Berkeley-Haas Launches New MBA for Executives Program That Focuses on Innovative Leadership

On Aug. 14, the Haas School formally launched its new Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, which is designed to put executive careers on the fast track and to teach working professionals how to generate fresh ideas that drive their businesses forward.  The program will enroll its first class in May 2013.

Recruiting for the first class begins with information sessions in Berkeley on Aug. 30 and in San Francisco on Sept. 13. For a schedule of additional recruiting events go to

Specifically tailored to seasoned executives who have about 12 years of professional experience on average, the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program is anchored in the same rigorous, general management curriculum as the school’s top-ten ranked full-time and evening and weekend MBA programs.  The program also features the school’s cutting-edge innovative leader curriculum, which is supported by Haas’ distinctive culture: Question the Status Quo; Confidence Without Attitude; Students, Always; and Beyond Yourself.

The new program stresses a convenient, business-friendly schedule, with classes meeting every three weeks on Thursdays through Saturdays over the course of 19 months. Students stay at a nearby hotel while attending classes; most meals are provided.  The majority of sessions will be taught on the Berkeley-Haas campus, but other sessions–each with a special focus–will be held overseas and in various locations.

The new program will draw upon the school’s highly successful Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program, which will have graduated more than 600 students when its last class completes it studies and the program closes in early 2013. Berkeley-Columbia alumni provided input and guidance into the new MBA program for executives, drawing on their experiences and perspectives as alumni to help the Haas School create an exciting new program and an expanding community of innovative thinkers.

In addition, the new program will draw upon the school’s expertise in teaching thousands of executives who have attended the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education at Haas, which has been offering non-degree advancement programs to executives for more than 60 years. 

The first class of the new program will meet for orientation on May 15, 2013, and begin classes on May 16. The admissions team will start accepting applications as of Sept. 15, 2012.

“Our strength lies in teaching students how to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to every facet of the organization, and to motivate others to do so as well,” says Haas School Dean Rich Lyons. “We do so by providing them with a set of tools that empowers them to enter any situation─no matter how ambiguous─and to find a way to frame the challenge and develop creative solutions from it.”

These tools are taught in the Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD) curriculum that focuses on teaching four essential capabilities — framing problems, experimenting to learn, navigating uncertainty, and influencing beyond authority.  These lessons are contained in offerings such as:

  • In a Problem Finding Problem Solving course, students will learn problem framing, specifically to navigate the design and innovation process by applying different modes of thinking in order to find, frame, reframe and solve difficult business problems.
  • In the Applied Innovation course student teams will apply these tools to address an actual company challenge or global issue, such as providing safe drinking water. Faculty will coach and mentor students on working effectively in cross-disciplinary teams, on the content area of the project, and on experimenting with alternative solutions.
  • A weeklong, required international trip to Asia will further deepen familiarity with problem framing tools and the innovation process applied to an international challenge.
  • A study trip to Washington DC led by a senior faculty member familiar with the inner workings of the capitol.
  • A study trip based in the entrepreneurial San Francisco /Silicon Valley area.
  • A campus-based lecture series featuring the best and brightest UC Berkeley faculty researchers, whose work and ideas may be transformed into commercial blockbusters of the future.

Students are also able to participate in international business seminars and intensive, week-long blocks in conjunction with the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.  Many of these block weeks and electives will be taught off campus. 

Students of the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program will be able to network with alumni of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA, as well as the larger Berkeley-Haas alumni network of 40,000 undergraduate, MBA, financial engineering, and PhD students around the world. 

Being based on campus will also allow participants to take full advantage of the university’s and the business school’s distinguished speakers, conferences, and cultural events, such as entrepreneurship-related events, the Economist Innovation conference, the Dean’s Speaker Series with C-level innovators from a wide range of industries, and university-wide talks and performing arts.