Course Description

What do Barack Obama, John Legend, and Tory Burch have in common?

They all pursued the three-step process to career building:

First, they found a “main hustle,” whether as an attorney (Obama), management consultant (Legend), or marketer (Burch).

Second, they pursued a “side hustle” on nights and weekends, whether as a community organizer (Obama), backup singer (Legend), or fashion designer (Burch).

Third, they converted their side hustle into their main hustle, effectively catapulting themselves to fulfilling careers. In doing so, they also did what few dare to do: (re)define what it means to be successful.

In this era of uncertainty—where the jobs of the future have yet to be created and the jobs of the past have become paths to nowhere—the unspoken career building strategies of Obama, Legend, and Burch aren’t simply reserved for politicians, musicians, and designers; they’re for everybody—especially if you are asking yourself the question, “What should I be when I grow up?’”

In this course, award-winning Silicon Valley venture investor Shuo Chen and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Gorick Ng will show you how to build your own side hustle, step by step. And through this side hustle, you will learn about the latest labor market and technology trends, identify your unique assets and strengths, build your network, and, in the end, come to greater clarity around what “success” means to you.

Emphasizing the Berkeley Changemaker pillars of critical thinking, effective communication, and productive collaboration, this course is designed to help students think critically about their futures, communicate their personal narratives, and productively collaborate in a team setting to develop their side hustles.


The Student Experience

Read what past students had to say about their experience in Redefining Success.

This is really one of my favorite classes I’ve ever taken. I feel I’m learning important life skills and advice, and I’m really learning well because I’m not trying to memorize the content for an exam, but rather just applying the correct things to my life.

This course empowered me to accept failures and that if success is our goal, then failures should be our best companions.

I like how interactive the class is, even during lectures.

I liked working in a team/group setting of students I hadn’t met before, being able to share thoughts with the class and learning about new trends in various industries.

The course has made me think a lot about my future goals and career paths, and I truly find the content being discussed in class, such as questions like do you want to work in a start-up or big company after college very helpful.

I appreciated how it wasn’t selling a dream. That’s not to say that it didn’t make entrepreneurship sound like a dream we could all pursue, but I did really like the boots-on-the-ground discussion of challenges and talks about how working on yourself is the best way to support your passions in life.

I appreciated the level of interaction in the course. I felt like I was able to get to know my classmates and learn from their experiences.

Shuo and Gorick really care about what they are teaching.

This course curriculum is the gold standard for Berkeley courses. I wish all Berkeley courses had a similar format.

Hands down the best course I have taken at Berkeley!


This class is open to students from all majors and levels who want to take control of their careers.

This class requires an application linked below to better understand your motivations for enrolling in the class. The instructors will review applications throughout the enrollment period and you will be notified when a decision has been made. If you are interested in enrolling, please submit this application. As we near the start of the semester, the instructor will review applications and you will be notified via email if you have been admitted or not. If admitted, we will send instructions on how to enroll. The system will not allow you to enroll or add yourself to the waitlist until admitted.

About Challenge Labs

Challenge Labs are 4 unit courses for students of all academic backgrounds who seek a rigorous, interactive, team-based, and hands-on learning experience in entrepreneurship and technology. These courses use a unique pedagogy, The Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship, that involves the use of games, industry guest speakers, team exercises, videos and labs to cover the early part of the startup lifecycle. In these highly experiential courses, students form start-up teams to create technology solutions or services to address a broadly-defined problem posed by an industry partner or social challenge.


Redefining Success

Hear more about the course from past students and your instructors, Shuo Chen and Gorick Ng.


Shuo Chen

Shuo Chen

Shuo Chen is a General Partner at IOVC, where she invests in early stage startups in Silicon Valley with a focus on future of work and enterprise/SaaS. She is also Faculty at UC Berkeley, where she teaches entrepreneurship. Shuo also serves on the Board of Directors for Decode, the largest tech and entrepreneurship community co-hosted between Berkeley and Stanford, as well as on the Board of Advisors for Reed Smith, a 150-year global law firm with 3,000 employees across 30 offices.

In her venture role, Shuo has invested in companies now acquired by Goldman Sachs, Ford, Caterpillar, Binance and Dialpad, as well as now unicorns including Boom, Checkr, Grubmarket, Instacart and Rescale. She has helped portfolio companies close deals with Amazon, Apple, Google, Mercedes-Benz and NASA among others, as well as scaled portfolio companies into Europe and Asia.

Outside of venture, Shuo is appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as 1 of 13 voting members on California’s Mental Health Commission, which includes overseeing ~$2.6 billion annually in state budget and advising the Governor or the Legislature on mental health policy.

Prior, Shuo worked at Goldman Sachs in investment banking, where she worked with clients including Alibaba and Tencent, as well as represented the firm on the Board of Women in Finance. Before that, Shuo was at PwC, where she worked on Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola and LinkedIn’s $119 million acquisition of SlideShare. Shuo has also co-authored one of the leading books on financial regulations published by Cambridge University Press in 2019, and sits on the Advisory Board of Forbes China, where she advises on content and awards for Asian Americans in North America.

Gorick Ng

Gorick Ng

Gorick Ng is the Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right, a book published by Harvard Business Review Press named by Thinkers50 as one of the top 10 management books of 2022.

The Unspoken Rules is now used for employee and manager training and diversity and inclusion across the Fortune 500 at companies such as Aon, Google, GE, IBM, Kirkland & Ellis, Charles River Associates, Abiomed, Invesco, and others. It is also used by programs such as Questbridge, Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America, Rewriting the Code, SEO,, and others. It is embedded into the curriculum at institutions such as the University of Missouri, MIT, Dartmouth College, and others. Harvard Business School has also given Gorick’s book to every MBA student to give them an edge in the labor market.

Gorick is a career adviser at Harvard College, specializing in coaching first-generation, low-income students. He is also on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches the unspoken rules of career navigation. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, on the Advisory Board of CareerSpring, and on the Business Education and Careers Strategic Advisory Board of Wiley.

Gorick has worked in management consulting at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), investment banking at Credit Suisse, and research with the Managing the Future of Work project at Harvard Business School.

He has been featured in Forbes, The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, New York Post, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, and CNBC. He was named by Thinkers50 as one of 30 thinkers to watch in 2022.

Gorick, a first-generation college student, is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. Find him at