Interview With Marina
Can you tell us more about yourself?
My name is Marina. For the first part of my life I was a tennis champion, and won the French Championship under 18. I trained under the tutelage of Roland Garros for 7 years. Among my most significant achievements was beating Caroline Wozniacki, who was number one in the WTA. After getting my high school diploma, I realized that I didn’t have the desire to continue my professional career, and wanted to balance my life between sports and studies.
Why did you decide to study your bachelor degree in the U.S.?
The U.S. is the only place in the world that offers the perfect balance between sport and studies. Indeed a sports college student in the U.S. will practice 4 hours in the morning, attend classes from 2-6pm, and then receive physical training in the evening. When you don’t have competitions, you have the weekends to focus more on studies. So I could have 20 hours of tennis, 20 hours of physical training, and 30 hours of classes per week. In addition I knew that I could be in an international environment. Just within my sports activities, the others members of my team were from Russia, U.S., Germany, and Brazil, not to mention the other students on campus. Lastly, I had a personal goal to become completely fluent in English.
Why did you finally select UC Berkeley?
Of course the academic excellence of Berkeley was a critical component, and knew I would return to Europe with a well-respected education. Second, to be sure the location in California- it is an amazing place to live and study. I come from the South of France and like to play outdoors. The campus offers easy access to San Francisco, one of the most dynamic places in the world. Lastly, Berkeley has one of the top 5 tennis teams in the U.S., and I wanted to play in the first league with the best.
How did the MBA Center help you?
I was working with an agent, who highly recommended the MBA Center and Dr. Hubert Silly‘s services. I was not surprised to see many other athletes including top basketball, golf, and tennis players from the National Sports Institute with me in class. I was so pleased to be trained and coached by someone who had also been a professional at age 25. Dr. Silly was a professional athlete and understood perfectly the problems that athletes have when they want to combine their passion for sport with studies. So the MBA Center helped me with my TOEFL and SAT, for which I happily got the score that I needed. I also appreciated the flexibility of the courses; I could take an online class when I was out playing in tournaments.
What would you say to someone who wants to go for their Bachelors in the U.S.?
I don’t think that my situation can be compared to that of other students, however talking with other students in class with me at the MBA Center Brussels; I found out that we actually all had the same problem. First you have to prepare long in advance, usually 2 years before starting your intended program. Second, that the process is difficult, long, and discouraging, and that you have to be very motivated. Third, you need to plan your finances carefully, because studying in the U.S. can be quite expensive. As far as I was concerned, I received a full scholarship, but still I had my living and travel expenses to cover. Lastly, it is very important to be surrounded by the best. I feel was very lucky to work with an agent who found me a full scholarship to study at UC Berkeley and to reach the SAT and TOEFL scores required by the school, without which the scholarship would not have been possible. For this the MBA center was essential providing support, encouragement, skills and the environment for success.