Haas School faculty unanimously approved curriculum changes on May 1 proposed by Dean Rich Lyons to provide students with a stronger general management framework, more rounded knowledge of and training in leadership, and more international experience.
The vote is the first step in Lyons' efforts to strengthen and further differentiate Haas as a unique business school that develops deep-thinking leaders and savvy general managers who drive innovation and growth in organizations. He plans to accomplish that goal in part by capitalizing on the Haas School’s unique people, place, and culture, including its affiliation with UC Berkeley and location in the innovation ecosystem of the Bay Area.
Changes will be implemented in the Full-time MBA Program first, but are expected to impact all of the school's academic programs over time.
One change approved by the faculty calls for teaching the school's MBA core leadership course at the beginning of the first year to give students a broad, cohesive framework of the Haas School's approach to general management. That approach acknowledges that leadership spans many disciplines and functional areas, including organizational behavior, strategy, and operations.
In addition, a new experiential learning initiative will be created for students in the second half of the program. The initiative is envisioned as an applied innovation experience that combines all of the knowledge from different disciplines that students have gained throughout their time at Haas. It would scale up the Haas School's distinctive applied innovation programs, including Haas@Work, Cleantech-to-Market with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, and Social Sector Solutions with McKinsey & Company, among others.
"The result will be a richer curriculum that provides students with a stronger sense of the themes that define our school's approach to leadership and general management," Lyons says. "We need to more clearly differentiate ourselves if we're going to take Haas to the next level."
Faculty also agreed to expand the school's international focus by doubling the size of the school's International Business Development Program, which send students around the world to help solve business problems for both private and nonprofit clients, over the next two years.
The school also will add more international executives to the Haas Board and develop international initiatives for the Undergraduate Program. A second implementation phase would require all Haas students to fulfill a substantive international requirement.