Gifts to Last

On the road to fuller equity and inclusion

Stacks of money shaped into a staircase with a graduation cap on top in Berkeley colors, showing how donations bring about academic success.

As Haas works to increase representation of historically underrepresented communities across all academic programs, one challenge the school faces is competition from other elite MBA programs with deeper pockets.

“It’s hard to see the renewed interest in diversity as a bad thing,” says Élida Bautista, Haas’ chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer. “It’s good that more schools are showing up with money, but it can be hard for Berkeley to compete as the only public school in the top 10.”

But now, two new gifts aim to help.

Allan Holt, MBA 76, donated $1 million to further Haas’ diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts. Holt, a senior partner and managing director of The Carlyle Group and chairman of Carlyle’s U.S. buyout group, made the generous gift because he believes greater diversity in business makes for a better environment.

“You make better decisions when you have a diverse group of people around the table,” says Holt. And Haas, he believes, is just the place to prepare diverse business leaders.

Half of Holt’s gift will establish the Allan Holt DEIB Fellowship, which will be awarded to full-time MBA students who are members of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, an organization that provides scholarships to support diversity in MBA programs.

The remainder of Holt’s gift will establish the Haas DEIB Initiatives Fund. Among other things, this fund will establish a post-doctoral fellowship to create a pipeline for new faculty who have a commitment to racial equity in business.

The second DEIB gift offers funding for students in the Berkeley Haas Evening & Weekend MBA Program and was made by Jamie Breen, the assistant dean of that program.

She says the need to increase diversity has long been clear.

“We’ve been thinking about scholarship support to increase the diversity of our working professional student population for a while, but it’s hard to get these things started,” says Breen. “I have the capability to do it, so this seemed like a great place to use my philanthropy.”

Haas has established a partnership between the SF/Bay Area chapter of the National Black MBA Association and the Evening & Weekend MBA program. Haas and NBMBAA will select incoming students for fellowship (which includes membership and mentoring) in NBMBAA, and some students will also receive scholarship support.

The impact of these gifts supporting DEIB efforts will reverberate even beyond a fellowship student’s time at Haas.

John Bolaji, MBA/MEng 23, a student pursuing the new joint master’s degree in business and engineering and a recipient of a Consortium Fellowship, says assistance also grants a level of freedom when thinking about careers.

He’ll be able to consider industries where he’ll have the most positive impact rather than focusing exclusively on salary, as he might have to do were he saddled with huge loans.

“It allows me to think about what I want to do after Haas without financial limits or barriers,” Bolaji says.