“The Haas community continues to come together to provide incredible support to the school,” Harrison said. “These generous gifts will be used to help us continue to expand our faculty, enrich our students, and empower our alumni as we work for a more sustainable and equitable future. We are truly grateful.”
The total amount raised in 2023 includes $4.1 million from 3,554 donors to the Haas Fund, which is used to retain faculty and provide student scholarships, as well as to support alumni programs and career services.
Haas also achieved its UC Berkeley-wide Light the Way campaign goal of raising $400 million in July, six months before the close. Launched in 2014, The Light the Way campaign is a historic effort to raise $6 billion. The campaign ends on December 31, 2023.
More notable highlights this year for Haas include:
Raising four gifts of more than $5 million in a single year, a first in the school’s history.
Launching an HBCU MBA Fellowship with founding gifts from five alumni. The first-of-its-kind endowment will provide tuition support to MBA students who have attended a Historically Black College or University.
Funding a new Berkeley Haas entrepreneurship hub, which is slated to open in fall 2024.
Posting more than $500,000 in challenge matches during an epic Big Give one-day online fundraiser.
Alumni engagement highlights from the past year:
Alumni volunteers, advisors, mentors, and speakers again stepped forward to serve the school in the past year, in efforts including:
Serving as speakers at events and in classrooms, and as case competition judges throughout the year.
Sharing their stories on 27 episodes of the OneHaas podcast (with a total of 21,622 downloads)
Advising students in all of our degree programs with career and admissions support.
Sourcing and sharing 619 job posts through the alumni—powered Hire Haas campaign.
Berkeley Haas also returned to a full slate of alumni events this year, hosting three special regional events with Dean Ann Harrison in London, Los Angeles, and New York. Over 2,400 Haas community members participated in our signature events, with more than 1,200 returning for the annual MBA Reunion Weekend and Alumni Conference.
“We are incredibly grateful to all of our generous donors and alumni volunteers who continue to support our short- and long-term vision as a top business school,” Assistant Dean and Chief Development Officer Howie Avery said.
As globalization began to give American businesses a run for their money in the early 1970s, international business expert and then-Dean Richard Holton began working with faculty on ideas for how to train new leaders to compete.
“Strong competition from Japanese companies started to wake people up,” said Jay Stowsky, senior assistant dean of instruction at Haas from 2008 to 2021. “American business leaders and business school leaders understood the need to take a different approach to training people coming into American companies.”
That realization led to the creation of a new kind of MBA program that would provide the flexibility business leaders needed to earn the degree outside of their daily work schedules. In 1972, the business school launched its first part-time program called the San Francisco Evening Program (SFMBA) at the Wells Fargo Training Center in downtown San Francisco.
“We’re so proud of what we’ve accomplished over the decades,” said Jamie Breen, assistant dean of MBA programs at Berkeley Haas. “The part-time program has changed so many lives by opening doors for working professionals who couldn’t afford to take two years off to go back to school. It has truly fulfilled a mission to increase access to an MBA.”
A pioneering program
The part-time MBA program, one of the first of its kind in the country and the first within the University of California system, was aimed at students in their mid-20s to late 30s who had been in the workforce for an average of five years.
“The part-time program has changed so many lives by opening doors for working professionals,” Jamie Breen, assistant dean of MBA programs.
The first-ever cohort of 88 students hailed from local companies like Wells Fargo and Levi Strauss & Co, many of them commuting from Silicon Valley. By fall 1975, the program swelled to 229 students taking 17 courses. And by the early 1980s, the program’s success ensured that it would remain a core offering, with courses modernized and aligned tightly with the full-time MBA program to address corporate needs, Stowsky said.
“The MBA by then had shifted from a more academic degree to what was called management science, a kind of mathematical approach to decision making focused on finance and the bottom line, in addition to marketing and other key things students learn today in business school,” he said.
Boosting career success
The program, consistently ranked in the top two in the U.S. News ranking of part-time MBA programs, has trained business leaders worldwide. Among the more than 6,000 living graduates of the program are Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, MBA 93; Apple’s Managing Director of Greater China, Isabel Mahe, MBA 08; Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra, MBA 95; Sega Sammy CEO Haruki Satomi, MBA 12; Meituan Dianping founder and CFO Shuhong Ye, MBA 05; and Dilbert creator Scott Adams, MBA 86.
Constance Moore, who graduated from the SF MBA evening program in 1980, recalled attending classes in downtown San Francisco, near her office at BRE Properties. “I wanted to go to the evening program because I had recently started at BRE as an asset manager and knew I would likely learn as much at work as I would in school,” she said. “I could apply what I learned at work to my school work, and what I learned at Haas I could apply to my work. It was perfect.”
Attending class on Monday and Thursday evenings allowed her to travel for work in between and then study all weekend, she said. “It didn’t leave much time for anything else but it was so worth it,” said Moore, who became CEO of BRE after getting an MBA. “Haas made me fearless.”
While relatively few women enrolled during the part-time MBA program’s earliest days, that changed over the years as women were recruited or encouraged by their employers and each other.
Lesley Keffer Russell enrolled in the program in 1999, at the encouragement of her boss at St. Supéry Winery, Michaela Rodeno, who graduated from the part-time program in 1980.
“She became a great mentor for me. She asked me one day during lunch, after I had done a three-month work stint in France for St. Supéry, ‘So, when are you going to go to biz school?'” she said. “I had mentioned that it was on my mind for a while and there was nobody else who was going to push me to apply, so she did. I got right on it.”
Russell said classes she took that help her today in her job as general manager of Saint Helena Winery include microeconomics, negotiations, and real estate development, for which she completed a final group project on assessing two Napa Valley vineyard purchases. “This led to understanding about aspects of the wine industry that have been critical to my career advancement,” she said.
A name change, and even more flexibility
While San Francisco served as the part-time program’s hub for years, student demand to be closer to UC Berkeley led the school to move the program to campus in 1995. In 2002, then-Dean Laura Tyson added a weekend option for students.
The expanded program, renamed the evening & weekend program, split students into evening or weekend cohorts, depending on their schedules. It now attracts a wide breadth of students from around the world— engineers, general managers, sales and marketing managers working in high tech, computer services, banking, fintech, and biotechnology, among other industries.
This year, about 36% of the entering class is from outside the Bay Area, and 59% of them were born outside of the U.S. Nearly 40% of the students are women.
“We’ve always had a fairly rich body of applicants to draw upon given our geography, Berkeley’s name, and the Haas reputation,” Breen said. “Those factors have served us well.”
The flexibility of the program has also increased. Spurred by the success of virtual learning, Haas developed the Flex option, a hybrid online/in-person MBA, which was in the works for three years. Flex is popular with working professionals who can take core courses online and opt to come to Haas for electives. The first cohort of 69 students began in August.
“With the launch of Flex, we’re looking forward to what the next 50 years will bring for the program and our students,” Breen said. “It’s an exciting time to be offering innovative business program options to working professionals.”
Fede Pacheco, MBA 21, woke up one day with an idea for a fun way to connect his classmates for a lifetime. He decided to design a non-fungible token (NFT), which would be as unique as the class’ pandemic experience—and the first of its kind to be given as an MBA class graduation gift.
The Haas 2021 NFT, a short GIF featuring a young and older bear reflecting at sunset, is a nod to the students’ journey, which Pacheco said was full of MBA traditions that went virtual during the pandemic. (An NFT is a digital asset connected to unique physical or digital items, such as art, video, or music.)
So far, 102 alumni have signed up to claim the NFT, which Pacheco worked on with another 2021 classmate, who did the coding.
Pacheco, who is now living in Seattle and working for Microsoft, was chosen as student speaker at 2021 commencement. He urged students, virtually, to savor the good times and reflect on the moments when they found creative ways to lean on each other, in spite of the unprecedented year they all endured.
He said the Haas 2021 NFT, a short GIF that runs on a Gameboy-style screen, is available to everyone in the class and will last forever. “You will have ownership of it and it’s something we will all share through the community it creates. I want the Berkeley and Haas community to see that we’re doing this, that we’re celebrating the digital experience.”
The Class of 2021 NFT opens with two bears watching the sunset.
“The bigger bear is the graduating you,” Pacheco said, narrating the YouTube video that introduces the NFT collection. “You are hugging your younger self before you started that journey. There are so many things that you wish that you could tell yourself but there’s nothing like actually living it.”
Together, the bears let go of a celebratory balloon.
As the balloon approaches the horizon, one of four Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles, Question the Status Quo, Confidence without Attitude, Students Always, or Beyond Yourself, (a different one for each NFT) slowly appears. Then a “press start” button appears, representing the beginning of the next chapter of your life.
Caitrin Hall, MBA 21, said the NFT represents the innovation, creativity and generosity of their class: “Innovation, since we’re likely the only MBA class to own an NFT from our school; creativity, as it is a cutting edge art form; and the generosity of Fede Pacheco to gift it to us all.”
“I’d learned about blockchain in school, but this brings it alive—and into my wallet—in a whole new way,” she said.
This year’s efforts bring the total raised for the past two fiscal years to a record $116 million, the most ever raised in two consecutive years.
“So many alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends went beyond themselves this year, providing unbelievable support for Haas,” Dean Ann Harrison said. “Their generous gifts will be used to do important work within our community, work that will help Haas build the next generation of Berkeley leaders, stay connected to and support our alumni community, and remain a top business school. We are truly grateful.”
Fundraising highlights from the past year:
$69 million raised from donations by 4,339 alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends.
A $30 million gift, the largest single donation in the school’s history, from Ned Spieker, BS 66, and his wife, Carol, BS 66 (political science). Their gift will be used to launch the four-year Spieker Undergraduate Program in Fall of 2024.
The addition of seven new Builders of Berkeley—donors who given at least $1 million to Berkeley—including Haruki, MBA 12, and Mikiko Satomi, Kevin, BS 82 JD/MBA 85 and Eileen Shields, John Hokom, BS 59, MBA 60, Steve Etter, BS 83, MBA 89, Roshni and Jagdeep Singh, MBA 90, Joanne and Jon Goldstein, BS 82; and the Liang-Kuo Family.
The 2022 one-day Big Give campaign, which raised $2.475 million from a record 911 gifts.
A record number of gifts of $2,500, the new gift level for the Haas Leadership Society.
A record $4.86 million raised for the Haas Fund, the most raised in one year. Gifts to the Haas Fund are used for scholarships and program enhancements, as well as our Alumni Network podcasts, lifelong learning, and alumni programming.
Alumni engagement highlights from the past year:
Alumni engagement also thrived in 2022, with a record-breaking group of nearly 1,700 alumni returning to campus for their makeup and in-person MBA reunion weekend celebrations. Together, the MBA reunion classes of 2020 and 2021 donated $2.2 million and gave 11 lead gifts. At the annual Alumni Conference, the combined virtual and in-person events allowed alumni from all over the world to tap into Haas thought leadership. In-person events fostered community-building and connections.
More alumni engagement highlights:
Alumni affinity groups increased programming for women graduates as well as programming in real estate and growth industries like cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Alumni sourced and shared 474 jobs with the school as part of the Hire Haas campaign.
More than 3,700 alumni accepted a call to action, volunteering for Haas by assisting with admissions, meeting with students for career conversations, serving as guest speakers or panelists, or leading and arranging events and programs for fellow alumni.
The OneHaas Alumni Podcast produced 42 podcasts featuring alumni in conversation about their Haas experience and career trajectories.
Three new mentoring programs were launched to support student career planning and help build greater alumni connections.
The shock and disbelief that rippled through the Haas community after Russia attacked Ukraine last week is turning into unity and action by the many students, faculty, staff, and alumni with deep connections to the region.
Today, the student-led European Business Club held a “Haas for Ukraine” forum for Ukrainian and Russian students to share their perspectives on the conflict. Others are launching fundraisers, and a faculty member has begun organizing a collective of fellow Ukrainian economists to brainstorm how to help the country both short- and long-term.
“We hope we can be of help, because the feeling of helplessness watching the situation unfold from afar has been among the worst parts of the emotional rollercoaster,” said Assistant Professor Anastassia Fedyk, who was born in the Ukraine and immigrated at age 10 when her mother Tatiana Fedyk, PhD 08, began her doctoral studies accounting at Berkeley Haas.
The violence is taking a huge emotional toll. Like many Ukrainians, Fedyk’s family has been preoccupied with checking in on their close family back home, some of whom are now leaving for Romania. Dima Okrimchuk, MBA 17, calls his parents in Kyiv every few hours to make sure they are okay, anxiously waiting to hear their voices.
“Watching live reports of my country torn apart by the Russians is just devastating,” he said in an interview from Lisbon. “This is something I will never forget.”
“We hope we can be of help, because the feeling of helplessness watching the situation unfold from afar has been among the worst parts of the emotional rollercoaster.” -Anastassia Fedyk, assistant professor of finance
A startup disrupted
Okrimchuk said he feels some guilt for leaving family and friends in Kyiv two weeks ago, relocating to Lisbon with his wife. But he said he’s now focused on raising funds for the Ukrainian army and spreading awareness of the conflict, while he continues work on his online game startup Organization.GG. He started the company while at Haas before moving back to Kyiv, where he recently received seed funding.
Rhonda Shrader, executive director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program, worked with Okrimchuk when his company placed third in the fall 2020 LAUNCH accelerator competition at Haas. Last year, Okrimchuk served as a mentor in a class that Shrader taught online for Ukranian entrepreneurs as part of GIST Innovates Ukraine, a U.S. State Department-sponsored program. Shrader taught students the Lean Startup methodology.
Having developed relationships with so many of the country’s entrepreneurs, Shrader says she is devastated by the Russian invasion. “I loved working with these students,” she said. “I’m in tears.”
Before deciding to leave Ukraine, Okrimchuk asked his Organization.GG team whether they planned to leave Kyiv as well. “Everyone else had their own plan on what to do,” he said. “Out of the five of us, one remained in Kyiv, and four headed for different parts of Ukraine. They took their cars or found cars and left. A lot of people were running out of gas and there were huge traffic jams.”
Okrimchuk said he’s unsure when or if he will be able to return. “I can only hope that this won’t last long and we find a diplomatic solution,” he said. “There can’t be winners in the war. At the end of the day Ukraine is not only fighting for its own independence, but for peace and stability globally. I urge everyone to put pressure on their governments to help Ukraine with financial, military and political support before it is not too late. We are fighting for you, too.”
“There can’t be winners in the war.” -Dima Okrimchuk, MBA 17
Lives left behind
Fiodor Otero joined a rally for Ukraine in San Francisco’s City Hall Plaza Thursday, which left his throat sore from shouting. A Russian classmate who supports Ukraine came along with him, moved to tears by the speeches.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” said Otero, MBA 23, whose mother is Ukrainian. He has an aunt and cousin living in Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, where conflict between Russian separatists and Ukrainian government has continued since 2014. His voice cracks as he discusses the past week of worrying about his family as the Russian forces advance.
“For them, war has been a normal part of life for eight years,” he said. But now, on her way to the market, she’s noticing the bombing is getting closer and louder. At 68, she is now considering leaving the same apartment complex where she’s lived her entire life.
“I was talking to my cousin last night, asking what it was like for them,” said Otero, who grew up in his father’s native Panama. His aunt and 33-year-old cousin are now talking about fleeing to Panama, where his mother is living. “It’s just so hard. My aunt is saying she will be a refugee for the rest of her life. She’s going to leave their entire life behind.”
She now talks about giving away her things before she leaves, including her fine china and her nice glasses.“My cousin said something that struck my heart: ‘We’ve been saving these nice glasses and china to celebrate the good things in life, but those good things will never come,’ he said. ‘It’s time to start drinking from these every day before we leave.’ It’s so hard for me to emotionally process that.”
Dmitry Livdan, a Berkeley Haas associate professor of finance, grew up in Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine before immigrating to the U.S. at age 24. He lost his mother to COVID last year, and wasn’t able to return to say goodbye. She was the last of his close family there.
He takes a dim view of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s prospects for success and hopes he will fail quickly. “I hope this is just for show, and he gets slapped in the face in two weeks,” he said of Putin.
With Russia’s wealthy elite losing billions already, he believes any support for Putin will erode quickly as the economic sanctions hit hard. Livdan says his big worry is that Putin’s invasion will embolden China to make a similar move. “I worry most about what this means for Taiwan,” he said.
‘The unimaginable’ has happened
Fedyk, a Berkeley Haas assistant professor of finance whose research focuses on behavioral biases and in individual and group decision-making,said her reaction on Wednesday night and Thursday morning was anger, panic, and “the understanding that the unimaginable had happened, and that things will never be quite the same again. I taught on autopilot while inwardly feeling like my world was coming apart and could not say a word about the situation in class lest I start crying.”
By the end of the week, Fedyk said, her emotions shifted to a mix of “pain, hope, determination, and of course pride in my compatriots. Like the entire world, I am inspired by the resistance of the Ukrainian people—but I am worried whether the newly mobilized global support will be enough.”
The stakes are high, she says, eight years into the conflict that has been simmering since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. If Ukraine falls, “Putin would very likely not stop there, and there is a security risk to other parts of Europe; by contrast, if Ukraine succeeds in pushing off the aggression, it might have positive spillovers in Belarus and perhaps even in Russia.”
As an economist, she believes that “letting Putin win would effectively plunge Ukraine into the economic dark ages together with Russia. And if we succeed in fighting off the invasion, there will still be much work to do on reconstruction, but at least there will be something to reconstruct, and we will have global support.”
That’s why she is organizing with other Ukrainian economists at U.S. schools to brainstorm solutions both for the immediate term and in the months and years to come. At the same time, she is glued to the news alongside her parents and her grandmother, who has been visiting from Ukraine since September. She is also trying to parent her three-year-old son, who refers to Putin as “the bad guy,” and talks about throwing him into a prickly cactus bush.
“We have been trying to teach him to use his words rather than fighting, but it’s very hard when we are watching this unfold,” she said.