Setting a record, annual base salaries for the Berkeley Haas Full-time MBA Class of 2023 increased to an average of $162,831. That’s about $10,000 more than last year, with nearly 70% of the class nabbing signing bonuses averaging $36,777 as well. Notably, 39% received stock options or grants, adding significantly to total compensation.
“We’re thrilled that starting salaries and compensation packages have continued to grow, reinforcing the strong return on investment on a Berkeley Haas MBA,” said Abby Scott, assistant dean of MBA Career Management & Corporate Partnerships. “These outcomes are a testament to the high caliber of our students. Our alumni and career management team also play an instrumental role in helping them navigate paths to reach their goals.”
Of the total class of 294 graduates, roughly 90% received job offers within three months of graduation, and even more secured opportunities within six months of graduation. Similar to previous years, more than half of the students accepted roles in the technology industry and consulting. A few more highlights from the Career Management Group (CMG):
Technology remained the largest industry employer, with about 30% of the class taking positions in the sector. Amazon was the top tech employer.
Nearly 28% of the class accepted consulting jobs; the largest number of graduates went to McKinsey (26 hires), followed by Bain (14 hires), this year’s two top employers overall.
Financial services hiring increased from 13.7% to about 14.5% of graduates; health care and biotech jumped from 5.1% to 7.5%. Energy-industry roles among grads jumped to 6.6% of graduates from 2% last year, reflecting the increase in climate tech.
About 22% of graduates embarked on “impact careers,” defined as jobs in sustainability, climate tech, healthcare, edtech, and some areas of finance and real estate.
A growing number of students (4.4% of the class) accepted positions in real estate, typically in development and investment roles.
McKinsey, Bain top employers
This year’s top employers for Haas—companies that hired three or more graduates—included Amazon, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte, Bain & Company, EY Parthenon, PayPal, Apple, Evercore, Microsoft, TikTok, and Tesla.
Matt Solowan, MBA 23, is now a consultant at Bain & Co., after interning there while at Haas, finding the people at Bain similar to the people at Haas: “very down to earth, very kind, very warm, very supportive.”
While at Haas, Solowan said they worked closely with Julia Rosof, a career coach in the Career Management Group, to prepare for early recruiting opportunities scheduled during ROMBA, the annual LGBTQ+ MBA conference. “After that, I really leaned on the second-year peer advisors who provided me with on-the-job insights and helped to improve my casing and behavioral interview skill,” Solowan said.
In addition to consulting, the tech sector remained a top area of interest for FTMBA graduates, “so we were particularly pleased to see so many land roles this year, given all the churn in the field,” Scott said.
Highlighting the power of the alumni network, Henry Gordon, MBA 23, landed a position as strategy and planning manager at drone startup Skydio, after chatting with classmate Harrison Zhu, MBA 23. Zhu, a product manager at Skydio, had interned there while at Haas. “I knew he really liked the company and when I was looking for roles this one popped up in my LinkedIn,” Gordon said. “I texted Harrison to ask about it, and three weeks later, I had a job.”
Since joining Skydio, Gordon said he’s helped guide the company’s strategy as it pivoted from its consumer drone business to the enterprise market. “I was attracted to Skydio because of the enormity of the problems that they are trying to solve”—by providing drones to utilities, fire departments, and other industry customers. “About 30% of my job now is familiar, and the other 70% is totally new.”
Grads land in multiple regions
Lecturer Abigail Franklin, managing director of a program for careers in real estate who works with the Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics, said alumni working in real estate are particularly critical to her students’ success in finding roles. “Our 2023 graduates did so well in many geographic locations with the best compensation that I’ve seen in my 12 years here,” Franklin said. “It’s really a testament to the real estate alumni we have.”
One example, she noted, are the Haas alumni at privately owned real estate firm Hines, which hired two 2023 Haas MBA graduates this year—one in Chicago and another in Seattle, she said.
A number of 2023 graduates held out until the fall for the right opportunity, based on their specific career criteria—and the Career Management Group continues to support graduates until they find the right role, often reconnecting during future job transitions.
Before coming to Haas, Megan Nelson, MBA 23, worked for Uber in Australia. When she started in 2015, she was one of 20 employees in Sydney, a number that swelled to 400 people by the time she left as senior regional operations manager in 2021.
Nelson decided to take a few months off after graduating from Haas before beginning her search for strategy and operations roles last August. With a goal to move back to Australia and work at a startup or scale-up, she jumped to apply for a position as chief of staff at Sydney-based startupJOLT, a company working to support the transition to electric by providing free, fast, and clean EV charging.
Her new role at JOLT aligns with her love for working for a company at an early stage. “I am focused on a bit of everything, including expanding our CEO’s capacity so he can steer the ship. I’m supporting both Australia and our international markets, and helping build the internal operating structures to enable our teams to sprint.”
Classes at Haas provided a professional lens that Nelson said she applies in the workplace.
“Haas built my confidence,” she said. “I realized that my background was really valuable. Hearing the perspectives of my peers in the classroom, the courtyard, and over drinks—the people were the best part of Haas. It’s having those rich experiences and interactions, and being able to share my own…it’s these types of learnings that have helped me the most.”
The list is built on exclusive LinkedIn data that examines career outcomes of MBA alumni, including job placement rates, advancement to senior-level positions, and network strength.
“As LinkedIn notes, MBA graduates benefit from the “career-boosting power of the MBA,” said Abby Scott, assistant dean of the Haas Career Management Group. “This ranking captures the depth of our network, recruiter interest, and notably both the C-suite track and entrepreneurial experience.”
“Going to the Haas School of Business was a transformative experience for me,” Daniel Feldman, MBA 10, said in the LinkedIn article. “Yes, it is possible to acquire the knowledge in other ways. What cannot be replaced is the collaboration experience with some very smart people.”
The ranking is based on the following five pillars, including:
Hiring and demand, which tracks job placement rates and labor market demand, focusing on recent graduate cohorts from 2018 to 2022. This assessment is based on LinkedIn hiring data and recruiter InMail outreach data.
Ability to advance, which tracks promotions among recent cohorts. It also traces how quickly all past alumni have reached director or vp-level leadership roles. This assessment is based on standardized job titles.
Network strength, which tracks network depth, or how connected alumni of the same program are to each other; network quality of the recent cohorts (2018-2022), measured by average connections alumni have with individuals in director-level positions or above; and the network growth rate of the recent cohort—before and after graduation. This assessment is based on member connection data.
Leadership potential, which tracks the percentage of alumni with post-MBA entrepreneurship or C-suite experience.
Gender diversity, which measures gender parity within recent graduate cohorts.
This Veterans Day, we asked some of the many veterans in our community to share their stories.
Phil Ickes didn’t come from a military family. But a desire to explore the world—and make it a safer place–drew him to join the U.S. Army.
Ickes, MBA 24, began his military career as an undergraduate in the ROTC program at the University of Pittsburgh. Between his junior and senior years, he studied Arabic in Jordan and volunteered at Syrian refugee camps, which he describes as a turning point.
“One weekend, I met a family that had been severely wounded by a car bomb while they were still living in Syria,” said Ickes, who grew up outside Pittsburgh. “Meeting that family made me feel compelled to do something about it.”
After graduating, Ickes joined the U.S Army, training in the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), a school jointly run by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Working as s a platoon leader, his team supported the U.S. Secret Service, protecting several presidents, vice presidents, and foreign dignitaries.
As an EOD operations manager, he later directed an operations cell that supported more than 600 soldiers in full-spectrum bomb disposal.
In 2021, Ickes traveled to Syria and Iraq as an EOD company commander. “That experience definitely left me feeling like I left the world better than I found it,” Ickes says. “The act of disarming bombs and rendering explosive devices safe and leaving communities overseas safer than I found them was definitely very rewarding.”
Working with robotics and machine learning in the military piqued his interest in tech, and drew him to apply to Haas, where he’s working toward a career in technical product management.
Last summer, he interned at San Mateo-based drone startup Skydio. He said he believes drones have the potential to benefit fields including law enforcement, infrastructure inspections, mapping, and commercial delivery.
“I like products that make people or businesses’ lives easier or more efficient,” he said. “Usually these products are at the intersection of software and hardware.”
On making the transition from military life to an MBA program, Ickes said he immediately found a collaborative spirit and welcoming environment at Haas.
“Everyone is ambitious yet laid back,” he says. “Nobody takes themselves too seriously.”
“Join the Navy, see the world”
Just after turning 30, while working as an accountant in Santa Barbara, Emily Hawkins decided she wanted something more in life.
“It was a great job, but it kind of felt like I was lacking purpose, and it was at that time in your life where your friends are settling down and having families,” said Hawkins, MBA 24.
She’d always been interested in the military and, after some research and inspired by the slogan “join the Navy, see the world,” she decided to enlist.
“My plan was to enlist for one term, which is four years, learn some new skills, have an adventure, be part of something bigger than what I had been doing, and then return to what I thought of as my normal life,” Hawkins said.
Adventure is what she got. Hawkins went straight from boot camp to an aircraft carrier and a seven-month deployment off the coast of Japan in 2010 and 2011.
Hawkins and her team were called in to help with the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. “I had a chance to participate in the humanitarian operation, and it was amazing, and it kind of broadened my perspective of what a career in the military could be, and I was hooked,” Hawkins says. “And that was about 14 years ago.”
Hawkins is still serving in the Navy while earning her MBA, but her role has shifted from working on an aircraft carrier to serving as an officer in supply, logistics, and financial management.
While she was accepted to three MBA programs, she chose Haas due to the support of the school’s Veterans Club. “They were by far the most engaged in terms of helping you with your resume, reviewing your essays, talking to you pre- and post-interview,” Hawkins says. “They were so engaged and so supportive that I knew there would be a good community for me.”
Veterans Day, for Hawkins, is a time to reflect. “It’s a time to think about how we as a society view military veterans and the programs we provide for them in terms of education, transition programs, and medical care.”
When Yvonne Mondragón finished the Berkeley Haas undergraduate program in 2016, she worked for seven years in finance, planning a long-term career in investment banking.
“I knew I wanted to come back to school in order to pivot into investment banking and work in banking at the highest level,” she said.
Mondragón, MBA 25, is now well on her way, as one of 11 first-year full-time Haas MBA students named among Haas’ 2023 Finance Fellows.
As fellows, the students receive a scholarship award and are assigned mentors—Haas alumni working in finance, including recent graduates and senior executives.
The 2023 fellows include:
Mondragón, for the C&J White Fellowship in Finance.
Isabella Fantini, Renzo Viale Paiva, Marya Unwala, and Martin Lima for entrepreneurial finance.
Venky Vuppalapati, Gauri Deshpande, Hector Alamillo, and Erik Swisher for investment banking.
Daniel Espinoza Birman and Rogério Rios for private equity and investment management.
About 45% of these new fellows are international, reflecting the percentage of the overall MBA class, said William Rindfuss, managing director for Strategic Programs with the Haas Finance Group. Several of the students bring work experience in different finance sectors from their home countries, and are looking to pivot to larger sectors in the U.S.
Vuppalapati, who is from India, said he’s drawn to the excitement of technology investment banking, and closely tracks how world events, the day’s news, and government policy impact financial markets.
“When I think of investment banking, I also think about how much any one deal can impact different people and different industries,” he said. “Tech has the largest impact, so it feels like a great fit.”
Rios, originally from Brazil, said he’s fascinated by innovation in health care, which led him to pursue a MBA/MPH degree.
“Innovation and technology are going to shape the future, and I want to be in a place that would not only give me an opportunity to be close to financial markets but also provide a solid understanding of how business and tech intersect with health care.”
Inspired by the four Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles—Question the Status Quo; Confidence Without Attitude; Students Always; and Beyond Yourself—Rios added that he is seeking to make an impact on the world and give back to his family.
“I’m a first-generation student, so a lot of my efforts are in the spirit of giving back to them and to my community,” he said.
Mondragón, who is also a first-generation college student, said she hopes to serve as a role model.
“Having someone who looks like me in the finance space is so important,” she said. “I have the lived experience of someone who did not benefit from this space. I grew up not having much access to any of the knowledge that I have now.”
Fantini said she is coupling passions for both technology and venture capital at Haas—and adding a lifelong interest in the food supply chain.
“Haas has such an amazing focus on sustainability and food,” Fantini said. “I knew I could stay connected to Silicon Valley, stay connected to venture, and get even more connected to food resources by coming here for an MBA.”
As the director of product in his last role, Josh Martow, MBA 23, dreaded nagging his team members to make sure work got done. When he arrived at Berkeley Haas, he started mapping out an idea to solve his own problem, which led to the launch of startup Chaser.
In this interview, Martow explains how Chaser makes people more productive.
Could you give us a quick synopsis of what Chaser does?
Chaser follows up with your co-workers on the things they need to do. There are other project management tools out there that are supposed to solve this problem, but they break down because most teams struggle to constantly keep them up to date; no one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “I’m going to check Trello.”
With Chaser, you can delegate a task to anybody from within Slack. Chaser sends them the task, collects progress updates, and follows up until it’s complete. It works like magic because your co-workers never have to open Chaser. They don’t have to sign up for it or even know what it is! Their tasks just arrive in their inbox, and they can click “complete” right there.
How did you come up with the idea?
At my last job, so much of my work as a manager required making sure work was being taken across the finish line, which meant following up with people a lot. It’s not fun to be a nag and feel like you’re a babysitter to your team. It’s also not productive. And on the other end, no one likes to constantly receive these types of messages.
We’re doing with Chaser what Google did for calendars.
We’re doing with Chaser what Google did for calendars. It’s amazing that my friends and co-workers can put events right on my calendar for me and all of the sudden our calendars are synced up. Why doesn’t this exist for to-do lists? Imagine if your co-workers helped populate your to-do list for you and all you had to do was hit “complete” or “change date” and it would reflect on their end too, just like when you RSVP on Google Calendar, or move an event around.
How does a manager use Chaser?
So anyone can add Chaser to a Slack workspace. Once it’s added, just type “/todo,” tag the assignee, write the task, and include a due date, if there is one. The task will appear in your direct messages and Chaser will take it from there! You can follow along in your dashboard, which also lives inside Slack, while Chaser goes out and makes sure it gets done.
For now we’re actually offering Chaser for free, so everyone can give it a try here.
What was your background before coming to Haas?
Before Haas, I was the first employee at a startup Thriver Technologies. I got to wear every hat there. Throughout my time there I led sales, product, growth, and business intelligence. I was just running around doing whatever I could to help set up everything the company needed. We grew it to 150 people and raised a Series B, and after five years, I really got bit by that entrepreneurship bug and decided I wanted to do this myself. I ended up teaming up with the director of engineering and we set off to start our own thing.
How has Haas helped you as an entrepreneur?
The two biggest things for me have been extracurriculars and classmates. For extracurriculars, some free accelerators connect you with mentors, help you hone your pitch, and help you figure out your business. After competing in one of the Demo Days, one of the judges, who was also a VC, ended up putting in $100,000 after hearing the pitch.
But my favorite thing about Haas is the Haasies. There are just a ton of great people who are interested in and want to talk about startups, and everyone comes from such diverse professional backgrounds. Just having people to bounce ideas around with is just so valuable.
What made you want to get an MBA to launch a company rather than launch without going to business school?
I didn’t study business as an undergrad and I wanted formal business training. I also needed time to develop more clarity and conviction around what we wanted to build.
But also, you hear that business school is a great place to start a company. And it’s 100% true.
Not having a full-time job gives you the freedom to explore, and being around Haasies realy helps you with that exploration. Not to mention access to the resources available, the accelerators, and being in the Bay Area. All of these things kind of just make it the perfect place to start a company.
What advice do you have for people considering launching a business while earning an MBA?
The No. 1 piece of advice is to cut out the things that are not 100% critical, and don’t succumb to FOMO when you see classmates doing things you just frankly won’t have time for. I definitely did not appreciate this enough at the start and was signing up for more than I could handle and would often be disappointed when I needed to miss out on things. It would have been a lot easier if I came into it understanding that you can’t do it all while you’re trying to get a startup off the ground.
That said, it’s a great experience, and it’s immensely valuable to be in school learning while thinking about your business and applying the things in class to your business every day.
Haas News asked Kreis a few questions about his startup’s success.
Tell us about Xepelin. Xepelin was founded in 2019, the year after I graduated from Haas. Our aim is to be the “digital CFO” for small- to mid-size companies, offering an online platform that helps businesses organize their accounts and automate payments to suppliers and payment advances from customers.
You’ve had quite a lot of success getting the company funded over the past year. Tell me a little about that.
Last year, the company secured $150 million in equity and a $140 million credit line from Goldman Sachs that we are using to expand software, payment, and working capital services in Mexico. We are headquartered in Mexico City and now have 400 employees.
How big is the market for your services and what’s your expansion plan?
The companies we are targeting account for over 60% of Latin America’s GDP. These companies present an enormous opportunity for us, with more than $10 trillion in unmet needs. High acquisition and servicing costs have kept them underserved. Xepelin is committed to equipping these companies with efficient access to software tools, payments, and working capital.
The companies we are targeting account for over 60% of Latin America’s GDP.
What resources at Haas helped you become an entrepreneur?
There were two resources I tapped at Haas: learning from entrepreneurs and investors in the Bay Area who had already built successful startups, and working on fintech projects with Lecturer Greg La Blanc. I traveled to Mexico several times while I was at Berkeley because of the size of the market. I studied the metrics, such as credit and software market penetration, before committing to building a regional company, starting in Mexico and Chile.
Exactly 125 years after Cora Jane Flood announced the gift that launched UC Berkeley’s College of Commerce, Haas students and staff packed the school’s sunny courtyard to celebrate this milestone.
Haas is not only the second-oldest business school in the country and the first at a public university. “Haas is the only leading business school to be founded by a woman, Cora Jane Flood, who was known as Jennie,” said Professor and Acting Dean Don Moore. “Haas is also the first top business school to be led by two women deans—Laura Tyson and Ann Harrison.”
Dean Ann Harrison unveiled a new plaque honoring Flood. “Now, students, staff, faculty, alumni, and visitors can learn her name and be inspired by her far-sighted philanthropy,” said Harrison, who is on sabbatical this fall but returned for the event.
Flood, the daughter of silver baron James Clair Flood, gave a gift of securities and real estate with an estimated value of $463,133.39, constituting the largest private gift received by the then-30-year-old university. According to the book “Business at Berkeley: The History of the Haas School of Business” by Sandra Epstein, “By 2013, the gift’s value had grown to over $25 million, comprising one of the largest endowments on the Berkeley campus.”
Acting Dean Don Moore addresses the crowd at the 125th anniversary celebration.
Hundreds of students, staff, faculty, and alumni turned out to celebrate.
A plaque honoring founding donor Cora J. Flood was unveiled at the event.
Erika Walker, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction, spoke at the event.
Ben Hermalin, UC Berkeley's executive vice chancellor and provost, was also a guest speaker.
Dean Ann Harrison, who is on sabbatical, joined the festivities at Haas.
Former Haas Dean Rich Lyons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, serenades the crowd, jamming to Bare Necessities.
Full event event video:
Erika Walker, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction
Good afternoon. I am Erika Walker, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction at Berkeley Haas.
As we gather for today’s ceremony, we want to acknowledge that UC Berkeley sits on the territory of xučyun, the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people, the successors of the sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and other familial descendants of the Verona Band.
We recognize that every member of the Berkeley community has benefitted, and continues to benefit, from the use and occupation of this land since the institution’s founding in 1868. Consistent with our values of community, inclusion and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university’s relationship to Native peoples. As members of the Berkeley community, it is vitally important that we not only recognize the history of the land on which we stand, but also, we recognize that the Muwekma Ohlone people are alive and flourishing members of the Berkeley and broader Bay Area communities today.
I would now like to welcome Professor and Acting Dean Don Moore to the podium.
ProfessorDon Moore, Acting Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Thank you, Erika. And welcome, everyone! Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. What an honor it is to serve as the acting dean of this exceptional business school while Dean Harrison is on sabbatical. I hope you are all having a great start to the semester so far.
This year, we look back on 125 years of reimagining business at Haas, all the way to 1898, the year of our founding as the second-oldest business school in the United States.
In 1898, we might have been listening to “The Entertainer” on our gramophones, watching the short film The Astronomer’s Dream on the kinetoscope, or trying on a new bowler hat. California had recently transitioned from Mexico to the United States. Berkeley had a population of 5,000. The bicycling craze was giving women a new avenue of independence. That year, the Golden Bears beat Stanford at the Big Game, 22-0!!
This was also a pivotal time for business, which was coming into its own as a profession on par with law and medicine. Smart management was sorely needed in an era of wild economic growth, robber barons and corruption, fortunes made and lost in immense new enterprises. These new businesses needed to make sense of thousands of employees, strategic mergers, and ballooning divisions.
This was also a pivotal time for business, which was coming into its own as a profession on par with law and medicine. Smart management was sorely needed in an era of wild economic growth, robber barons and corruption, fortunes made and lost in immense new enterprises. These new businesses needed to make sense of thousands of employees, strategic mergers, and ballooning divisions. —Don Moore
Where better than a great university in the pioneering West to order and transform the way we worked? Good sense was not enough; mass scale was a necessity; and only the skilled and sophisticated would thrive. Learning the systems and theories of professional management was a logical—and necessary—next step. A new institution would need to draw scholars from the rest of the world to Berkeley, and produce brilliant minds of its own.
And so it did. The College of Commerce, which we now know as Haas, was founded with just three students. Now we have over 2,500 students in six programs, more than 300 ladder and professional faculty members, and more than 43,000 alumni in 81 countries around the world.
We are also the first business school founded at a public university. Haas is the only leading business school to be founded by a woman, Cora Jane Flood, who was known as Jennie. Haas is the first top business school to be led by two women deans—Laura Tyson and Ann Harrison, respectively.
And we are the first school built entirely with private donations on the UC Berkeley campus. We are incredibly grateful to all of the donors who have supported our school.
Of course, the Berkeley Haas legacy includes more than a century of stellar researchers and teachers, including two Nobel laureates. We are fortunate to be able to attract exceptional staff. And we are more than the sum of our parts. My colleague and fellow acting dean Jenny Chatman will say more about what really makes us exceptional.
Professor Jennifer Chatman, Acting Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Thank you so much, Don. I am honored to be serving the school with you this fall.
As a scholar of culture, I want to note that Berkeley Haas stands out in yet another way: in being the preeminent mission-driven business school, as Poets & Quants has described us.
The Haas School’s values stretch back a long way. The man for whom our school is named, Walter A. Haas, Sr., graduated from the College of Commerce in 1910. He held forward-looking views on social welfare and public affairs that were influenced by the school’s first woman instructor, Jessica Peixotto. That influence led him to grow Levi Strauss & Co. into one of the country’s largest socially responsible businesses.
All of these priorities grew into our four Defining Leadership Principles, which I know you know well: Question the Status Quo; Confidence Without Attitude; Students Always; and Beyond Yourself. To put these principles into action in our three core areas: innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability, and inclusion.
Of course, they are all inextricably linked. Berkeley Haas boasts a world-class team for diversity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. The school has built and continues to build remarkable access, while simultaneously equipping all of us to be more inclusive leaders. Sustainability and entrepreneurship are always top of mind at Haas. And thanks to our location in Berkeley—the epicenter of innovation—we have been and continue to be the heart of what’s next.
Finally, I am so pleased that several members of the chancellor’s cabinet are joining us today. Berkeley Haas’ deep ties with Cal are precious, and we don’t take them for granted.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ben Hermalin has a special connection to Berkeley. He has held a significant number of roles at Haas: as professor, associate dean, interim dean, and winner of multiple teaching awards. Ben, thank you for being with us today.
Ben Hermalin,Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, UC Berkeley:
Thank you, Jenny!
It is true that Berkeley Haas is dear to my heart. But it is also a treasured and essential star in the Cal constellation. This is a vibrant, visionary school that provides students, faculty, staff, and alumni much of the meaning that I believe gives us purpose as individuals and as institutions. One way the school does that is by attracting award-winning scholars, who illuminate their classrooms and advance the world’s knowledge. Berkeley Haas strives to teach and shape business in ways that are valuable to a broad spectrum of people, in profound and material ways. We try to go beyond in deed and not just in word. We always have a lot more work to do—to be as inclusive and just; bold and confident; smart and ethical as we can. That is the best way for us all to stay true to those who built this institution and to our counterparts in the future. Congratulations on this momentous anniversary!
Thank you, Ben.
This occasion is so special to the Berkeley Haas community that Dean Ann Harrison has returned today (from her sabbatical this fall) to share it with us. Ann, please join me onstage.
Dean Ann Harrison:
Thank you so much, Don! What a beautiful day, as it so often is in Berkeley. I am thrilled to be here with you all. I do feel as though I am reaching across more than a century and saying thank you to Cora Jane “Jennie” Flood. I am grateful for her confidence, generosity, and foresight, and believe she would have found today to be a powerful testament to her intention. We are so fortunate that there are Flood family members here with us today celebrating this occasion.
In her declaration to the Regents of the University of California on September 13th, 1898, Jennie Flood wrote of her bestowal that it “shall be devoted to some branch of commercial education.” The bold idea to create a College of Commerce had been proposed by Berkeley graduate and entrepreneur Arthur Rodgers in 1883. Jennie Flood turned Rodgers’s vision into reality.
125 years of groundbreaking education is a remarkable achievement for any business school, especially given the immense changes the world has undergone. Having reimagined business, we are well positioned to lead in a world of change. We look back with pride, but we move forward to make an impact for future generations. Keeping our eye on innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability, and inclusion is more important than ever.
It is high time that we make Jennie Flood a permanent part of our campus. I am honored to unveil this plaque, which commemorates our founder and allows us to put a name—and a face—to the origins of Berkeley Haas. Now, students, staff, faculty, alumni, and visitors can learn her name and be inspired by her far-sighted philanthropy. Her father, James Clair Flood, was the son of immigrants who took an eighth-grade education and an entrepreneurial spirit to become one of the “Silver Kings” of Gilded Age San Francisco and a UC Regent. Jennie often accompanied him to his business meetings, and I would go so far as to say she was an informal student of business herself!
And now, we’ll reveal our new plaque in her honor.
What a beautiful addition to our campus and to our continuing story. Berkeley Haas has staying power. We’re not going anywhere—we’re just getting better.
Please come over during the reception and check it out!
Thank you so much, Ann. To tie together the whole web of Haas-tory from our esteemed founder to our current dean, I am happy to report that former dean Rich Lyons is here with us to celebrate. He is such an important part of our legacy, both philosophically and musically. To that end, he has brought his guitar to send us out snapping our fingers. Take it away, Rich!
Rich Lyons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
(Lyons performs a special Haas-themed version of “The Bare Necessities,” singing and playing acoustic guitar.)
A perfect note to end on. Thank you so much to everyone for joining us today. Please enjoy some refreshments and bask in this beautiful day and community. Here’s to the world-changing 125 years behind us, and to all the triumphs ahead.
PitchBook has ranked Berkeley #1 for its number of venture-backed companies founded by undergraduate alumni and #2 for its number of founders, according to the 2023 PitchBook University rankings.
The 2023 PitchBook rankings also named Berkeley the #1 public university for startup founders.
A total of 1,433 Berkeley undergrad alumni founded 1,305 venture-backed companies, a virtual tie with Stanford, whose 1,435 founders started a total of 1,297 companies, according to Pitchbook.
Taking into account all graduate alumni, Berkeley ranked #5 in startups and founders. Berkeley Haas MBA alumni ranked #9, with a total of 447 founders who started 413 venture-backed startups. (The ranking doesn’t include many more startups that have been founded without venture capital funding.)
The 2023 PitchBook University rankings are based on the total number of founders whose companies received a round of venture funding between Jan. 1, 2013, and Sept. 1, 2023.
The analysis is based on PitchBook data for global VC investment, as well as the educational information of more than 150,000 founders. Since companies can have more than one founder, and founders may attend multiple schools, it is possible for the same company or founder to count toward multiple universities.
Based on input from recent full-time MBA graduates, alumni, and employers, as well as school-provided data, Bloomberg rates MBA programs on what Businessweek considers to be the five fundamental elements of business school education: graduate compensation, learning, entrepreneurship, network, and diversity. Each area is weighted according to its importance among the alumni and employers who are surveyed for the ranking.
In these five areas, Haas ranked:
#6 in entrepreneurship
#6 in learning
#15 in compensation
#15 in networking
#16 in diversity
Among the top 25 schools in this ranking, only one school, Georgia Tech, beat Haas in the learning category. In diversity, Haas was rated third among the top 10 and fifth among the top 20 schools.
Bloomberg Businessweek is known as a volatile ranking — and this year was no different. Harvard Business School, Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan, and Yale SOM dropped by multiple points, leaving room for other schools to rise into the top 10, including Virginia Darden and Michigan Ross, which moved up six spots. Stanford Graduate School of Business remained at #1.
Berkeley Haas welcomed an accomplished group of nearly 700 new full-time MBA, undergraduate, and PhD students to campus, kicking off the start of the fall 2023 semester. (The new evening & weekend and executive MBA classes arrived on campus earlier this summer.)
Full-time MBA program
A total of 244 new full-time MBA students kicked off five days of Week Zero orientation last Monday. Orientation included sessions on academic life at Haas, diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and belonging (DEIJB), team building, and career planning.
Wendy Guild, the new assistant dean of MBA programs at Haas, welcomed the class. “I want to celebrate the fact that you are here,” she said, noting that 2023 is a special year for Haas, marking the school’s 125th anniversary. “We have staying power,” she said. “We’re not going anywhere… We’re just getting better.”
A total of 244 new full-time MBA students in the Class of 2025 arrived last week for Week Zero orientation. Wendy Guild, assistant dean of MBA programs, welcomed the group, noting that Haas is celebrating a special 125th anniversary this year.
The new MBA class is comprised of 41% women; 20% are first-gen.
Prof. Don Moore, acting Haas dean, urged students to reach out to each other and take advantage of the resources at Haas, especially when the curriculum gets tough. "All of us want to see you succeed," he said.
Introducing the Gold Cohort!
Introducing the Axe cohort!
Introducing the Oski cohort!
Introducing the Blue cohort!
The Haas Undergraduate Program team welcomed 421 new students Monday. A total of 3,306 students applied to the program.
The undergraduate class includes103 transfer students and 240 continuing UC Berkeley students.
New students met up in the Haas courtyard throughout orientation.
All photos by Jim Block and Noah Berger.
New students participated in a whirlwind of orientation activities—from a scavenger hunt to an ice cream social to cleanup work at a local nonprofit that supports people who are homeless.
The MBA students are an accomplished group, with an average of nearly six years of work experience, with 20% coming the tech sector and 24% from consulting.
Remy Freire, MBA 25, was a consultant at Bain & Company in Washington D.C. before coming to Haas.
“I’m interested in climate tech and renewable energy and I thought that the MBA would be a chance to take classes and do an internship in that area, and get some hands-on experience. A lot of folks are interested in this at Haas and I’ll be meeting people with similar interests to mine.”
The class boasts 41% women and is richly international, including students from 39 countries.
Imogen O’Connor, MBA 26, worked as an analytical manager with the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK before she came to Haas.
“What really prompted me to do an MBA was around change management and leadership because I was coming up against a lot of barriers in the NHS,” she said. “I really care about health care and just helping people. I think I need to develop certain skills in order to do that properly.”
The class has an average collective GMAT score of 732, and GREs of 163 quant and 161 verbal, and an average GPA of 3.63.
Eric Askins, director of MBA admissions, told the students to expect to learn from peers who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Notably, 20% of the students in this class are the first generation of college students in their families. Fourteen of the new students are pursuing a dual MPA/MPH (public health) degree; nine are enrolled in the MBA/MEng (engineering) program.
Orientation week alumni speaker Lo Toney, MBA 97, founding managing partner at Plexo Capital, shared his wisdom with the class, encouraging students to explore and take advantage of the breadth and depth of the UC Berkeley and Haas campus resources, focus on academics in the first quarter in particular, and reach out to alumni to build a network.
Acting Dean and Professor Don Moore, whose research covers leadership and confidence in business and beyond, welcomed the students.
“You’re joining a community of innovators, renowned researchers, entrepreneurs, and movers and shakers who have made a profound impacts on business and on society,” he said.
“You’re joining a community of innovators, renowned researchers, entrepreneurs, and movers and shakers who have made a profound impacts on business and on society.” – Acting Dean Don Moore
Moore said the long list of leaders who embody the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles (Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always and Beyond Yourself) includes professional golfer Collin Morikawa, BS 19, who won the 2020 PGA Championship; Nabeela Syed, BS 21, the first Muslim Indian-American and the youngest woman to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives; and gaming entrepreneur Kevin Chou, BS 02, who with his wife, Dr. Connie Chen, provided the largest-ever personal gift to UC Berkeley by an alumni under the age of 40 to help fund Chou Hall.
Emma Hayes Daftary, assistant dean of the undergraduate program, told the students that “the DLPs will challenge you to shift from what you, as an individual, can achieve, to what we, as a community, can accomplish.”
“We are living in a time of tremendous global transition, and within this time of upheaval and transition comes an urgent call for informed, collaborative, effective leaders,” she said. “There are urgent issues that are facing us—urgent issues that will require extraordinary leadership to develop and execute solutions to solve them.”
The PhD program welcomed its largest-ever cohort of 19 new students from around the world—including Russia, China, Ethiopia, India, South Korea, Nigeria, Portugal, Canada, and Germany.
New students include Abdulmuttolib (Abdul) Salako, Ziyi Liu, Sean Chen, Sarah Danner, Hanna Yu, Sara Shemali, Jordan Mickens, Nikita (Nick) Akimov, Wenxiao Yang, Srikanth Janjirala, Yutao Chen, Maggie Ye, Skyler Chen, David Gravanita , William Zhang, Zi Yang Chen, Nathan Godin, Nick Otis, and Fikremariam (Fikre) Gedefaw.
Berkeley Haas this month is kicking off its anniversary celebration of 125 years of reimagining business. The festivities commemorate a significant milestone in the school’s history as a leader in advancing management education, corporate responsibility, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Founded in 1898 as the College of Commerce with just three students, Haas has expanded to nearly 3,000 students across six programs, all of which rank in the top 10 and boast a world-renowned global faculty. Haas has 44,000 living alumni worldwide, spanning more than 20,000 organizations in 81 countries.
“A 125th anniversary is a remarkable achievement for any business school, especially given the immense changes that business and business education have gone through,” said Berkeley Haas Dean Ann E. Harrison. “As the world’s number one mission-driven business school, we take pride in developing innovative business leaders who consider the long-term impact of their actions—and increasingly, that requires a lens for sustainability and inclusion.”
Haas has always been a pioneer. It is the first business school founded at a public university, and the second-oldest in the U.S. It is the only leading business school to be founded by a woman, Cora Jane Flood.
It’s also the first top business school to be led by two female deans, Professor Laura Tyson (1998–2001 and 2018), and Harrison (since 2019).
And from the start, the school has had a distinctive culture.
Senior Assistant Dean Courtney Chandler, Haas’s Chief Strategy and Operating Officer, described the principles as much more than mere aspirations or platitudes. They are, rather, aligned tightly with the school’s strategy. “Powerful leaders think about culture all the time,” Chandler said. “If done well, everything relates back to the culture, from how we set priorities to how we get buy-in from people to how we show up as a community.”
“Powerful leaders think about culture all the time. If done well, everything relates back to the culture, from how we set priorities to how we get buy-in from people to how we show up as a community.” — Senior Assistant Dean Courtney Chandler, BA 90, MBA 96.
The Haas legacy includes generations of researchers and teachers who have changed how industry leaders think and do business. That legacy includes two Nobel laureates. The late John Harsanyi won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994—along with John Nash from Princeton University and Reinhard Selten from Bonn, Germany—for advancing the study of game theory, and in particular, how parties act in negotiations with incomplete information.
The late Oliver Williamson became the school’s second Nobel laureate—along with Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University—in 2009 for bringing together economics, organization theory, and contract law to invent the field of transaction cost economics, fundamentally reshaping understanding of how firms operate in the marketplace.
Many other Haas faculty members have ushered new ideas into the world, including Henry Chesbrough, PhD 97, who created the novel theory of Open Innovation; and David Aaker, the father of modern branding, who defined brand equity and the idea of the brand portfolio.
Professor David Teece established his groundbreaking theories of dynamic capabilities in 1997; and Ikujiro Nonaka, MBA 68, PhD 72, a knowledge management expert, envisioned knowledge as a living and breathing entity that must be shared among workers to reach its full potential.
Finance Professor Ulrike Malmendier, who researches how individual biases affect corporate decisions, stock prices, and markets, illuminated many ways in which human psychology and systematic biases influence economic behavior. For her work, Malmendier won the prestigious 2013 Fischer Black Prize.
Women at Haas have also made pioneering contributions as visionary leaders—since Mary Dickson became the first woman to get a degree from the school in 1906. Professor and former Dean Laura Tyson served on President Clinton’s cabinet, and was also the first woman to chair the Council of Economic Advisers and direct the National Economic Council.
Professor Emeritus Janet Yellen, who taught macroeconomics at Haas for 25 years, is now the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and was the first to chair the Federal Reserve.
Berkeley Haas has also been a hub of innovation and a launching ground for entrepreneurs over the years. In 2022, for the fourth straight year, UC Berkeley was named the nation’s best public university for startup founders, and the second-best university among both private and public schools, according to Pitchbook’s annual ranking.
In 2022, for the fourth straight year, UC Berkeley was named the nation’s best public university for startup founders
In 1970, six years before Apple Computer was founded, Dean Richard Holton taught one of the country’s first entrepreneurship classes at Haas with Leo Helzel, MBA 68. Lecturer Steve Blank took the teaching of entrepreneurship in a cutting-edge new direction in 2011 with his Lean LaunchPad method. Blank taught students to build a company by developing business models rather than traditional business plans, iterating models quickly based on customer feedback. This approach is now accepted practice for entrepreneurs.
Haas students have been honing startup skills for years in programs like the UC Berkeley LAUNCH accelerator; SkyDeck, a partnership between the Haas School of Business founded in 2012 with the College of Engineering, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research; and The Cleantech to Market accelerator program, which for 15 years has been pairing students with entrepreneurs to help bring promising climate tech innovations to market.
Over the years, Haas students and alumni have founded hundreds of companies as part of the UC Berkeley startup ecosystem. Among the school’s notable alumni entrepreneurs:
John Hanke, MBA 96, CEO of Niantic Labs, was instrumental in creating Google Earth, Maps, and Street View, which brought sophisticated geospatial data visualization to the masses. Hanke then masterminded the wildly popular augmented reality Pokémon Go game.
Paul Rice, MBA 96, founded Fair Trade USA, whose Fair Trade Certified seals signify products made according to fair trade standards.
The late Priya Haji, MBA 03, co-founded Free at Last, a national program for substance abuse treatment and HIV/AIDS intervention; World of Good,a sustainable/fair trade product marketplace acquired by eBay in 2010, and served as CEO at SaveUp, a rewards game for saving money and reducing debt.
Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, launched Ashesi University, Ghana’s first liberal arts college, in 2002, which pioneered a multidisciplinary core curriculum that challenged the dominant rote-learning culture in many African schools.
Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell, both MBA 08, co-founded Indiegogo with Slava Rubin, building a crowdfunding platform for all creative, cause, and entrepreneurial projects.
Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, both BS 09, grew mushrooms from used coffee grounds in their Haas class, which led to their startup Back to the Roots—now a national brand with products sold in thousands of stores.
Jason Bellet, BS 14, along with engineering alumni Connor Landgraf, BS 13, MEng 14 (bioengineering), and Tyler Crouch, BS 14 (mechanical engineering), founded Eko in 2013 and developed an FDA-cleared platform of AI-powered stethoscopes for early detection of cardiovascular disease.
Roots of social responsibility
The Haas tradition of educating leaders who prioritize the social impact of business dates back more than 100 years.
The school is named for Walter A. Haas, Sr., BS 1910, whose family at Levi Strauss & Company outfitted Western miners in a new kind of work pants that evolved into Levi’s iconic blue jeans. Haas Sr.’s views on social welfare and public affairs were influenced by the school’s first female instructor, Jessica Peixotto, and led him to grow this apparel manufacturer into one of the country’s largest socially responsible businesses. Later, as Levi’s CEO, he noted that the company “owes responsibility to the communities in which we do business.”
The company “owes responsibility to the communities in which we do business.” — Walter A. Haas, Sr., BS 1910
During the late 1950s, Earl F. Cheit, the future dean, ushered in the study of corporate social responsibility through research and teaching. Cheit organized the first national symposium on the subject in 1964, and Berkeley’s coursework became the model for other leading business schools with support from Professors Dow Votaw and Edwin Epstein.
Decades later, The Center for Responsible Business in 2002, brought Haas into the modern corporate social responsibility and business sustainability movements. Six years later, TheFinancial Times named Haas number one in the world in this area.
Socioeconomic mobility is core to both the UC Berkeley and Haas missions. Over the past six years, Haas has made substantive changes to increase diversity and representation, engender lifelong learning around equity and inclusion, and cultivate belonging.
When Harrison joined as dean, she made Diversity Equity Justice and Belonging (DEIJB) a priority by meeting with student leaders; significantly increasing student support; modifying the core MBA curriculum to require a course on leading diverse teams; and diversifying the Haas faculty and Haas School Board.
Haas also appointed Chief DEI Officer Élida Bautista to oversee a six-person team focusing on admissions, community-related DEIJB issues, and, uniquely, faculty support.
Building on the Defining Leadership Principles, the school’s DEI Strategic Plan, first drafted in 2018 and updated in 2021, outlines aspirations for a learning environment where everyone belongs and everyone can thrive. The plan aims to equip all members of the Haas community to effectively lead diverse teams. (Research from Haas faculty and the work of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) makes the business case that diversity on teams can drive performance.)
The Heart of What’s Next
Looking forward, Haas continues to build on its academic strength in undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree executive education offerings.
The school also continues to embrace new ideas. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the school’s foray to digital education, inspired by Berkeley Executive Education’s early adoption of virtual classroom teaching.
The virtual classrooms now anchor the Flex MBA program,—now in its second year—which combines academic courses in a live online environment with the option to come to campus for electives. At the undergraduate level, the school’s two-year program is expanding to become the four-year Spieker Undergraduate Program. The first four-year cohort will enroll in August of 2024.
Stepping up to address the severity of climate change, Haas created the Office of Sustainability and Climate Change to support teaching and research across agriculture, real estate, energy, finance, and corporate sectors. The school’s investment in sustainability includes the greenest academic building in the U.S., Chou Hall, having earned TRUE Zero Waste certification at the highest possible level along with a LEED Platinum certification for its energy efficient design and operation. Plans are now underway to launch a joint MBA/master’s in climate solutions degree with Berkeley’s Rausser College of Natural Resources.
Many of the school’s advancements have been made possible through the support of its loyal alumni, who continue to make Haas stronger through their engagement as teachers, mentors, employers, partners, and donors to the school.
Harrison said she is looking forward to celebrating the school’s many milestones and to what the future will bring, noting, “We look back with pride, but we move forward to have impact.”
Startup: FlowGPT Co-founders: Lifan Wang, MBA 22, and Jay Dang, a former UC Berkeley Computer Science major
In this interview, Lifan Wang discusses how he met his FlowGPT co-founder, Jay Dang, at UC Berkeley, and why speed was critical for his startup in entering the AI market.
How did you come up with the idea for FlowGPT?
We started this project in January. We both were power users of ChatGPT when it first came out. We would spend around 10 hours a day exploring different use cases of ChatGPT prompts and trying to leverage AI to increase our productivity. As we used it more, we realized that there are so many more use cases that people haven’t discovered. So we started doing extensive research by talking to people who use ChatGPT and prompts. We talked with approximately 100 people from various online communities, such as Discord channels and found that people constantly post and share ChatGPT prompts with each other, which gave us the idea to create a dedicated platform for prompt creators to share their prompts.
How did you get started in entrepreneurship at Haas?
Haas is a great place for aspiring entrepreneurs. I’ve taken several entrepreneurship classes, including a class with Rhonda Shrader, executive director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program, that helped me understand the process of launching a startup — from searching for ideas to conducting user research to creating a prototype.
Haas is a great place for aspiring entrepreneurs.
In the Business of AI, taught by Pieter Abbeel, a renowned professor in the engineering school, I interacted with generative AI and learned about neural networks and the GAN (Generative Adversarial Network), which pits two different deep learning models against each other in a game. I also explored various technical imaging technologies. I firmly believe that AI, especially generative AI, is going to be a significant trend that will revolutionize the world.
Where did you meet your co-founder?
Jay and I met during our time at UC Berkeley SkyDeck, where we attended various events. Jay was seeking funding for his startup in his freshman year. As a part-time venture partner, I was interested in potential investment opportunities. He pitched me his startup, which connected to the work I had previously done in the industry. We had extensive discussions and got to know each other well.
Are you both seeking funding right now?
We secured our C round of funding in May and are currently preparing to launch a new funding round this month or next. Our user base has experienced robust growth, and based on the data we’ve gathered, now is the perfect time to accelerate expansion.
With every technological advancement, there are inherent risks. When computers were introduced, illegal activities emerged on websites and regulations evolved. Our aim is to empower people to be more productive and generate a positive impact while prioritizing safety. We must ensure the safe use of AI, which will become a powerful tool, similar to the internet and software. Many people are already leveraging new AI tools like ChatGPT and Prompt Engineering to increase their productivity. At FlowGPT, we use ChatGPT daily for coding, product management, messaging, and marketing, covering various aspects of our operations. AI represents the next generation of powerful tools that elevate human productivity to new heights.
Our aim is to empower people to be more productive and generate a positive impact while prioritizing safety.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Execution is crucial. That is the most important thing I learned from Jay, my co-founder.
We launched the product in January, just one and a half months after ChatGPT’s release. Unlike many competitors, who were still in the ideation stage, we were already ahead. When competitors attempted to imitate us, we had already iterated three times and gained a million users.
My advice is to start building right away. You don’t have to be an expert at product development to get started. During my time at Cal, I noticed many people getting stuck in the same phase. Some might say, “I’ve got all the business plans figured out, and all I need is one programmer to build the product.” However, as time passed, they were still searching for programmers. The ability to launch is crucial, especially in the initial stages.
Commencement speaker Elena Gomez, BS 91, chief financial officer at Boston-based Toast, told undergrad students to learn “when to take the shot or pass the ball.” Gomez said that some of her observations on teamwork come from coaching a basketball team of 10-year-old girls that had one clear star.
“Part of me was excited about winning a lot of games, but what joy would that bring without getting the rest of the team involved?” she said. “As a player or as a teammate in the workplace, and more importantly as a star, because I see a lot of stars out in the audience, learn when your teammates need you to step up and take that last shot.”
As a leader, she continued, “you will have the opportunity to help others, your team, your colleagues, imagine the impossible. As graduates from Haas, you are ready for all of that. You are ready to be a star and you are ready to pass the ball and you are ready to help others see in themselves what they thought was not possible.”
Dean Ann Harrison noted that:
54% of the undergraduates are women.
47% have earned a dual degree.
20% are the first in their families to attend college
“Look next to you–look in front of you–look behind you,” Harrison said. “You are surrounded by some of the smartest, boldest, coolest people you will meet anywhere in the world.”
Undergraduate Award Winners
Departmental Citation to the student with the most outstanding academic achievement in the field of business: Noah Oppenheimer
Question the Status Quo: Vedika Dayal
Confidence Without Attitude: Charissa Pham
Students Always: Jordan Laredo
Beyond Yourself: Vala Makhfi
Student speaker: Nina Dickens
Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching:
Lecturer Stephen Etter, BS 83, MBA 89 Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Khalil Somani, MBA 23
MBA Commencement (FTMBA + EWMBA)
Commencement speaker Frank Cooper III, BS 86, chief marketing officer at Visa, told graduates to embrace risk, reflecting on his transition from working in a law firm to the music industry.
“The fact that life is short is precisely the reason we should take risks rather than fear them,” he said. “It turns out there’s no such thing as a no-risk proposition anyway, even along what feels like the safest and surest path. From economic recession, to industry bubbles, to political surprises—we’ve all seen immovable mountains crumble.”
By taking a risk, Cooper said his varied experiences gave him the opportunity to work with extraordinary people, including Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lionel Messi, Magic Johnson, Eva Longoria, and Forest Whitaker.
What did they share in common? “They had an idea about their purpose in the world and had the courage to push back against uncertainty,” he said.
Question the Status Quo: Alyssa Kewenvoyouma
Confidence Without Attitude: Via Abolencia
Student Always: Julia Konso Mbakire
Beyond Yourself: Julian M. Ramirez, Jr.
Berkeley Leader: Afraz Khan
Student Speaker: Ricky Ghoshal
Academic Achievement Award: Math Williams (3.992)
Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching:
Professor Lucas Davis
Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Zia Mehmood, MS 20, PhD 24
EWMBA 2023 Award Winners
Question the Status Quo: Bob Wang
Confidence Without Attitude: Ana Martinez
Students Always: Krupa Patel
Beyond Yourself: Supriya Golas
Outstanding Academic Performance: Andrew Hurley
Student speaker: Farzad Yousefi
Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching: Evening MBA Program: Lecturer Maria Carkovic Weekend MBA Program: Assistant Professor Ambar La Forgia Graduate Student Instructor (GSI): Mahek Chheda
Wendy Guild has been named the new assistant dean of MBA programs, overseeing the admissions and program teams of all three Berkeley Haas MBA programs.
Guild, who begins her appointment on May 30, comes to Haas from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, where as the assistant dean of MBA programs she led marketing, recruitment, admissions, student services, curriculum, and operations of full-time, evening, and global MBA programs.
In her new role, Guild will engage deeply with students, faculty, and leadership within Haas and across the university to create a vision for the future of the school’s full-time MBA program, evening & weekend MBA program, and executive MBA program. She will champion the student experience; develop strong relationships across the Berkeley campus; and support and advance a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging.
“I know Guild will build on her outstanding work at her previous institutions and bring her academic intelligence, administrative gifts, and zeal for education to our students,” Dean Ann Harrison said. “We are very much looking forward to welcoming her and collaborating on the next great era of the Berkeley Haas MBA.”
“I know Guild will build on her outstanding work at her previous institutions and bring her academic intelligence, administrative gifts, and zeal for education to our students.” – Dean Ann Harrison.
Prior to her career at Foster, Guild served as assistant dean of strategic initiatives at UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she strengthened program development, board engagement, and strategic initiatives management. She taught leadership in executive education at the Yale School of Management and served as a program director and faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver’s Business School.
Guild is also an impressive scholar, Harrison said. She earned a PhD in organization studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where her research focused on creating engaging experiential learning content. At Foster, she taught numerous courses, with an emphasis on leadership, strategy, field studies, study tours, and sports and entertainment management.
Guild succeeds Jamie Breen, assistant dean of MBA programs, who is retiring.
Haas Voices is a first-person series that highlights the lived experiences of members of the Berkeley Haas community.
Matt Solowan, MBA 23, embodies the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership PrincipleQuestion the Status Quo in both work and life. In this Haas Voices column, Solowan discusses their commitment to workplace inclusivity, their work as a marketer at L’Oréal, and a love of all kinds of dance. Solowan will join Bain & Company in New York after graduating this month.
“Dance has always been a passion of mine. Growing up on Long Island, I did tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip hop lessons from a very young age. In high school, I was on the kickline team and we performed at football and basketball games and competed in local and national competitions. Dance was my entire life. But when I got to USC as an undergrad, I realized that it wasn’t something I wanted to do professionally, so I took it as a minor and then picked up economics, along with Italian, as a major.
As a junior at USC, looking for a summer internship, I remember this one interview I had with a bank. At that time, I presented quite femininely. I had longer hair and wore makeup. I sat down and saw this smug guy looking over my resume. I had a 4.0 as an economics major and he spent the entire time grilling me about my dance minor, correcting me that dance was my “hobby” when I called it a “passion.” That was all he could see. He didn’t care that I had a 4.0 in economics. I could tell he’d written me off the minute that I walked into the room.
I had a 4.0 as an economics major and he spent the entire time grilling me about my dance minor, correcting me that dance was my “hobby” when I called it a “passion.”
I left that interview feeling so dejected and made a point that this was the type of person that I would prove wrong in my career. Luck would have it that within the next week or two, I went to an event that L’Oréal was hosting on my campus.
At that time, I didn’t even know that you could market beauty products as a career. But when I met with the L’Oréal recruiter it was a total 180 from what I had experienced at the bank interview. Without looking back, I accepted an internship, which turned into a career working on the marketing teams across a handful of L’Oréal-owned brands, including IT Cosmetics, Maybelline, and Garnier.
Making a mark at L’Oreal
Here, I learned that having as many diverse voices as possible on work teams is so critical as it impacts everything from the makeup shades a company markets to how the company hires for its advertising campaigns. There is a pervasive culture in large beauty organizations, where beauty is viewed through the eyes of the white male gaze—white, European features, thinner, and younger women. But you have junior talent who are ready to break away from that and the old-school view of beauty.
On one brand launch I worked on I was given was a rainbow-handled makeup brush for Pride Month. I immediately flagged the launch as “rainbow-washing,” —which is when businesses use rainbow colors to suggest support for the LGBTQ community without making any tangible effort to positively impact the lives of LGBTQ people. I reached out to L’Oréal’s employee resource group for LGBTQ employees, who put me in touch with a local charity and I worked with them on a plan to have some of the sales from the brush tie back to a center for LGBTQ youth.
I was devastated when my plan was rejected by a company manager due to budget cuts. But then one of our key retailers put the brush on their website earlier than anticipated and immediate backlash from consumers started flooding in. I could have had a “told you so” moment.
Instead, I reached back out to that charity, and got things back in motion and we officially launched the brush tied to this charity. Doing what’s right isn’t always easy, which I experienced first-hand modeling for some of the brand campaigns. These multimillion, sometimes billion-dollar brands, often have employees shoot videos and images to post on social media. I was featured in quite a few of their marketing materials that went up on our Instagram. As a model, I would get very nasty hate comments from some of our consumers. That was very hard for me to reckon with. I was an employee of this brand putting my face forward and some of the consumers of this brand had a negative reaction to seeing me.
Doing what’s right isn’t always easy, which I experienced first-hand modeling for some of the brand campaigns.
But looking back, it is something I’m very proud of. I helped push a brand forward. My motto has always been, if I can have one person look at that image, and see themselves represented and feel like there is a space for them, that means much more to me than a hundred negative comments from people who really do not matter to me. It’s a trade off I’m willing to make.
Why an MBA?
At L’Oréal, I met a few people I admired for the way they spoke and presented, and the way that they tackled problems. I found out that a lot of them had MBAs and had previously worked in management consulting. It was a formula that I thought might be a good path for me.
When I came into Haas I was determined to land an internship in consulting. One of the most helpful resources to me at Haas was the second year peer advisors who had just gone through the recruiting process. They were the ones who looked at my resume, reviewed my cover letters, and were practicing cases with me during the fall and into winter break. We have a very strong pay-it-forward culture at Haas. I ended up becoming a peer advisor myself, working with both the second-years in my class who were recruiting for full-time roles in consulting and the first-years recruiting for internships. I think that was one of the most rewarding things I did at Haas.
We have a very strong pay-it-forward culture at Haas.
Heading to Bain
I chose Bain over other firms I received offers from because, even though it has a generalist model and I am hoping to specialize in retail and consumer early on, I loved all of the people that I met at Bain during the recruiting process. They were in many ways similar to the people I know at Haas: very down to earth, very kind, very warm, very supportive. I knew that consulting would be a tough job. I knew the hours would be long. It’s a rigorous role to go into post MBA. I wanted to make sure that I was surrounded by a good support system and I felt like I had met people there who would be cheerleaders for me. That carried a lot of weight.”
A student team that imagined a plan for Hyundai Cradle to build an electric-powered mobile medical fleet and market it in North America won the 2023 Haas Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBV) Challenge.
Hyundai Cradle, Hyundai Motor Group’s Mountain View, Calif.-based open innovation and investment arm, sponsored the challenge, which was held April 23 at Berkeley Haas.
Cradle challenged students to develop novel business models for the company’s future PBV market launch in North America. Hyundai Motor Group is in the final stages of building a flexible automobile base, called a skateboard, that can be used to produce many kinds of PVBs—vehicles ranging from ambulances to passenger shuttles to delivery fleets for small businesses.
The first-place team took home $15,000 for its pitch. Winning team members included Srivatsa Chakravarthy, EWMBA 25; Oleksandr Krotenko, EMBA 23; Victoria Marcus, EWMBA 25; and Simeon Ryan, EWMBA 25.
The competing teams, composed of graduate students from across all three Haas MBA programs and the UC Berkeley School of Information, participated in a semester-long series of training sessions, focused on the Lean Startup method and customer discovery training. The top three finalist teams were then tasked with finding and validating novel business models for PBVs that they pitched to judges at the end of the program.
“This was a fantastic way to showcase students from across all three of our MBA programs,” said Rhonda Shrader, executive director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program (BHEP). “The program also provided a perfect opportunity for our MBA students to work with top graduate students from across the campus.”
Solving real problems
The winning group pitched a fix for emergency medical services that they described as “antiquated, expensive, and ripe for technological disruption.” The team suggested that Cradle partner with industry leader AMR (American Medical Response) to capitalize on the company’s market share and need to contract with an outsourced fleet.
Marcus, who works in corporate finance, said she was excited to work on solving a real problem experienced by a company outside of her industry.
“Going through the pitching process with judges was the pinnacle business school experience I’ve always wanted to try since I started my EWMBA,” she said. During Lean Launch, she said her group conducted more than 30 interviews with potential clients. “We had to pivot a couple times from our original idea to make sure we were solving problems for them,” she said. “Ultimately this led us to think hard and adapt so we could develop a detailed business plan that would benefit potential clients.”
During the pitch day, Kia’s vice president of new business planning, Ju yup Kang, a judge for the competition, outlined how KIA is transforming from a car company to a “full mobility solution provider.” Henry Chung, senior vice president and head of Hyundai Cradle, said the students had clearly put in a lot of effort to develop creative solutions to difficult problems.
Chung; Kang; Changwoo Kim, a chief coordinator at Cradle; Tafflyn Toy, an open innovation project manager at Hyundai Cradle; and Nick Triantos, chief architect, automotive system software at Nvidia, served as the final challenge judges.
Team Ingenium took second place ($10,000) with a pitch for all-in-one fleet management. Members included Reggie Draper, EMBA 23; Michael LaFramboise, MBA/MEng 24; Matthew McGoffin, MBA/MEng 23; and Michael Yang, MIMS (master of information management and systems) 23.
Team Mobility Moguls took third place ($5,000) for a strategy that addressed a mobile future for police & security. Team members included Anmol Aggarwal, EWMBA 24; Suveda Dhoot, MBA 24; Hrishikesh Nagaraju, MIMS 24; Nithin Ravindra, EWMBA 23, MIMS 24; and Lutong Yang.
An MBA student team won first-prize funding for a startup that’s helping to make supply chains more efficient for small Brazilian farmers at last Friday’s Invest for Impact Pitch Competition.
The winning team, pitching on behalf of startup Clicampo-Arado, included Arsal Khanani, EWMBA 24, Byungwoo Han, MBA 23, Gui Klingelfus, MBA 23, Mateus Loesch, MBA 23, and Vivian Hare, EWMBA 23.
Clicampo, now rebranded as Arado, secured a $75,000 investment, awarded by a panel of industry judges, including Michelle Kiang, managing partner and co-founder at Impact Science Ventures; Matt Caspari, managing partner at Alumni Ventures, and Joshua Posamentier, managing partner at Congruent Ventures.
Klingelfus said he was thrilled by the team’s first-place win. “What set our team’s pitch apart was the fact that we highlighted both Arado’s social impact and its financial success, demonstrating that they are ready to scale.”
Loesch said pitching during the competition helped prepare him if he chooses to pursue a career in venture capital or entrepreneurship, as he learned about how industry pros analyze a startup’s potential.
“I don’t believe that I would have had the same experience in other classes in the MBA program,” he said.
Reducing food waste
Five MBA student teams pitched during the competition addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including food waste, financial access, health, and renewable energy. The teams included Team Health & Wellbeing representing startup Shezlong; Team Sustainable Supply Chain representing startup Diferente; Team International Development representing Farm to Feed, and Team Climate Tech representing Oceans-Sway.
Arado’s prize comes on the heels of two other funding rounds over the past year for the startup: a $7.5 million seed round and $12 million series A funding round. Founded in 2021, Arado connects small to midsize farmers in Latin America directly with restaurants and food retailers.
“Food waste is one of the main problems in the world now, and Arado came up with an innovative solution that increases the system’s efficiency and that contributed to the success of our pitch,” Loesch said.
The day also included a report from the Sustainable Investment Fund course, the first and largest student-led SRI fund within a leading business school. It offers MBA students real-world experience in delivering both strong financial returns and positive social impact in public markets. Since 2008, the student principals have more than tripled the initial investment to over $4 million.
Freada Kapor Klein, the founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, who gave a keynote at the event, noted the importance of investing in impact startups that help close opportunity gaps for communities of color and low-income communities.
In investing, “we look at one’s lived experience,” she said. “What hurdles do they encounter along the way, and how did those hurdles give them an idea for a startup that might solve the problems?”
The changes in the part-time and full-time MBA outcomes are largely due to drastic changes in the rankings factors.
The Berkeley Haas EWMBA Program, which includes our evening, weekend, and Flex cohorts for working professionals, regained the top spot after four years, thanks to its improved peer assessment and an increased emphasis on the significant work experience of Haas students. Chicago Booth dropped to #2 from #1.
The FTMBA programtied with Columbia and Duke for the #11 spot this year. Columbia and Haas previously tied for #8, while Duke ranked #12 in 2022. U.S. News increased the weight of placement success—compensation and employment within three months of graduation—to 50%, compared to 35% previously. The weighting of quality assessments, including the peer and employer polls, decreased to 25%, compared to 40% previously.
Haas reported significant increases in career outcomes for the FTMBA Class of 2022. Starting salaries were up more than $10,000 from the prior year, and 92.7% of graduates had started jobs three months after graduation. Amazon, Bain Consulting, and McKinsey & Co. were the top three hiring firms, followed closely by Adobe, BCG, Deloitte, and Google. While many Haas graduates benefit from stock options, which do not factor into U.S. News, and some take lower salaries initially to land the jobs of their choice, their lifetime career earnings are among the top three of all business schools, according to Payscale.
“The ROI of the Berkeley Haas MBA remains strong,“ said Jamie Breen, assistant dean of MBA Programs. “According to the Financial Times, our alumni reported earning the fifth highest salaries in the world three years after graduating.”
The Berkeley Haas MBA for Executives Program ranked #9 among EMBA programs, compared to #7 last year. This ranking continues to be based entirely on peer assessment by deans and full-time MBA directors.
In the U.S. News specialty rankings, based on peer assessment, the FTMBA ranked in the top 10 in the following areas:
#4 Real estate
#6 Business analytics
Overall, the five ranked Berkeley Haas degree programs appear in the top five in key rankings:
FTMBA: #4 among U.S. schools in the Financial Times
EWMBA: #1 among part-time MBA programs in U.S. News
MBA for Executives: #1 in the last published Economist EMBA ranking (2020)
John Graft, MBA 24, admits that he went “a little overboard” competing in four stock competitions during his first year at Haas. But the hours spent paid off. His team’s stock pitch in front of judges at University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler led to a coveted summer internship offer at his first-choice firm: Harris Associates in Chicago.
“The person who interviewed me at Harris had listened to me pitch at the UNC competition,” Graft said. For Graft and a group of Berkeley Haas students focused on careers in public markets investing, stock pitch competitions are an integral part of the Haas finance experience, allowing students to synthesize stock research and network with top firms that often judge the competitions.
Public markets investing is on the rise at Haas, said Bill Rindfuss, executive director of strategic programs for finance. Six first-year students seeking positions in public markets investing accepted summer internships at top investment firms including Blackrock, TCW, PIMCO, Clearbridge, Harris Associates, and Neuberger Berman.
“A decade ago we had up to a dozen MBA students going to public markets investing roles in a year,” he said. “Over time, student interest shifted more to tech investment banking and venture capital. While those interests remain strong, it’s great to see public markets investing bouncing back.”
Multiple internship offers
In a particularly difficult year for hiring, Haas exceeded expectations this year, with some students receiving multiple offers, said Ryan Tan, MBA 23, a Double Bear and the Berkeley Haas Investment Club president, who has worked closely with undergraduate and MBA peers to create more finance opportunities. That included bringing an impressive array of top industry speakers to Haas like Christina Ma, MBA 01, a partner and head of Greater China Equities at Goldman Sachs; Ben Meng, MFE 03, executive vice president and chairman of Asia Pacific at Franklin Templeton, and Ben Allen, MBA 05, CEO of Parnassus Investments.
In a particularly difficult year for hiring, Haas exceeded expectations this year, with some students receiving multiple offers. — Ryan Tan, MBA 23
Wearing many hats, Tan is also a graduate student instructor for the undergraduate Financial Economics course and a principal with the pioneering Haas Sustainable Investment Fund. (Since 2008, student principals in the Sustainable Investment Fund have more than tripled the initial investment to over $4 million, learning about SRI and ESG investment strategies and practices.)
Students in the public markets investing track agree that their group is collaborative, helping each other both in class and during job searches. They’re also given the chance to participate in a half-dozen stock pitch competitions that the club enters annually.
At competitions, teams develop a thesis around a stock or bond, build a financial model to value the security, evaluate the risks of the investment, and build a Powerpoint after synthesizing the research. “You put this together and pitch the security to a panel of judges, all of whom work at the top investment management firms,” Graft said.
Navigating pitch competitions
MBA students credit Tan for mentoring teams on how to navigate a pitch competition.
“He helped us to understand what the judges were looking for,” said Austin Schoff, MBA 24, a co-president of the Haas Investment Club, who led an MBA student team at the MIT Sloan School Stock Pitch Competition last November. Haas placed second at MIT Sloan, second at Chicago Booth, and third at the UNC Alpha Challenge.
Schoff, who came to Haas planning to pivot from private wealth management, landed an internship this summer with the equity research team at TCW.
“Ryan has done an enormous amount of work,” said Steve Etter, who teaches finance at Haas and is a founding partner at Greyrock Capital Group. “It’s nice to see when a student goes beyond himself for the benefit of all.”
Xavier Jefferson, MBA 24, competed in a pitch challenge online hosted by Columbia Business School and at the in-person event at Chicago Booth.
“At Haas, we go to as many challenges as we want and that gives you exposure to all the firms and prepares you to pitch a stock or bond,” he said. “That’s a huge part of the interview process, and having the practice of pitching gives you a leg up.” A Toigo Fellow and a Haas Finance Fellow, Jefferson will intern at Clearbridge this summer.
“At Haas, we go to as many challenges as we want and that gives us exposure to all the firms and prepares you to pitch a stock or bond.” —Xavier Jefferson, MBA 24
After participating in multiple pitch competitions—as usually the only woman or one of two women—on the team, Meredith Albion, MBA 24, noted that the competitions would benefit from having more female members.
As a Berkeley Haas Finance Fellow in investment management Albion was assigned a female mentor, who helped prepare her to interview for summer internships. (All 12 of the Finance Fellows named each year are assigned a Haas alumni mentor.) Albion credits her mentor with helping her land an internship at PIMCO in Newport Beach this summer. Like other first-year MBA students in the Investment Club, she plans to work on the Haas Sustainable investment Fund next year and integrate sustainable investing into her career.
With Albion, Schoff, and Graft at the helm as co-presidents of the Haas Investment Club —Tan said he’s confident that Haas will continue its success.
“The message we need to get out is that if you come to Haas for investment management and sustainable investing you will be involved and plugged in, you will be given mentorship,” Tan said. “And people get jobs.”
Classified articles spotlight some of the more powerful lessons faculty are teaching in Haas classrooms.
It’s week four of the Climate Change and Business Strategy course at Berkeley Haas, and Senior Lecturer Andrew Isaacs kicks off with a slide that compares China’s CO2 emissions to those of the U.S. and other countries.
“What you notice right away is a three-fold increase coming from China,” he said, noting that the country’s blazing economic growth has come with a huge increase in demand for energy. “This is like nothing the world has experienced. China is the elephant in the room right now, even though the US still leads the world in cumulative emissions of planet-warming gasses.”
As class continues, Isaacs covers the different potencies of the main greenhouse gasses, presents a quick tutorial on the First Law of Thermodynamics—energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form to another—and posts graphs that show how much countries have warmed over time and track loss of ice and snow around the world. “There will be a September within your lifetime that sees an ice-free Arctic Ocean,” he tells the 51 Haas Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA students in the class at Chou Hall.
It’s a lot for students to take in. “I knew there was a crisis, but to see how it might play out is mind blowing,” said Harry Davies, MBA 23, who interned for Impossible Foods last summer and plans to pursue a career at the intersection of sustainability and food.
“I knew there was a crisis, but to see how it might play out is mind blowing,” – Harry Davies, MBA 23.
After launching the course two years ago, Isaacs’ worry about the planet’s fate has only escalated. “We’re only starting to grapple with these problems,” he said. “In the coming weeks of class we’ll look at the various solutions available to us. But if we get climate change wrong, it doesn’t matter what else we get right.”
One key to getting it right? Electrification—and moving away from the inefficiency of fossil fuels, particularly gasoline-powered automobiles, Isaacs told students. “If I’m driving to work in a gasoline-powered car, 10% of the energy in each gallon of gas I burn gets me to work, and the other 90% goes to heating up the air around the car. You wanted mobility, but you used something—an automobile —that instead is good at producing heat,” he said. “Our economy is built substantially on the inefficient and inappropriate use of resources.”
“Our economy is built substantially on the inefficient and inappropriate use of resources.” – Andrew Isaacs
Response to a wildfire
Isaacs created the Climate Change and Business Strategy course after being forced to evacuate his home in Napa, California, during the 2020 North Bay wildfires. A geochemist by training who started his career as a scientist at NASA, Isaacs didn’t end up losing his house. But the fire did lead him to examine how he could do more to educate students about climate change. Since introducing the course, he also helped Haas launch a summer minor in sustainability open to all UC Berkeley undergraduates.
The class has filled up every semester. It helps immensely that Haas Dean Ann Harrison and Sustainability Director Michele de Nevers have both supported the sustainability course since its inception, Isaacs said.
“Drew’s course is critical to ensuring that our students graduate equipped to take on both the challenges and opportunities that climate change poses to business and our world,” de Nevers said. “A basic understanding of the fundamental science of climate change is critical to implementing and evaluating whether a business’s sustainability efforts are effective or just greenwashing.”
“A basic understanding of the fundamental science of climate change is critical to implementing and evaluating whether a business’s sustainability efforts are effective or just greenwashing.” – Michele de Nevers
The class covers a sweeping number of topics, including climate governance, carbon offsets, carbon capture and storage, greenwashing versus informed decision making, and investing in climate solutions. Students also examine corporate strategies, studying Apple’s climate roadmap, Tesla’s impact report, and Unilever’s progress. Guest speakers this semester include Peter Fiske, MBA 02, director of the Berkeley Lab’s Water-Energy Resilience Institute, and Phoebe Wang, an investment partner at the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, who will discuss climate startups.
In April, Graduate Student Instructor Natàlia Costa i Coromina, who has taught the class since fall 2021, will teach a session, exploring a case she co-wrote with Isaacs that questions whether Gen Z’s climate knowledge matches its climate concern.
Costa i Coromina, a second-year student in the Master of Development Practice at UC Berkeley, said she wants students who enter the course with “radical passion and a willingness to learn,” and to leave not deflated by climate anxiety, but instead with an action plan and a systems change mindset.
“They learn how hard it is going to be, because climate change will be (and is already) impacting every aspect of our lives” she said. “We equip students with the science, from the Keeling Curve (a daily record of global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration) and GHG emissions to offsets and resiliency; and then their eyes open to what does this all means for business: that, in fact, every single department—marketing, supply chain, operations, finance, HR—has a role to play.”
Filling in the gaps
Students said they had a wide variety of reasons for enrolling in the class, from a desire to create more effective policies at work to exploring the science of climate change to making more effective changes in their personal and work lives.
Himanshi Arora, MBA 24, came to Haas after working as an operations manager at Procter & Gamble, where she considered how to make packaging more sustainable and delivery more efficient. “I’ve been thinking about getting deeper into climate change and sustainability for a while,” she said. “Climate change is such a huge problem that will impact every corner of the Earth, particularly people who are marginalized. I took this class because I want to know if my thinking (about how to make change) is right and to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.”
Some students, including Rathin Ramesh, EWMBA 23, enrolled in the course as part of earning the Michaels Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business, which includes nine units of sustainability coursework over the course of the MBA program. Ramesh said the course will help him to make more impactful decisions for his company, a cannabis delivery service. “All of my drivers use cars, and two of them have a Prius. In trying to apply this knowledge one of the first things you’d do is figure out how to electrify your fleet or implement more sustainable growing practices at the farms we work with.”
Joy Wang, MBA 23, who is from China and has lived in the U.S. for a decade, said the world—not just China—shoulders the responsibility for turning the climate crisis around. Wang, who will work at EY Parthenon after graduating, said many projects she worked on while interning at EY required a sustainability strategy. “One day, these projects will be a bigger part of my job, so I want to prepare,” she said.