessary to fully understand consulting. When I discovered that this course could help me understand consulting, I joined it and learned how to break down a problem statement, hypothesize solutions, test ideas, and develop value-add recommendations that revolve around the client’s mission and values.
Second, this was an experiential learning course that allowed me to work for an actual business client on a sustainability consulting assignment. It allowed me to practice skills I was actively learning during class, including communicating with my four teammates, aggregating data, and thinking critically when brainstorming ideas.
Third, this course introduced me to fundamental corporate sustainability topics. Through group discussions, role-playing, lectures, guest speakers, and readings I was able to engage in meaningful conversations to explore how corporate sustainability topics are impacting our world today.
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program, Research Apprentice
- Vice President of Professional Development for Latinx Business Student Association
- Vice President of Professional Development for Paragon Consulting
- Project Manager for Paragon Consulting
- “Becoming Business Leaders” DeCal Course Co-Creator and Co-Facilitator
- PhD Project Conference Participant
- Wharton Big IDDEAS Participant
- Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Undergraduate Research Writer
- Berkeley Charter of Professional Accountancy (BCPA) Program Ambassador
- Vice President of Academic Affairs for Latinx Business Student Association
- “Becoming Business Leaders” DeCal Course Co-Creator and Co-Facilitator
- Economics Columnist at Business Review at Berkeley, UC Berkeley’s Leading Undergraduate Business Journal
- Management Leadership for Tomorrow Career Prep Program Participant
- ly: Management Consulting Learner
- Vice President of Alumni Relations for Latinx Business Student Association
- 2018 -2019
- UC Berkeley Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association Fellow
- UC Berkeley Newman Hall Catechist Teacher
Honors and Awards
- UC Berkeley Fiat Lux Scholar
- Hispanic Scholarship Foundation Scholar
- ALPFA Scholarship Recipient
- Next Gen Leaders Program Award Deloitte
- Hispanic Heritage Foundation Golden Award for Business and Entrepreneurship
Where have you interned during your college career?
- Pioneer Internship (San Francisco, CA)
- Discovery Internship (San Francisco,CA)
- Risk and Financial Advisory Internship (San Jose, CA)
Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be working as a risk and financial advisor at Deloitte’s San Jose office.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? My business courses have taught me the importance of taking intelligent risks to innovate and create positive change. Business leaders need to make intelligent decisions that will allow them to take on the risk and create the change they want to see. Of course, with taking risks comes great responsibility. It is important to be mindful of how risks can be mitigated and how different stakeholders can be affected, including local communities, the environment, and underrepresented populations.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? One piece of advice that I would suggest is to identify your personal values and goals. Doing so will help when you are presented with different opportunities for internships, courses, and projects. A major in a business-related field is very rewarding because you can apply your knowledge and skills to different industries. That being said, I recommend trying to figure out the industry where you want to apply your knowledge. That can help you map a career journey for yourself throughout and after college. Furthermore, as you navigate your journey, be proud of yourself and do not compare yourself to others. As a first-generation Latina, I often feel like my journey has been different than others who are also exploring business-related majors. Nevertheless, I found ways to navigate my journey to achieve my goals, and so can you.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Now that I am a senior, I am surprised that I can apply some of my business administration knowledge when working on public policy course projects. (I am also pursuing a minor in public policy.) I used to think that public policy and business administration were two distinct areas of study, but they share many similarities when it comes to collaborating with teams, identifying problems, and brainstorming solutions. Now that I am almost done with both my major and minor, I can explore a problem from a business and a public policy lens.
What business executive do you admire most? A business executive that I admire is Walter A. Haas, Sr., former president of Levi Strauss & Co. In my sophomore year, I took a course called “The Social, Political and Ethical Environment of Business” during which I learned that Haas believed that the purpose of a company was to benefit all stakeholders. I want to be that type of leader, someone who is mindful of all stakeholders. I especially care about protecting underrepresented communities and the environment.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my extracurricular involvement with Paragon Consulting. As Vice President of Professional Development, I have created 10 decks that introduce students to consulting and help them develop skills to become successful consultants. I have presented my lessons to incoming Paragon consultants for two semesters. I am very proud of this because before I arrived at UC Berkeley, I had no idea what consulting was nor how to approach a consulting problem. I am proud of the fact that I pursued different opportunities to learn about consulting. Even though learning about consulting was something I ended up exploring on my own before I joined the Sustainable Business Consulting class, I am proud to have gained an understanding to the point where I can now teach others. I am grateful that I can be part of Paragon Consulting, which creates a space for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors to learn in community with each other. Furthermore, I am proud to be part of Paragon because the consultants I support address problems faced by small businesses owned by people of color.
Which classmate do you most admire? A classmate who I admire is Magali Venegas. I met Magali during our freshman year through the Casa Magdalena Mora Theme Housing Program, which offers a welcoming space for Chicanx and Latinx students. Magali’s ambition to create change and pursue her goals has inspired me to do the same. Magali founded Paragon Consulting, a club that helps small businesses owned by people of color. It also provides training to individuals who want to learn about consulting but have never engaged in a consulting project. Her commitment to giving students an opportunity to learn and help small businesses inspired me to join Paragon Consulting. She’s demonstrated great leadership, intelligence, and resilience to create a positive change. I am excited to see her future growth and achieve excellence as a professional, scholar, and person.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my sister, Montserrat Nava. She’s a junior in the architecture program at UC Berkeley. Seeing my sister’s resilience to pursue her passions inspires me to pursue my passions without fear or regret. She has supported me through the good and the hard times. Her presence and her words of wisdom have helped shape the person I am today. The way she sees and experiences the world inspires me every day to continue learning, growing, and pursuing my goals.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? One of my professional bucket list items is to publish an academic research paper in a journal to foster new conversations within business academia. Another bucket list item is to launch or manage a non-profit that addresses inequities that exist in public education.
What are your hobbies? I participated in cross country running for four years during high school. It allowed me to understand the importance of having the patience to see improvements while persisting every day to get better. I have also performed and taught Mexican Folkloric dances. Presenting and teaching allowed me to share a piece of my Mexican heritage with others. I also learned how to play the piano; I took classes for six years. I performed at churches, malls, and local concerts. Being able to use my hands to create something that sounds so beautiful has a unique, yet influential power.
What made Natalia such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“Natalia is incredibly smart, eloquent, a great listener, extremely careful in her work, and thirsty for knowledge. These traits, in combination with her solid academic background and portfolio of quantitative skills, highlight Natalia’s potential as a scholar.
I believe that Natalia is poised to excel in research and teaching, and her work as the co-creator and facilitator of the student-run DeCal course on “Becoming Business Leaders” provides early insights into her potential.
Natalia is also an excellent citizen of the Berkeley community and has served in various roles, including as the VP of professional development for the Latinx Business Student Association, as a BCPA Student Ambassador, and a columnist for the Business Review at Berkeley–a student-led organization committed to promoting financial literacy to the undergraduate community.”
Panos N. Patatoukas
Associate Professor | The L.H. Penney Chair in Accounting | Distinguished Teaching Fellow
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