SRM AP’s UC Berkeley Semester Abroad is jointly conducted by the Sutardja center for entrepreneurship and technology (SCET) and Jacobs institute of design and innovation. After a successful program in 2018 a fresh SRM AP batch is gearing up for the packed schedule ahead of them in January 2019.
Selected students got a first-hand briefing by visiting faculty from the two Berkeley institutes where they will be attending entrepreneurship classes and an intensive design boot camp. By the end of it each student will have a prototype ready.
Dr. Ikhlaq Sidhu, Chief Scientist & Faculty Director at SCET teaches Data-X, one of the most successful and popular classes at the institute. As he explained it, SCET was formed to help broaden the entrepreneurial mind-set for engineers and scientists. As to what the students could expect, Dr. Sidhu described how the SCET experience and the exposure to a wide spectrum of technologies has proved to be both educational and transformative in terms of personal growth and development.
A significant part of the semester at Berkeley is the exposure to principles of entrepreneurship and design. Björn Hartmann, Faculty Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation explained how the Jacobs Institute supports the design learning process where one essential requirement is successful collaboration. “Here computer science students will learn to collaborate, for example, with mechanical engineers, or with user researchers.” He described the process as one where value creation and the entrepreneurship mind-set intersects with technology, design and user needs. “At the core, our concern is projects with evolving technologies. The goal is to maximize the chance of creating a successful product or service through design. Design is making sure you solve the right problem in the first place. “
Dr. Susan Giesecke, (SCET Director of Global Engagement) and Betsy Gudino (Program Coordinator, International Partnerships at UC Berkeley College of Engineering) spoke of the program guidelines, the challenge labs, how students would be part of diverse teams and the ample opportunities they will have around Berkeley to seek out avenues for their start up ideas.
Where this semester abroad program excels is in fact the window of opportunity it provides students to cash in on the range of entrepreneurial activity in and around Berkeley. Though SRM students will be enrolled as concurrent students they will have access to all Berkeley student run clubs and organisations like Blockchain at Berkeley, start-up competitions, conferences, hackathons, and Makers Faires in the Bay area. The students are also free to collaborate on projects with other Berkeley professors