The award is given biannually to a researcher who has made “sustained significant academic contributions to institutional and organizational economics.” It is named for Indiana University political scientist Elinor Ostrom, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences with Berkeley Haas Professor Oliver Williamson.
Spiller is the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Business & Technology at the Haas School, as well as a UC Berkeley professor of graduate studies.
Spiller’s research lies at the intersection of economics, politics, and the law, and spans political economy, industrial organization, the economics of regulation and antitrust, and regulatory issues in developing countries. One research stream analyzed the hazards inherent to public contracting, and how it differs from private contracting. Spiller applied the approach to such areas as utility regulation, the organization of bureaucracies, and the inner workings of public companies.
In addition to his academic work, Spiller has consulted for the World Bank, the InterAmerican Bank, the UNDP and multiple governments and private companies throughout the world on the design and implementation of appropriate regulatory policies, contract design and implementation. He has also testified in numerous international arbitrations involving contract, regulatory and investment disputes. He is the former President of the International Society for New Institutional Economics (now SIOE).
Spiller served as the Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor of the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization for 19 years, and held multiple Editorial appointments at a variety of academic journals. On special leave from Berkeley, he served as a Special Advisor to the Bureau of Economics of the US Federal Trade Commission.
It’s the second year in a row that Haas has tied with MIT for the #2 spot. Both schools had peer assessment scores of 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5. Wharton held the #1 spot with a score of 4.7.
The business school ranking is based entirely on a peer assessment survey of deans and senior faculty members at peer institutions. They are invited to rate peer programs with which they are familiar, based on each program’s scholarship record, curriculum, and quality of faculty and graduates. Read more about the ranking methodology.
Exactly 125 years after Cora Jane Flood announced the gift that launched UC Berkeley’s College of Commerce, Haas students and staff packed the school’s sunny courtyard to celebrate this milestone.
Haas is not only the second-oldest business school in the country and the first at a public university. “Haas is the only leading business school to be founded by a woman, Cora Jane Flood, who was known as Jennie,” said Professor and Acting Dean Don Moore. “Haas is also the first top business school to be led by two women deans—Laura Tyson and Ann Harrison.”
Dean Ann Harrison unveiled a new plaque honoring Flood. “Now, students, staff, faculty, alumni, and visitors can learn her name and be inspired by her far-sighted philanthropy,” said Harrison, who is on sabbatical this fall but returned for the event.
Flood, the daughter of silver baron James Clair Flood, gave a gift of securities and real estate with an estimated value of $463,133.39, constituting the largest private gift received by the then-30-year-old university. According to the book “Business at Berkeley: The History of the Haas School of Business” by Sandra Epstein, “By 2013, the gift’s value had grown to over $25 million, comprising one of the largest endowments on the Berkeley campus.”
Acting Dean Don Moore addresses the crowd at the 125th anniversary celebration.
Hundreds of students, staff, faculty, and alumni turned out to celebrate.
A plaque honoring founding donor Cora J. Flood was unveiled at the event.
Erika Walker, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction, spoke at the event.
Ben Hermalin, UC Berkeley's executive vice chancellor and provost, was also a guest speaker.
Dean Ann Harrison, who is on sabbatical, joined the festivities at Haas.
Former Haas Dean Rich Lyons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, serenades the crowd, jamming to Bare Necessities.
Full event event video:
Erika Walker, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction
Good afternoon. I am Erika Walker, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction at Berkeley Haas.
As we gather for today’s ceremony, we want to acknowledge that UC Berkeley sits on the territory of xučyun, the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people, the successors of the sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and other familial descendants of the Verona Band.
We recognize that every member of the Berkeley community has benefitted, and continues to benefit, from the use and occupation of this land since the institution’s founding in 1868. Consistent with our values of community, inclusion and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university’s relationship to Native peoples. As members of the Berkeley community, it is vitally important that we not only recognize the history of the land on which we stand, but also, we recognize that the Muwekma Ohlone people are alive and flourishing members of the Berkeley and broader Bay Area communities today.
I would now like to welcome Professor and Acting Dean Don Moore to the podium.
ProfessorDon Moore, Acting Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Thank you, Erika. And welcome, everyone! Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. What an honor it is to serve as the acting dean of this exceptional business school while Dean Harrison is on sabbatical. I hope you are all having a great start to the semester so far.
This year, we look back on 125 years of reimagining business at Haas, all the way to 1898, the year of our founding as the second-oldest business school in the United States.
In 1898, we might have been listening to “The Entertainer” on our gramophones, watching the short film The Astronomer’s Dream on the kinetoscope, or trying on a new bowler hat. California had recently transitioned from Mexico to the United States. Berkeley had a population of 5,000. The bicycling craze was giving women a new avenue of independence. That year, the Golden Bears beat Stanford at the Big Game, 22-0!!
This was also a pivotal time for business, which was coming into its own as a profession on par with law and medicine. Smart management was sorely needed in an era of wild economic growth, robber barons and corruption, fortunes made and lost in immense new enterprises. These new businesses needed to make sense of thousands of employees, strategic mergers, and ballooning divisions.
This was also a pivotal time for business, which was coming into its own as a profession on par with law and medicine. Smart management was sorely needed in an era of wild economic growth, robber barons and corruption, fortunes made and lost in immense new enterprises. These new businesses needed to make sense of thousands of employees, strategic mergers, and ballooning divisions. —Don Moore
Where better than a great university in the pioneering West to order and transform the way we worked? Good sense was not enough; mass scale was a necessity; and only the skilled and sophisticated would thrive. Learning the systems and theories of professional management was a logical—and necessary—next step. A new institution would need to draw scholars from the rest of the world to Berkeley, and produce brilliant minds of its own.
And so it did. The College of Commerce, which we now know as Haas, was founded with just three students. Now we have over 2,500 students in six programs, more than 300 ladder and professional faculty members, and more than 43,000 alumni in 81 countries around the world.
We are also the first business school founded at a public university. Haas is the only leading business school to be founded by a woman, Cora Jane Flood, who was known as Jennie. Haas is the first top business school to be led by two women deans—Laura Tyson and Ann Harrison, respectively.
And we are the first school built entirely with private donations on the UC Berkeley campus. We are incredibly grateful to all of the donors who have supported our school.
Of course, the Berkeley Haas legacy includes more than a century of stellar researchers and teachers, including two Nobel laureates. We are fortunate to be able to attract exceptional staff. And we are more than the sum of our parts. My colleague and fellow acting dean Jenny Chatman will say more about what really makes us exceptional.
Professor Jennifer Chatman, Acting Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Thank you so much, Don. I am honored to be serving the school with you this fall.
As a scholar of culture, I want to note that Berkeley Haas stands out in yet another way: in being the preeminent mission-driven business school, as Poets & Quants has described us.
The Haas School’s values stretch back a long way. The man for whom our school is named, Walter A. Haas, Sr., graduated from the College of Commerce in 1910. He held forward-looking views on social welfare and public affairs that were influenced by the school’s first woman instructor, Jessica Peixotto. That influence led him to grow Levi Strauss & Co. into one of the country’s largest socially responsible businesses.
All of these priorities grew into our four Defining Leadership Principles, which I know you know well: Question the Status Quo; Confidence Without Attitude; Students Always; and Beyond Yourself. To put these principles into action in our three core areas: innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability, and inclusion.
Of course, they are all inextricably linked. Berkeley Haas boasts a world-class team for diversity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. The school has built and continues to build remarkable access, while simultaneously equipping all of us to be more inclusive leaders. Sustainability and entrepreneurship are always top of mind at Haas. And thanks to our location in Berkeley—the epicenter of innovation—we have been and continue to be the heart of what’s next.
Finally, I am so pleased that several members of the chancellor’s cabinet are joining us today. Berkeley Haas’ deep ties with Cal are precious, and we don’t take them for granted.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ben Hermalin has a special connection to Berkeley. He has held a significant number of roles at Haas: as professor, associate dean, interim dean, and winner of multiple teaching awards. Ben, thank you for being with us today.
Ben Hermalin,Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, UC Berkeley:
Thank you, Jenny!
It is true that Berkeley Haas is dear to my heart. But it is also a treasured and essential star in the Cal constellation. This is a vibrant, visionary school that provides students, faculty, staff, and alumni much of the meaning that I believe gives us purpose as individuals and as institutions. One way the school does that is by attracting award-winning scholars, who illuminate their classrooms and advance the world’s knowledge. Berkeley Haas strives to teach and shape business in ways that are valuable to a broad spectrum of people, in profound and material ways. We try to go beyond in deed and not just in word. We always have a lot more work to do—to be as inclusive and just; bold and confident; smart and ethical as we can. That is the best way for us all to stay true to those who built this institution and to our counterparts in the future. Congratulations on this momentous anniversary!
Thank you, Ben.
This occasion is so special to the Berkeley Haas community that Dean Ann Harrison has returned today (from her sabbatical this fall) to share it with us. Ann, please join me onstage.
Dean Ann Harrison:
Thank you so much, Don! What a beautiful day, as it so often is in Berkeley. I am thrilled to be here with you all. I do feel as though I am reaching across more than a century and saying thank you to Cora Jane “Jennie” Flood. I am grateful for her confidence, generosity, and foresight, and believe she would have found today to be a powerful testament to her intention. We are so fortunate that there are Flood family members here with us today celebrating this occasion.
In her declaration to the Regents of the University of California on September 13th, 1898, Jennie Flood wrote of her bestowal that it “shall be devoted to some branch of commercial education.” The bold idea to create a College of Commerce had been proposed by Berkeley graduate and entrepreneur Arthur Rodgers in 1883. Jennie Flood turned Rodgers’s vision into reality.
125 years of groundbreaking education is a remarkable achievement for any business school, especially given the immense changes the world has undergone. Having reimagined business, we are well positioned to lead in a world of change. We look back with pride, but we move forward to make an impact for future generations. Keeping our eye on innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability, and inclusion is more important than ever.
It is high time that we make Jennie Flood a permanent part of our campus. I am honored to unveil this plaque, which commemorates our founder and allows us to put a name—and a face—to the origins of Berkeley Haas. Now, students, staff, faculty, alumni, and visitors can learn her name and be inspired by her far-sighted philanthropy. Her father, James Clair Flood, was the son of immigrants who took an eighth-grade education and an entrepreneurial spirit to become one of the “Silver Kings” of Gilded Age San Francisco and a UC Regent. Jennie often accompanied him to his business meetings, and I would go so far as to say she was an informal student of business herself!
And now, we’ll reveal our new plaque in her honor.
What a beautiful addition to our campus and to our continuing story. Berkeley Haas has staying power. We’re not going anywhere—we’re just getting better.
Please come over during the reception and check it out!
Thank you so much, Ann. To tie together the whole web of Haas-tory from our esteemed founder to our current dean, I am happy to report that former dean Rich Lyons is here with us to celebrate. He is such an important part of our legacy, both philosophically and musically. To that end, he has brought his guitar to send us out snapping our fingers. Take it away, Rich!
Rich Lyons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
(Lyons performs a special Haas-themed version of “The Bare Necessities,” singing and playing acoustic guitar.)
A perfect note to end on. Thank you so much to everyone for joining us today. Please enjoy some refreshments and bask in this beautiful day and community. Here’s to the world-changing 125 years behind us, and to all the triumphs ahead.
In this live interview on Wharton Business Daily, Associate Professor Yaniv Konchitchki discusses whether a soft landing is still possible and provides insights about the current state of the capital markets and the macroeconomy. Konchitchki argues, based on his research, that the Federal Reserve has made systematic and predictable errors, waiting too long to raise interest rates and letting inflation get out of control. He comments on whether further interest rates hikes are necessary, whether the Fed’s 2% inflation target is the right one, and discusses whether inflation can get under control without further hurting consumers, businesses, households, and the economy.
On July 21, seven artificial intelligence (AI) tech companies signed a set of eight voluntary commitmentsfocused on “ensuring safe, secure and trustworthy AI.” The text of the document hit on most of the important topics of concern in the field, but it seems the tech companies walked away with more than they deserved. Company leaders were granted a photo op and media interviews from the White House lawn. What they provided in return were vague, voluntary commitments with no enforcement mechanism.
Why so skeptical? All of the big companies included have in the past paid fines in the billions of dollars (Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft) to regulators in the United States and the European Union in connection with violations of privacy and antitrust laws. These infractions were arguably not accidental. Companies take calculated risks that represent the cost of doing business in a highly competitive industry, often characterized by “races to the bottom” to gain control of markets such as search, shopping, social media and advertising.
And yet, enforcement works: I know first-hand, having worked on Meta’s Responsible AI team until November 2022, that tech companies are moved to do the right thing by firm regulation backed up by the threat of massive fines and reputational damage. When there is little or no regulation in place, teams working on topics such as responsible AI — one example being Twitter’s Machine Learning, Ethics, and Transparency team — can be abruptly downsized or eliminated.
Another important path to explore would be for Joe Biden’s administration to work with Congress to pass strong legislation on AI. This approach has the potential to be much more durable and sweeping than an executive order. But gridlock being what it is, and given Congress’s protracted failure to regulate social media, relying on federal legislation seems a tall order.
That is why the ultimate destination must be a binding, international treaty that creates a new intergovernmental body to govern AI globally. As is the case with controlling nuclear weapons and tackling climate change, a patchwork of regulation will leave certain AI harms dangerously unregulated. Powerful tools could conceivably fall into the hands of bad actors who could leverage them to produce disinformation campaigns, create bioweapons or deploy fleets of autonomous killer robots.
The good news is that it appears the Biden administration is already working in this general direction. An announcement that accompanied the new AI commitments mentions past meetings with 20 countries, as well as plans to participate in and support processes under way via the United Nations, the Group of Seven and the Global Partnership on AI.
The European Union’s AI Act, expected to pass before the end of 2023, may also serve as an effective model for global or semi-global regulations, though sadly it may not go into effect until 2025 or later. And even if the US Congress cannot move as quickly as the White House would like, President Joe Biden could parallel track domestic and international legislative work by supporting efforts such as the Council of Europe’s emerging draft AI Treaty (as long as it applies to private companies, not just government AI use) and the Center for the Advancement of Trustworthy AI’s campaign to help nations around the world put AI laws in place. China has made fast progress on AI regulation as well, and though there are some provisions in their domestic laws that would not be compatible with more democratic perspectives from countries like the European Union and the United States, there is still great value in engaging with China as a potential partner on numerous aspects of AI policy.
The Biden administration should lean into this global effort in a major way, as time is of the essence, with new developments in the AI field proceeding at a dizzying pace.
By working from local to global, the White House has a unique opportunity to advance the cause of enforceable, international AI regulation. I hope that my skepticism is unwarranted and that all seven companies that signed commitments last week will honour the full spirit of those commitments. In the meantime, it’s crucial that regulation of these technologies, in state, domestic and international arenas, proceeds rapidly, so that this transformational technology can truly deliver for humanity.
David Evan Harris is a member of the professional faculty at the Haas School of Business and a chancellor’s public scholar at UC Berkeley. This article was commissioned by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), an independent, non-partisan think tank. It originally appeared on CIGI’s blog on August 3, 2023.
Chatman, the Paul J. Cortese Distinguished Professor of Management and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Berkeley Haas, will receive the award at the OB@AOM conference in Boston next month.
Chatman has “pioneered new theoretical and conceptual approaches to the topic and continues to do so. She also has been a strong mentor to many doctoral students over the years. Finally, beyond her own work and the work of her students, she has contributed to the field as an editor…and editorial board member at almost all of our top journals,” according to the announcement.
In the early 1990s, Chatman co-created the field’s leading quantitative research tool, the Organizational Culture Profile, with Charles O’Reilly, MBA 71, PhD 75, and Dave Caldwell. It illustrated how organizational culture can be quantified, has defined the agenda for the scientific study of culture for decades, and remains the most robust and reliable measure of organizational culture to date.
In nominating Chatman, colleagues noted that she “owns the topic” of culture research and is a “household name” in the field. They also noted that her achievements span beyond being purely scholarly: “For more than 30 years, Jenny has been one of those rare scholars who are triple threats. They are able to be world class scholars over time even as they are leaders in our profession and their host institution,” describing her as “an icon in the field of organizational behavior, as a scholar, as an instructor, and as a mentor. Her career stretches long, well over 30 years, and during that time her work has been nothing short of pathbreaking” and the “ultimate exemplar of a completely involved modern OB researcher, educator, and contributor to the larger world of work and working.”
Chatman will continue to expand her leadership when she steps into the role of interim dean this fall, filling from October-December while Dean Ann Harrison is on sabbatical.
The award is given biennially to a scholar who has made a seminal contribution to the development of the field of regulatory studies.
“As an American, it’s a great honor to have my work on regulation, much of which has focused on Europe, be recognized by an association of European scholars,” said Vogel.
Vogel, who holds the Soloman P. Lee Chair Emeritus in Business Ethics, has focused his career on subjects ranging from regulating health, safety, and environmental risks in Europe and the United States to global challenges in responsible business. He has examined the differences between environmental policy in the United States compared to that of the European Union. In his book, “The Politics of Precaution: Regulating, Health, Safety and Environmental Risks in Europe and the United States” (Princeton University Press, 2012), he decribed how the U.S. and the E.U. “flip-flopped their position in risk regulation: Whereas before the 1990s the US had often the stricter standards, nowadays EU standards are stricter in many instances,” said Professor Eva Ruffing of Germany’s Osnabrück University, in a speech presenting the award.
Vogel is the author of eight other books, including “California Greenin’: How the Golden State Became an Environmental Leader” (Princeton University Press, 2018). Other books include: ; “Global Challenges in Responsible Business” (Cambridge University Press, 2010); and “The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility” (Brookings, 2005).
Vogel has taught both Ethics & Responsibility in Business at Haas and Public and Private Global Business Regulation at UC Berkeley. Since 1982, he has served as editor of Berkeley Haas’ management journal, The California Management Review. He has taught classes and lectured on environment management in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
On the night of Feb. 23, 2022, Anastassia Fedyk was at home, playing with her young son and prepping to teach the next morning, while her husband made homemade pasta for dinner.
“My grandmother was visiting us from Ukraine, and she started getting text messages from my sister in London, saying, ‘Have you seen what’s happening? This is unbelievable,’” she recalls.
What was happening was the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the country where Fedyk, an assistant professor of finance at Berkeley Haas, was born. Russia had made a move on the capital Kyiv and was shelling the city.
It wasn’t totally unexpected—like her entire family, Fedyk had been watching the troop buildup on the Russian border. But the severity of the attack on Kyiv took everyone by surprise. In the days that followed, Fedyk began to think what she could do to help.
Getting to work
Her first answer was to start writing. That was the impetus behind Economists for Ukraine, a group that she co-founded with Yuriy Gorodnichenko, a UC Berkeley professor of economics, along with colleagues from Columbia, University of Illinois and elsewhere. As economists, they hoped they could use their expertise to guide policy and public opinion in support of Ukraine.
“The more we wrote, the more it was seen, and the more there was demand for our writing,” she says. “We didn’t have newspapers knocking on our doors asking for op-eds early on, but we just keep writing, and soon we established an important voice.”
Fedyk didn’t stop there. She teamed up with her husband, James Hodson, to launch LifeForce, a platform that takes an economics-based approach to humanitarian aid. Rather than just deliver goods that might not even be needed, LifeForce relies on staff on the ground to continuously check on inventories of important goods, with real-time updates.
“You can basically say, ‘I need insulin,’ and it will tell you which pharmacy near you has insulin and where you can go where you’re not going to be shelled while you’re walking there,” explains Hodson, the CEO of the AI for Good Foundation, which serves as the parent organization for LifeForce. “We’re not going to send you to a pharmacy that’s closed and we’re not going to send you to a pharmacy that doesn’t have the medicine that you need.”
It’s a way of matching needs to resources, Fedyk says. “It’s a very classical economics idea,” she says.
During the winter, Lifeforce also set up warming centers with electricity.
“When the infrastructure damage started in the fall, we set up shelters with internet and heating so that at least people could stay warm and connected during extended outages,” Fedyk says. “Otherwise, when there’s no electricity, there’s no Wi-Fi.”
Witnesses to war
Another initiative Fedyk and Hodson launched is Svidok, a site that acts as a living memorial and a repository for testimony of the lived experience of the war. An anonymous platform, it allows Ukrainians to tell their stories as well as document war crimes and atrocities.
“You need to be able to make a place where people can record their experience,” Fedyk says. “Not just the hard facts for the prosecution, but the lived experiences.”
So far, more than 3,000 Ukrainians—many of them teenagers and young adults—have added journal entries to the site, which has become the largest repository of written testimonies of the war. The posts describe harrowing experiences like hiding in basements and bathrooms during missile attacks, stories by girls and women who say they were raped by Russian soldiers, accounts from survivors of Russian prisons set up on occupied Ukrainian territory, and also descriptions of the tedium of living through endless winter blackouts. Svidok has partnered with the Ministry of Culture and every regional government in Ukraine, and content from the platform has been displayed in exhibits in the U.S. Congress and Poland’s Consulate General.
Teaching and research
At the same time, Fedyk has remained an engaged teacher, leading Haas core finance classes in the evening and executive MBA programs and helping launch the new Flex-MBA program. In June, she was named to Poets&Quants’ 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors list.
She’s also a passionate researcher: Her most recent work looks at what happens when firms invest in AI. Surprisingly, employment doesn’t drop, she found. “Firms that invest in AI are producing more, they’re scaling up their operations, but they’re also hiring more employees, especially people like product managers to help manage that expanded product variety,” she explained.
From Ukraine to Berkeley
Fedyk moved to the U.S. when she was ten, when her parents were pursing higher degrees in finance and accounting. She went to high school in the Bay Area while her mother earned her PhD at Berkeley Haas.
“We lived in the university housing for students who have families—a very academic life,” she says. “Even as a kid here in Berkeley, I used to come to some of the seminars and classes with my mom. I guess I was always on the path of becoming an academic economist.”
After an undergraduate degree at Princeton, where she met her future husband on the very first day, followed by a stint at Goldman Sachs and a PhD at Harvard, she was able to come back to Berkeley, this time as a professor—her “dream job.”
“Moving back was like coming home,” she says.
Long road ahead
But her connection to Ukraine—her first home—runs deep. Some of her happiest memories are the summers she and her sister spent there after they moved to the U.S., at her grandma’s apartment in Chernivtsi.
She feels fortunate that her grandmother was visiting when the war broke out, and that she’s been able to make her home in Fedyk’s house for the past year and a half. Fedyk happy that her beloved grandmother is safe, but she longs to return to those old family reunions in a peaceful, prospering Ukraine.
There’s a long road ahead that will require a military victory for Ukraine, supporting humanitarian and economic needs in the war’s aftermath, and eventually rebuilding. But the lesson that Fedyk says she has taken away from her work supporting Ukraine is how much of a difference she could make through civic engagement.
“Ukrainians impressed the world with their bravery, but behind that bravery is a decentralized, collective effort,” she says. “Ideas can grow into initiatives that touch thousands of lives, if only we are willing to invest the time and effort.”
When Dr. queen jaks walks into a Berkeley Haas classroom and sits in the back scribbling notes, students wonder what’s going on.
“They think the professor is in trouble and I’m there to get the dirt,” says queen, who writes her name with lowercase letters.
But as the school’s first diversity instructional support consultant, queen is not an enforcer. She’s there as an invited guest of faculty members who want help in making their teaching more inclusive.
“It’s so important to make it clear that I’m not there to tell people they’re doing something wrong. I’m not there to hear both sides,” she says. “I’m there because the instructor wants support.”
Over the past year, queen has been helping Haas faculty navigate the minefield of changing mores and heightened awareness around a range of topics often referred to as diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging (DEIJB). Her role is unique: Rather being called in to mediate when things heat up, she coaches instructors individually—by observing classes, offering suggestions on course content, or consulting on issues that come up in class. She also teaches best practices through brief workshops and exercises.
Holding both an MBA and a PhD in organizational behavior, queen is fluent in the language of academia, while also drawing on her own experiences of feeling like an outsider who broke into that world as a first-generation student from an impoverished community. She grew up in San Diego and earned a BS in business administration from UC Riverside, going on for her MBA from the University of Redlands and her doctorate from Case Western Reserve University.
She approaches the job with empathy, curiosity, and a natural sense of humor.
“We’re all learning, we’re all going to make mistakes, and that’s okay,” says queen, whose own research focuses on the contributions of marginalized communities. “Society is evolving, and people want change really badly, so everything that comes out of your mouth in the classroom is going to be scrutinized. I’m here to say ‘I feel you. Now let’s turn it around and see how that might be perceived.’”
Haas Chief DEI Officer Élida Bautista dreamed up the new role in response to growing demand from students for more diversity in course content and on the faculty. In addition to the work Haas is doing to hire more diverse faculty members and an effort led by the Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership to compile a library of business cases featuring diverse protagonists, Bautista wanted to find a way to directly support current faculty. Dean Ann Harrison greenlighted the pilot position.
“When I looked around for consultants and talked to my counterparts at other business schools and universities, no one was doing this—so we didn’t really have a model,” Bautista says. As a clinical psychologist, she designed the role so that all services would be confidential and voluntary.
“Anytime you force people to do something, there’s an inherent resistance and that decreases the efficacy,” she said. “Some people think that when you make something voluntary, you end up preaching to the choir. But even the choir needs tuning: People who are bought into these ideas still need skills to carry them out, and they’ll end up bringing others along.”
That’s what has happened. Associate Professor Juliana Schroeder—who championed the new role along with associate deans Jennifer Chatman and Don Moore and served on the hiring committee—offered to be a guinea pig for queen to observe her leadership class.
Schroeder is a social psychologist who has thought carefully about diversity and psychological safety in her teaching and materials. Still, on the day of the observation, when she was referencing the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle explosion to shed light on decision-making pitfalls for a case study about car racing, a student had a “PTSD-like” incident in her classroom.
“He was an Army veteran, and this was directly relevant to his experience,” Schroeder says. “I was so glad queen was there that day, and I was blown away by how great her feedback was. It really illustrated what a benefit it was to have someone well-trained in these topics right there in my classroom.”
After the session, queen gave Schroeder a detailed report with suggestions on adjusting her script and offering both a written and verbal alert for sensitive topics. It also included a list of things she was doing well, and some practices to add—such as repeating back answers that were lower in volume, acknowledging students who were waiting to speak, and using contrasting colors on slides—as well as including photos in her slides that would show diversity beyond race and gender.
Word of mouth
Schroeder thought it was so helpful she asked to share it with other faculty members, and soon queen had a full calendar.
“Every single person I’ve worked with has been so receptive,” queen says. “I’ve spent a lot of time at business schools, and it’s been jaw-dropping how much Haas has embraced this.”
Associate Professor Mathijs De Vaan invited her to sit in on a session focused on DEIJB in his MBA course Leading People. De Vaan, who grew up in The Netherlands, is mindful that his class includes international students who may be new to American culture, as well as students with backgrounds that have been marginalized in the U.S.
“It’s a challenge. There’s always a group of students who are very knowledgeable and very vocal, and others who know these are sensitive subjects and are afraid to speak at all,” says De Vaan. “I wanted students to be on the same page in understanding the scope of the problem that racism and discrimination represent in the U.S., so I gave them a number of examples of where companies fell short.”
That’s important, queen told him, but it can also be stressful for some students. “For minority students in the room, it might reinforce the idea that their group is marginalized,” he says. To address this, in the next iteration of the class he focused less on examples of problematic situations, and more on possible solutions to societal challenges.
Phasing out the ‘cold call’
As an instructor in the Israeli Air Force almost 40 years ago, Professor Steve Tadelis says he learned how to teach through feedback from required classroom observations. But the DEI workshops he had taken hadn’t helped him with the specific challenges he faces as an instructor. “I was very open to this,” he says.
After working with queen, Tadelis stood up at the fall faculty meeting to give her an enthusiastic endorsement and encourage others to seek her out. He says he appreciated that she gave him straightforward ways to improve his teaching, including rethinking how he was calling on students.
“I do relatively little of the classic business school ‘cold calling,’ because of the artificial aspect of it. It’s rare in the workplace that a senior leader would suddenly turn to someone and say, ‘What do you think we should do about this?’ They would want more preparation,” Tadelis says.
But after consulting with queen, he realized he could give people even more choice in how they participate without lowering his requirements. “My goal is to give each student a set of tools that they can use as decisionmaker, but I’m not there to change their personalities,” he says.
Debate and experimentation
Tadelis, an economist, still worries about how to create a safe classroom space without shutting down honest debate, and how to let people have moments of discomfort in a respectful way.
“How do we create language that is precise, knowing that some words are clearly off limits but not everyone is going to love every word?”, he says. “There are so many historical wrongs that need to be acknowledged and addressed. But it would be nice if there was less combativeness and more debate, exploration, and experimentation.”
That’s one of the reasons queen’s approach has been so effective. She believes that instructors need to pay attention to students’ needs as individuals beyond their grades, and that many practices need updating. At the same time, she believes in collaboration—and good intentions.
“How we define and integrate DEI is constantly changing, which means that no one—myself included—has all the answers,” queen says. “We just all have to keep giving each other feedback and grace, looking at what we can do better next time.”
A researcher was granted access earlier this year by Facebook’s parent company, Meta, to incredibly potent artificial intelligence software – and leaked it to the world. As a former researcher on Meta’s civic integrity and responsible AI teams, I am terrified by what could happen next.
Though Meta was violated by the leak, it came out as the winner: researchers and independent coders are now racing to improve on or build on the back of LLaMA (Large Language Model Meta AI – Meta’s branded version of a large language model or LLM, the type of software underlying ChatGPT), with many sharing their work openly with the world.
This could position Meta as owner of the centerpiece of the dominant AI platform, much in the same way that Google controls the open-source Android operating system that is built on and adapted by device manufacturers globally. If Meta were to secure this central position in the AI ecosystem, it would have leverage to shape the direction of AI at a fundamental level, controlling both the experiences of individual users and setting limits on what other companies could and couldn’t do. In the same way that Google reaps billions from Android advertising, app sales and transactions, this could set up Meta for a highly profitable period in the AI space, the exact structure of which is still to emerge.
The company did apparently issue takedown notices to get the leaked code offline, as it was supposed to be only accessible for research use, but following the leak, the company’s chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, said: “The platform that will win will be the open one,” suggesting the company may just run with the open-source model as a competitive strategy.
AI without safety systems
Although Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT are free to use, they are not open source. Bard and ChatGPT rely on teams of engineers, content moderators and threat analysts working to prevent their platforms being used for harm – in their current iterations, they (hopefully) won’t help you build a bomb, plan a terrorist attack, or make fake content designed to disrupt an election. These people and the systems they build and maintain keep ChatGPT and Bard aligned with specific human values.
Meta’s semi-open source LLaMA and its descendent large language models (LLMs), however, can be run by anyone with sufficient computer hardware to support them – the latest offspring can be used on commercially available laptops. This gives anyone – from unscrupulous political consultancies to Vladimir Putin’s well-resourced GRU intelligence agency – freedom to run the AI without any safety systems in place.
“Coordinated inauthentic behavior”
From 2018 to 2020 I worked on the Facebook civic integrity team. I dedicated years of my life to fighting online interference in democracy from many sources. My colleagues and I played lengthy games of whack-a-mole with dictators around the world who used “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, hiring teams of people to manually create fake accounts to promote their regimes, surveil and harass their enemies, foment unrest and even promote genocide.
I would guess that Putin’s team is already in the market for some great AI tools to disrupt the US 2024 presidential election (and probably those in other countries, too). I can think of few better additions to his arsenal than emerging freely available LLMs such as LLaMA, and the software stack being built up around them. It could be used to make fake content more convincing (much of the Russian content deployed in 2016 had grammatical or stylistic deficits) or to produce much more of it, or it could even be repurposed as a “classifier” that scans social media platforms for particularly incendiary content from real Americans to amplify with fake comments and reactions. It could also write convincing scripts for deepfakes that synthesize video of political candidates saying things they never said.
The irony of this all is that Meta’s platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) will be among the biggest battlegrounds on which to deploy these “influence operations”. Sadly, the civic integrity team that I worked on was shut down in 2020, and after multiple rounds of redundancies, I fear that the company’s ability to fight these operations has been hobbled.
Chaos era of social media
Even more worrisome, however, is that we have now entered the “chaos era” of social media, and the proliferation of new and growing platforms, each with separate and much smaller “integrity” or “trust and safety” teams, may be even less well positioned than Meta to detect and stop influence operations, especially in the time-sensitive final days and hours of elections, when speed is most critical.
But my concerns don’t stop with the erosion of democracy. After working on the civic integrity team at Facebook, I went on to manage research teams working on responsible AI, chronicling the potential harms of AI and seeking ways to make it more safe and fair for society. I saw how my employer’s own AI systems could facilitate housing discrimination, make racist associations, and exclude women from seeing job listings visible to men. Outside the company’s walls, AI systems have unfairly recommended longer prison sentences for Black people, failed to accurately recognize the faces of dark-skinned women, and caused countless additional incidents of harm, thousands of which are catalogued in the AI Incident Database.
The scary part, though, is that the incidents I describe above were, for the most part, the unintended consequences of implementing AI systems at scale. When AI is in the hands of people who are deliberately and maliciously abusing it, the risks of misalignment increase exponentially, compounded even further as the capabilities of AI increase.
It would be fair to ask: Are LLMs not inevitably going to become open source anyway? Since LLaMA’s leak, numerous other companies and labs have joined the race, some publishing LLMs that rival LLaMA in power with more permissive open-source licences. One LLM built upon LLaMA proudly touts its “uncensored” nature, citing its lack of safety checks as a feature, not a bug. Meta appears to stand alone today, however, for its capacity to continue to release more and more powerful models combined with its willingness to put them in the hands of anyone who wants them. It’s important to remember that if malicious actors can get their hands on the code, they’re unlikely to care what the licence agreement says.
We are living through a moment of such rapid acceleration of AI technologies that even stalling their release – especially their open-source release — for a few months could give governments time to put critical regulations in place. This is what CEOs such as Sam Altman, Sundar Pichai and Elon Musk are calling for. Tech companies must also put much stronger controls on who qualifies as a “researcher” for special access to these potentially dangerous tools.
The smaller platforms (and the hollowed-out teams at the bigger ones) also need time for their trust and safety/integrity teams to catch up with the implications of LLMs so they can build defences against abuses. The generative AI companies and communications platforms need to work together to deploy watermarking to identify AI-generated content, and digital signatures to verify that human-produced content is authentic.
Stop the race to the bottom
The race to the bottom on AI safety that we’re seeing right now must stop. In last month’s hearings before the US Congress, both Gary Marcus, an AI expert, and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, made calls for new international governance bodies to be created specifically for AI — akin to bodies that govern nuclear security. The European Union is far ahead of the United States on this, but sadly its pioneering EU Artificial Intelligence Act may not fully come into force until 2025 or later. That’s far too late to make a difference in this race.
Until new laws and new governing bodies are in place, we will, unfortunately, have to rely on the forbearance of tech CEOs to stop the most powerful and dangerous tools falling into the wrong hands. So please, CEOs: let’s slow down a bit before you break democracy. And lawmakers: make haste.
David Evan Harris is chancellor’s public scholar at UC Berkeley, senior research fellow at the International Computer Science Institute, senior adviser for AI ethics at the Psychology of Technology Institute, an affiliated scholar at the CITRIS Policy Lab and a contributing author to the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
Associate Professor Ricardo Perez-Truglia and Assistant Professor Anastassia Fedyk were selected from more than 1,500 nominations from business schools around the world. Berkeley Haas was one of just four schools with two faculty members on the list.
Perez-Truglia, a behavioral economist who has been at Haas since 2020, grew up in the Ciudadela neighborhood near Buenos Aires, Argentina. He conducts economics research on various topics including behavioral economics, public economics, labor economics, and political economy. Currently, he is working on “a new project to understand how employers become aware of gender pay gaps among their employees and how they respond to such information.
“Ricardo is one of the most impactful professors I have learned from in my educational career,” wrote student Lauren Gamboa, MBA 25, in her nomination. “He takes complex economic concepts and breaks down the core elements and key intuitions for application into our everyday professional and personal lives. He has influenced how I evaluate potential projects and my overall learning process.”
Asked what he loves most about teaching, Perez-Truglia says, “I have a lot of fun during my lectures. By the end, I may be exhausted, but the experience is incredibly rewarding.” He adds, “I hope that when my students think about price elasticity, they can hear an Argentinean accent in their minds.”
Fedyk’s research lies at the intersection of behavioral finance and innovation, employing big data techniques to better understand such important and timely topics as how artificial intelligence affects modern firms. In her teaching, she has been recognized for taking the lead on bringing more sustainability content into the core finance curriculum.
“Anastassia Fedyk has been the best Professor of my Executive MBA program,” wrote Oleksandr Krotenko, MBA 23, in his nomination. “The students truly love her because they feel how deeply she cares about their growth by always transforming even what might seem like less appealing subjects into life-learning experiences.”
When she is not teaching, Fedyk is co-leader of Economists for Ukraine, a group she founded in response to the Russian invasion of her native home. It informs policy on sanctions against Russia, spearheads plans for the reconstruction of Ukraine, supports Ukraine’s education sector, and organizes humanitarian aid on the ground.
“I am grateful for my Ukrainian heritage,” Fedyk told Poets&Quants. “Over the last year and a half, I have been incredibly proud to come from such a beautiful and resilient place.”
Alexandria Williams had taken economics at Oakland’s Skyline High School, but she didn’t learn much about how to actually budget and manage money. So for eight Saturdays during her senior year, she woke up early to head to class at Berkeley Haas, learning not only about personal finance but also about investing, home ownership, and building intergenerational wealth.
Her efforts paid off. Williams, along with 23 other high school seniors who graduated this month from the Economic Equity and Financial Education Pilot Program, walked away with an $8,000 college scholarship from Pacific Gas and Electric. The students also gained financial knowledge well above the average high school graduate plus a new network of supporters and mentors.
All 24 program graduates are going on to college.
“What I would tell my friends would be to invest as much as you can for however long as you can, because the length of time makes a difference,” said Williams, who is headed to UC Irvine in the fall.
“Investing helps your money grow over time rather than just keeping it somewhere, since the value of money decreases over time,” added Christian Jones, a senior at Oakland Technical High School headed to Cal State East Bay.
The pilot program, created by Pacific Gas and Electric in collaboration with the Haas School of Business, Berkeley Executive Education, and Mills College at Northeastern University, aimed to equip African American high school students from under-resourced Oakland and Bay Area high schools with the financial tools for success. It also has a more ambitious goal: to make a dent in the pervasive wealth gap between white and Black and Latinx U.S. households.
“These kids have demonstrated a tremendous amount of discipline, and they’re investing in themselves, which is the biggest investment they can make,” said Jimi Harris, chief of community relations at PG&E, who created the program. “We wanted to prove that high school students could digest advanced financial education in the hope that it can be replicated by other corporate leaders and institutions.”
Harris came up with the idea for the program in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, to channel his anger and frustration into something positive, and PG&E committed to give $500,000 from its community charitable Better Together Giving Program. Harris reached out to his Morehouse College classmate Jason Miles, founder and managing director of Amenti Capital, who had started an investment club and launched Morehouse’s first student-run investment fund.
The two approached Berkeley Executive Education (BEE) with a request to design and deliver the curriculum after hearing about BEE’s successful Black Venture Capital Program. Miles worked with Associate Professor Panos N. Patatoukas to co-develop the curriculum. Mills College at Northeastern recruited the students through its TRIO college preparation program and assigned two caseworkers who proactively tracked and followed up with the students throughout the course.
Patatoukas said he worked hard to adapt topics such as financial data analysis and corporate valuation, which he teaches to UC Berkeley MBA students and executives, to high school students who were taking the class at the end of busy weeks of school and activities. The program appealed to his passion for equalizing access to financial education and informed decision-making.
“Technology has been transforming education in profound ways, but access to financial education still remains within the reach of only a few,” Patatoukas said. “I was really excited to work with PG&E and Berkeley Executive Education on this important effort to make financial education more accessible. Mitigating the problem of access inequality to financial education has been the driving force of my efforts to foster diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environments at Cal.”
McClymonds High senior Patrick Botman raises his had during the program graduation lunch.
Skyline High senior Alexandria Williams will attend UC Irvine in the fall.
Jason Miles, founder and managing director of Amenti Capital, co-developed the curriculum with Associate Professor Panos Patatoukas.
Jason Miles chats with financial advisor Lia Wheeler, who taught a session on building wealth and monitoring financial health.
That’s why it’s so important for institutions like PG&E and Berkeley Haas to take an active stand on closing the wealth gap, said Carla Peterman, PG&E executive vice president and chief sustainability officer, in a speech to the graduates.
“When you take a stand and say it will be so, you are so resolved that instead of worrying about whether it might happen, you focus all your attention on making it happen,” Peterman told the students.
Peterman said she became the first African-American woman Rhodes Scholar after graduating from Howard University, earning an MS and MBA from Oxford University and then going on to a PhD from UC Berkeley. After she got the scholarship, another African American woman followed. And another. “Until then, there were people who didn’t think someone who looked like me could get it,” she said.
Marco Lindsey, Berkeley Haas associate director of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging, echoed that theme.
“You can’t imagine how different things are going to be 10 years from now, or 20 years from now. But you know what? You are going to be the reason that it’s different,” he said. “Because we’re going to have more people that look like us, who are founders of organizations, who are founders of business, who are creating pathways, and who are making pathways for other folks.”
The graduates also heard from Berkeley Haas Dean Ann Harrison, who assured them that although she went on to become a prominent economist, they already know more about finance than she did at their age. She urged the students to continue to draw on their new network.
“As you leave this program, I ask you to stayconnected to each other. Help each other succeed,” she said. “The people in this room are now a part of your social wealth, which, in my opinion, is just as important as financial wealth.”
The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley has been ranked #1 for finance research among almost 150 business schools worldwide in a new global research ranking.
Theranking is based on publications in the top six finance journals as well as a host of other top-tier economics, finance, and business journals from 2000 to 2023. It was prepared by the Olin Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research at Washington University in St. Louis.
Berkeley Haas finance faculty came out on top for per-capita research output over the 23-year period. On average, they published .71 papers in top journals every year.
“We know that our finance faculty is incredibly strong, and this is quantifiable proof that they are true rock stars,” said Dean Ann Harrison. “We are very proud of the strength and influence of our finance researchers.”
The ranking considers articles published only by finance professors, as well as non-finance professors who have published at least three papers in the top three finance journals.
“Our group provides cutting-edge research in finance, and this ranking is a testament to it,” said Associate Professor David Sraer, chair of the Finance Group. “Given our brilliant junior faculty, I am confident this trend will continue in the future!”
As repercussions from the stunning collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) continue to ripple through the banking industry, we asked Haas experts for their views on where the system broke down and whether there may be broader trouble viewing.
Professors Ross Levine, Panos Patatoukas, and Nancy Wallace said SVB’s problems were “banking 101” and that its management and board failed in their fiduciary duties. Levine, a banking industry expert, said the situation “suggests stunningly incompetent bank supervision and regulation,” and cited research that Silicon Valley Bank may be “the tip of a gigantic iceberg.” Patatoukas agreed, asking “If (regulators) cannot spot something as straightforward as SVB’s issues, then what else are they missing?”
Professor Ross Levine, Willis H. Booth Chair in Banking and Finance, Haas Economic Analysis & Policy Group
“Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed in the simplest and most vanilla way. It had long-term assets, including Treasury securities and other U.S. government backed-securities, and short-term liabilities, namely deposits. This exposed the SVB to interest rate risk because long-term securities are much more sensitive to interest rate changes than deposits. As interest rates went up over the last year, the price of long-term securities went down, challenging SVB’s solvency.
Regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) did not need sophisticated supervisory and regulatory skills or elaborate training to recognize such interest rate risk. It is banking 101.
While new information might emerge, current knowledge suggests stunningly incompetent bank supervision and regulation. The Federal Reserve and FDIC regulators need to explain why they did not require SVB to hedge interest rate risk three years ago, two years ago, etc.
The apparent failure of Federal Reserve and FDIC regulators in the case of SVB raises questions about the effectiveness of U.S. regulatory authorities in general. First, if regulators failed to address the most basic of risks—interest rate risk—in SVB, did they miss this interest rate risk in other banks? Second, have regulators effectively addressed the more complex risks that some banks take? Third, did regulators allow systemic risks to grow in the U.S. banking system?
Recent research provides an alarming answer to whether the Federal Reserve and FDIC blew it on interest rate risk beyond SVB, suggesting that SVB is the tip of a gigantic iceberg. A study conducted over the weekend indicates that the market value of U.S. banking assets is about $2 trillion dollars less than the reported book value due to increases in interest rates during the last year. It is impossible to determine the degree to which banks used derivatives to hedge interest rate risk. Thus, one cannot conclude definitively that the U.S. banking system experienced a loss of $2 trillion. However, these statistics, in conjunction with the details on SVB, scare me.
While Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Jay Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, might claim that the U.S. banking system is very well capitalized and very well supervised and regulated, they have some explaining to do.
Recent events also raise concerns about the competency of U.S. monetary policy, which, like much of bank regulation, is conducted by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve started raising interest rates a year ago to combat inflation. (As a side point, the Federal Reserve created the inflation it is now combating.) It should have been evident to the Federal Reserve that banks with long-term assets and short-term liabilities that had not hedged interest rate risk would experience significant losses as interest rates rose. Moreover, the Fed has or can obtain information on banks’ assets and liabilities and the degree to which they were hedging interest rate risk. Thus, they knew—or should have known—which banks were most exposed to interest rate risk as they started raising interest rates. As a result, even if bank regulators failed to force banks to address interest rate risk before the Federal Reserve began to raise rates, the Fed should have been aware of this vulnerability as it started tightening monetary policy to fight inflation.”
“The SVB management and board failed in their fiduciary duties. The Fed also failed in its supervisory role since it failed to spot a basic duration mismatch and a massive run-prone deposit base, together with a lack of interest rate risk management on the part of SVB. It would have been straightforward to see from SVB’s financial statements that its (tier 1) liquidity ratio was much lower after accounting for the accumulated but unrecognized losses from the revaluation of their long-term bond portfolio, which basically indicates that SVB had elevated risk well before the run on the bank.
The SVB failure raises concerns about structural problems impacting regional banks, their depositors, and capital providers. It also raises concerns about the ability of regulators to spot risks ahead of time. If they cannot spot something as straightforward as SVB’s issues, then what else are they missing?”
Professor Nancy Wallace, Lisle and Roslyn Payne Chair in Real Estate and Capital Markets
“This is a monumental failure of risk management on the part of both the bank and the regulators. Interest rate risk is basic banking 101. Added to that is the very large depositor concentration from one industry. I also suspect that the loans on (Silicon Valley Bank’s) balance sheet are likely to be poorly underwritten given the overly cosy relationship between the bank and the king makers in Silicon Valley. They frequently provided loans to startups as a bridge between funding rounds. They did this to protect startup founders from the dilution effects of additional equity rounds—the more normal way to fund startups.”
Influencing national economic policy is not only about having the expertise, but also about being in the room at the right moment to be heard, two top economists who have served as government advisors told the audience a recent Dean’s Speaker Series event.
“I had this impression that there’s some deep thinking and careful preparation, and ultimately a bunch of guys get into a room, and later there’s a law,” said Professor Ulrike Malmendier, who in August was appointed to a five-year term on Germany’s Council of Economic Experts, which evaluates the government’s economic policies. The reality, she learned, is less concrete.
“I completely misunderstood politics and policy,” said Malmendier, Edward J. and Mollie Arnold Professor of Finance, in response to a student question. “It showed how if you are at the right place—if you can be in the room—you can help.”
Malmendier shared the stage by Professor Catherine Wolfram, who recently completed a term as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate and Energy Economics in the U.S. Department of Treasury. Wolfram and Malmendier were interviewed by Haas Dean Ann Harrison in a discussion titled, “In the Halls of Power: Berkeley Haas Economists on Advising World Leaders.”
Wolfram, an energy economist, and Malmendier, a behavioral economist, are internationally known in their respective fields. Both said they felt the call to step outside academia and use their expertise in the service of public good.
“Like a lot of my colleagues, I wanted to be relevant to policymakers, and I wanted to have my research influence decisions,” Wolfram said. “But I figured I really should understand what it’s like to be a policy maker and see how the sausage is made.”
Wolfram said that when Janet Yellen, a Berkeley Haas professor emeritus, was named Secretary of the Treasury in the Biden Administration, she reached out to her directly about a treasury position focused on environmental issues
“…Don’t wait for them to come to you. Life in DC is so, so hectic, they’re going a million miles an hour,” Wolfram said. “You need to raise your hand and say, ‘I’m ready. I’d like to be there.’”
“You need to raise your hand and say, ‘I’m ready. I’d like to be there.’” —Catherine Wolfram
Wolfram ended up having a front-row seat to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act—the biggest climate bill in U.S. history—and played a pivotal role in enacting a price cap on Russian oil. Malmendier has been on the front lines of helping her home country navigate a tricky economic period roiled by inflation, the war in Ukraine, and the resulting European energy crisis.
Hear more about their experiences and their leadership advice.
Strategies to build organizational culture in a world fundamentally changed by the pandemic were the focus as academics and executives came together at this year’s Berkeley Culture Conference.
The fifth annual conference, back in person after two years of virtual gatherings, was launched by Professors Jennifer Chatman and Sameer Srivastava in 2019. It is the flagship event of their new initiative to build a center of gravity for a new generation of organizational culture research—and ultimately, to help organizations function more effectively. Since then, the initiative has offered research partnerships and grants, forums and speaker events, and evolved to become the Berkeley Culture Center (BCC).
“Looking back at our start in 2019, we couldn’t have known that we were about to experience a global pandemic, widespread social upheaval, and massive changes in the world of work,” said Chatman, who is the Paul J. Cortese Distinguished Professor of Management and serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “With these rapid changes, it is more important than ever to understand how to help organizations build the most inclusive and effective cultures that will not only provide strategic clarity about ‘how we do things around here,’ but also help people stay connected to the mission and values of the company.”
“Looking back at our start in 2019, we couldn’t have known that we were about to experience a global pandemic, widespread social upheaval, and massive changes in the world of work.” —Jennifer Chatman
“Our goal from the start has been not only to advance scientific understanding, with new data sources and methods, but also to make this work relevant to leaders at organizations around the nation and world,” added Srivastava, who co-directs the center with Chatman and is the Ewald T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy. “As workplaces grow ever more diverse, and people work together in new ways, senior executives need to understand how to address the challenges that arise and how to lead change—particularly as they navigate the rapid technological and structural changes to workplaces that we expect in the next five years.”
To support these objectives, Srivastava said BCC is in the process of launching two “megastudies”—randomized controlled trials of different culture-change interventions that are simultaneously implemented across multiple organizations. These will “yield rigorous insights into how leaders can proactively shape culture in the context of a rapidly evolving workplace.”
The 2023 conference included more than 25 presentations, with the first day focused on scholars from the fields of economics, psychology, sociology, and strategy. Day two brought together industry leaders with presentations on managing cultural change in hybrid environments, coaching leaders to be change agents, and the most effective approaches to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Speakers included Scott Uzell, CEO of Converse; Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana; and Pixar Animation Studios Co-founder, Ed Catmull.
Chatman and Srivastava also introduced the Berkeley Culture Center’s first Executive Director, Kristen Barbarics. “I’m excited to see the center grow into its potential and, ultimately, create positive and powerful shifts in company culture across the nation and the world,” Barbarics said.
Conference organizers received a record 75 paper submissions this year, reflecting its reputation as a “go to” place for academics to share their latest research. They awarded the Edgar Schein Best Student Paper Prize to two doctoral students: 1st place went to Victoria Yiluan Zhang of MIT Sloan for “The Class Gap in Organizational Culture;” Laura Fritsch and Alan D. Morrison of the University of Oxford won second place for their paper “Organizational Culture, Vocabularies, and Attention: An Experimental Approach.”
Check out more photos of the conference. (All photos by Brittany Hosea-Small.)
Victoria Yiluan Zhang of MIT Sloan presents her award-winning paper.
Converse CEO & President Scott Uzell shared stories about building culture at the company.
Professor Juliana Schroeder shares her research on reducing polarization.
Assistant Professor Sa-Kiera Hudson chats with other attendees during a breakout session.
Haas Lecturer Bree Jenkins, MBA 19, asks a question.
Monica Stevens, MBA 96, of Spencer Stuart, discusses new DEI strategies.
Chatman and Srivastava with student paper winner Victoria Yiluan Zhang.
Chatman and Srivastava with 2nd place student paper winner Laura Fritsch.
Harvard College Dean and Professor Rakesh Khurana presents on elite colleges and social class.
Harvard College Dean and Professor Rakesh Khurana chats with Haas COO Courtney Chandler, who presented her research on university culture and faculty governance.
Srivastava and Chatman interviewing Pixar Co-founder and Former President Ed Catmull
Ed Catmull, co-founder and former president of Pixar Animation
While tech employment remains strong, a wave of layoffs is shaking up the industry. According to the tracking site layoffs.fyi, about 137,000 people have lost their jobs since layoffs started ticking up in May.
To find out more about what is driving this shakeup, we spoke with Saikat Chaudhuri, faculty director of the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology (MET) Program and of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Hub. Chaudhuri, an expert on corporate growth and innovation, mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing, and technological disruption, says the upheaval offers the opportunity for a reset and a chance to pursue growth in emerging areas.
The economy and labor markets are going strong. So why are so many tech companies laying off workers?
Many people are confounding two different things. We should not mix up the events specific to the tech industry with all the other issues that are going on in the broader economy due to the challenges of macroeconomic shocks, like Russia’s war on Ukraine, the aftereffects of the pandemic including supply chain problems, and the general inflationary pressures. The technology industry is also affected by those events, but there are additionally more fundamental factors at play.
“I am not worried about the jobs coming back. What we are seeing are structural changes. The jobs will be shifting, and will grow in up-and-coming areas.”
What’s happening in the tech industry is really a natural shakeout after over a decade of phenomenal growth. It is not unlike when the dotcom bubble burst in 2001. The sector was overheated and it could not continue as it had. The same is true now, as many startup and unicorn valuations skyrocketed over the last years, especially because the pandemic accelerated the growth to record levels as the deployment of technology and digital transformation became necessary everywhere. On the bright side, it’s actually not all bad. While I recognize that layoffs are painful for many people right now, the industry as a whole needs this adjustment to bring us to a path of more sustainable economic growth in tech. Because what was happening, especially with hiring over the last few years, was just completely unrealistic.
How did we get here?
During the pandemic, we went more digital. People worked remotely and they could work from anywhere—Hawaii, the countryside, anywhere. Tech became a big factor as the economy shifted entirely online: online retail, online banking, online instruction, online meetings, online therapy. It brought significant disruption to all industries.
We need to keep in mind that the pandemic was a different kind of economic crisis. Usually in an economic crisis, everybody loses, but that didn’t happen here. Some industries actually gained significantly, especially most of the technology sectors. The growth rate that they experienced, whether hardware, software, e-commerce, healthcare apps, fintech, crypto—you name it—was completely unsustainable. Just take a look at tech hiring last year: Tech job postings hit their peak in March 2022 and have been declining sharply since. We hit the point where the trend reverses. It was going to happen, either now or a year or two from now. It coincides with what’s going on in the overall economy and world politics, leading to a perfect storm.
“Once that first domino falls, it is easy for others to follow.”
This situation also poses a great excuse for employers. They say: A recession is coming. I will have to let people go.” Once that first domino falls, it is easy for others to follow.
Are you saying there was an inflation of the workforce inside the tech industry?
Yes. The reason for this is very simple: You don’t get penalized for growing your workforce while the sector is growing so fast. Everybody knows it will have to stop at some point, but there’s no penalty for riding the wave.
In fact, there’s a loss for your firm if you don’t ride the growth. If you said, “We should be more prudent because some sort of adjustment is going to happen,” there’d be no gain and you’d be losing out on the potential benefits—profits, funding, talent. Because when the correction happens, you can simply lay people off by the thousands. Two years later, the same people who got laid off will come back to the industry (whether at the same kinds of firms or new areas that emerge), and the same VCs will invest. There are no consequences for these actions. That’s just the way of Silicon Valley and the tech world, as they go through cycles.
Is this correction just a tightening of the belt, or is the industry reorganizing itself to make room for a new wave of technologies that require new skills or a reallocation of resources?
There will be some reorganization happening, because some areas are growing faster than others. For example, Amazon decided that not all of its devices are doing so well. Companies have been carrying losses in some areas for a while. But it didn’t matter because there was so much growth overall, and they didn’t want to miss out on that wave. It is not unlike the dotcom bubble, where for instance network equipment companies were investing in an array of optical networking products that never properly worked, because regular routers and switches were minting money.
“A re-evaluation of talent needs will also play a role.”
Moreover, re-evaluation of talent needs will also play a role. I’ve been puzzled for a while about all the anxiety surrounding the shortage of software developers, and the salaries they were being offered in the mad scramble to secure such talent. So much basic programming work has become well-defined, codified, and routine that those skills can be learned at scale by a wider base of employees. If you think about it, thousands of software developers, even at companies like Microsoft and Google, are engaged to implement enhancements to products such as adjusting fonts or updating visuals or adding simple features—not product design or creation of new functionality. Those jobs don’t require computer science graduates, as IBM realized five years ago, when they began hiring non-college graduates with programming experience, at that time out of necessity.
In fact, there are tools now that can automate basic code writing, which are already being deployed. It won’t stop there, because we now also have algorithms which can do many sophisticated tasks; just look at Open AI’s ChatGPT, which is writing essays, poems, lecture notes, speeches, and other creative pieces at the click of a button!
Why now? Is there anything in particular that started this domino effect this year?
Now, with increased scrutiny from investors and others who look at a firm’s financial viability, this overstaffing approach is getting reined in. There have been excesses in view of rosy projections and seemingly limitless valuations. Now the bubble has popped, as it does in every tech cycle, and it’s been a great opportunity (and excuse) for firms to make adjustments, tighten their belts, and reduce their workforce.
Where do you see opportunities?
The next wave of growth will come from emerging sectors, like cleantech and green tech, new materials, breakthroughs in the life sciences, and novel products and services resulting from the maturation of general purpose technologies like AI. Just like the dotcom era was about the internet and all that it spawned—cloud services, big data, the internet of things, and other advances in information technology—there will be a wave of new technologies that will disrupt a lot of different sectors.
In many industries, the disruption has just begun and exciting new transformations are taking place that’ll unfold over the next decade—whether in education, healthcare, finance, automobiles, or aerospace, just to name a few. I am not worried about the jobs coming back. What we are seeing are structural changes. The jobs will be shifting, and will grow in up-and-coming areas.
“If I could give one piece of advice, it’s this: Don’t get sidetracked by group think and FOMO. To become a leader, you’ll need to be comfortable charting new paths and challenging conventional approaches.”
What does that mean for the students at Haas, and those considering an MBA?
For our own graduates, it would be healthy to see this as an opportunity. The most entrepreneurial people are the ones who look at these situations and say, “Change is good, and uncertainty has two sides. It’s what creates the opportunity for new things.”
Instead of defining your career in terms of a particular job at a particular company, you could think about which problem you want to solve. That is where you will find the opportunity to lead and to make a real impact.
It’s great to aspire to work your way up to an executive job at a large firm, and many of our graduates will do that and be very successful. Others will go against the grain. They will be the ones we hear about, because they actually change how Goldman Sachs works or McKinsey works or Google works for the next era. And of course there will be the entrepreneurs who will pursue startups that will redefine entire industries.
Take Stuart Bernstein, BS 86, former Goldman Sachs managing director and partner who shook up investment banking with his passion for clean energy and the environment. A true leader by definition changes things. That’s why we pay attention to them and learn from them.
A lot of our students come in wanting to make an impact early in their careers. What does it take to get there?
If I could give one piece of advice, it’s this: Don’t get sidetracked by group think and FOMO. To become a leader, you’ll need to be comfortable charting new paths and challenging conventional approaches. Leaders have confidence, without attitude—confidence in their vision and in their ability to make it happen, and the humility to learn and acknowledge challenges and risks.
The good news is, you don’t have to be born with it. An MBA program like Berkeley’s gives you the opportunity to develop that kind of confidence. You can train yourself to see the opportunity in ambiguity, embrace serendipity, and take intelligent risks.
Along the way you also learn key the business skills—finance, marketing, management, operations, and so forth—that you will need as a leader. All that will help you develop this vision for your path to make an impact, and the confidence and network to make it happen.
What opportunities are there at Haas and Berkeley to get ahead of the next wave?
As part of our strategic priorities, we are building a new entrepreneurship hub at Haas that will be a game changer for our students and students across Berkeley. It will draw people from all over the campus. The great thing about Berkeley is that it has so many top-rated departments, and we will be able to bring them to one place to talk to each other and collaborate. So many of our Haas signature programs are about this kind of cross-pollination. Take Cleantech to Market’s partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, or the Berkeley Skydeck accelerator, or the dual degree programs we have with Public Health, Engineering, Law, and that we are developing with the Rausser College of Natural Resources.
The most pressing problems of global society today require interdisciplinary perspectives. The hub we are developing will not only allow diverse people to connect, but it will provide them with the space and resources to create community, build their ventures, and be discovered by investors. What is novel is that we will not only support those who have a good sense of the entrepreneurial path, but also those who simply would like to be exposed to what it’s all about—the “entrepre-curious,” as we call them. And anyone from around the university will be able to drop in to simply ask an expert for guidance on how to navigate the vast innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at Berkeley based on what they need.
“While the tech industry is doing a reset, it may be a great time for you to do a reset as well.”
What’s your big-picture advice?
Silicon Valley is our backyard. While the tech industry is doing a reset, it may be a great time for you to do a reset as well. Beef up your skills, develop your leadership potential, build your network, and embrace your inner entrepreneur.
The Haas Fintech Club is gearing up to host its first conference this Saturday, reaching out through the event to educate students, provide networking opportunities, and attract more diverse voices to the industry.
The conference, called Breaking into Fintech, will be held Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum.
The event includes speakers from Stripe, Chime, JPMorgan Chase, and Citi Impact Fund. Peggy Mangot, managing director of fintech partnerships and commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase, is the keynote speaker.
The Fintech Club, founded in 2016, now has more than 250 members, including 182 students in the full-time and evening & weekend classes. Each year, the club hosts the popular Fintech Speaker Series, treks to fintech companies, industry primers, and networking events. But this is the first year they decided to host a full conference to explore fintech’s range—from mobile banking and automated portfolio managers to peer-to-peer payment services such as PayPal and Venmo to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
“Fintech has such a wide spectrum, which is why we want to break it down,” said Jennifer Tran, MBA 23, vice president of the club. “MBA students are always looking for what’s next, and fintech has had a huge buzz in the last five to 10 years, in particular.” Tran, who interned last summer at Apple in worldwide product marketing, said fintech holds incredible possibilities for financial inclusion and empowerment.
“As a child of refugees to the U.S., I saw firsthand how my family struggled to navigate the financial system and how that impacted their livelihoods and opportunities,” she said. “I want to make this space more accessible and responsive to the needs of those who have been historically excluded from it.”
Petra Nelson MBA 23, vice-president of the Fintech Club, said that while the industry dates back to the invention of the credit card in the 1950s, the Great Recession of 2007 helped push fintech into new territory. Nelson, who interned at PayPal in partnerships and development, said fintech is making the movement of money cheaper and faster for consumers and businesses alike.
“Before Haas, I worked in nonprofit fundraising and microlending, and saw how difficult it can be for some to gain access to affordable financial services and build intergenerational wealth. I’d like to be a part of changing that.”
“After the financial crisis is when we saw that there were problems with the way that our financial system was working,” Nelson said. “A lot of startups were born in that era, trying to fill in gaps and figure out how they could innovate upon the sector.”
Conference panelists will discuss payment infrastructure, as well as the crucial role of fintech startups, founders, and investors in the industry.
“We’re seeing a lot more players in spaces that hadn’t existed before,” Tran said.
There have been calls inside and outside the fintech industry to diversify leadership. Conference organizers are hoping to reach more underrepresented students and women, and provide plenty of opportunities for networking with Haas alumni and industry leaders.
KathrynHall is the Founder and Co-Chair of one of the largest woman-led investment companies in the world, Hall Capital Partners. In 2021, Hall launched Galvanize Climate Solutions, a climate tech investment platform that will back companies from the seed-stage through private equity and project finance. The new fund will invest in companies and organizations around the world working to curb carbon emissions.
In a fireside chat, Hall discussed her experience as a female leader, the role of the private sector financial institutions in climate solutions, and advice for students who are interested in impact investing.
This is a Sustainable Futures event. Developing a sustainable, climate-resilient economy covers every aspect of business—agriculture, real estate, energy, finance, and corporations. All these aspects of business will need to be reimagined and redesigned to address the current environmental, social and economic crises. This event is co-sponsored by the Sustainable and Impact Finance Initiative.
Professor Emeritus John G. Myers, a faculty leader whose warm personality, scholarship and mentoring, and expertise in the science of consumer behavior made him invaluable at the Haas School of Business for decades, passed away on October 14, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. He was 89.
Myers, who first arrived in Berkeley and joined the business school in 1964, was one of the early trained behavioral scientists in marketing studies. His fascination with the factors that affect people’s choices—and how to use evolving technologies to define, measure, and analyze those factors—drove his many scholarly pursuits and advisory activities, and ultimately his leadership at Haas.
Myers personified the concept of belonging in the Haas School community and UC Berkeley, said former Haas Dean Rich Lyons, professor and chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer for UC Berkeley.
“John understood belonging so deeply and what it meant to belong to this place, to have an identity that was fundamentally connected to this place,” Lyons said.
Myers was born on July 22, 1933, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and began his education in a one-room schoolhouse in the town of Penny, where his father owned a lumber mill. At a young age, he went to boarding school in Victoria. Despite being two years younger than his classmates and the smallest boy on the teams, he was a versatile athlete who played rugby, cricket, and soccer. He graduated with a bachelor’s in forestry and commerce from the University of British Columbia, where he was involved in campus journalism and athletics. He went on to earn an MBA in 1958 from the University of Western Ontario, where he discovered his love of teaching. In 1966, he received his PhD in business administration and marketing as well as a master’s in sociology from Northwestern University.
Myers was unreserved in his dedication both to Haas students and administration. In the 1980s, he served as associate dean of academic affairs, associate dean of curriculum, and associate dean of the graduate school. He chaired the Marketing and International Business Group from 1974 to 1977 and was director of the PhD Program from 1982 to 1985. He also served as a member of the ASUC Store Operations Board.
His Haas colleagues remember him as a calming force. Despite his imposing frame and intellect, Myers put people at ease with his easygoing personality and sense of humor. “He was just like a big teddy bear. He was warm and safe and friendly. He got along with everybody,” said David Aaker, the E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Public Policy.
Through his love of evolving technologies, Myers worked to establish the first Haas computer lab in the basement of Barrows Hall and designed and developed the school’s mainframe and PC-based computer information system.
Research on consumer behavior
Among Myers’ areas of research were promotional incentives, e-commerce consumer behavior, and consumer indecision, as well as the management of brands and trademarks in Russia. In an article published in the Journal of Consumer Research in March 1998, Myers and Michal Strahilevitz, PhD 93, examined how a company’s promise to donate to charity could drive consumers to purchase certain products.
Myers co-authored with Aaker, and later Rajeev Batra, “Advertising Management,” an influential textbook widely-used in graduate business schools internationally and now in its fifth edition. He also taught advertising management in Russia and France and served as vice president of the Education Division of the American Marketing Association and president of the Association of Directors of Doctoral Programs in Business.
Myers served as a consultant to a wide variety of public and private organizations on marketing and advertising issues, and as expert witness on numerous public policy cases. He was proud of his work on the board for the National Junior Tennis League of San Francisco and Oakland for under-resourced youth.
Dedicated mentor and community builder
Myers was passionate about creating a sense of community at Haas, hosting parties for PhD students and serving on numerous student thesis committees. His devotion to Haas marketing students continued after his retirement in 1994 with the report “Four Decades of Berkeley Marketing PhDs.”
Kay Lemon, PhD 94, recalled how welcoming Myers and his wife were in the early 1990s when Lemon and her husband first arrived at UC Berkeley. Her first teaching experience was as Myers’ graduate student instructor.
“John was a great mentor to me. He provided strong support, insights and encouragement throughout my career,” said Lemon, who now holds the Accenture Professorship at the Boston College School of Management “He was one of the kindest and most generous individuals I’ve known.”
In 2010, Myers spoke about his teaching career in an interview with St. Michaels University School in Canada, which he graduated from in 1947. “One of my teaching styles was to constantly challenge students to think. This was not very popular with some students. It was easier to spend time in lecture dreaming about other things or just automatically taking notes without much thinking,” he said.
While his classroom could prove rigorous, Myers had kind words for struggling students. “If any doctoral student was discouraged about their coursework, or dissertation, they knew John would be encouraging,” said Strahilevitz, now a professor of marketing at Saint Mary’s College of California.
Always the consummate host, Myers and Arlyn, his wife of close to 60 years and a UC Berkeley College of Chemistry emeritus lecturer who also earned her PhD from Northwestern, hosted generations of Haas students, faculty, and their families. They started traditions of hosting PhD students in the early 1980s and Haas emeriti faculty in the late 1990s. Their house, with its view of the Bay, was “the go-to place,” said Prof. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, the J. Gary Shansby Professor of Marketing Strategy.
The late Haas Dean Raymond Miles, in comments prepared for Myers’ retirement, highlighted Myers’ love of bringing happiness to others by playing Santa at Haas holiday parties.
Myers’ son Shawn D. Myers earned his MBA at Haas in 1999. “My father was an immeasurable influence on all those who were lucky enough to spend time with him. As a father and grandfather, he was quick with a joke, able to captivate with a story, and always there to support us through difficult times. He helped to shape so many people in his personal and professional lives, and we will endeavor to carry his spirit of generosity and joy with us forever.”
Myers is survived by his wife, Arlyn; their children Karlyne M. Reilly (husband Jay G. Reilly) of Potomac, MD, Shawn D. Myers (wife Jennifer B. Myers) of Redwood City, Calif., and Amanda J. Myers of Coconut Grove, FL; and grandchildren Jordan A. Reilly, Megan B. Reilly, John (Jack) R. Myers, and Katherine C. Myers.
John and Arlyn Myers Marketing Award
The family suggests that those wishing to honor Myers may do so by donating to the John and Arlyn Myers Marketing Award at the Haas School of Business established by the family in his honor: https://haas.berkeley.edu/giving/. To make a gift online, please note “In Memory of Professor John Myers” on the donation form (choose any fund). Donations may be made by check to “UC Berkeley,” with a note “Myers Fund/Haas,” and mailed to UC Berkeley Gift Services, 1995 University Ave, Suite 400, Berkeley, CA 94704-1070.