Year in review: Top Berkeley Haas stories of 2019

It was a big year at Berkeley Haas. We welcomed the school’s first new dean in more than a decade, continued our run in the top 10 in all rankings, and launched several new boundary-spanning programs. Our faculty broke new ground and were honored with numerous awards, and we also mourned the loss of several luminaries. The school was also recognized for its stellar sustainability efforts at our new building.

Going into the 2020, our culture—truly at the heart of Haas—will continue to take center stage. Here are a dozen of our highlights from 2019.

1. New year, new dean

Dean Ann Harrison
Dean Ann Harrison | Copyright Noah Berger 2018

On January 1, former Wharton economics professor Ann Harrison “came home” to Berkeley to serve as the 15th dean of Haas. Harrison was a double major in history and economics at UC Berkeley before going on to earn a PhD in economics from Princeton. She also served as a professor of UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics from 2001 to 2011, and was the former director of development policy at the World Bank.

2. Fresh insights and groundbreaking research

Illustration of a satellite orbiting the earth

From the first-ever analysis of how hedge funds use satellite images to beat Wall Street, to a finding that information acts on the brain’s dopamine receptors in the same way as snacks, drugs, and money, to new insights from social network experts on how the opioid use spreads in families, Haas faculty questioned the status quo with their creative and groundbreaking research. They also made an impact: Ginnie Mae adopted a proposal based on Haas professors’ research for better risk management of non-bank lenders, and U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren and Doug Jones launched an investigation into evidence uncovered by three faculty that that online lending algorithms have created widespread lending discrimination.

3. Shedding light on PG&E blackouts

Professors Catherine Wolfram and Severin Borenstein

Haas experts were in high demand to make sense of this fall’s unprecedented power shutoffs. Energy economists Severin Borenstein and Catherine Wolfram of the Energy Institute at Haas fielded a stream of questions from journalists after Pacific Gas & Electric determined it could not guarantee the safety of its lines and shut down power to hundreds of thousands of people, including the entire UC Berkeley campus.

4. Mourning the loss of faculty luminaries

Prof. Mark Rubinstein in his home library / Photo by Jim Block
Prof. Mark Rubinstein in his home library | Photo by Jim Block

Mark Rubinstein (above), a finance professor emeritus whose work had a profound impact on Wall Street by forever changing how financial assets are created and priced, died at 74. Raymond Miles, a former Berkeley Haas dean and professor emeritus whose leadership had a deep and lasting impact on the Haas campus and community, passed away at 86. Leo Helzel, MBA 68, LLM 70, an honored faculty member who guided the school’s first forays into entrepreneurship and was a dedicated and generous supporter of Haas for decades, died at 101. Rob Chandra, BS 88, a professional faculty member since 2013, taught courses on entrepreneurship and venture capital to both undergraduate and MBA students. He passed away in October at age 53.

5. STEM designation for MBA programs

Photo of students in Chou Hall at Haas

Berkeley Haas is among the first business schools to receive a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) designation for its MBA programs. The designation makes all international graduates eligible to apply for an additional 24-month visa extension during post-MBA employment. All current international students studying on F-1 visas will be eligible to apply for the extension while they are in their first year of work authorization after graduating from the MBA program. “We anticipate that this will lead to expanded opportunities for our international graduates who pursue jobs incorporating business analytics, modeling, forecasting, and other skills developed through our program,” said Peter Johnson, assistant dean of the FTMBA program and admissions.

6. Record rankings

Students at work during week zero
Photo by Jim Block

All Haas programs continued their run in the top 10 in all major rankings, with the full-time MBA program moving up to #6 in the U.S. in the U.S. News & World Report ranking—its highest ever. The FTMBA program was also ranked #6 in the U.S. by The Economist (#7 worldwide) and #8 in the U.S. by Bloomberg BusinessweekU.S. News ranked the Berkeley Haas Evening & Weekend MBA Program #2, the Undergraduate Program #3, and the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program #7.  The Master of Financial Engineering Program was ranked #1 by The Financial Engineer, and #2 by QuantNet.

7. Chou Hall’s green trifecta

Photo of the front of Chou Hall

Our newest building officially became the greenest academic space in the U.S., receiving a WELL Certification recognizing its “strong commitment to supporting human health, well-being, and comfort;” a TRUE Zero Waste Certification at the highest possible level for diverting at least 90% of its waste from landfills; and LEED Platinum Certification for its architectural design, construction, and energy efficiency.

8. Welcoming David Porter, our first Chief DEI officer

Berkley Haas Chief DEI Officer David Porter

“My first priority is making sure that the students, particularly students of color, have the best experience possible,” said Porter, who previously served as CEO of media nonprofit Walter Kaitz Foundation, director of graduate programs at the Howard University School of Business, and as an assistant professor and faculty director at UCLA’s Anderson School.

9. Unveiling a new sustainable and impact finance program (SAIF)

MBA students who managed the Haas Sustainably Investment Fund
MBA students who have managed the Sustainable Investment Fund at Haas. Photo: Jim Block

The Sustainable and Impact Finance program aims to better position students to work in sustainable and impact finance as public fund managers or private equity investors, or in the startup world. It’s focused on three sectors: sustainable investment, impact investment, and impact entrepreneurship. Assoc. Prof. Adair Morse developed the new program with Prof. Laura Tyson, faculty director for the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI).

10. Building campus connections with cross-disciplinary programs

Haas joined forces with the College of Engineering to launch the concurrent MBA/MEng dual degree program. The new program, enrolling for fall 2020, allows students with undergraduate technical training to earn both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Engineering degree in just two years. The new undergrad Biology+Business dual major is designed to prepare students for careers in healthcare, biotech, and drug discovery research. It’s a joint venture between the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology and Haas.

11. A host of honors for faculty

Top row: Chesbrough, Mowery, Wallace. Middle: Dal Bó, Schroeder, Morse. Bottom: Konchitchki, Patatoukas, Finan.

Assoc. Prof. Yaniv Konchitchki and Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas received the 2019 Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award from the American Accounting Association. Prof. Emeritus David Mowery received the 2019 Irwin Outstanding Educator Award from the Academy of Management’s Strategic Management Division. Adj. Prof. Henry Chesbrough received the Leadership in Technology Management Award from the Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET). Prof. Nancy Wallace was honored by campus with a prestigious faculty service award. Miguel Villas-Boas was awarded the 2019 INFORMS Society for Marketing Science Fellow Award, which is the organization’s highest award recognizing cumulative scholarship and long-term contributions to the marketing field. Prof. Ernesto Dal Bó and Prof. Frederico Finan received the 2019 Williamson Award at the 2019 Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics (SIOE) conference. Assoc. Prof. Juliana Schroeder was recognized as a “Best 40 Under 40” professor by Poets & Quants. Cheit Awards for Excellence in Teaching went to professors Adair Morse, Ross Levine, Yaniv Konchitchki, and Hoai-Luu Nguyen, along with lecturers Janet Brady, Eric Reiner, and Veselina Dinova.

12. Going deeper on culture

We continued to embed our Defining Leadership Principles (DLPs)—Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself—throughout the school. In January, the Berkeley Haas Cultural Initiative launched with a  pioneering conference where executives from Facebook, Netflix, Zappos, Pixar Animation Studios, Deloitte, and other “culture aware” companies mingled with top academics from around the world. Separately, Haas supporters donated over $200,000 to distribute as grants for efforts aimed at keeping our DLPs strong. After reviewing 29 proposals from students, faculty, and staff, grant reviewers funded six projects and initiatives.

Berkeley Haas receives STEM designation in all three MBA programs

Berkeley Haas is among the first business schools to receive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) designation in all three of its MBA programs. The designation makes all international students who graduate eligible to apply for an additional 24-month visa extension during post-MBA employment.

Haas’ STEM OPT extension is retroactive to December 2018.

All current international students studying on F-1 visas will be eligible to apply for the extension while they are in their first year of work authorization after graduating from the MBA program, said Peter Johnson, assistant dean of the full-time MBA program and admissions. Approval of the extensions will depend on the individual training plans that employers and MBA graduates submit, Johnson said.

“We anticipate that this will lead to expanded opportunities for our international graduates who pursue jobs incorporating business analytics, modeling, forecasting, and other skills developed through our program,” he said.

The MBA programs received the STEM designation after a campus review of how the programs are categorized by the National Center for Education Statistics under a Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code.

The new code defines the Berkeley Haas MBA as “a general program that focuses on the application of statistical modeling, data warehousing, data mining, programming, forecasting and operations research techniques to the analysis of problems of business organization and performance.” After the review, the Haas MBA degree programs were changed from “Business Administration and Management, General,” to “Management Science,” which is considered a STEM program.

The BIO STEM OPT webpage outlines the extension rules and application process for F-1 students, including information about the responsibilities of employers in the process.

Learn more about the Berkeley Haas MBA programs:

Full-time MBA Program
Evening & Weekend MBA Program
Executive MBA Program

 

 

Full-time MBA program remains #8 in Poets & Quants ranking

The Berkeley Haas Full-Time MBA placed at #8 again in Poets & Quants’ 2019 ranking, published on Nov. 15.

 

The meta ranking is based on the results of five other rankings published in US News, Forbes, the Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Economist. U.S. News is given a weight of 35%, Forbes, 25%, while both The Financial Times and Bloomberg Businessweek are given a 15% weight, and The Economist, 10%.

View the full report and methodology.

FTMBA ranked #7 in the world by The Economist

The Economist magazine ranked the Berkeley Haas Full-time MBA program #7 in the world—up four points over last year—and #6 among US schools in its “Which MBA?” ranking published today.

Haas students and alumni once again ranked the school #1 for culture and classmates.

Haas’ four-point jump in the overall ranking was primarily due to a significantly improved ranking in career opportunities. Specifically, Haas rose in the diversity of industries recruiting the school’s graduates and in its student and alumni rating of Haas career development services.

Haas students and recent alumni also rated its alumni network as more effective than they have in past years. Its alumni network again ranked as the most international.

This ranking is based on data provided by participating schools and a survey of students and recent alumni (MBA classes 2018, 2019, and 2020), conducted in spring 2019. The Economist evaluates schools in four categories: career opportunities, personal development/educational experience, salaries, and potential to network.

In last year’s Economist ranking, the FTMBA program was #11 in the world and #10 among US peers, after previously ranking #7 in the world in 2016 and in 2017.

See full report.

Haas ranks #8 in Bloomberg Businessweek

The Berkeley Full-time MBA Program ranked #8 in Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual MBA ranking published Nov. 4.

Schools were evaluated in four aspects of the MBA experience that were weighted based on this year’s employer and alumni input: compensation (37.30%), networking (25.70%), learning (21.30%), and entrepreneurship (15.70%). Haas ranked #10 in compensation, #13 in networking, #18 in learning, and #4 in entrepreneurship.

The ranking is based on feedback from MBA employers, recent full-time MBA graduates, and alumni who graduated in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Participating schools also provided salary data of the 2018 graduating class, which factored into the compensation aspect.

Last year, Haas ranked #6 in this ranking. In comparison, it also ranks #6 in this year’s US News & World Report ranking.

Haas launches Biology+Business dual-major program

Photo of Chou Hall with cyclists passing
The new Biology+Business dual-major program aims to provide interdisciplinary solutions to 21st-century challenges.

The new Biology+Business dual-major has launched, a program designed to prepare students for careers in healthcare, in addition to biotech and drug discovery research.

The program, a joint venture between the Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Haas, will enroll about 25 students a year, providing undergraduates with an integrated curriculum, mentoring, and internships to develop innovative leadership skills in bio business. It is the second program of its kind in the country.

Former Haas Dean Rich Lyons and Michael Botchan, dean of Biological Sciences, came up with the idea for the program. The first class of Biology+Business students will enroll in fall of 2020. The window for students to apply is Nov.1-29, 2019.

In the program, students will earn a bachelor of science degree in business administration and a bachelor of arts degree in molecular and cell biology in the emphasis of their choice: biochemistry & molecular biology; cell & developmental biology; genetics, genomics, & development; immunology & pathogenesis; or neurobiology.

Admission to the Biology+Business Program is open only to students who enter UC Berkeley as freshmen. Students must complete all prerequisite requirements for Haas, alongside the requirements for molecular cellular biology. Students apply to the Biology+Business Program during their sophomore year.

There are no curriculum changes to either degree program, although there is specialized coursework offered along the way, said Sarah Maslov, program manager of the Biology+Business Program. Internships are a key part of the program.

“The program’s real value-add is the professional development opportunities it offers,” Maslov said.

Gail Maderis, BS 78, and Ann Stock Zakaria, BA 79 (biochemistry), PhD 86 (comparative biochemistry), are among the founding program donors.

“This program will provide Cal students with the fundamental knowledge to change patients’ lives,” said Maderis, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Antiva Biosciences, a venture-backed biopharmaceutical company. “Having a baseline of understanding of business and science creates a much more well-rounded employee who can move fluidly between the disciplines.”

Zakaria said the program is crucial for preparing students to enter professional life. “While the academic labs are a very rich environment for innovation and the generation of ideas, it’s hard to bring those things to a marketable point—or even to a point where large pharma would be interested in them—without biotechnology and venture enterprise coming in,” she said.

U.S. News ranks Haas undergrad program #3

US News & World Report ranked the Haas Undergraduate Program #3 in this year’s college ranking.

The ranking, part of the U.S. News Best Colleges report, is based solely on a peer poll of business school deans, faculty, and undergraduate directors who are asked to rate business programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). Two years of poll data are used to calculate the score.

In top specialty rankings, Haas ranked as follows:

#3 in management

#3 in real estate

#4 in marketing

#5 in entrepreneurship

#5 in international business

#5 in finance

#8 in production/operation management

California Management Review examines how AI will change business

California Management Review AI issuA special summer issue of California Management Review takes an in-depth look at how artificial intelligence is changing business.

Eight articles cover topics such as AI in human resources management, the role of AI in personalized marketing, organizational decision-making in the age of AI, and how AI will launch the “feeling economy,” where interpersonal skills are more valuable than ever.

“Artificial intelligence is a rather fuzzy concept and is actually not that easy to define,” says Andreas Kaplan, a marketing professor at France’s ESCP Business School, who guest-edited the issue with ECSP marketing Prof. Michael Haenlein. “We define artificial intelligence as a system’s ability to interpret external data correctly, to learn from such data, and to use these learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation.”

Watch a video introduction:

“Managers of the future will need to consider AI and the associated systems of automation as a central part of their future workforce,” Haenlein says in the introduction. “An average employee performs dozens if not hundreds of different tasks in a day, and only some can be taken over by a machine. Instead of talking about job replacement, we should be talking about job enhancement, because AI systems can help employees do their jobs more efficiently.”

Browse the articles here.

California Management Review is Berkeley Haas’ premier management journal. Edited at the University of California for more than 60 years, the journal publishes cutting-edge research useful to management education, and presents new insights into the practice of management.

Real estate veteran Constance Moore to be honored at annual Haas Gala

Constance Moore

Constance Moore, MBA 80, a distinguished real estate veteran and volunteer board member for numerous organizations, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 18th annual Haas Gala on November 1.

The award recognizes members of the Berkeley Haas community who embody Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles and who have made a significant impact in their field and through their professional accomplishments. Moore is the eighth person to be given a Lifetime Achievement Award from Haas, and its second female recipient.

Moore is the former president and CEO of BRE Properties, a real estate investment trust that develops and manages apartments in highly desirable locales in the West. She’s been named to the Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence Hall of Fame and been noted multiple times as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Times.

Her volunteer leadership includes serving on the Haas Board and as chair of the Policy Advisory Board for Haas’ Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. She has also taught generations of students as a guest speaker in numerous Haas classes. She serves on boards for many organizations, including the San Jose State University Tower Foundation, BRIDGE Housing Corporation, and the Urban Land Institute, among others.

Other alumni honored

Two other alumni will also receive awards at the Gala.

Paul Rice
Tony Chan
Tony Chan

Paul Rice, MBA 96, the CEO and founder of Fair Trade USA, will receive Berkeley Haas’ eleventh annual Leading Through Innovation Award for his pioneering work making the Fair Trade movement part of the mainstream consumer and retailer experience. Rice found the common ground among underprivileged farmers and workers, discerning consumers, and retail brands that helps alleviate poverty and allows everyone along a supply chain to create positive social and environmental change.

His company has provided 1.6 million families in scores of countries worldwide with sustainable livelihoods, protected ecosystems, and offered millions access to healthcare and education. As a Haas Executive Fellow, Rice has inspired countless students to become social entrepreneurs and find solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Anthony “Tony” Chan, BS 74, the owner and managing member of Worldco Holding, LLC, will receive the Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award in honor of his longtime volunteerism and leadership at UC Berkeley and the Haas School of Business. Chan served for 12 years on the University of California, Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees and has served for many years on the Haas Board. He has provided leadership to Haas in a variety of areas, most recently in the board’s campaign to support the Dean Lyons Faculty Research Fund, which resulted in 100% participation.

Former Dean Rich Lyons named new campus innovation officer

Dean Rich Lyons

Former Berkeley Haas Dean Rich Lyons has been named as UC Berkeley’s first-ever Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer (CIEO).

In this new role, Lyons will work with campus partners to further develop and communicate Berkeley’s rich portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship activities to benefit students, faculty, staff, and startups. He will also be responsible for developing strategies to raise the visibility of these activities internally and externally and to create high-value partnerships with stakeholders.

“If together we can improve the transformation of Berkeley’s prodigious intellectual product, across the whole campus, into greater societal benefit, then we will have achieved a great deal,” Lyons said in an interview.

Lyons wrapped up his 11 years as Berkeley Haas dean in June 2018, and after a sabbatical year will return to teaching on the finance faculty this fall while transitioning into his new campus role on a part-time basis. He will officially assume the new role in January, 2020.

Read the full announcement from Vice Chancellor for Research Randy Katz on Berkeley News.

Big jump in influence for California Management Review

Berkeley Haas’s academic management journal, California Management Review, has earned a big jump in its impact factor—a measure of how frequently its articles are cited by scholars and a gauge of academic influence among top journals.

CMR LogoThe journal’s single-year impact factor is 5.0, and its five-year impact factor is 5.33 in this year’s Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Report, a ranking of global research publications.  This marks the fourth consecutive year the journal improved its ranking and position among the top business journals. (Last year the journal’s impact factor was 3.3).

A journal’s impact factor is derived from how frequently its articles are cited by scholars in their own research. Citation information is collected and analyzed each year in

“We are very pleased by this increasing recognition of CMR’s editorial mission to publish research that both engages scholars and offers new insights into the practice of management,” said Editor-in-Chief David Vogel, a  Berkeley Haas professor emeritus.

One of the most frequently cited recent articles in California Management Review was written by Berkeley Haas Prof. David Teece. “Dynamic Capabilities and Organizational Agility: Risk, Uncertainty, and Strategy in the Innovation Economy” focuses on the concept of agility within established businesses. While organizations are often compelled to transform to remain competitive, Teece asserts that perpetual transformation is not always the best option, and proceeds to draw an important distinction between uncertainty and risk. The article, which has been cited more than 3,000 times, emphasizes the need to respond to the uncertainty of innovation through the development of dynamic capabilities.

More information about California Management Review’s impact factor and international rankings is available here, along with links to new research and information about publishing in the journal.

California Management Review features Berkeley Haas research on Gen Z, affirmative action

The spring issue of California Management Review features two new articles by Berkeley Haas faculty.

Senior Lecturer Holly Schroth was motivated by her recent experiences in the classroom to research and write “Are you ready for Gen Z in the workplace?”. As a long-time lecturer at Berkeley Haas, Schroth admits that she wasn’t connecting quite as much with this generation as she had with previous students. “It made me wonder about this group and what they respond to,” she said.

Members of Generation Z, defined as those born between the years of 1997 and 2013, are just beginning to enter the labor market. Like millennials, they are very tech savvy and have spent most of their childhood surrounded by screens, limiting the time they spend in face-to-face interactions. Gen Z also lacks work experience–only 34% of teens had a job in 2015 compared to 60% in 1979. Employers have already observed that recent hires are having trouble adjusting to the social aspects of work in the corporate world.  “Social interaction in the workplace is a language,” Schroth noted. “Thankfully, it can be taught.”

Ultimately, Schroth advises managers to help Gen Z employees foster a sense of autonomy by providing training and then allowing them to take ownership of projects.


Also included in the issue is “Affirmative Action and its Persistent Effects: A New Perspective,” by Berkeley Haas Asst. Prof. Conrad Miller.

Miller, a labor economist in the Haas Economic Analysis & Policy Group, examines how companies responded to temporary federal affirmative action regulation. While under regulation, affirmative action increased a company’s black share of employees. But Miller discovered that the black share of employees continued to grow at a similar pace even after a firm is deregulated. This signals that companies made fundamental shifts in their hiring practices, driven in part by affirmative action rules that induced them to improve their methods for screening potential hires.

This piece builds upon Miller’s recent paper, “The Persistent Effect of Temporary Affirmative Action,” published in American Economics Journal: Applied Economics. Federal affirmative action policies, though controversial, have been demonstrated to substantially improve diversity and representation in schools and the workplace. This research provides further evidence. “If a firm is doing something without a regulation in place, presumably their behavior is consistent with their goals,” Miller said.


Published quarterly by Berkeley Haas, California Management Review is a top-ranked management journal that serves as a bridge of communication between those who study management and those who practice it.

Read the spring edition of California Management Review.

Profs. Konchitchki and Patatoukas receive prestigious accounting literature award

Associate professors Yaniv Konchitchki and Panos Patatoukas have won the 2019 Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award from the the American Accounting Association.

The award was granted for two co-written papers: “Accounting Earnings and Gross Domestic Product,” featured in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, and “Taking the Pulse of the Real Economy Using Financial Statement Analysis: Implications for Macro Forecasting and Stock Valuation,” featured in The Accounting Review. Both were published in 2014.

The AAA award is given annually to work published within five years that has been evaluated for its uniqueness and potential magnitude of contribution to accounting education, practice and/or future accounting research; breadth of potential interest; originality and innovation, clarity and organization of exposition; and soundness and appropriateness of methodology.

The award, which is sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), will be presented at the AAA Annual Meeting in San Francisco on August 14.

Yaniv Konchitchki
Assoc. Prof. Yaniv Konchitchki

Konchitchki is a tenured associate professor Haas Accounting Group. His expertise is in the interdisciplinary links between financial reporting and analysis, capital markets, and macroeconomics. His work focuses on the modeling and resolution of real-world problems aimed at enhancing decision making, dealing with topics such as inflation, economic fluctuations/growth, monetary policy, real estate, inequality, and national accounting. He is a founder of the new research field of Macro-Accounting. Konchitchki has been recognized for his research and teaching as a Bakar Faculty Fellow, a Hellman Fellow, and a Schwabacher Fellow for distinguished research excellence; two Cheit Awards for Distinguished Teaching Excellence; Poets & Quants’ “World’s Top 40 Under 40”; and the American Accounting Association’s Financial Accounting and Reporting Section Best Paper Award.

Panos Patatoukas
Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas

Patatoukas is also a tenured associate professor in the Haas Accounting Group, and the L.H. Penney Chair in Accounting. His work focuses on interdisciplinary capital markets research and informs “micro-to-macro” and “macro-to-micro” questions bridging the gap between academics and practitioners. He was honored with the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award, which is the highest teaching award bestowed by the University of California, Berkeley; the 2017 AAA/AICPA Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award; and the 2011 American Accounting Association Competitive Manuscript Award. He was also selected as a “Top-10 Business School Professor Under 40” by Fortune. He is the founding faculty director of the Berkeley executive education program on Financial Data Analysis.

More information about the AAA award can be found here.

Prof. Laura Tyson to study AI disruption as Berlin Prize Fellow

Laura Tyson (Photo by Karl Nielsen)

Prof. Laura Tyson will study how U.S. businesses and policy makers can better respond to the coming labor market disruptions caused by artificial intelligence and automation—and what we can learn from the German system—as a Berlin Prize Fellow this fall.

Tyson, a distinguished professor of the graduate school, former dean of the Haas School, and faculty director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI), will spend the fall semester at the American Academy in Berlin. She is one of 20 scholars, writers, and artists to be awarded the prestigious semester-long Berlin Prize for the 2019-20 academic year.

As a Berlin Fellow, Tyson will continue her research on how AI and automation are affecting the future of work. Like other technological advances, AI and automation will fuel displacement of labor and change the nature of work, but they will also contribute to gains in productivity, income growth, and the demand for skilled human labor, she says. This transition will be costly, however, and is likely to fuel growing income inequality. New policies, training, and innovation will be needed to address these challenges, she says.

Tyson see Germany as particularly well-positioned to handle the economic trials ahead, and plans to investigate the German system of training and apprenticeships, various sectors of German industry, and unique features of German business governance such as works councils, employers’ associations, and supervisory boards. The German case shows that the future is not technologically predetermined and can be shaped by thoughtful policies and actions by business leaders, policymakers, workers and citizens, she says.

“Ultimately, these effects depend not on the design of smart machines and technologies, but on the design of smart practices and policies appropriate for a new machine age,” Tyson said in a press release.

Jaskirat Gaelan, BS 19, goes beyond herself

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we’re featuring profiles and interviews with members of our Haas community.

Jaskirat Gaelan, BS 19, at 2019 commencement last Sunday
Jaskirat Gaelan, BS 19, at commencement last Sunday, where she was honored with a Culture of Haas Award for “Beyond Yourself.” Photo: Joshua Edelson

When Jaskirat Gaelan, BS 19, was honored at last Sunday’s commencement with the “Beyond Yourself” Haas Culture Award, few would argue that it wasn’t deserved.

The daughter of immigrants from Delhi, India, Gaelan has served as president of the Haas Business School Association (HBSA), and as an associate consultant with the student-run Bay Area Environmentally Aware Consulting Network (BEACN), helping local nonprofits and small businesses to be more environmentally friendly and profitable. She’s also used her henna and photography talents to collect donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

We spoke with Gaelan, who will work at Accenture in San Francisco after graduating, about growing up Sikh in Modesto, California, her family’s commitment to education, and her commitment to service.

Jas with her parents.
Jaskirat Gaelan, BS 19, with her parents, Manpreet (Mona) Kaur and Bhupinder (Sunny) Singh, who brought her to Berkeley when she was little to show her the Campanile and “what college was like.”

Tell us about your background.

I immigrated to California with my parents from Delhi, India, when I was four years old. We first lived in Alameda, and my parents used to bring me to Berkeley when I was little to show me the Campanile and to show me what college was like. Getting me into a good school was a really big deal for them.

We later moved to Modesto, California. My parents had an ice cream store and a small convenience store and worked from 6 a.m. until 10 at night. I started working when I was young and helped them with whatever they were doing. This year they opened up a beautiful furniture gallery. They inspire me with the mentality: We start with what we have and dream big.

Jaskirat Gaelan in Alameda for her preschool graduation
Gaelan at her preschool graduation in Alameda, about a year after the family immigrated from India. (Family photo)

How did the diversity of California influence you?

I love that my parents chose to immigrate to California. California is a melting pot and I really felt that. My friends were a diverse group—Mexican, Taiwanese, Indian. What brought us together was the desire to learn and ask questions and explore. I think that’s why we all got along so well. We all believed in how important school is and had the curiosity to learn and seek help and ask questions. Many of us have parents who immigrated here and were busy with their businesses and didn’t go through the process of the SAT and learning about scholarships and financial aid.

What do you think people misunderstand about Sikhs?

Sikhs are often misidentified to be of other religions. In reality, Sikhism is a unique faith and is not derived from any other religion. Sikhism spans all geopolitical boundaries. People believe Sikhism is all about outer appearance. In reality, Sikhism is a simple religion with three fundamental principles: Naam japna (remember God and goodness in everything that we do), Kirat Karna (earn an honest living), and Vand Chakna (selflessly serve others).

Has being a Sikh in the U.S. been challenging for you?

The nearest Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) have been 30 to 40 minutes from the houses I’ve lived in, but every trip there has only been empowering to me. Though I may not be a strict follower, I have a deep desire to explore more about Sikhism.

What was your experience as an Asian American and a Sikh at Berkeley Haas?

I took a class in Asian-American history my freshman year. I loved it, I loved the people. It created an avenue for us to open up to each other about our families, our pasts. It’s been exciting here. I’ve met many other Asian Americans, children of immigrants. We realized that so many things about us, from how our parents encourage us to the types of jobs we want, are all very similar.

Before coming here, I never really had other Sikh students in my classes. (The Sikh population isn’t that large in Modesto.) But here, I could connect with many through the Sikh Students Association and other clubs. That was beneficial because they understood what my family is like, what my culture is like. They’ve helped me with applications and job searching, even praying with me before a class or cheering me up. Having that encouragement was why I was able to get through and figure things out.

What lessons have you learned from your community and culture that you want to share with others?

I’ve learned to help others. You can make a difference in more than your own life. Any success we have is much sweeter if it helps more than just you. Incorporate service at every point in your life, however you can, whether it’s helping one person, or a school, or a business, or a community. I’ve also met a lot of Asian Americans who have helped me to learn who I am and who I want to be. Regardless of your background, be willing to share your culture. It’s so valuable to be surrounded by diverse groups of people. Figuring out things together will help empower us even more to make an even bigger impact.

Former Dean Raymond Miles, trailblazer in strategic management, dies at 86

Raymond Miles, a former Berkeley Haas dean and professor emeritus whose leadership has had a deep and lasting impact on the Haas campus and community, passed away on May 13 in Albany, California. He was 86.

Former Haas Dean and Prof. Emeritus Raymond Miles
Former Dean and Prof. Emeritus Raymond Miles

Miles is credited with growing the school’s thriving alumni network, securing a campus that invites community, and hiring prestigious faculty members who have included two Nobel Laureates. As a scholar, he was a trailblazer in strategic management, defining human resource management styles commonly taught today.

“Ray Miles was an outstanding scholar and a visionary leader. He helped build the fields of organizational strategy and innovation at Berkeley Haas and around the world,” said Former Dean Laura Tyson, distinguished professor of the graduate school. “He represented all of the stakeholders at Haas—the students, the faculty, the alumni, and the business community, and he began the planning and fundraising process that enabled the move of the Haas School to its new complex. He dedicated his professional life to our community and we will miss him.”

Crash course in management

Born in Cleburne, Texas in 1932, Miles got a crash course in business management when he was just 22. Attending the University of North Texas (UNT), he paid for his BA in journalism by working nights for the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad. There, he said, he learned hard lessons about how managers should best supervise their employees—and how they shouldn’t. Those musings led to a lifetime of inquiry into strategic management, making Miles an early pioneer in thinking about how companies could align their strategies with the goals they were trying to accomplish.

After marrying Lucile Marie Dustin in 1952, and training and serving as an Air Force pilot, he earned an MBA at UNT and then a PhD at Stanford on a scholarship. Eventually, he landed in Berkeley, where he embarked upon a 50-year career in research that helped to crystalize the concept of strategic management. He put his leadership teachings into practice as dean in the 1980s.

The emergence of human resources

When Miles first arrived at Berkeley as a new professor in the Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations group in the fall of 1963, the concept of strategic management was in its infancy. His 1965 Harvard Business Review article, “Human Relations or Human Resources?” led managers to think differently about how to utilize people in their organizations.

“Ray was one of the early contributors to the idea of human resources as a strategic function,” said James Lincoln, the Haas Mitsubishi Chair in International Business and Finance Emeritus, who worked with Miles at Berkeley’s Institute of Industrial Relations. “Instead of thinking about employees as personnel, he put forth the notion that human assets are as important as the financial and physical assets of a company and need to be managed in a strategic way. Of course everyone thinks that now, but back then, it was new.”

In the next decade, Miles studied how organizations could improve, eventually developing his breakthrough 1978 book, Organizational Strategy, Structure, and Process, written with his former student Charles Snow, PhD 72. They argued there were three distinct types of successful companies, each with its own management style: prospectors, defenders, and analyzers (and one unsuccessful type, reactors). Once a company figured out which class it belonged to, it could design its management structure and processes accordingly. Furthermore, the authors wrote, companies could change over time in response to their environments.

The book has become a classic in the management strategy field and is still regularly cited.

In later research, Miles continued to explore new concepts in the field of management strategy, creating the notion of “fit” that would help companies determine the best company strategy and how to create their structure and process accordingly. “That underlying idea of having the right strategy and structure for the market environment is still front and center of what every business school teaches in MBA courses on strategy and organizational design,” said Glenn Carroll, a former Haas professor who now teaches at Stanford.

Building campus and community

Former Dean Raymond Miles shows off the new Haas campus
Raymond Miles, second from right, shows off progress on the new campus to Haas alum Steve Herrick, BS 60, and other supporters who were active in the building campaign.

Miles proved the validity of his management strategies as dean of Haas between 1983 and 1990. His tenure started at a time of crisis for higher education, with both federal and state funding slashed. At the same time, the business school was bursting at the seams, cramped into Barrows Hall with several other departments. Berkeley’s chancellor, however, was reluctant to include a new building for the school in its capital campaign.

To manage the crisis, Miles expanded the school’s advisory board with dozens of business people who urged the school to raise money for a new building by itself. Miles commissioned former Berkeley architecture chair Charles Moore to design a new building on the site of the old campus hospital that could create community and serve as a bridge to the rest of the university. Moore’s elegant model, with interconnected buildings around a central courtyard and arches connecting it to campus, helped sway the administration. With the help of former dean Earl “Budd” Cheit, Miles secured what was then the largest gift in UC Berkeley’s history to build it.

At the same time, Miles helped grow the Cal Business Alumni Association (now known as the Berkeley Haas Alumni Network) into an active, thriving community and hired the school’s first full-time development director to increase outreach to alumni and bring the vision of a new building to fruition. By the time Miles stepped down in 1990, plans were well underway for the building, which broke ground in 1992 and opened in 1995.

Raymond Miles with Michelle McClellan, former Assistant Dean for Development & Alumni Relations
Miles with daughter-in-law Amy Miles at the 2012 Haas Gala

During his time as dean, Miles also boosted the school’s academic potential and prestige by helping to expand the faculty. He doubled the number of endowed chairs to 24—then about a fifth of the Berkeley campus total—recruiting such luminaries as Nobel Laureate Oliver Williamson.

Miles also advanced the field of business education by supporting new programs to build on the school’s unique interdisciplinary heritage and blending of research and application, which he described as “theory-based professional practice”. The Program in Organizational Strategy focused several disciplines’ research on strategic decisions facing organizational managers. The Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation focused on the process of developing a business plan and the broader issues of how technological and economic innovation is stimulated or stunted. And the Program in International Competitiveness focused on the need for new strategies in a rapidly changing global economy.

Miles also believed that the business school should not be an island, isolated from the community around it. In 1989, he started the Boost@BerkeleyHaas program—formerly known as the East Bay Outreach Program and then Young Entrepreneurs at Haas (YEAH)—to bring local high school students from families who traditionally hadn’t gone to college to Haas to learn about business and entrepreneurship and get comfortable on campus. The program just celebrated its 30th anniversary. It serves about 140 young people annually, and the overwhelming majority go on to college.

A “powerful people-developer”

Miles with Ann Hsu, MBA 98, the 2012 Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award winner, at the Haas Gala
Miles with Ann Hsu, MBA 98, the 2012 Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award winner, at the Haas Gala

Former Dean Rich Lyons, the William & Janet Cronk Chair in Innovative Leadership, credits Miles with having a huge influence on him and other Haas leaders.

“Ray was an important mentor to me, and a powerful people-developer more generally. You always had the sense that he had your best interest—and the school’s best interest—at heart. It’s hard to get more ‘beyond yourself’ than Ray,” Lyons said, referencing one of the school’s four Defining Leadership Principles.

Prof. Candi Yano, associate dean for academic affairs and chair of the faculty, noted that until quite recently, Miles continued to come into the office nearly every day and was continuing to publish research articles on organizational strategy and innovation. “He leaves a remarkable legacy,” she said.

In honor of the significant impact Miles has had on Berkeley Haas, the Cal Business Association created the Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award in 1990. This award is presented each year to an alumnus who exemplifies superior volunteer leadership.

Miles is survived by his daughter Laura (Jim), sons Grant (Patti) and Ken (Amy), brother Don (Jodi), and seven grandchildren: Justin, Michael, Nathaniel, Anthony, Sarah, Courtney and Brooke. He was predeceased by his wife Lucile in 2014.

A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

Bree Jenkins, MBA 19, will prepare young scholars to have agency over their lives

Portrait of Bree Jenkins smiling
Bree Jenkins is the student speaker at her Haas School of Business commencement ceremony on May 24. (Photo courtesy of Bree Jenkins)

“If you had asked me five years ago if I’d be walking out of Berkeley Haas to start a new elementary school in Hayward, California, I would have politely smiled and shook my head. I had no interest in going to graduate school, never mind business school.

Bree standing in front of a disney cruise ship

Bree worked as an industrial engineer at Disney. (Photo courtesy of Bree Jenkins)

At the time, I was an industrial engineer at Disney, and every day, I created magic. My favorite project was with Disney Cruise Line, supporting the largest dry dock in cruise line history, the Disney Wonder. In Cadiz, Spain, I joined thousands of people from all over the world renovating the ship. We switched out ceilings, floors, stages and walls to convert to new themes like Tiana’s Place (a restaurant themed to Disney’s the Princess and the Frog), my team handling the scheduling.

My work was chaotic and intense, and I couldn’t have been happier. Decades could have passed quickly and I might have stayed on at the company, if not for one question nagging me: Were there other jobs, other opportunities, that I could equally love and find purpose in?

That’s what brought me to Berkeley to earn my MBA, with a focus on social impact.

Making a move

Growing up in Flint, Michigan, I was steeped in a community that cared deeply about its children, but lacked adequate resources. My mom, a military reservist, earned her bachelor’s degree in business and worked seven days weeks — sometimes only to come home to eviction notices on our apartment door. She struggled knowing that the schools were not providing a great education, and she needed a better job. So, we moved to Southfield, Michigan, where we found both.

bree with her mom and grandma
From left: Bree with her grandma, Shirley, and her mom, Angela. (Photo courtesy of Bree Jenkins)

A different zip code meant a better school and more opportunities. I had access to the Academic Games, where I could “get my nerd on,” competing to outwit my opponents with mathematical equations. My mom encouraged me to join the band and, thanks to a small black clarinet and a brilliant teacher named Mr. Scott, I learned to train my fingers and mind to the sounds of music. Our lives changed.

Years later, at Disney, I recognized that I had gained everything my mother could have wished for when she moved my brother and me to Southfield: responsibility, independence, mobility and financial security. But it wasn’t enough. While I enjoyed these privileges, my family and friends back in Flint, who were just as talented and intelligent, lacked the security that I felt. They were let down by their zip codes and school districts.

Turning to friends

So, when I was considering my career path at Berkeley Haas, I thought of all the teachers and mentors I had and how my educational experience had changed me. Through a social impact speaker series at Haas, I heard someone talk about their work in education and got curious. How could I use my skills in operations in this field?

I turned to my Consortium mentor and friend, Om Chitale, who helped me find an internship as an Education Pioneers Fellow at ACE Charter School Network. Because of him, I started thinking about how I could work in education and, as a result, I built Cheetah Tank, a Shark Tank-style pitch competition for elementary school students in Oakland. Co-created with the incredible Andrew Davis, the program focuses on idea generation stemming from the simple question, ‘What problem are you trying to solve?’ This project, and an introduction from Om, led me to my full-time position at Hayward Collegiate Charter School.

What we think is possible

As head of operations, I’m working with our determined founder, Neena Goswamy, to open a new tuition-free charter school to serve the students of South Hayward and provide them with an opportunity for an excellent education. I know that opening this school will not be easy. I’ve been working on it part-time since January, while finishing my MBA program. Each time we speak with families, we promise that we will prepare their scholars to have agency over their lives. We are being given an incredible responsibility to make a positive difference, striving to ensure that our students leave us as hardworking, creative and kind individuals. Not only that, we want them to know where they come from — and that they represent and belong to a community that supports them.

I believe that who we are surrounded by affects what we think is possible. Whether it be in the form of blood relationships, teachers, my amazing partner and his relatives, my peeps at Disney or the talented individuals inside and outside of Haas who I call my friends, my family has held me up and shown me that anything is possible for me. As I leave Berkeley this month, I want to do the same for my young students.”

Bree Jenkins standing on a balcony with hot air balloons in the air
Bree says the people she’s had in her life — family, friends, colleagues — have held her up and shown her that anything is possible. “As I leave Berkeley this month, I want to do the same for my young students.” (Photo courtesy of Bree Jenkins)

Prof. Emeritus Mark Rubinstein, financial engineering pioneer, passes away      

Mark Rubinstein, a finance professor emeritus whose work had a profound impact on Wall Street by forever changing how financial assets are created and priced, died May 9 in Tiburon, California. He was 74.

Rubinstein, who retired in 2012 after nearly 40 years on the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business faculty, was a pioneer in applying mathematical tools to financial markets. He was best known for his contributions in options pricing, as well as the development of the first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF).

Prof. Mark Rubinstein in his home library
Prof. Mark Rubinstein surrounded by his beloved Shakespeare in his home library in 2002 (Photo by Jim Block)

Rubinstein was intellectually fearless and known by his students as a sincere mentor who had extraordinary passion. He was also a quintessential Renaissance man whose curiosity and love of learning led him to acquire an impressive knowledge of Shakespeare, Ancient Greek, and Roman history.

“Mark was unusually honest and open-minded,” said Prof. Terry Odean, a colleague in the Haas Finance Group. “He was one of the few people I’ve known who would actually change his opinion when confronted with new facts or a better argument.”

Simplified options pricing

Rubinstein grew up in Seattle, the son of Sam and Gladys Rubinstein. After earning a bachelor’s degree at Harvard, an MBA at Stanford, and a PhD at UCLA, Rubinstein joined the Haas faculty in 1972.

His research efforts soon focused on options markets, which had just begun trading in Chicago. In 1979, working with John Cox and Stephen Ross of MIT, he developed the Cox-Ross-Rubinstein (CRR) Model, a “binomial” model for valuing a wide range of complex options. The model contributed to the growth of derivatives around the world and remains one of the most important valuation tools on Wall Street. A subsequent book, Options Markets (with John Cox), made option pricing theory accessible to a broad audience.

“His most famous contribution was in simplifying the option pricing model not only to a level that everyone could understand, but also to a point where everyone could use it effectively in the real world,” said Prof. Emeritus Hayne Leland, a finance colleague who worked closely with Rubinstein.

Leland O’Brien Rubinstein’s (LOR) influence

In 1981, Rubinstein joined with Leland and Haas Adjunct Prof. John O’Brien to form Leland O’Brien Rubinstein (LOR). The firm grew rapidly, and in 1987 the three founders were named among Fortune’s “Businessmen of the Year.” LOR developed a risk-hedging algorithm called “portfolio insurance.” To stem losses, the algorithm required selling off assets when markets declined, and portfolio insurance was accused of being a major accelerant of the October 1987 crash— when the stock market fell more than 20% in a day. These events and the role of LOR are recounted in Diana Henriques’ A First-Class Catastrophe: The Road to Black Monday, the Worst Day in Wall Street History.

The market eventually recovered, and the crash may have warded off a real recession by bringing stock prices back down to reality, according a later analysis. Traders today still use strategies that are roughly equivalent to portfolio insurance.

First Exchange Traded Fund

In an effort to protect investors without dynamic selling, LOR then pioneered the SuperTrust, an S&P 500-based fund that traded as a single security—which in 1992 became the first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) in the United States. Rubinstein and Leland provided the economic arguments that convinced the SEC to give the first exemption to rules in the 1940 Investment Act that had prevented ETFs. These exemptions later became standard, and helped form the regulatory framework for what has arguably become the most important financial innovation in the last quarter century. In the years since, ETF funds’ assets have grown to more than $5 trillion globally.

Founded the Master of Financial Engineering Program

Rubinstein was elected President of the American Finance Association in 1992, and was named as the IAQF Financial Engineer of the Year in 1995. In 2001, he helped to found the Berkeley Haas Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) Program, which was the first such program in a U.S. business school and is consistently ranked #1.

MFE Program Executive Director Linda Kreitzman called Rubinstein a giant in his field. “He had a huge impact on our students’ lives and also our alumni. He was a brilliant, kind person and he’ll be deeply missed.”

An avid student of history, Rubinstein examined the development of modern theories of investment in his 2006 book,  A History of the Theory of Investments:  My Annotated Bibliography. He continued his academic research and mentoring of doctoral students at Berkeley throughout his career, and after his retirement, continued to nurture his intellectual curiosity with research and writing on classical Greece, Rome, and the early history of Christianity.

Rubinstein is survived and dearly missed by his wife Diane, and his children Judd and Maisie.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at Fernwood Mortuary, 301 Tennessee Valley Rd., Mill Valley.

Patrick Awuah & Steve Etter named 2019 commencement speakers

Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, founder of Ashesi University in Ghana, will be the speaker at the 2019 Full-time MBA and Evening & Weekend MBA commencement, while Steve Etter, BS 83, MBA 89, a founding partner of Greyrock Capital Group and a long-time Haas finance lecturer, will speak at undergraduate commencement.

The 2019 MBA commencement will take place on Friday, May 24, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

The  undergraduate commencement will take place on Sunday, May 19, at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Patrick Awuah, MBA 99

Patrick Awuah
Patrick Awuah

Born and raised in Ghana, Awuah came to Berkeley Haas after attending Swarthmore College and working at Microsoft. His son’s birth inspired him to want to give back to his home country by establishing a new university that would offer a liberal arts education.

In past interviews, he has emphasized the need to teach through critical thinking rather than through rote memorization, which was the general practice in Ghana. His dream was to develop ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who would go on to revitalize Ghana and the African continent.

At Haas, Awuah turned his idea into a project through the International Business Development (IBD) Program. For several years Berkeley MBA students helped build the business plan for Ashesi University, and Haas faculty served as advisers. Classmate Nina Marini helped launch Ashesi in 2002 in a rented facility with 30 inaugural students. Today, Ashesi has a new 100-acre campus outside Accra with an enrollment of more than 1,000 students who hail from 15 African nations. The school has more than 1,200 alumni.

“Patrick is an inspiring business leader who truly represents our Defining Leadership Principles,” said Laura Tyson, former Haas dean and faculty director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact. “We are very proud of all that he has accomplished and honored to welcome him back for commencement.”

Awuah, who was profiled in BerkeleyHaas magazine, has earned many accolades, including:

Stephen Etter, BS 83, MBA 89

Steve Etter
Steve Etter

Etter has spent the last 30 years of his career working in private equity. As one of the founding partners at Greyrock Capital Group, he helped raise and invest almost $1 billion over four funds.

Previously, he held positions at Bank of America, GE Capital, Citibank and PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he obtained his CPA. Most recently he has transitioned into the world of social impact investing.

For the last 24 years—48 consecutive semesters—Etter has been a professional faculty member in finance at Berkeley Haas. He has twice earned the school’s prestigious Cheit Award for Teaching Excellence from his undergraduate students.

Alumnus Kevin Chou, BS 02, cites him as an inspiration for his gift toward the funding of Chou Hall.

“The personal commitment and coaching Steve provides his students is extraordinary,” said Erika Walker, assistant dean of the undergraduate program. “Steve’s classes have inspired scores of students to go beyond themselves.”

Etter’s role at Haas goes beyond teaching. He coaches Haas external case competition teams, helps with professional job searches, and works with many student athletes who go on to professional sporting careers (including Jarod Goff, Jaylen Brown, Missy Franklin, Ryan Murphy, and Marshawn Lynch).

Riley Brown, BS 19, and a Cal varsity crew coxswain, said Etter helped her think more seriously and deeply about what set her apart as a student when she was applying to Haas. “He gives me incredible advice,” she said. “Every time he opens his mouth I have to listen because I know there will be a nugget of gold.”

Steve Etter with Cal athletes
Steve Etter with Cal athletes

 

Leo Helzel, MBA 68, longtime Haas supporter and first entrepreneurship teacher, passes away

Leo Helzel
Leo Helzel, MBA 68, LLM 70

Leo Helzel, MBA 68, LLM 70, an honored faculty member who guided the school’s first forays into entrepreneurship and was a dedicated and generous supporter of Haas for decades, passed away Thursday, March 21, in his home, surrounded by family. He was 101.

Helzel’s history at Haas includes a series of firsts. He taught the business school’s first entrepreneurship class—one of the first such courses offered at a U.S. business school. He was also the first chair of the Haas School Board, which advises the dean, and the first Haas instructor to be honored with an “adjunct professor emeritus” title upon retirement in recognition of his nearly forty years of service.

Helzel was instrumental in establishing the school’s entrepreneurship program. In addition to teaching, he provided the funding to endow the Leo B. and Florence Helzel Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 1986. He worked closely with then-Dean Richard Holton to create the business school’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which opened in 1991.

Helzel summarized his entrepreneurial verve and lifelong learnings—alongside wisdom from the CEOs of the Gap, Bank of America, and Williams-Sonoma—in his 1995 book, A Goal is a Dream with a Deadline: Extraordinary Wisdom for Entrepreneurs, Managers, and Other Smart People, and donated the proceeds to Haas.

“Leo was one of those people who changed the game whenever he was around, raising standards and pushing people to reach for more together,” said Professor and former Dean Rich Lyons, who worked closely with Helzel on the board and beyond. “He taught me a lot. It’s hard to imagine a stronger exemplar of our school’s defining leadership principles.”

Helzel flew as a navigator on Navy planes during WWII.
Helzel flew as a navigator on Navy planes during WWII.

Helzel was born in New York City on November 1, 1917, to Philip and Hannah Helzel; he had two older siblings, Sylvia and Max. His parents had immigrated from Podhajce, a shtetl that was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, before World War I. He graduated from Townsend Harris, a tuition-free honors school for the City College of New York. He then worked full-time at his uncle’s accounting firm, Gerber & Landau, while attending ROTC and night classes at City College, graduating in 1938.

Called up to serve during World War II, Helzel flew as a navigator on Navy planes and served as a navigation flight instructor. His home base was the Alameda Naval Air Station, and after the war he stayed on in Oakland, launching several successful careers—as an accountant, a lawyer, and an entrepreneur.

In 1946, Helzel founded Leo B. Helzel & Company, now called the RINA Accountancy Corp., in Oakland. Aspiring to become a lawyer, Leo took night classes at Golden Gate University while also teaching tax and accounting there. In 1957, he decided he wanted to concentrate on law full time and left the firm as a partner, but remained as a client. He eventually took a risk on new technology for drilling oil wells and was successful in that arena as well.

Helzel began sharing the knowledge acquired during his multiple careers when he began teaching international business at Berkeley’s business school in 1967. While teaching, he decided to get an MBA, and upon completing the program at age 51 joked that he was “probably the oldest MBA in the books.” He went on to earn his Master of Laws (LLM) from Berkeley Law in 1970.

In 1970, Richard Holton, dean at the time and a friend of Helzel’s, came up with the idea of creating an entrepreneurship course and hired him to teach it. Helzel initially presented a case about a fictitious startup, Miracle Goggles. He later invited entrepreneurs whom he knew to share their stories with his class. Interest in the companies emerging in Silicon Valley was so intense that the course soon had to be moved to an auditorium. The course may have been the first to provide students with direct contact with successful entrepreneurs, according to Business at Berkeley by Sandra Epstein.

“Leo was a thought leader decades ahead of others in bringing real business practices and live case studies into the classroom from the time he began teaching here in 1967,” said his former student Jerry Weintraub, BS 80, MBA 88, and president of Weintraub Capital. “As a depression-era child who came from humble beginnings, Leo took immense pride in Haas—the opportunity this public institution gives to students and the impact education can have on improving the lives of others. Leo has left a legacy as an incredible agent of change in education, philanthropy, and the community through his mentorship and friendship to those of us lucky enough to have known him as a teacher.”

Members of the Helzel family: Florence; Larry, BA 68 (history); and Leo, MBA 68.
Members of the Helzel family: Florence; Larry, BA 68 (history); and Leo, MBA 68

Helzel also taught business law and commercial law at Haas, creating the course called Top Down Law with Adj. Prof. Noel Nellis, JD 66. The course taught business from the perspective of an entrepreneur who encounters legal problems.

“Leo was indeed a friend, mentor, and educational innovator. His leadership role in creating our entrepreneurship program is well known. More subtle perhaps, and one of his biggest innovations at Haas, was recruiting accomplished professionals to join our professional faculty,” said Jerome Engel, founding executive director emeritus of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Helzel’s long-time faculty colleague. “We at Haas will benefit from his foresight, leadership, and generosity for generations. We will miss him. May his memory be a blessing to all of us.”

Helzel gave generously to the Haas School’s original campus that opened in 1995 and to its new building. In return, the Helzel Boardroom and a “Helzel Family” breakout room are named in his honor. He was also a Trustee for Golden Gate University and for the California College of the Arts, served on the board of BerkeleyLaw, and was active in several Bay Area nonprofit organizations.

He is survived by his loving family—his wife of 72 years, Florence; his two children and their spouses, Larry Helzel (Rebekah) and Deborah Kirshman (David); grandchildren Rachel Concannon (Jason) and Daniel Kirshman, MBA 2011 (Jennifer); great-grandchildren Riley and Jacob Concannon and Sienna and Skylar Kirshman; great-nephew Zachary Pine; and several other family members with whom he maintained close relationships.

A private family service has been held.

Contributions in Helzel’s memory may be made to the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life, UC Berkeley, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94720-6300; givetocal.berkeley.edu/magnes.