Students in the Class of 2016 got a full immersion in Haas culture through hands-on learning, bonding through interactive games and community service, and leadership lessons from high-profile speakers during three August program orientations.
Among the surprise visitors: MLB execs Billy Beane and Sandy Alderson of Moneyball fame, tech visionary and former chief evangelist for Apple Guy Kawasaki, and crowdfunding pioneer Danae Ringelmann, MBA 08 and co-founder of Indiegogo.
The Evening & Weekend MBA Program was the first to hold its orientation in early August, followed by the Full-Time MBA Program last week. Undergraduates got their turn this week before starting classes today.
Full-time Berkeley MBA Program
"I came into Haas thinking I wanted to do one thing, but this week blew my mind and made me see all the possibilities out there," said Anthony Patterson, MBA 16, as Week Zero wrapped up on Aug. 29.
Second-year students and program staff put together a whirlwind week for the Class of 2016—the most diverse class in Haas history, with a record-breaking 43 percent women and 43 percent international students.
After an introduction to the fundamentals of the core Innovative Leader Curriculum from Professor Terry Taylor, Dean Rich Lyons offered some inspiration and advice, describing the shared cultural values and support that distinguishes the school. He also urged the 241 incoming students to look beyond Haas to the tremendous resources of the university.
"Think about what your passions are, and how they might connect to the rest of campus," he said.
Indiegogo co-founder Ringelmann gave a personal account of watching her parents' struggles as small business owners. She described how Haas helped her shape the beginnings of an idea—that finance was rigged, and there must be a way to fix it—into a disruptive startup that has given fundraising power to people worldwide.
"You have the chance to spend the rest of your waking life doing something that matters to you," she said. “Stop looking, start noticing. What matters to you is already inside of you.”
Kawasaki, a natural entertainer, delighted students with a witty 10-point lesson based on his new book "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions."
"The easy stuff is finance, operations, statistics. The hard part is leadership. If you want to be a good leader, you have to enchant people," he said.
Students also got lessons in design thinking from Tom Kelley, MBA 83, general manager of the international design firm IDEO; they heard from Gap CFO Sabrina Simmons, BS 85, at the closing reception.
In keeping with Haas hands-on culture, every lesson was followed with action.
After learning what makes good teams tick, students headed out to the Cohort Olympics, which combines serious silliness with serious competition, all in the name of bonding. They also spent a morning fixing up a children's playground and gardens at the Alameda Point Collective, a housing organization that serves homeless and at-risk families. And they heard about teaming for happiness from the director of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.
Dean Rich Lyons and Erika Walker, executive director of the undergraduate program at Haas, welcomed 340 business school undergraduates to orientation Aug. 26.
Of the new class, 82 students are transferring into the program from local colleges and 258 are continuing UC Berkeley students. They were selected from a total of 2,253 applicants, making this one of the most selective programs on campus.
This year’s orientation was redesigned based on student feedback to be more of a welcome than a comprehensive informational event, Walker said. “The purpose of the event is to welcome the students to the community, to have fun, and jump start their lifelong connection with Berkeley-Haas,” Walker said.
The event covered what the class should expect in the undergraduate program, providing information about the many resources available to them as business majors and advice on how to maximize their experience while here. Games such as speed dating-style meetings and charades helped students get to know their cohort members.
Speaker Lucky Sandhu, BS 96, EMBA 15, a real estate entrepreneur and broker at Reliance Financial, urged students to plant roots at Haas and take advantage of everything the program has to offer. A native of India, Sandhu credited the program with providing the wings he needed for his career to take off. He said he also made friends for life.
"Your journey through Haas will be one of roots and wings," he said. "You represent families, communities, classmates, friends, cultures and values that brought you here. Those are your roots. Always keep them close to your heart."
Orientation activities included a Career Conference, introducing the newly minted business majors to their career development journey with the help of the UC Berkeley Career Center and Haas student career counselors David Woodward and Chris Gavin.