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.

Startup roundup: Caldo, Eat Makhana & Kyte

The startup roundup series spotlights students and recent alumni who are starting a new business or enterprise.

Caldo CEO Jose Alonso oversees a test run of the startup’s automated machine that aims to help fast food and fast casual restaurants streamline food assembly. Photo: Britanny Hosea-Small

Caldo Restaurant Technologies

Co-founders: Jose Alonso MBA 19, CEO
Joshua Peterson, MS engineering 19, CTO

Caldo CEO Jose Alonso stands in front of his startup’s fast food automation station, explaining how each row of removable canisters works in tandem to fill an order. Some will hold hot food like meat and rice, while others will hold cold food like sour cream at the correct temperature, controlled by automated sensors.

“If it’s lettuce it needs to be below 40 at all times,” he said. “If it’s chicken it needs to be above 140 degrees at all times. If there’s ever a moment the food is not within regulation, the sensor makes it increase or decrease.”

Alonso and his co-founder Joshua Peterson, MS 19 (engineering), believe the machine—a high-tech assembly line for fast food and fast casual restaurants—could help owners to slash their labor costs, improve food safety, and better survive the restaurant industry’s razor-sharp margins.

“All you’ll need is to install this station in your kitchen and you’ll immediately create a better customer experience while saving on labor,” said Alonso, whose team last week moved the 150-lb automation station from a downtown Berkeley office space to a café kitchen on the Berkeley campus. “You’re also making the food safer. No one’s sneezing into your food, and you can possibly start running your business at later hours.”

The station will fix burrito bowls, salads, pastas, and poke bowls that no hand will touch during the assembly process. A system of pumps will dispense your sauce of choice with the push of a button. It (A long-term goal is to allow customers to order food directly from the machine’s screen, like a vending machine on steroids.)

Caldo CTO Josh Peterson, MS 19, loads one of the food canisters into the automated machine during a test run in their kitchen space on campus last Friday. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small

Alonso came to Haas on a personal mission. A native of Puerto Rico, Alonso grew up in a family that ran restaurants in several Latin American countries, which was often difficult financially, he said.

“Despite having top quality food, my family’s restaurants struggled,” he said. “So, for me, the key question was ‘why?'”

“It takes startups to come in and disrupt”

Alonso met Peterson after he reached out to the Berkeley Engineering master’s program for help with his idea. “None of this could have been done without an engineer,” Alonso said. “I had an idea around how to make the restaurants more efficient but it was the most theoretical thing you could have imagined.”

Peterson, who grew up on the New Jersey coast working summers in a fish market, said he was drawn to Alonso’s idea for its profitability potential and for the chance to have an impact on the restaurant industry. “I worked on  many engineering projects that were really cool, but you don’t really see an end goal,” he said. “I liked having a real concrete application, a tangible one, and I fell in love with the idea of the project and the company.”

The automation station, which will be leased to customers, who receive training and maintenance for the machines, could shake up the staid restaurant industry, said Rhonda Shrader, executive director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program (BHEP).

The Caldo automated machine dispenses ingredients for a burrito bowl during a test run. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small

“Fast food places are not innovative,” she said. “Their last big innovation was a drive-through window, and that required a lot of infrastructure change. It takes startups to come in and do the disruptive innovation.” The biggest obstacle will be scaling to meet customer demand, she said. “Once people decide that they want these they’ll want them now and Caldo will have to keep up.”

Designed to be inexpensive

With an early idea for Caldo already percolating when he arrived at Haas, Alonso went through the UC Berkeley Launch accelerator program with Peterson. After conducting more than 200 interviews with restaurant managers and employees, Alonso identified labor costs as a major reason why restaurants failed.

Success at Launch (Caldo was named one of 12 Launch finalists) and at the MIT-Rabobank Food & Agriculture Innovation Prize competition last May have helped build the startup’s profile.

Now, Caldo, which means “broth” in Spanish, is building its second version of the automation station, investing about $4,000 in tools and materials from a grant the team received from the Trione Student Venture Fund on the tools and steel parts.

“We’ve consciously designed this to be inexpensive because we don’t agree that a restaurant should be investing $250,000 to re-outfit its kitchen,” said Alonso, who counts Jean Prevot, director of operations at Danone Manifesto Ventures, and Megan Mokri, MBA 16, the founder of healthy vending machine maker Byte Foods, as mentors. “If you make something modular and inexpensive that works with the shy margins in food, there’s a higher chance it will work.”

Eat Makhana

Co-founders: Mallika Chawla MBA 20
Amruta Gadgil

<em>Mallika Chawla, MBA 20, (left) and her Eat Makhana co-founder Amruta Gadgil.</em>
Mallika Chawla, MBA 20, (left) and her Eat Makhana co-founder Amruta Gadgil.

When Mallika Chawla was applying to Haas, she found herself snacking a lot to offset deadline stress. That’s when a startup idea struck.

“As I ate, I thought, would Americans appreciate makhana?” said Chawla, MBA 20. Makhana, a favorite childhood snack in India, is a puffed and roasted water lily seed. “It’s a bit like popcorn, crunchy and salty, but rich with protein,” she said.

Chawla never fancied herself an entrepreneur. But the former Goldman Sachs economist soon found herself in her kitchen cooking the first batches of makhana for startup Eat Makhana. Joining her was her co-founder Amruta Gadgil, a buyer for Whole Foods Market. The pair, who met in 2017, made the snack using seeds imported from farmers in India.

Then they headed to a farmer’s market in Palo Alto to see if people would like it.

“During the initial days, we couldn’t keep up with the demand and always ran out,” Chawla said.

Early sales led Chawla to believe there was a healthy market for the snack, which is tasty, inexpensive, and free of gluten, soy, and nuts, essential for parents of kids with allergies.

They took their fledgling company through the UC Berkeley Launch accelerator program, conducting more than 60 interviews as they worked to understand the potential market for their product and developed a business plan. (The team was a Launch finalist.)

As the startup progressed—it’s now backed by UC Berkeley venture fund Arrow Capital and the Dorm Room Fund, which was founded by UC Berkeley alumnus Jeremy Fiance in 2016—they’ve moved cooking operations to a culinary incubator called Kitchen Town in San Mateo. They’re now selling makhana online and in 40 Bay Area natural grocery stores, adding new flavors such as chili lime to the original Himalayan pink salt makhana.

Despite early success, Chawla finds the entrepreneurial life has its challenges. “Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride,” she said. “There are days when I question my life choices. But support from family and friends and validation from customers makes it all real and worth it.”


Co-founders: Ludwig Schoenack, MBA 19
Nikolaus Volk
Francesco Wiedemann

Kyte: (left to right) Ludwig Schoenack, Nikolaus Volk, and Francesco Wiedemann
Kyte: (left to right) Ludwig Schoenack, Nikolaus Volk, and Francesco Wiedemann

Ludwig Schoenack, MBA 19, co-founder of the recently launched Kyte, is hoping to make renting a car in the Bay Area as easy as ordering a pizza.

But Schoenack, who started Kyte with Nikolaus Volk and Francesco Wiedemann, doesn’t call Kyte a car rental business—because technically it’s not. Unlike Hertz or Avis, Kyte owns no vehicles. Instead, Kyte partners with car rental companies, renting and delivering their cars to  customers in the Bay Area.

Kyte is designed to be easy to use. With as little as two hours’ notice, around the clock, a driver can reserve a vehicle on a smartphone or desktop app, identifying a time and place to pick up and drop off the car

When customers are finished with the car, they park it wherever they want—just like a Lime scooter or a Jump bike—and a Kyte freelance driver will be waiting to pick it up. This eliminates the headache of finding parking or returning the car to the airport or rental office, Schoenack said.

The startup makes money by renting vehicles from the big rental companies at discounted daily rates. It profits after covering the cost of vehicle delivery.

At Haas, Schoenack, who met his co-founders through mutual friends, launched the startup squad, a team of matchmakers who help connect Haas students to entrepreneurs at the UC Berkeley incubator Skydeck.

But his goal was always to meet other entrepreneurs and start his own company, which led him to start Kyte. The team was accepted at Skydeck, where it received mentorship and office space; and received a $5,000 Trione Student Venture Fund grant, allotted by the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program to early-stage startups.

Since launching, Kyte has garnered financial support from the Alchemist Accelerator, along with several angel investors who were part of—or who have invested in—Uber, Lime, Bird, and Jump. Now the team is in the process of raising a seed round and is looking to hire more people.

Schoenack said the first months of business have been encouraging, with sales increasing steadily and strong repeat business.

Most of Kyte’s customers are people who have given up owning a car, but don’t want to rent from one of the big corporate auto rental companies, Schoenack said. “The user experience is less intuitive, their technology isn’t as slick, and they don’t focus enough on the customer,” Schoenack said.

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.

Off to college they go: celebrating 30 years of Boost transformations

Boost students together in a group
The Boost mentoring program for high school students is celebrating 30 years at Berkeley Haas. Photo: Jim Block

Alessa Moscoso’s Berkeley Haas journey began the summer after her freshman year of high school, when she commuted four hours from San Luis Obispo to Berkeley and back to attend Saturday classes at the Boost mentoring program.

“I’d be doing homework in the back seat as my parents drove,” she said.

Moscoso—who went on to be valedictorian of San Luis Obispo High School and graduate from Harvard University—is now back at Haas, the first Boost student to attend the Berkeley MBA program, as an Evening & Weekend MBA student.

“It seemed like a great fit for me,” said Moscoso, who is an engagement manager at life sciences company Trinity. “The program is allowing me to continue working and developing my own career, while at the same time going to a premier business school and learning from other amazing people across various industries.”

Alessa Moscoso attended Boost and then returned to Berkeley for an MBA. Photo provided by Moscoso.
Alessa Moscoso attended Boost in high school and then returned to Berkeley last year  for an MBA. Photo provided by Moscoso.

Founded by former Haas School dean and professor Raymond Miles in 1989, Boost is a mentoring program designed to bridge the opportunity gap for first-generation high school students from economically disadvantaged families by teaching them about business and entrepreneurship. Boost is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year—and is still going strong with its largest-ever summer class of 50 students.

A transformative experience

Over the years, more than 1,200 high school students have attended Boost, and, impressively, all program graduates have gone on to attend college. Oftentimes, they are first in their families to do so, said program director Lucas Abbott.

Abbott, who has been involved with Boost for almost 14 years, said watching the students transform, and often return to the program later as mentors as Moscoso did, is the most rewarding part of his job.

“When they first come in, they’re very unsure of themselves,” he said. “But by the end of the four years, they are confident individuals who know their worth and where they’re headed.”

Students apply to the program during the 8th grade and enter the summer before freshman year. Students practice life skills such as time management, financial literacy, and problem solving, and business skills including interviewing, resume writing, business dress and etiquette, and internships.

Berkeley Haas undergraduate, MBA, and PhD students, as well as other university students and local business professionals, teach and mentor in the program.

Freshmen work on real-world case studies and leadership/communication workshops. Sophomores spend the entire school year developing business plans on teams. And juniors and seniors are offered the opportunity to apply for paid positions as camp counselors and peer leaders, providing leadership opportunities and experience in cross-age mentoring. Off-campus field trips bring the group to top companies such as Airbnb, Deloitte, and Clorox, where they explore different career paths and get a chance to network.

Boost students climbing trees
The Boost program includes confidence-building and problem-solving challenges for high school students. Photo: Jim Block

“It made me believe I could get into any university”

Juniors and seniors also attend college readiness workshops, where they get help navigating college applications and financial aid documents, take SAT preparation classes, and go on college tours.

Vanessa Lopez, college adviser for Boost, notes that all members of the Boost class of 2019 are headed to college. Arelia Díaz, who just graduated from the Boost program, will attend UC Berkeley this fall.

“Boost put me at ease,” she said. “It made me believe that I could get into any university if I put my mind to it, that I could be greater than I think I am, and that there are still people in this world who want to see people of color, people of low income, and people of first generation, succeed.”

Malik Harris, who just completed his first year of Boost, said both his older siblings graduated from Boost, which made him excited to be a part of the program.

“Boost has always been an inspiration to me since I was a kid,” he said. “It’s always been something that I wanted to be a part of and now that I am, it’s great. I just want to try and be the best I can because it’s really going to help me go far.”

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.

Haas holds on to Golden Shovel, besting Stanford in real estate competition

<em>The Golden Bear Real Estate team: (left to right) Bianca Doerschlag, M.Arch 19; Matt Tortorello, MBA 20; David Eisenman, MBA 20; Brynn McKiernan, MRED+D 19; and Matthew Anderson, EWMBA 19</em>
The Golden Bear Real Estate team: (left to right) Bianca Doerschlag, M.Arch 19; Matt Tortorello, MBA 20; David Eisenman, MBA 20; Brynn McKiernan, MRED+D 19; and Matthew Anderson, EWMBA 19

The Team: Golden Bear Real Estate: Bianca Doerschlag, M.Arch. 19; Matt Tortorello, MBA 20; David Eisenman, MBA 20; Brynn McKiernan, MRED+D 19; Matthew Anderson, EWMBA 19.

The Win: First Place in the NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) Real Estate Challenge, April 30. The friendly real estate competition between Berkeley and Stanford just celebrated its 30th year, with Haas taking home the coveted James W. Brecht Memorial Golden Shovel. The team’s $2,000 prize is donated to the nonprofit Challenge for Charity.

The Challenge: The City of San Jose challenged students to create a plan for an undeveloped 159-acre site located adjacent to Highway 237 and Zanker Road in North San Jose. The two teams spent 10 weeks researching a solution to the challenge and pitched a jury of six executives from the banking, real estate development, property management, and public utilities sectors.

The Pitch: The team proposed “Zanker Yards.” Since San Jose’s demand for office space is low, the team dedicated half of the development—3 million square feet—to industrial space for businesses like food distribution, manufacturing, water technology, (the development site is located near a water treatment plant) and medical devices. The remaining half would be divided into 2.7 million square feet of office and retail space, a hotel, and 40 acres of open space.

The Clincher: Breaking with the U.S. tradition of sprawling, single-story industrial buildings, the Berkeley team proposed an architecturally innovative, multi-story design that drew inspiration from the world’s densest cities. The development would also accommodate nearly 15,000 employees in the initial phase and have flexible zoning that could eventually double that number.

The Haas Factor: The team credited Haas’ overall strength in real estate. Competition adviser Bill Falik—reprising his role from last year—and the faculty at the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics worked to validate and challenge the team’s assumptions. They also helped connect the team to developers, property managers, prospective tenants and financiers. Leveraging these networks, the team conducted more than 60 interviews to hone their ideas and complete due diligence. In addition, this year’s team received coaching and moral support from last year’s winners, which helped the team stay inspired, refine their process, and benchmark progress.

Berkeley team wins Kellogg Real Estate Competition

Winning Berkeley team at Kellogg real estate competitionKellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition winners: (l-r) Stefan “Steve” Jeitler, LL.M 19; Kyle Raines MBA 21; Esmond Ai, MBA 20; Nithya Rathinam, MBA 21; Hind Katkhuda, MBA 20; and Julia McElhinney, MRED+D 19. Photo: Kellogg School of Management.

A team of six Berkeley students won the sixth annual Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition for their plan to fill vacant ground-floor retail spaces in cities with package pick-up centers and e-commerce pop-up shops.

The competition, hosted April 10 at Northwestern University at the Kellogg School’s Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research, aims to encourage entrepreneurial real estate ventures.

Nine international semi-finalist teams were asked to create a scalable, profitable real estate business—complete with supporting financials and profit projections—that would transcend traditional real estate and help solve urban and social issues.

The Berkeley team included Esmond Ai, MBA 20, Kyle Raines, MBA 21, and Nithya Rathinam, MBA 21, all students in the Evening and Weekend MBA Program. They were joined by teammates Hind Katkhuda, FT-MBA 20; Julia McElhinney, MRED+D 19, who is earning a master’s degree in real estate development and design from Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design; and Stefan “Steve” Jeitler, LL.M 19, a master of laws candidate at Berkeley School of Law.

Raines said their proposed real estate venture, named Click + Mortar, would provide secure delivery options through package pick-up centers—and help businesses that sell mostly online to benefit from small, short-term brick-and-mortar presences in key urban centers.

“We see the social and economic challenges of empty Bay Area retail spaces every day,” McElhinney said. “So we wanted to create a viable and scalable business that would address this issue locally, drive profits, and offer opportunities to expand to other urban areas facing the same challenges.”

“An incredibly creative solution”

The team spent four months researching the concept, talking to developers, property managers, e-tailers like Sugarfina and Ministry of Supply, and package locker providers. The idea includes signing discounted, long-term master leases in large, vacant retail spaces; adding package lockers to part of the space; and filling the remaining area with small, short-term retail lots.

“Our students found an incredibly creative solution to an intractable problem,” said their faculty adviser, real estate Professor Nancy Wallace, co-chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. “Their idea is so compelling that they’ve already found real property owners and clients who are willing to sign on if Click + Mortar launches.”

The team members are currently considering how best to bring this business idea to fruition. They have seed capital from the competition’s $25,000 cash prize and an additional $75,000 to apply toward co-working space and legal and accounting professional services. In addition, several investors who attended the event have already requested pitch decks.

Before the competition, Rathinam said she believed that real estate offered a limited range of traditional career paths. “With Click + Mortar, I now have an opportunity to start off on my own and build something that is very unique and that solves an important urban issue all at once,” she said.

This is the latest in a string of Haas real estate wins. This week, another Haas team won the NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area Real Estate Challenge, dubbed the “Golden Shovel” competition, for the second year in a row. In December, a Haas team took the top prize at the University of Texas McCombs’ National Real Estate Case Challenge.

Student VC leader seeks business ethics lessons in fellowship at Nazi sites

As an entrepreneur and founder of UC Berkeley’s student-led venture fund Arrow Capital Matthew Bond, MBA 19, has concerns about the groupthink he has seen at work in Silicon Valley—such as when venture capitalists rush to invest in startups purely because other influential firms have funded them, rather forming their own views of the companies.

So when classmates Chinmay Malaviya, MBA 18, and Robert Moore, MBA 18, told him about their profound experiences participating in the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) program, he jumped at the chance to apply. He’ll be heading to Berlin May 25 for two weeks of seminars at Nazi historical sites in Germany and Poland.

Matthew Bond, MBA 19
Matthew Bond, MBA 19

“Businesses today focus on shareholder value without considering the social cost,” said Bond. “I hope the fellowship helps us spur conversations that develop people’s ethical muscles to the same extent as their intellectual ones.”

Bond is the sixth Berkeley Haas MBA student to be selected since 2015, when the program added a cohort of business students to its journalism, law, medical and seminary fellowships. Led by expert faculty, 14 business students along with journalism and law students from top universities will examine the role of German businesses in enabling and executing Nazi policies. Then they’ll be challenged to identify and confront the ethical issues facing businesses today.

Obsession with shareholder value is one of many topics this year’s fellowship explores, along with legal compliance versus ethical behavior; the ethics of technological and business innovations; and navigating loyalties to stockholders, customers, employees, and communities. The trip includes museum visits, a Holocaust survivor meeting, and workshops at the House of the Wannsee Conference, where the Nazi’s “Final Solution” was planned. Fellows then travel to Poland for seminars in Krakow’s Jagiellonian University and a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim.

Bond hopes the experience will help him understand why most German business leaders looked the other way, when collectively they could’ve stopped the Nazi regime. “You’ve got a few people with awful views, but they couldn’t run a regime like that without support from tens of thousand of complicit people,” he said.

He’s especially excited because past participants Malaviya and Moore told him the program was a defining moment for them. Jean-Marc Chanoine, MBA 17, described it a “one of the most influential events of my professional life.”

After completing the fellowship, Bond plans to return to the Bay Area to join an early stage company. A U.K. native, he loves the entrepreneurial climate in Silicon Valley and is seeking mentors who can help him apply his fellowship knowledge to avoid the pitfalls of groupthink.

“Everything moves so quickly in the Bay Area, it’s critical to have an internal moral compass and reflect on whether you’re taking the right path,” he said.

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;

Global Social Venture Competition celebrates 20-year anniversary

Pedro Moura and Jessica Eting, both EWMBA 18, started banking services startup Flourish Savings
Pedro Moura and Jessica Eting, both EWMBA 18, started banking services startup Flourish Savings.

Pedro Moura and Jessica Eting, both EWMBA 18,  built a rewards-based online and mobile savings account designed to appeal to people who underutilize banking services. Their hard work led to the launch of startup Flourish Savings, which has now earned a place at the April 5 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) finals.

“It takes a lot of expertise, research, and partnerships to tackle wicked problems like helping low-income and immigrant communities learn to trust banks, save money, and build credit,” Moura said. “We’re hoping that the judges will see how our idea has the potential to change the way people handle personal finance.”

The competition, which is celebrating its 20th year, will be held during the Future of Social Ventures Conference at Haas.

Flourish, along with Respira Labs, founded by Dr. Maria Artunduaga, UC Berkeley/UCSF MTM 18, Nerjada Maksutaj, MBA 20, and Nikhil Chacko, MBA/MPH 20, are the two Haas teams competing in the finals—among more than 20 global teams in this year’s competition.

L-R: Nikhil Chacko, MBA/MPH 20, Dr. Maria Artunduaga, UC Berkeley/UCSF MTM 18, and Nerjada Maksutaj, MBA 20. Photo: Yizhe Gu
L-R: Nikhil Chacko, MBA/MPH 20, Dr. Maria Artunduaga, UC Berkeley/UCSF MTM 18, and Nerjada Maksutaj, MBA 20. Photo: Yizhe Gu

A vision of a better world

GSVC has come a long way since its founding in 1999 by five MBA students—Lia Fernald, Alison Lingane, and Denise Yamamoto,  MBA 00, and Nik Dehejia and Sara Olsen, MBA 01. Their idea was to provide social entrepreneurs with mentorship, feedback, and a chance to hone their funding pitches.

Jill Erbland, GSVC’s program director, has watched the program’s number of partners and its international appeal to students grow since she arrived at Haas in 2007. This year, 11 partners hosted 12 regional semi-final events—and the competition had a record-breaking 692 applicants hailing from 67 countries. To date, GSVC has distributed more than $1 million in prize money, and helped more than 7,000 teams move closer to achieving their vision of a better world.

“In 1999, creating viable companies that had social impact was a nascent idea, even for Berkeley Haas,” Erbland said. “Our steady growth has been fueled by other universities prioritizing social impact and entrepreneurship educational programs.”

Following footsteps

The competition has launched a number of Haas student-led social impact ventures, including Indiegogo—co-founded by Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell, MBA 08—and Revolution Foods—co-founded by Kristin Groos Richmond and Kirsten Saenz Tobey, MBA 06.

Flourish Savings’ co-founders are hoping to follow in their footsteps. Eting, the daughter of immigrants, and Moura, an immigrant himself, met in Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman’s Applied Innovation class. They soon discovered a common interest in helping people build savings habits, reduce reliance on debt, and achieve financial security. A pilot program demonstrated that participants saved an average of $192 in the first four months of using Flourish.

This is Eting’s second GSVC event. About 10 years ago, she was an attendee and guest of her boss, who had judged one of the regional competitions. “I was in awe of the people who were pitching, and I never once imagined it’s something I would be doing,” she said.

Meantime, Respira Labs aims to help people who struggle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive lung disease that obstructs breathing. The team is pitching a wearable lung-function monitor that that uses audio-signal processing and machine learning to alert patients, caregivers, and doctors when inhalers, medication, or medical care is needed. The data collected could be used to predict and prevent flare-ups of COPD, which afflicts 16 million Americans, according to the CDC.

Artunduaga met her Haas colleagues at Berkeley SkyDeck. Maksutaj said her family has been affected by COPD and was quick to embrace the startup’s mission. Chacko came to the team with a passion for solving health crises in low- and middle-income countries, to which the World Health Organization (WHO) attributes 90 percent of global COPD deaths.

“GSVC’s global focus is especially important to us because our long-term ambitions go beyond the U.S.,” Chacko said.

The full conference includes more than the GSVC final presentations and judging. This year’s sessions are organized around the theme “Technology for Good,” and sessions include “The Future of Food: A Design-Thinking Session with IDEO,” “Financial Inclusion and Technology” with speakers from Mastercard and PayPal, and “The Promise and Peril of Emerging Technologies in Social Impact.”

Attendees will also be able to watch presentations from all the finalists and meet GSVC co-founder Sara Olsen, who is serving as a judge this year.

Haas nets record number of gifts during Big Give

Margaret Stutt and Matthieu Kaminski of Development & Alumni Relations.
Margaret Stutt and Matthieu Kaminski of Development & Alumni Relations.

Berkeley Haas raised just over $605,000 during Big Give last Thursday, more than any other school or program, during the 24-hour campus-wide online fundraiser.

Notably, the overall number of gifts to Haas increased by 34 percent this year, rising from 600 to 806 and giving among faculty and staff grew by almost 50 percent to more than 108 donors.

“We saw a sizable jump in the number of people giving this year,” said Tracy Mills, executive director of strategic campaigns in Development & Alumni Relations. “This year, we focused on participation and getting the word out to everyone in our community. As a result, hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff, and students were inspired to give during the day. It was exciting to watch the gifts come in and see Haas climb to the top of the campus leaderboard.”

The school received $79,500 by unlocking the Haas School Board Challenge, earned if at least 400 gifts were made to the Haas School of Business Fund during Big Give.

Big Give launched in 2014 to give the entire Cal community—alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends—the chance to come together to support favorite schools and programs, and to help those schools and programs win prize money.

Overall, UC Berkeley received 14,094 gifts this year totaling $4,201,378.

If you missed the Big Give, it’s still possible to donate.