Jessica Mersten: 2016 Best and Brightest

Jessica Mersten California-Berkeley

Jessica Mersten

University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Hometown: San Diego, CA

High School: Canyon Crest Academy

Major: Business Administration

Minor: French

Favorite Business Courses: Macro & Micro Economics, Product Branding and Entertainment, Marketing, International Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • President – The Haas Business School Association (Undergraduate student body president at the Haas School of Business).
  • Campus Ambassador – UC Berkeley Visitor & Parent Service.
  • Fundraiser – Student Gift Campaign.
  • External Cohort Liaison- Class or 2016 – Haas Business School Association.
  • Research Assistant – Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program. Research project titled “Chefs & Cooks: The Meaning of Gender & Race in Fine Dining
  • International Peer Mentor- Berkeley International Office
  • Director of Special Events – University of California Rally Committee.
  • Cal Student Orientation Leader – New Student Services.
  • Communication Etiquette Committee – Cal Alumni Student Association

Awards & Honors

  1. Phi Beta Kappa – Alpha of California Chapter (will be initiated in May 2016)
  2. Dean’s Honors List
  3. Cal Alumni Association Leadership Award Scholar

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Marketing intern, D-Lab Nutricosmetics, Paris, France
  • Student marketing assistant, UC Berkeley Summer Session, Study Abroad & Lifelong Learning
  • Legal support assistant, California Department of Justice

Describe your dream job: I’ve always dreamed of running an international chain of luxury resorts or owning a vineyard in France or Italy. I would love any job that required me to travel around the world or live internationally, exposing me to a variety of people, cultures, and projects.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I love majoring in business because it allows me to explore a wide variety of skills necessary for success in any field. Majoring in business not only strengthens quantitative skills through accounting, finance, and economics, but also encourages soft-skill development through courses like organizational behavior and business communication.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I’m currently pursuing post-graduation opportunities in rotational management development programs in consumer goods.

What are your long-term professional goals? My goal is to work for a company where I’ll have opportunities to develop my skills and explore areas of business that I’ve never been exposed to. I would love to assume management responsibilities within a few years and eventually return to school to pursue my MBA.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I was in high school. My dad and I would sit in restaurants trying to calculate table turnover and the total hourly wage of our waitress. I realized that majoring in business would give me the skills I need to successfully manage a business.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…a Political Economy and French double major with a concentration in international relations.”

 What was the happiest moment of your life? One of the happiest moments of my life was riding around the streets of Amsterdam on the back of a friend’s bicycle, feeling incredibly carefree.

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? One of my greatest achievements was being elected president of the Haas Business School Association, the undergraduate student government of the Haas School of Business. Serving as president is the culmination of my leadership experience at UC Berkeley and has been an excellent opportunity for me to give back to the student body and the university. I love having the opportunity to serve as a representative of the student body and improve the quality of campus life for my fellow students at Haas.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A seahorse would represent my personal brand. Seahorses are whimsical creatures that have mystical significance in many cultures as symbols of good luck, patience, persistence, and contentment. I think these are all great traits to represent my personal brand.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents have always been supportive of my academics, hobbies, and interests. They’re the first people I turn to with news (good or bad) and I know that they’ll always be there to support me.

Fun fact about yourself: One of my personal goals is to visit 20 countries by the age of 25. I love to travel and this summer I visited my 12th country.

Favorite book: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Dubner & Levitt

Favorite movie: The Princess Bride

Favorite musical performer: The Black Keys

Favorite vacation spot: I would return to Costa Rica in a heartbeat for the beaches, but Paris will always be my favorite city.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include cooking, playing acoustic guitar, and experiencing the Bay Area’s innovative culinary scene.

What made Jessica such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“What makes Jess Mersten an invaluable addition to the class of 2016 is that she embodies every one of the Haas Defining Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself.”

“She is the ultimate team player who understands how to lead from behind.  Jess doesn’t just question the status quo, she leverages her intellectual curiosity and imagination to offer solutions to the challenge at hand. Her indelible optimism, professional grace, and creativity set her apart in the class of 2016.  Jess always strives for excellence–and in the process of achieving her goal, she most often redefines what it means to be excellent.”

Krystal Thomas
Lecturer in the Haas Marketing Group
University of California,Berkeley

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