UC Berkeley launches joint master’s degree in business and engineering

photo of Berkeley students holding a laptop

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY — The University of California, Berkeley’s top-ranked Haas School of Business and College of Engineering have joined forces to launch a concurrent MBA/MEng degree program to equip innovative leaders with the skills to take on complex and technical challenges.

The new program, enrolling for fall 2020, will allow students with sufficient undergraduate technical training to earn both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Engineering degree in just two years.

The MBA/MEng program is designed for early-career professionals who wish to take their careers to a higher level of leadership, whether at a major firm, a startup, or as an entrepreneur, said MBA/MEng Program Faculty Director Candace Yano, a professor with joint appointments at Haas and Berkeley Engineering.

“The program will prepare students to meet industry demands for graduates who are both business- and technology-savvy and can lead technical innovation efforts—a combination of skills needed in Silicon Valley and beyond,” she said.

Haas Dean Ann Harrison said the program will draw from the strength of both schools, allowing students to learn from some of the world’s top minds from a wide range of disciplines. Students will have access to both UC Berkeley’s rich intellectual resources and the Bay Area’s innovation ecosystem.

“With this exciting new program, we’re leaning into our Berkeley strength and uniting two of our top-ranked programs at the engineering and business schools to fill a need to educate leaders who are fluent in both worlds,” Harrison said.

Berkeley Engineering Dean Tsu-Jae King Liu said this kind of technical and business fluency is essential for driving innovation.

“Today’s business leaders increasingly need to understand and harness the transformative potential of engineered devices, systems, and processes,” she said. “This concurrent degree program is aligned with our college’s mission to train graduate students who not only have expertise in their respective engineering subfields, but who also have the skills to succeed as entrepreneurs and as leaders in industries where technological innovation offers a key competitive advantage.”

Graduates with advanced engineering and business skills are in high demand. Companies that have recently hired Berkeley Haas MBA graduates who also have a master’s degree in engineering include Google, Apple, Boston Consulting Group, Citibank, Eli Lilly, Genentech, KPMG, Marvell Semiconductor, and Microsoft. Their typical roles include product manager, principal architect, marketing analytics manager, senior consultant, and manager of strategy and operations.

The MBA/MEng program will launch with a cohort of 20 students and is expected to grow to 30 during the next few years. Applicants will be considered for admission to both departments by a combined committee (students accepted to only one of the two programs may enroll in that program).

The rigorous curriculum will include MBA courses in leadership, marketing, management, finance, data analysis, ethics, and macroeconomics, along with engineering courses in one of seven areas of concentration: Bioengineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Nuclear Engineering. Students will also take courses in managing research and development, project management, and working in teams.

An integral part of the program is a second-year capstone project that asks students to solve real-world challenges for companies or nonprofit government organizations. Examples of these interdisciplinary projects include creating better solar and water reclamation opportunities for greener cities or completing the marketing analysis required to redesign a residential water filter for a manufacturer.

To be considered for the program, applicants must have at least two years of full-time work experience as well as sufficient undergraduate coursework to be successful in master’s level engineering classes. Depending on their intended field, that may include an engineering degree or a degree in physics or mathematics with coursework in computer programming. Applicants can submit either GMAT or GRE scores.

The new program was inspired by Berkeley’s undergraduate Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program (M.E.T.), launched in 2017 and aimed at teaching undergraduates the skills of business and technology in one four-year bachelor of science degree. Haas also has interdisciplinary dual degree programs with public health (MBA/MPH) and law (JD/MBA).

The concurrent degree program was launched with the support of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in honor of its founder, Morris Chang.