A Hair-Razing Drive: MBAs Skip Shaving, Forgo Shame, Raise $51K for Charity

Students put themselves—and their beards, mustaches, hairstyles, chests, and dignity—at the mercy of their classmates this month in the name of a good cause.

The hirsute fun was part of the largest MBA charitable fundraiser of the year: the Haas Challenge for Charity (C4C) campaign. C4C is made up of nine West Coast business schools that compete in volunteering and fundraising. For No Shave November, students seek sponsors as they let their hair grow. It all comes to a head at the end of the month, when they auction off the chance for a creative trim from their razor-wielding classmates.

This year, organizers for the Full-time MBA class renamed the campaign to No Shave-No Shame November to include those who can't grow facial hair—or who prefer something less itchy. They raised $40,000 for three organizations: the Special Olympics, Alameda Point Collaborative, and Reading Partners.

false"Any act in which participants stepped out of their comfort zones for charity was fair game," says Sara Oon, who organized the C4C campaign along with Paul Jasinowski, and Tiger Li, both MBA 15.

Ryann Kopacka, MBA 16, said organizers thought it was important to recognize the record-breaking class of 43 percent women, and 43 percent international students.

"We were empowered to develop creative campaigns and showcase our talents, such as designing t-shirts, hosting international dinners, and wearing fake mustaches," says Kopacka, who co-hosted the Dec. 1 Shave-Off with Michael Daniel, MBA 16. Students also rapped, sang, organized poker games, and offered services like photography and massages.

falseThe Shave-Off auction was a raucous affair, with about 200 students bidding on the chance to trim 38 classmates. Some of the more creative styles invoked Tin-Tin, Wolverine, and variations on the monastic tonsure. One student took it to heart, leaving with "Haas" shaved across his chest.

Naoko Miyamoto, MBA 15, bravely bared her locks to the non-professionals—but it worked out OK. "The guys actually did a really good job of cutting my hair so it’s hard to tell it was cut."

Executive MBA students focused on their upper lips, organizing a Movember campaign (mustache November). Led by Kashif Hasan, David Firth-Eagland, Zino Di Perna, and Ryan Blood, all MBA 15, the drive raised over $7,000 for the Movember Foundation, which focuses on men's health initiatives.

Blood said his goal was "to grow a cancer-fighting Hulk Hogan handlebar mustache, have some laughs, raise awareness for men's health, and hopefully raise a couple of dollars along the way. We need to increase the focus on men's health, specifically prostate cancer."

falseThe Movember EMBAs held a pre-Thanksgiving celebration with awards for Most Mo, Worst Mo (this Mo needs to go), Creepiest Mo, and Best Mo (most professional and distinguished).

Evening and Weekend MBA students also organized a C4C campaign, led by Oon and Nachiket Torwekar, MBA 16. Instead of a no-shave event, it's organized as a fundraising competition between the classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017. So far, they've raised almost $4,000. The campaign runs through Dec. 7.

Check out the highlights in this slideshow

A close shave