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Gao a world master at business

Cal senior will travel to three countries for university

Kristen Gao will be attending three different colleges, located in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, within the next four years to receive three degrees in Business Administration.

Photo by Nicole Tan

Kristen Gao will be attending three different colleges, located in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, within the next four years to receive three degrees in Business Administration.

Michelle Wang, Editor-in-chief

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“Three world-class universities. Three continents. Three degrees. One unparalleled experience.”

This is the motto World Bachelor’s in Business (WBB) at University of Southern California, where senior Kristen Gao will be attending this fall to study Business Administration. 

Through this program, Gao will have the opportunity to study her first three years at universities in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Milan followed by a fourth year at any campus of her choosing. 

Gao said she plans to study at USC for her final year.

At the end of this program, Gao will have three different degrees from USC’s Marshall School of Business, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan.

“I’ll be able to access the alumni from all three schools and I’ll have a wider access to internships,” said Gao.

Gao had always wanted to go into international business and has been set on studying abroad for at least a year during college.

“I studied economics for a summer in Hong Kong the summer after freshman year and really enjoyed it so after that I was set on international economics,” said Gao.

She initially learned about this program through a classmate who graduated from Cal High a year before her and posted about his acceptance to WBB in a college decisions group.  

Gao, who originally had the intention of studying economics and applied to all her other college under economics, didn’t find the change toward business administration a major one.

“I think the international focus drew me more to WBB than the business itself,” Gao said, “but there’s a billion opportunities through WBB so I definitely don’t mind studying business specifically.”

Along with her three diplomas and degrees, Gao will also receive the opportunity to immerse herself in the different cultures of her schools.

“I imagine having that extra time will really make it so she feels less like a temporary visitor and more like an actual resident there as she gains a meaningful understanding of the culture of each of those places,” said classmate and fellow USC-bound senior Ashwin Bhumbla.

With the high priority WBB gets placed at USC, Gao and other classmates will also get to meet and talk with the Italian consulate before going to Milan, to prepare students for what to expect.

“She will be opened up to many different cultures and see business through three different perspectives,” said her boyfriend Justin Lam,  a senior.

But the highly selective process to get accepted to WBB is slightly different than that of any other college.

Applicants must fill out the regular application for USC, with four additional supplementary questions, and a video interview, all which will be reviewed and must be accepted by all three campuses.

“She’s a hardworking person. She’s a really noteworthy candidate and she definitely deserves it,” said senior Ji Won Kim, Gao’s longtime friend.

Gao’s parents are also extremely supportive.

“I think it’s pretty exciting for her and will help her grow up more and faster,” said Gao’s mom, Jeannie Yu.

Gao is a member of Red Cross as an international services coordinator, third chair of Contra Costa County Honor Band for flute, treasurer of DECA, and flute section leader of Cal’s marching band.

“Kristen has followed her passions and interests. She’s done things for the sake of getting into college and that’s what makes her such a great candidate,” Bhumbla said. “She puts an insane amount of work into Red Cross and her talents as a musician shine in the marching band, wind ensemble, and any other band she’s a part of it.”

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
Gao a world master at business