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Undergraduate program staff honored with two campus “Excellence in Advising” awards

<em>The undergraduate office team, clockwise from left: Erika Walker, Renee Camarena, Elinor Gregorio, Mary Ballingit, Karren Bautista Tanisaki, Dresden John, Barbara Felkins, and Sojourner Blair. Missing from photo: Dinko Lakic and Alessandra Fadeff.<br />
The undergraduate office team, clockwise from left: Erika Walker, Renee Camarena, Elinor Gregorio, Mary Ballingit, Karren Bautista Tanisaki, Dresden John, Barbara Felkins, and Sojourner Blair. Missing from photo: Dinko Lakic and Alessandra Fadeff.

The Haas Undergraduate Office will be honored with two “Excellence in Advising” awards this week by UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education.

Barbara Felkins, director of academic affairs for the Haas Undergraduate Program, will receive the Mary Slakey Howell Excellence in Advising Award,  while Felkins and her undergraduate team will be separately honored for “Excellence in Advising.”

Both awards will be given during a Dec. 12 ceremony at the Banatao Auditorium in Sutardja Dai Hall from 4-6pm.

“It was a total surprise for me,” said Felkins, who has worked at Haas for 32 years. “It’s just amazing to receive an award for doing something that I love. Working with our students and helping them with their academics as well as their personal problems can be very challenging, but when I see them walk across the stage at our commencement ceremony it’s all worth it.”

“Excellent service and positive energy”

The award, named for the late Mary Slakey Howell, former director of advising and policy at the College of Engineering, is UC Berkeley’s highest for advising excellence. The awards are given annually across campus by the office of the Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education, Catherine P. Koshland. They recognize “the positive impact the office has had on student learning, performance, engagement, and progress and the many ways it contributes to a culture of advising excellence on campus.”

Dinko Lakic and Erika Walker at 2018 undergraduate commencement.
Dinko Lakic and Erika Walker (with student) at 2018 undergraduate commencement

The honored undergraduate team includes Felkins, Sojourner Blair, director of admissions; Karren Bautista Tanisaki, assistant director of academic & student services; Renee Camarena, assistant director of student services; Dresden John, student experience manager; Alessandra Fadeff, program manager, admissions; Mary Balingit, assistant director of admissions and outreach; Dinko Lakic, associate director of student services; and Elinor Gregorio, assistant director of academic affairs.

In her nomination form, Erika Walker, assistant dean of the Haas undergraduate program, said the team has “delivered excellent service with positive energy and passion” on a regular basis during a very busy year.

“The team’s applied leadership methods are geared toward helping students become independent learners and effective leaders,” Walker wrote. “I am proud to have a team that supports and advocates for students, and provides equitable service.”

She noted that the office has recently launched and supported multiple new programs, including the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology (M.E.T.) program, a simultaneous degree between business and engineering; the BioBusiness simultaneous degree program with molecular and cellular biology; and a new Global Management Program (GMP) for freshmen that embeds global education into the undergraduate experience.

Barbara Felkins
Barbara Felkins, recipient of the Mary Slakey Howell Excellence in Advising Award.

“We always put the student experience first,” Blair said. “I’m honored that the office is being recognized.”

A stellar graduation rate

Walker also nominated Felkins, who began her tenure at Haas as an assistant in Associate Dean David Alhadeff’s office, under former Dean Ray Miles.

“From the smallest innovations to crisis care management, it is because of Barbara that we have a 99 percent graduation rate of business majors,” Walker wrote in her recommendation letter.

In her current role, Felkins oversees student degree progress from admission until graduation, assisting students with class planning, academic, and personal issues. Felkins also works with the faculty, tracking student grades and advising on academic policies. Additionally, she oversees undergraduate commencement and the graduation reception and serves on campus-wide committees, including the Colleges and Schools Committee, Student Systems Policy Committee, and the Advising Operations and Advising Council.

In his nomination letter for Felkins, Jay Stowsky, senior assistant dean of instruction, called her the “longest serving and most deeply knowledgeable student affairs officer at Haas.”

“Her long tenure has been characterized by a unique ability to connect meaningfully and compassionately with individual undergraduate students while simultaneously enforcing fairness in a competitive and complex enrollment system,” Stowsky wrote.

(Left to right) Lecturer Steve Etter with Sojourner Blair and Karren Bautista Tanisaki of the undergraduate program office
(Left to right) Lecturer Steve Etter with Sojourner Blair and Karren Bautista Tanisaki of the undergraduate program office

Haas finance Lecturer Steve Etter commended Felkins for her attention to detail, knowledge of the university, and positive disposition with students.

“With ever-changing work and personal schedules, students often turn to Barbara for advice on choosing faculty, classes, and breadth requirements,” Etter wrote in his nomination letter. “I’ve heard so many times from students that Barbara was a life saver when it came to selecting classes and getting through the process.”

Adena Ishii, BS 14, recalled how Felkins helped her when her father was dying during her senior year at Haas, taking the time to sit and listen, and to make recommendations for resources she could access. “She wasn’t afraid to ask about my mental health and make sure that I was getting the help I needed,” she wrote in a recommendation for Felkins. “I wouldn’t have made it to graduation if it wasn’t for her.”

Haas Lecturer Krystal Thomas praised the office’s shift toward helping students with life preparation and management. As an example, she noted Walker’s support for Women’s Empowerment Day over the past six years, an event that brings 100 faculty-nominated students together annually to spend the day with more than a dozen senior business executives. The program evolved out of questions female students were asking about how to handle themselves in professional environments, Thomas said.

Support for the event represents a core tenant of the undergraduate office, Thomas noted: “If you see a problem, solve it.”

Haas honors Wall Street pioneer Margo Alexander for lifetime achievement

Margo Alexander
Margo Alexander, BS 68, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Berkeley Haas.

Margo Alexander, BS 68, the retired CEO and chairman of UBS Global Asset Management who blazed a trail for women in the financial services industry, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 17th annual Haas Gala November 2.

The award recognizes members of the Berkeley Haas community who have achieved prominence in their fields. Alexander is the seventh person to be given a Lifetime Achievement Award from Haas, and its first female recipient.

During her career, Alexander was one of the first women to head a large asset management business. She was also the first woman to head a top-ranked research department and to oversee a major trading floor—doing it all while raising two sons with her late husband, Robert.

Haas Interim Dean Laura Tyson underscored the tenacity required to break those glass ceilings. “When Margo began her career, the behavior toward women in the financial services industry was appalling,” Tyson said. “She was able to handle difficult situations, successfully working with men and always trying to mitigate inequities by hiring and supporting women. As she moved through the ranks, she was able to influence how organizations behaved in those arenas.”

“Margo is the best!”

Her influence on employees was profound. “She changed the DNA of the firm,” said Mary C. Farrell, whom Alexander recruited and who retired in 2005 as chief investment strategist for UBS Wealth Management, USA, and co-head of the Wealth Management Research department. “She ran a trading desk full of young guys who said, ‘I’ll never work for a woman.’ Within a year they were saying, ‘Margo is the best!’ She had an extraordinary ability to connect with anyone.”

After retiring from UBS in 2003, Alexander joined Acumen, a global nonprofit changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in sustainable businesses, leaders, and ideas. Alexander served as board chair for nine years of Acumen’s first decade, and, as chair emeritus, continues as a board member.

Alexander’s traditional financial services expertise complemented Acumen’s social impact mission, said Tyson. “She played a pivotal role in building Acumen’s model.”

To date, Acumen has invested $110 million to build more than 102 social enterprises in countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan, India, Colombia, and the U.S. These companies have created and supported 60,000 jobs and brought basic services like affordable education, health care, clean water, energy, and sanitation to more than 200 million people.

Brett Wilson. Photo: Karl Nielsen Photography
TubeMogul CEO Brett Wilson. Photo: Karl Nielsen Photography

Alexander also extends her wisdom and support to Berkeley Haas. She has helped to boost the number of female students at Haas and to create Haas’ Institute for Business & Social Impact. She is on the senior advisory board for the Center for Responsible Business and has served on the Haas School Board since 2001.

Other alumni honored

Three other alumni also received awards at the Gala. Brett Wilson, MBA 07, received the Leading Through Innovation Award. Wilson revolutionized digital advertising by making it more simple, accountable, and transparent as co-founder and CEO of TubeMogul.

Wilson began the company with fellow student John Hughes, MBA 07, in an entrepreneurship class at Haas. The two grew the company into a tour de force, named one of the fastest-growing companies by Inc. and Deloitte and among the best places to work by Fortune, the San Francisco Business Times, and Glassdoor. They finally sold two years ago to Adobe for $540 million. Wilson now serves as Adobe’s VP of advertising and joined Adobe’s board of directors this year.

Also at the Gala, the annual Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award was presented to Abbey Breshears, MBA 15, and Brandon Doll, MBA 14, for their outstanding service to the MBA Worldwide Admissions Volunteer Effort (MBA WAVE) at Berkeley Haas.

MFE team advances to national data competition

Pierre Foret, Li Cao ,Teddy Legros and Hosang Yoon, all MFE 19
Pierre Foret, Li Cao, Teddy Legros and Hosang Yoon, all MFE 19

A team of Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) students took first place in “The Data Open” this month, besting 25 teams who competed across UC Berkeley in the regional data science competition.

The winning team—Li Cao, Pierre Foret, Teddy Legros, and Hosang Yoon, all MFE 19—won $20,000 in the competition semi-final, sponsored by Citadel LLC, a global asset management firm, and operated by data scientist recruiting firm Correlation One.

The Berkeley Haas semi-finalists will travel to the New York Stock Exchange later this fall to compete against top universities for a $100,000 grand prize.

The Sept. 8 competition asked teams to solve a complex problem by analyzing complex data sets.

More than 400 students across UC Berkeley applied to participate, and 100 were accepted. Event organizers grouped the contestants into teams, many of whom—including the winners—had not worked together before.

Choosing a question

<em>Teddy Legros, Pierre Foret, Li Cao, and Hosang Yoon, all MFE 19</em>
Teddy Legros, Pierre Foret, Li Cao, and Hosang Yoon, all MFE 19

The night before the event, the teams were given a description of data sets—data that applied to everything from 311 calls in New York state to restaurant inspection data. The teams were challenged choosing a question and finding the answer in the data.

“Most data science competitions focus on achieving the best possible score for a predefined metric,” Foret said. “In contrast, we had to come up with our own question, which is a lot closer to the type of problems a data scientist has to tackle in the industry.”

The team outlined two goals: identifying the top factors that influence public health in New York state and providing local government officials with policy recommendations based on their analysis.

Working through the night, they prepared code that allowed them to test their hypotheses quickly, so they were able to spend most of the competition time running experiments, analyzing the data, and choosing the most relevant problem to solve.

Legros said their data analysis tracked factors that affect residents’ health, including both traditional socioeconomic ones and several lifestyle considerations—such as smoking habits, eating habits and living conditions—that evolve over time. “Next, we identified clusters of regions where some of these determining lifestyle factors are more dominant. This can help policymakers develop regional proposals to improve the health of residents.”

“It was one of the most intense 24 hours I have spent,” Yoon said. “While the competition itself was short, I really learned a lot from our preparation.”

The judges, announcing the winner, said they impressed by the originality of the team’s question and the strategy to focus on comprehensive view of the factors involved.

Five transfer students shine at Zendesk Case Competition

<em>Haas juniors—all transfer students—Alec Li, Beta Jui, Nyquist Avilla, Andrada Metz, and Adriana Vanegas, won first prize at last week's Zendesk Case Competition.</em>
Haas juniors—all transfer students—Alec Li, Beta Jui, Nyquist Avilla, Andrada Metz, and Adriana Vanegas, won first prize at last week’s Zendesk Case Competition.

A group of five Haas junior transfer students bested 26 other undergraduate teams charged with revamping a pilot mentorship program for women in the Zendesk Case Competition last Friday.

Andrada Metz, Alec Li, Nyquist Avilla, Adriana Vanegas, and Beta Jui, took first place for their year-long program called “Azend.”

The Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) and Berkeley Women in Business (BWiB) co-sponsored the one-day event, held in Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum.

The case competition, which was open to all UC Berkeley undergrads, grew out of EGAL’s alliance with customer service software company Zendesk, which recently provided a $1 million gift to the center.

The students were charged with helping Zendesk solve problems with its existing pilot mentorship program, including an imbalance of mentors and mentees, a program that was too short, and inadequate engagement. They were also asked to design the mentorship program to operate on a global scale.

The Azend home page for mentors and mentees.
The Azend home page for mentors and mentees.

Team Azend’s secret sauce may have been a standout app they developed for the company’s mentoring program. The app, developed around a curriculum and targeted content, allowed both mentors and mentees log in to a home page, check events, connect with each other outside of mentoring sessions, watch videos, and collect data to assess progress. During each quarter, the women participating in the Azend mentoring program would focus on one area, such as “growth and development,” and follow a self-assessment, working toward a goal that included sessions on developing self-confidence through skills such as public speaking.

The project was a true team effort that required many hours of intense work during the week they had to work on the case, said Metz, who is from Romania and transferred to Haas from Diablo Valley College. “Last night Alec, Beta, and Adriana were up until 3 am polishing the slides and making sure the app was working,” she said. “This week was hard. I had interviews (for internships), exams, and working on the case. But everyone did a great job.”

Li, who developed the app using prototyping software he’d used before in class, said everyone on the team had different strengths that made their project come to life.”

Nyquist agreed. “We all brought something to the table,” she said. “I brought the idea for the app and Alec was the brainpower behind putting it together.”

Kate McMahon, a senior director of sales and one of three Zendesk employees judging the case, praised the winning team’s work, noting that it was clear how serious they were about the challenge. “What we loved was the simplicity and how you pulled the challenges into one place,” she said. “We loved the engagement piece. That was a challenge. How do we keep people engaged when they’re not in one-on-one sessions?”

The winning students hug the Zendesk judges.
The winning team hugs the Zendesk judges.

After the winner was announced, the Azend team cheered and hugged.

Vanegas, a transfer student from Irvine Valley College, said she never expected to win. “As transfer students we really didn’t think that we’d be able to live up to the other continuing students so we didn’t believe we’d be here,” she said, adding, “I think one of the best experiences was being up all night and working together and making mistakes.”

Don’t blame the machines: New business analytics summit focuses on people

Berkeley-Fisher Center Summit for Business AnalyticsWhile developing a sophisticated algorithm requires technical expertise, leading a successful business analytics project can’t be done without paying attention to people. That’s the theme of the inaugural Berkeley-Fisher Center Summit for Business Analytics, to be held at the California Memorial Stadium on Sept. 27.

The new event, which is free and open to the Haas community, will explore how data-driven technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) affect people in the workforce, and how organizations can align people with processes to drive the success of analytics initiatives.

“Many business analytics initiatives fail, and our research shows it is due to misalignment with people in the workforce, rather than issues with the technology,” says Gauthier Vasseur, executive director of the Fisher Center for Business Analytics, which is part of Berkeley Haas’ Institute for Business Innovation. “Part of our mission is to educate management, finance and operations leaders on how to help their people become supporters of business analytics projects.”

The event, which kicks off with a dinner gala and awards ceremony on the evening of Sept. 26, is expected to attract an audience of about 100 students, industry leaders, alumni, and faculty to share experiences, learn from the latest research and real-world case studies, and network among peers.

“This summit is Berkeley Haas’ first big event around business analytics, and it matches thought leaders from the private sector with academic researchers and talented students who can join together to solve the biggest business challenges,” Vasseur says.

Why people affect the success of business analytics initiatives

Gauthier Vasseur is executive director of the Fisher Center for Business Analytics, which is part of Berkeley Haas’ Institute for Business Innovation.
Gauthier Vasseur

Vasseur shared an example of what happens when an organization overlooks the importance of people. A manufacturing company wanted to use AI and ML technology to solve a very expensive problem: the lost time and productivity that occurs when a machine stops working due to a broken or worn-out part.

The company built a highly sophisticated predictive-analytics platform to assess when parts needed to be replaced. The technology worked very well, but the maintenance workers didn’t trust the predictions and opted against replacing the recommended parts. The problem was that no one had considered their expertise and input, and the company had not shared enough information to earn their confidence in the new technology.

“In the end, the platform provided no benefit to the manufacturer, despite the significant investment and the accuracy of the technology,” adds Vasseur. “Our goal is to give businesses the research findings and tools to avoid these situations.”

Business analytics evolves beyond IT

Launched this year, the new summit reflects how Berkeley Haas has evolved its focus, research and curricula to address one of today’s most urgent business needs: analytics expertise. Formerly known as the Fisher Center for IT and relaunched last February, the center has held conferences for the past six years, focusing on the changing role of the chief information officer (CIO) and recognizing innovative CIOs with an award. This year’s event continues the tradition of presenting the Fisher-Hopper CIO Lifetime Achievement Award and introduces two new award categories: Excellence in Driving Transformation Award and Business Analytics Woman of the Year.

Awards recognize business analytics achievements

David E. Smoley is the chief information officer at AstraZeneca.
David E. Smoley
Ted Colbert is chief information officer at The Boeing Company.
Ted Colbert
Beena Ammanath, Global Vice President for Big data, AI, and Innovation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Beena Ammanath








This year’s Fisher-Hopper CIO Lifetime Achievement Award goes to David E. Smoley, CIO of AstraZeneca, a global, science-led biopharmaceutical business. At the summit, he will share how he led a performance turnaround that reduced drug development cycle times while reducing IT spending by more than $800 million (48 percent) over three years.

Other awards include the Excellence in Driving Transformation Award, which recognizes The Boeing Company’s CIO and Senior Vice President Ted Colbert, and the Business Analytics Woman of the Year Award, which honors Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s  Global Vice President for Big Data, AI, and Innovation Beena Ammanath.

Demystifying business analytics through research and case studies

Vasseur says the goal of the summit is to put data analytics into an actionable context that comprises data, people and processes for business success. Speakers will help unpack what AI and ML are, and how these technologies can be most effectively applied when including people’s support in their design.

Speakers include Haas faculty members Thomas Lee, associate adjunct professor and director of data science at the center; Andreea Gorbatai, assistant professor in the Management of Organizations Group; and Gregory La Blanc, distinguished teaching fellow with the Finance Group. Additional presentations by industry leaders include:

  • Sabrina Menasria, Chanel’s head of business intelligence and master data governance
  • Todd Wilson, Clif Bar’s senior vice president of IT
  • Robert Brown, Cognizant Technology Solutions’ associate vice president for the Center for the Future of Work
  • Alexandre Robicquet, Crossing Minds’ co-founder and CEO
  • Matteo Melani, Ellipsis Company’s CEO
  • Maik Henkel, Global Foundries’ senior manager and deputy director of finance

Tickets for the Sept. 26 dinner gala are still available here for a donation of $250 or more. The Sept. 27 summit is free to all who register at the bottom of this page.

Dean Lyons receives The Consortium’s Sterling H. Schoen Award

Dean Rich LyonsDean Rich Lyons has been honored by The Consortium for the Graduate Study in Management for his commitment to advancing opportunity and access to higher education for underrepresented minorities.

The annual Sterling H. Schoen Achievement Award, created in 2001 in honor of Consortium founder Sterling H. Schoen, a professor at Washington University, was presented at a reception held yesterday in Orlando, Florida.

The award acknowledges Lyons’ leadership in working with The Consortium, an alliance of top U.S. business schools and corporations aimed at fostering diversity among graduate business students and corporate leaders.

“We are so appreciative of The Consortium as a partner in helping us to create a more diverse student body and mindset at Haas,” Lyons said. “There are a great many people at Haas who have helped in our work with The Consortium and deserve to share in this award—especially our students, who have gone beyond themselves in taking on leadership roles that have had profound impact on our community.”

Lyons led Berkeley Haas to rejoin the consortium in 2010 after a seven-year hiatus following the passage of California Proposition 209, which prohibits public institutions from engaging in affirmative action programs. The school had withdrawn from the organization in 2003.

After The Consortium expanded its mission to support students who demonstrate a commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion, regardless of their race or national origin, Lyons worked closely with others at Haas to help bring the school back in.

In the first year after returning to the consortium, applications from underrepresented minorities jumped 44 percent, and the number of underrepresented minority students enrolled has increased.

The school continues to sharpen its commitment to being more representative and inclusive—one very recent example being the stronger diversity statement posted in multiple places on the Haas website.

Chancellor Christ Honors Dean Lyons with Berkeley Citation

Dean Rich Lyons accepts the Berkeley Citation award from Chancellor Carol Christ.
Dean Rich Lyons accepts the Berkeley Citation award from Chancellor Carol Christ.

Dean Rich Lyons was awarded the Berkeley Citation, among the highest honors the campus bestows on its community, in a surprise announcement at the Alumni Reunion Conference on Saturday.

Chancellor Carol Christ, who had just opened the conference with a joint keynote with Lyons about culture and leadership styles, paused the program to bestow the award. “It is my distinct privilege to present to Rich a Berkeley Citation for his distinguished achievements and notable service to the university,” said Christ, who was herself honored with the Citation in 2002.

“A set of core values and a sense of purpose”

The dean was visibly moved by the honor, as 600+ alumni gave a standing ovation.

Christ read from the Citation: “Rich Lyons believed business schools had both the responsibility and opportunity to instill a set of core values and a sense of purpose. The first step to realizing their mission was to create a new kind of business school culture.”

Haas colleagues nominated the dean with letters that paid homage to his authentic style as “a servant, leader, and a role model.” The letters cited his caring support for his direct team, active engagement with students, and his rock-star musical talents.

When Lyons became dean, it marked the beginning of one of the most transformative periods in Haas’ 120-year history—including an 18-month soul-searching exercise to determine the true values of the school. The exercise culminated in the codification of four Defining Leadership Principles, which rolled out in February 2010: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself.

Over the years, students and alumni have rallied around the principles as guiding leadership values.

About 1,400 alumni flocked to Haas last weekend for the largest-ever annual conference and reunion for MBA classes ending in the numbers 3 and 9, as well as the Class of 2017. The weekend featured career education “booster shots” from faculty on topics including fintech, design thinking, and equity and inclusion, as well as “HaasX” talks by alumni and plenty of social events.

Lyons also didn’t disappoint in the rock-star department, treating the audience to an acoustic guitar and vocal version of a favorite song: Green Day’s “Time of Your Life.”

Assoc. Prof. Kolstad honored as top health economics researcher under 40

Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Kolstad_Berkeley Haas
Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Kolstad

Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Kolstad has received the top award from the American Society of Health Economists for researchers under age 40 who have made the most significant contributions to the field of health economics.

He shares the 2018 ASHEcon Medal with his collaborator, Assoc. Prof. Benjamin Handel of Berkeley’s Economics Department.

Kolstad said he’s honored to be recognized, relatively early in his career, for a larger contribution than just one paper, and for an ongoing collaboration.

“The fact that this was given jointly to Ben Handel and myself reflects an appreciation for some of the new avenues we’ve taken in health economics,” he said. “Much of our joint work has brought new data to bear on old problems that have really different implications when you get into how people actually behave, not just how we assume they behave. ”

Drawing on big data and behavioral economics

Kolstad’s research focuses on the intersection of health economics and public economics, and his work with Handel has also combined approaches from industrial organizations as well as behavioral economics. Their interdisciplinary, cross-departmental collaboration reflects the strength of health economics at UC Berkeley.

“We are very happy to have (Kolstad) at Haas, and we’re pleased by how he is helping to build interest in healthcare economics at Haas and across the Berkeley campus,” said Prof. Candi Yano, associate dean for academic affairs and chair of the faculty.

Recently, Kolstad and Handel have been working with a massive trove of health data on the entire population of the State of Utah over a long time period. The richness of the data has allowed them to analyze the different outcomes from different health insurers and health plans.

“We’re finding very large effects and big differences,” Kolstad said. “Simply changing insurers at the same employer—something most people encounter with some frequency—has huge effects not only on how much is spent on your health care, but also on how your healthcare is delivered.”

The researchers are now looking at what employers look for in choosing insurers and health plans, to answer the question of whether competition actually leads to “productive innovation”—i.e, improving care and lowering costs.

Data partnerships

Assoc. Prof. Benjamin Handel, Berkeley Economics
Assoc. Prof. Benjamin Handel, Berkeley Economics

Kolstad and Handel are also working on partnerships with a number of private companies, from digital health to employers and health care providers, to leverage their data for new research. “This is a particularly exciting area,” he says. “Collaboration between academics and private firms, particularly technology companies, is driving a lot of new findings. We hope to make similar strides on big health care questions.”

Since arriving at Haas from Wharton in 2015, Kolstad has brought his expertise with big data into the MBA curriculum, including developing a new “Big Data and Better Decisions” course that he co-taught with Prof. Paul Gertler this spring. Earlier this year, he was honored as a “40 Under 40” business leader by the San Francisco Business Times for his work as a cutting edge researcher, teacher, and entrepreneur. He founded a startup, Picwell, which now provides more than 1 million personalized insurance recommendations per year.

He said he’s excited by the practical applications of his academic work. “We all deal with our health, and the policies and products in the industry affect our everyday lives. The recognition for this work and its importance to the field will hopefully continue to push health economics more in this direction.”

Assoc. Prof. Patatoukas wins UC Berkeley’s most prestigious teaching award

Teaching award for Panos Patatoukas
Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas laughs with students during one of his evening & weekend MBA classes.

Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas has helped students find unexpected career paths in finance, launch companies, and open their eyes to the “intrigue, mischief, and opportunity boiling just below the surface of financial statements.”

For Patatoukas, it’s all in the service a larger purpose: democratizing access to financial information in the interest of a more equal society.

His passion, dedication, and instructional inventiveness have now earned Patatoukas UC Berkeley’s highest teaching honor. He is one of four professors across campus to receive a 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award, to be bestowed at a ceremony April 18.

Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas wins Distinguished Teaching Award“This is a very significant event for me, and I feel very honored,” says Patatoukas, who joined the Haas Accounting Group eight years ago just after earning his PhD from Yale University. “My mom did not get to come to any of my graduations, but I’m bringing her over from Greece for this one.”

The award is given annually to recognize sustained excellence in teaching that “incites intellectual curiosity in students, engages them thoroughly in the enterprise of learning, and has a lifelong impact.”

Patatoukas teaches interdisciplinary capital markets courses to students in the Berkeley Haas PhD and Evening & Weekend MBA programs, including the elective Financial Information Analysis, which has become one of the most in-demand courses in the program since he took it over. Far from dry number crunching, the class wins high praise from students who come in with a wide range of financial literacy—from investment bankers to computer science or humanities majors.

“Panos has a particular genius for teaching financial information analysis to those of us unaccustomed to finance,” wrote Walker Frost, EWMBA 16, an undergraduate philosophy major who now manages finances for a 50-person company. “Panos is so successful because his goal is not just to teach finance—it is to use financial analysis tools to teach us about things we already intuit but can’t yet explain.”

Talent for teaching all levels

Patatoukas’ work spans all academic levels. He serves as PhD field advisor for the accounting group, overseeing student recruiting, curriculum, and comprehensive exams while also teaching seminars and participating in dissertation committees. He also serves as faculty director of Berkeley Executive Education’s Financial Analysis for Leaders program, which he completely overhauled; he mentors undergraduate Regent Fellows; and he has introduced high school students to the idea of saving and compounding through the Berkeley Business Academy for Youth.

“The driving force of my teaching is to mitigate the problem of access inequality to financial information, to promote individual investor protection, and improve the allocation of capital in society,” he wrote in his teaching reflection for the award. “My goal is to democratize the power of financial analysis, and to bring this power to our students across various programs at UC Berkeley.”

A native of Greece, Patatoukas was valedictorian at Athens University of Business and Economics, where he earned his bachelor’s in accounting and finance. He went on to earn a master’s at the London School of Economics before moving to the US to attend Yale. His research focuses on corporate valuation and financial statement analysis; the properties of financial accounting data and reporting practices; cross-industry economic links and value creation along the supply chain; and forecasting, “nowcasting,” and measuring economic activity using financial accounting data.

Making finance “a living, breathing landscape”

In his teaching, Patatoukas draws widely from accounting, finance, economics, and operations management, writing many of his own real-life, real-time cases and adeptly translating theory to practice. Teaching does not compete with his research, but rather his research informs his teaching and rewards him with new ideas—a few of which have grown into research papers, wrote Assoc. Dean Candi Yano and Sr. Asst. Dean Jay Stowsky in their nomination.

“I wish I had the opportunity to be a student at Berkeley, even though I do feel like a student of my students,” Patatoukas said. “I learn every day from them.”

One former MBA student wrote that with four years of experience investment banking, she had been initially skeptical that she would learn anything from an MBA course in financial information analysis. But from the very first day, she was hooked. She came away from the course with insights that have benefited her career but also impacted how she evaluates her personal financial decisions.

Students also praised Patatoukas for helping them develop in new careers. Patrick Rivers, EWMBA 16, said he took the course soon after​ switching tracks from 10 years as a research scientist to a​ dream job at a hedge fund, evaluating biotechnology investments. He said the course not only gave him a concrete way to evaluate investment opportunities and practical skills that made him “100% better” at his job, but he became genuinely excited about the world of finance.

“There was an entire world of intrigue, mischief, and opportunity boiling just below the surface of these financial statements, and I wanted to be as immersed as possible in that financial milieu. Panos made this a living, breathing landscape and not just a bunch of numbers on a page,” he wrote in his recommendation letter.


Patatoukas high-fives an MBA student.

Approachable mentor

Last fall, Patatoukas also took on the mentoring of three undergraduate Regent Fellows, including freshman David Lu, who wrote that he had felt overwhelmed and uncertain after changing his life-long dream of becoming a doctor and deciding to pursue business. Patatoukas is “the most approachable, kindhearted, charismatic and welcoming professor I have ever met,” and has been patient in describing career paths in business and the fundamentals of investing as well as the broader social implications of his work, he said.

“His goal of democratizing the power of financial information analysis and giving power to all people truly embodies the defining principles of Berkeley Haas,” Lu wrote. “He has proven to me, through his actions, that it is possible to have such altruistic and benevolent goals in the business field.”

Prof. Sunil Dutta, the Joan & Egon von Kaschnitz Distinguished Professor of Accounting and International Business and former chair of the accounting group, attributes Patatoukas’ exceptional teaching skills to his passion for his students and for his research, his ability to translate academic material to non-specialists, and his constant focus on improvement. “He studies each student’s feedback after the course and makes all the necessary changes to the content and teaching material based on this feedback. He is not satisfied even if there is a single student who has difficulty in following the material.”

He also makes himself available to students, guiding MBA independent study projects and mentoring graduate student instructors, noted Mike Rielly, CEO of Berkeley Executive Education and former assistant dean for the Berkeley MBA for Executives program. Rielly also called out Patatoukas’ “commitment to developing independent thinkers.”

Highly lauded teacher

The award comes on top of several other recognitions for Patatoukas’ teaching and research. He is a three-time winner of Berkeley Haas’ highest teaching honor, the Earl F. Cheit Award; he also won the school’s Schwabacher Award for Distinction in Teaching and Research and was the recipient of the 2017 AAA/AICPA Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award. He was also selected by Poets & Quants among the “2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors“; by the San Francisco Business Times as part of the “40 under 40 Class of 2017,” and as a “Top 10 Business School Professor Under 40 by Fortune.

Past Berkeley Haas faculty winners of the Distinguished Teaching Award include:

  • Ulrike Malmendier (2015)
  • Teck-Hua Ho (2010)
  • Sara Beckman (2001)
  • Rich Lyons (1998)
  • David Modest (1992)
  • Earl Cheit (1989)
  • Frances Van Loo (1985);
  • Andrew Shogan (1979)
  • Richard Bagozzi (1978)

Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman honored with graduate student mentoring award

Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman
Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman is honored for her work mentoring graduate students.

When Rachel Dzombak’s PhD advisor, beloved engineering Professor David Dornfeld, died unexpectedly in 2016, she was not sure what would happen next.

“That morning was a nightmare,” said Dzombak, now a postdoctoral researcher at Haas and at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. “I came back to the lab after receiving a text from a peer to see Sara sitting on the couch, comforting students.”

“Sara” is Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman, who co-taught a course with Dornfeld, the founding faculty director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. After his passing, Beckman served as Dzombak’s advisor until she graduated with a PhD in civil and environmental engineering in August 2017. Dzombak credits Beckman with not only comforting her through her grief, but helping her unite the disparate parts of her research.

Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman with Rachel Dzombak, PhD 17.
Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman (left) with Rachel Dzombak, PhD 17

“She digs into the details,” Dzombak said. “She provides constructive ideas and, if she doesn’t know how to navigate a problem, she’ll connect you with three people who might. She never settles.”

That experience led Dzombak to nominate Beckman for the 2018 Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for senior faculty. Beckman, who teaches innovation and design at both Haas and UC Berkeley’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, will receive the campus-wide award at a ceremony April 12.

Fiona M. Doyle, vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate division of the Donald H. McLaughlin Professor of Mineral Engineering, said Beckman’s nomination stood out from the pool of numerous nominees.

Solving complicated problems

Beckman, who joined Haas in 1988 and is the Earl F. Cheit Faculty Fellow, is perhaps best known among MBA students for Problem Finding, Problem Solving, a pioneering course that has been part of  the core curriculum since 2010 to teach students how to recognize and solve complicated problems using design-thinking, systems-thinking, and critical-thinking techniques. Students often cite the course as making the difference for them in competition wins and consulting projects.

Beckman also teaches Applied Innovation Immersion Week, Advanced Innovation, Creativity & Leadership, and Collaborative Innovation.

Much of Beckman’s work has included years of hands-on research-based mentoring and coaching of PhD students, getting into the thick of highly interdisciplinary work. Beckman said she’s thrilled to receive the award.

“I know that the way that I’ve crafted my research work at the university, reaching across disciplinary boundaries to work on interesting problems in the design and innovation space, is a bit outside of the norm,” she said. “It’s gratifying for me and for many of the PhD students I’ve worked with over the years to know that kind of work can be honored.”

Many people wanted to contribute to her nomination and tell stories of how Beckman played a definitive role in their Berkeley experience. Dzombak, the lead nominator, spoke with current and former students, as well as faculty, from Haas, the College of Engineering, the College of Environmental Design, the College of Letters and Sciences, and the College of Natural Resources, for Beckman’s recommendation.

“The message told to me was consistent: Sara changes students’ lives,” Dzombak wrote.

“Sara electrifies students with possibilities”

Haas lecturers Marymoore Patterson, MBA 09, and Barbara Waugh, an executive in residence at both Haas and the College of Engineering, praised Beckman’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching. Working across departments, as Beckman has done over the years, has posed challenges. But gradually Beckman’s choices made her a “hero to students and faculty who want to partner across the boundaries,” they wrote in their nomination letter.

Sara Beckman teaching Problem Finding, Problem Solving
Sara Beckman teaching Problem Finding, Problem Solving

“Sara electrifies her students with possibility,” they wrote. “She fearlessly tackles wicked problems, constantly modeling how. She begins each day herself with the ‘beginner’s mind’ that she aims to instill in her students.”

Engineering Prof. Alice Agogino called Beckman “a mentoring artist” who steers students with “insightful framings of their research.”

Doctoral students mentored by Beckman include Assoc. Prof. Eric Masanet of Northwestern University, PhD 04, whom Beckman helped evaluate data from case studies in sustainable design; Corie Cobb, PhD 08, now an associate professor at the University of Washington, whom Beckman assisted with a number of papers dedicated to understanding the impact of her course in New Product Development; and Kimberly Lau, who researched the role that diversity plays in effective product development team performance.

Lau, who also wrote a nomination letter for Beckman, recalls how she pulled her back into the PhD program, even after she quit to take her dream job at Disney. “Dr. Beckman refused to give up on me,” she said. “She continually encouraged me to finish and she always made time whenever I had questions… She persisted with me for three years beyond my expected completion date, with no hesitations, and I finally graduated.”

Dzombak and Beckman continue to work together today, conducting research on the future of higher education and the innovation processes of Nobel Laureates. Together, they launched a one-unit course for graduate students called Designing a Life. The goal is  to help other students navigate career and personal challenges.

Beckman’s award, which includes a $2,500 prize, will be presented at a ceremony on Thursday, April 12, from 4-6 pm, at Anna Head Alumnae Hall.  Not surprisingly, she says she will apply the award toward supporting her graduate students.

Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Kolstad honored as “40 Under 40” business leader

Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Kolstad, who uses big data and behavioral economics to investigate the complexities of the health care system, has been named a “40 Under 40” business leader by the San Francisco Business Times.

The award honors 40 young leaders who “exemplify the creativity, passion and perseverance that have come to characterize the Bay Area,” according to the publication. The awards were published March 5.

Since joining the Haas Economics & Policy Group in 2015, Kolstad has become known as both a cutting-edge researcher and a popular teacher. His MBA courses include “Health Economics and Policy” and “Big Data and Better Decisions”—a new class that gives students advanced training in how to analyze and use large-scale data.

As a researcher, Kolstad employs machine learning and economic analysis through a behavioral lens. His studies demonstrate that conventional wisdom can lead businesses and policy makers astray when it comes to health care.

For example, he has studied the mistakes people make when they choose health insurance plans that lead to large financial losses and worse health coverage. He found that high deductible health plans—often thought to be a silver bullet to improve efficiency—actually lead to large reductions in high value and low value care, particularly for the sickest enrollees.

Kolstad is particularly interested in finding new models and unique data that account for the complexity of health care markets, including how health reform impacts hospital care, the labor market, and insurance premiums. In one study, he looked at what motivates doctors, and found that feedback can be more important than pay.

He has also combined his passion for solving thorny academic problems with developing real-world tools that help people avoid costly mistakes when choosing health insurance. He founded a startup, Picwell, to provide personalized recommendations for insurance. The tool now provides more than 1 million recommendations per year from Medicare to state exchanges and employer-based insurance.

In addition to his teaching and research, Kolstad serves as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and co-leads a health care initiative at the UC Berkeley Opportunity Lab that uses data from private firms and government to understand population health and its role in inequality. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and a BA from Stanford University.

Prof. Andrew Rose receives Williamson Award—highest faculty honor

Prof. Andrew Rose, Williamson Award winnerProf. Andrew Rose, an international finance scholar who has taught macroeconomics to three decades of Berkeley Haas students, has received the Haas School’s highest faculty honor: the Williamson Award.

The award is named after Nobel Laureate and Haas Prof. Emeritus Oliver Williamson, and honors Haas faculty members who exemplify the attitudes and behaviors that differentiate our school. Rose is the fourth recipient of the award.

“Andy is not only a groundbreaking scholar whose economic insights have guided countries around the world; he is also an outstanding teacher and tireless supporter of Haas—both in his formal role as associate dean and chair of the faculty and in his work mentoring rising scholars,” said Dean Rich Lyons. “Indeed, his six years of service as our associate dean are arguably the greatest beyond-yourself service any faculty member has given the school in the last ten years.”

Rose, the Bernard T. Rocca, Jr. Chair in International Business & Trade, has taught and conducted research at Haas since 1986. He served as associate dean of academic affairs and chair of the faculty from 2010 to 2016, and previously as chair of the Economic Analysis & Policy Group and founding director of the Clausen Center for International Business & Policy.

“Only three Haas faculty have received this reward and each, in my opinion, is among the very highest caliber faculty at Haas; the elite of the elite,” said Rose. “Truly, I am both honored and humbled to join their ranks.”

Prolific scholar & frequent advisor

Rose is a prolific and highly cited scholar whose research addresses international trade, finance, currency and exchange rates, and economic crises. Over the course of his career, he has published more than 150 papers, including 90 articles in refereed economics journals; organized over 50 conferences on four continents; edited 15 books and symposia; and served as a visiting scholar at 12 universities.

A native of Canada who holds triple citizenship in his home country, the US, and the UK, Rose has worked as an advisor to a multitude of economic agencies, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, as well as central banks in a dozen countries, including the US.

Berkeley Haas Prof. Andrew Rose teaching

Mentor and teacher

Yet amid all that activity, Rose has gone beyond himself to mentor colleagues and give back to the school, according to the award nomination. Rose, who won the Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999 and 2011, has been generous in sharing teaching tips through the former Haas Center for Teaching Excellence (now the Compendium for Teaching Excellence). He has also used his research expertise to provide detailed feedback to more junior faculty members, a nominator wrote: “In the way he approaches research, he questions the status quo. I recall every single comment and suggestion that he gave me.”

Award honors Oliver Williamson

Prior winners of the Williamson award are Prof. John Morgan, Prof. Teck Ho, and Prof. Toby Stuart. Winners are selected annually by a committee made up of Williamson, prior winners, and the dean. Rose was named the winner for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Williamson is the winner of the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and a beloved teacher and leader at Berkeley Haas. Williamson embodies the spirit of the Haas School articulated in the Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude; Beyond Yourself; and Students Always.

“Rising Star” award for Asst. Prof. Juliana Schroeder

Juliana SchroederAsst. Prof. Juliana Schroeder_headshot, an assistant professor in the Berkeley Haas Management of Organizations Group, has been honored as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.

The award is presented to “outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research careers post-PhD.” It’s based on significant publications and recognitions; work with potentially broad impact; and significant discoveries, methodological innovation, or theoretical contributions.

“I’m very honored to have been recognized with this prestigious award,” said Schroeder, who began at Haas in fall 2015 after earning her PhD in psychology and business from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Schroeder’s research on judgment, decision-making, and social cognition offers insights into how people make inferences about others’ mental capacities. One paper found that when people listen to their political opponents’ spoken opinions, they are more receptive—and believe their opponents are smarter—than when they read the very same opinions. The findings underscore the importance of speaking with people who disagree with you.

Another recent series of experiments found that people tend to judge others as less mentally competent than themselves, and consequently less able to take care of themselves. This comes into play in charitable giving, when people choose charities that provide goods and services rather than cash assistance, as well as public policy issues from soda taxes to gun control.

Schroeder’s work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyJournal of Experimental Psychology, and Psychological Science. It has been featured in news outlets such as the The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek.

Schroeder teaches “Negotiation & Conflict Resolution” in the MBA program and “Research in Micro-Organizational Behavior” in the PhD program. Last fall, she was a Haas “Club 6” member—an honor for faculty who receive high teaching evaluations.


More research by Asst. Prof. Juliana Schroeder:


Donald or Hillary? Why listening to them matters to voters.




Paternalistic aid_Juliana Schroeder researchA handout or a hand up? How we judge others guides how we help others.




13 students named 2017 Finance Fellows

2017 Finance Fellows: (L-R from the top: Lauren Fu, Aaron Nordvik, Jake Wamala, TJ Bakshi, Matt Bond, Vera Liu, Alex Tsai, Melissa Hulme, Steve Keim, Richard Levernier, Dmitriy Berenzon, Dan Clayton. Missing from photo: Maurizio Asperti. Photo: Jim Block)

Before applying to MBA programs, Jake Wamala, MBA 19, had already decided to pivot from private equity to a career as an investment analyst specializing in technology stocks and startups.

Wamala is now making that transition, as one of 13 students awarded a Haas Finance Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year.

“Business school provides such a great learning opportunity,” he said. “You’re surrounded by new technologies, new businesses, and people with a myriad of backgrounds.”

Finance fellowships are awarded annually to entering MBA students who have shown a commitment to building a career in finance and have a clear roadmap to achieving that goal, says William Rindfuss, executive director of strategic programs for the Berkeley Haas Finance Group.

This year’s fellows, all full-time MBA students, are:

  • Stephen Keim, Xiaoyi (Vera) Liu, and Maurizio Asperti, who are Investment Banking Fellows.
  • Tejbir (TJ) Bakshi, Hsueh Hung (Alex) Tsai, Aaron Nordvik, and Jake Wamala, who are Investment Management and Quantitative Finance Fellows.
  • Dmitriy Berenzon, Xin Lei (Lauren) Fu, Richard Levernier, and Matthew Bond, who are Entrepreneurial Finance Fellows.
  • Melissa Hulme and Daniel Clayton, who were each awarded CJ White fellowships earlier this year.

Fellows should exemplify the core values of Haas and serve as ambassadors to the world of professional finance. Recipients receive a cash award and priority enrollment for finance electives and are paired with a mentor, often a Haas graduate, who works in finance.

For Wamala, working with a mentor, Ted Janus, a principal at J Capital, has already paid off. “My mentor has seen a number of up and down cycles in that industry and has given me valuable insights,” he says.

Becoming a “more well-rounded business person”

Half of this year’s fellows are focused on investment-related careers, a sharp increase from last year. “More students are showing interest in asset allocation as opposed to stock picking,” Rindfuss said.

Melissa Hulme has worked in investment management for six years, and said she is looking forward to continuing a career in the space.

“The majority of my experience to date has been in selecting companies and funds to invest in, but I also really enjoy thinking about how individual companies or funds fit within the context of the broader portfolio.” Hulme said she also wants her work to have a positive social impact. “A big problem is the underfunding of pension funds. I want to help them generate greater returns.”

Hulme has already developed analytical skills; she hopes the MBA program will help her become a more well-rounded business person and build a deeper understanding of strategy, operations, and marketing. “I also want to learn more about leadership and the softer skills,” she says. “I think I can get that and more from this program.”

For the 2017-18 academic year, Haas awarded about $8.7 million total in scholarships and fellowships to entering students in the Full-Time MBA program.

Prof. David Vogel receives career achievement award

Professor Emeritus David Vogel, a member of the Haas Business and Public Policy Group, was honored with the Elinor Ostrom Career Achievement Award in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the study of science, technology, and environmental politics.

David Vogel
Prof. David Vogel

Vogel accepted the award at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in August.

Vogel, who held the Soloman P. Lee Chair in Business Ethics, is the author of nine books, including the forthcoming California Greenin’: How the Golden State Became an Environmental Leader. He has taught both “Ethics & Responsibility in Business” at Haas and “Public and Private Global Business Regulation” at UC Berkeley.

Vogel’s academic research has tackled subjects ranging from regulating health, safety, and environmental risks in Europe and the United States to global challenges in responsible business to the environmental policy of the United States compared to that of the European Union.

“David is a pioneer,” said Haas Dean Rich Lyons. “Not only was he digging into the fields of corporate social responsibility and ethics long before these areas were mainstream, but he’s also questioned the status quo on these issues at just the right time.”

Vogels heavily-cited work has already earned him the coveted Faculty Pioneer Award from the Aspen Institute, four Best Book Awards, and many other accolades.

“I have devoted much of my academic career to writing about environmental politics in the United States, Europe, and internationally, and this recognition of my work by the political science profession is such a special honor,” Vogel said.

Vogel has been a faculty member at Berkeley’s business school since 1973 and editor of the school’s journal, the California Management Review, since 1982. He is now professor emeritus at both the Haas School and UC Berkeley’s Political Science Department.

Scott Galloway, MBA 92, donates $4.4M for fellowships for students from immigrant families

Scott Galloway, MBA 92, donates $4.4 million for scholarships

Professor of Marketing and entrepreneur Scott Galloway has made a $4.4 million gift to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to fund fellowships for undergraduate and graduate business students.

His gift—the second-largest ever from an MBA alum—will create the Galloway Fellows Fund, aimed at assisting generations of high-achieving business students at Berkeley-Haas who come from immigrant families.

Galloway, MBA 92, said, “As the son of a single immigrant mother, the big hand of government lifted me up. I want to ensure the hand remains extended for the next generation of aspiring business leaders who come from immigrant families.”

“I was a remarkably unremarkable kid,” he said. “Cal made what probably seemed, at the time, like an irrational bet on me. It changed my life.”

The gift was made possible through the sale of one of Galloway’s companies. In 2009, Galloway founded L2, Inc., to benchmark brands’ digital competence. Earlier this year, after L2 was sold to technology research firm Gartner, Galloway fulfilled his Founder’s Pledge, a nonbinding commitment by UC Berkeley entrepreneurs to give back to Berkeley when they attain success. To date, some 265 founders have signed.

“I felt blessed.”

The first four students to receive $50,000 Galloway Fellowships, all first-year MBA students, are Josue Chavarin, Kira Mikityanskaya, Kevin Phan, and Jorge Tellez.

Chavarin, the son of immigrant farm workers who grew up in Salinas, Ca., said he felt blessed when he learned about the new fellowship and decided to apply.

“I never would have thought that a fellowship (created) to empower and acknowledge children of immigrants would be available to me—especially in the political climate we’re in,” said Chavarin, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 with a degree in political science with minors in Spanish literature and education. “Mr. Galloway is a real leader in taking this stance and standing up for immigrants.”

A life-changing gift

Berkeley-Haas Dean Rich Lyons said that Galloway’s gift will be life changing for many students. “Scott’s gift is an outstanding display of generosity that comes at a particularly difficult time for so many immigrant families,” Lyons said. “Scott understands personally what a public university education can do to change the course of students’ lives—and inspire them, in turn, to pay it forward to others.”

Galloway is currently a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business and Chairman of L2. He co-founded Prophet Brand Strategy with classmate Ian Chaplin, MBA 92, and helped pioneer the rise of e-commerce when he co-founded Red Envelope, an online specialty gift retailer, in 1997.

“This is a tip of the hat to the generosity and vision of California taxpayers and the UC Regents, respectively,” Galloway said. “I also hope this sends a signal to current and future immigrants that most Americans remember where we came from, and welcome them to the land of opportunity.” Professor Galloway has also announced gifts to UCLA and NYU.

Prof. Patatoukas wins prestigious accounting award

Panos Patatoukas wins prestigious accounting research award.

Assoc. Prof. Panos N. Patatoukas has received the prestigious 2017 Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award for his research on the implications of major customer relationships for supplier firm performance and valuation.

The annual accounting award from the American Accounting Association, sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), was given for his paper, Customer-Base Concentration: Implications for Firm Performance and Capital Markets. He will be honored August 8 at the American Accounting Association’s annual meeting in San Diego, CA.

For his research, Patatoukas compiled a large sample of business-to-business links along the supply chain.

His paper challenged the conventional view that customer-base concentration—or doing business with only few major customers—impedes supplier-firm performance. The widely-held belief was that major customers pressure their dependent suppliers to provide concessions such as lowering prices, extending trade credit, and carrying extra inventory.

But Patatoukas discovered that while suppliers with a few big customers do report lower gross margins, that negative effect is offset by lower selling expenses and higher inventory turnover rates. He concluded that these operating efficiencies offset weaknesses in dealing with major customers—and found a net positive impact on the supplier’s performance and valuation especially as the major customer relationships mature.

Paper inspires follow-up studies

The paper, which was judged for “originality, breadth of potential interest, soundness of methodology, and potential impact on accounting education,” inspired a series of follow-up studies. It also grabbed interest among academics across disciplines.

“It’s extremely fulfilling to be recognized for creating a new line of interdisciplinary capital markets research that combines elements from accounting, finance, and operations management,” said Patatoukas, who joined the Haas Accounting Group in 2010 after graduating from Yale University. “This research has implications for academics and practitioners alike.”

His previous awards for both research and teaching include the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award (in 2012, 2015, and 2017), the highest teaching award bestowed upon instructors by Berkeley MBA students; the Schwabacher Award, the highest honor for distinction in research and teaching bestowed upon Haas tenure-track professors; and the Hellman Fellows Award, given by the U.C. Berkeley Chancellor for excellence in research.

Patatoukas was also named a top business school professor under the age of 40 by both Poets & Quants and Fortune Magazine.

Prior to arriving at Haas, Patatoukas earned a PhD in accounting and finance from Yale University, plus two master’s degrees in management from Yale, a master’s in accounting and finance from the London School of Economics, and a BA in accounting and finance from Athens University of Economics and Business, where he graduated as valedictorian.

Patatoukas’ areas of research include corporate valuation, financial statement analysis for measuring and forecasting economic activity at the firm level and at the aggregate macroeconomic level, and supply chain management.


Henry Chesbrough Honored for Pioneering Innovation Ideas

Henry Chesbrough, faculty director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, was honored with a medal from the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) this month for his standout work in innovation management.

Chesbrough, an adjunct professor who is widely recognized as the father of open innovation, accepted the medal at the IRI’s May 10 annual meeting. The IRI, which represents 200 industrial and service companies interested in effectively managing technological innovation, has awarded the medal since 1946 to top leaders in industrial research.

Chesbrough said his own research has benefited greatly from the IRI and close observation of several of its member companies that have implemented open innovation.

The open innovation concept, which Chesbrough introduced in 2003, argues that companies need to tear down the walls between their R&D organizations and outside companies and innovators. Chesbrough believes that businesses cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research, but should instead buy or license R&D processes and inventions such as patents from other companies.

“As the pace of change quickens across industries, organizations are looking at open innovation not just as a tool for solving unique technology challenges, but for expanding it to include a wider variety of participants and making a significant impact on corporate business models,” Chesbrough said.

The recipient of multiple awards for his research, Chesbrough in 2015 was named to the Thinkers50 global ranking of management pioneers. The Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers, published every two years, has been described by the Financial Times and others as the “Oscars of management thinking.”