Haas launches deferred MBA admissions program

Undergrad students
Undergraduates will be able to apply early to the Full-time MBA program under the new Accelerated Access Program. Photo: Noah Berger

A new Berkeley Haas program will give undergraduates the option of applying early for a coveted spot in the full-time MBA program and deferring for two to five years to gain the required professional experience.

Accelerated Access, which launches today, will be initially open only to UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students in their final year of study, with a plan to expand to students throughout the University of California system and then more broadly in the future. A kickoff event will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 28, in Chou Hall from 6-8pm.

“Accelerated Access is an innovative way for students to secure a seat in our MBA program, providing a way for them to pursue full-time work that aligns with their passions, with reassurance that they will be able to return to a top-ranked MBA program in a few years,” said Morgan Bernstein, director of strategic initiatives, who is spearheading the launch.

Reaching across campus

Morgan Bernstein
Morgan Bernstein is spearheading the new Accelerated Access Program.

Under Accelerated Access, undergraduates will apply to the MBA program during the final year of their bachelor’s program. Successful applicants will gain conditional admission, and can enroll after a flexible two-to-five-year deferment period for professional experience.

Haas Dean Ann Harrison said Accelerated Access is another way that Haas is reaching across campus to offer new opportunities to students who previously might not have considered an MBA.

“We’re so excited to offer this program exclusively to UC Berkeley students this year,” she said. “We have so much talent here in the Berkeley community—and this is another way that we are cultivating and committing to that talent.”

Bernstein has been introducing the program across campus in recent weeks, and says the early response has been enthusiastic.

“We believe that this program will increase the diversity of our class, compelling students from a wide variety of academic disciplines to consider an MBA—from students in environmental science who want to pursue careers in sustainability to engineering students who want to complement their technical skills with a business foundation,” she said.

Application fee waived

There are two application deadlines in the pilot cycle: Thursday, April 2, 2020 and Thursday, June 11, 2020. The application process is similar to that of the full-time MBA program, with requirements including a resume, two letters of recommendation, two short essays, undergraduate transcripts, and either the GMAT or GRE standardized test. An interview will be required for admission.

Haas will waive the $200 application fee for UC Berkeley applicants this year and will be making up to five $100,000 scholarship awards to celebrate the launch as well as the 10th anniversary of the Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always and Beyond Yourself.  Embodiment of the principles will be among the criteria that are considered for the awards.

Shaibya Dalal, who earned a BA in political science in 2011 from Berkeley and returned in 2018 as a full-time MBA student, said she couldn’t be happier that she chose Cal twice.

“The MBA culture at Haas is incredibly collaborative—whether you need notes from a class, advice for your start-up, or even help moving furniture, you can rely on Haasies,” she said. “My peers are kind, generous, open-minded, and intellectually curious. Constantly being around such brilliant people has challenged and stimulated me in completely new ways.”

For more information about the program please email accelerate@haas.berkeley.edu.


Year in review: Top Berkeley Haas stories of 2019

It was a big year at Berkeley Haas. We welcomed the school’s first new dean in more than a decade, continued our run in the top 10 in all rankings, and launched several new boundary-spanning programs. Our faculty broke new ground and were honored with numerous awards, and we also mourned the loss of several luminaries. The school was also recognized for its stellar sustainability efforts at our new building.

Going into the 2020, our culture—truly at the heart of Haas—will continue to take center stage. Here are a dozen of our highlights from 2019.

1. New year, new dean

Dean Ann Harrison
Dean Ann Harrison | Copyright Noah Berger 2018

On January 1, former Wharton economics professor Ann Harrison “came home” to Berkeley to serve as the 15th dean of Haas. Harrison was a double major in history and economics at UC Berkeley before going on to earn a PhD in economics from Princeton. She also served as a professor of UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics from 2001 to 2011, and was the former director of development policy at the World Bank.

2. Fresh insights and groundbreaking research

Illustration of a satellite orbiting the earth

From the first-ever analysis of how hedge funds use satellite images to beat Wall Street, to a finding that information acts on the brain’s dopamine receptors in the same way as snacks, drugs, and money, to new insights from social network experts on how the opioid use spreads in families, Haas faculty questioned the status quo with their creative and groundbreaking research. They also made an impact: Ginnie Mae adopted a proposal based on Haas professors’ research for better risk management of non-bank lenders, and U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren and Doug Jones launched an investigation into evidence uncovered by three faculty that that online lending algorithms have created widespread lending discrimination.

3. Shedding light on PG&E blackouts

Professors Catherine Wolfram and Severin Borenstein

Haas experts were in high demand to make sense of this fall’s unprecedented power shutoffs. Energy economists Severin Borenstein and Catherine Wolfram of the Energy Institute at Haas fielded a stream of questions from journalists after Pacific Gas & Electric determined it could not guarantee the safety of its lines and shut down power to hundreds of thousands of people, including the entire UC Berkeley campus.

4. Mourning the loss of faculty luminaries

Prof. Mark Rubinstein in his home library / Photo by Jim Block
Prof. Mark Rubinstein in his home library | Photo by Jim Block

Mark Rubinstein (above), a finance professor emeritus whose work had a profound impact on Wall Street by forever changing how financial assets are created and priced, died at 74. Raymond Miles, a former Berkeley Haas dean and professor emeritus whose leadership had a deep and lasting impact on the Haas campus and community, passed away at 86. Leo Helzel, MBA 68, LLM 70, an honored faculty member who guided the school’s first forays into entrepreneurship and was a dedicated and generous supporter of Haas for decades, died at 101. Rob Chandra, BS 88, a professional faculty member since 2013, taught courses on entrepreneurship and venture capital to both undergraduate and MBA students. He passed away in October at age 53.

5. STEM designation for MBA programs

Photo of students in Chou Hall at Haas

Berkeley Haas is among the first business schools to receive a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) designation for its MBA programs. The designation makes all international graduates eligible to apply for an additional 24-month visa extension during post-MBA employment. All current international students studying on F-1 visas will be eligible to apply for the extension while they are in their first year of work authorization after graduating from the MBA program. “We anticipate that this will lead to expanded opportunities for our international graduates who pursue jobs incorporating business analytics, modeling, forecasting, and other skills developed through our program,” said Peter Johnson, assistant dean of the FTMBA program and admissions.

6. Record rankings

Students at work during week zero
Photo by Jim Block

All Haas programs continued their run in the top 10 in all major rankings, with the full-time MBA program moving up to #6 in the U.S. in the U.S. News & World Report ranking—its highest ever. The FTMBA program was also ranked #6 in the U.S. by The Economist (#7 worldwide) and #8 in the U.S. by Bloomberg BusinessweekU.S. News ranked the Berkeley Haas Evening & Weekend MBA Program #2, the Undergraduate Program #3, and the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program #7.  The Master of Financial Engineering Program was ranked #1 by The Financial Engineer, and #2 by QuantNet.

7. Chou Hall’s green trifecta

Photo of the front of Chou Hall

Our newest building officially became the greenest academic space in the U.S., receiving a WELL Certification recognizing its “strong commitment to supporting human health, well-being, and comfort;” a TRUE Zero Waste Certification at the highest possible level for diverting at least 90% of its waste from landfills; and LEED Platinum Certification for its architectural design, construction, and energy efficiency.

8. Welcoming David Porter, our first Chief DEI officer

Berkley Haas Chief DEI Officer David Porter

“My first priority is making sure that the students, particularly students of color, have the best experience possible,” said Porter, who previously served as CEO of media nonprofit Walter Kaitz Foundation, director of graduate programs at the Howard University School of Business, and as an assistant professor and faculty director at UCLA’s Anderson School.

9. Unveiling a new sustainable and impact finance program (SAIF)

MBA students who managed the Haas Sustainably Investment Fund
MBA students who have managed the Sustainable Investment Fund at Haas. Photo: Jim Block

The Sustainable and Impact Finance program aims to better position students to work in sustainable and impact finance as public fund managers or private equity investors, or in the startup world. It’s focused on three sectors: sustainable investment, impact investment, and impact entrepreneurship. Assoc. Prof. Adair Morse developed the new program with Prof. Laura Tyson, faculty director for the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI).

10. Building campus connections with cross-disciplinary programs

Haas joined forces with the College of Engineering to launch the concurrent MBA/MEng dual degree program. The new program, enrolling for fall 2020, allows students with undergraduate technical training to earn both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Engineering degree in just two years. The new undergrad Biology+Business dual major is designed to prepare students for careers in healthcare, biotech, and drug discovery research. It’s a joint venture between the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology and Haas.

11. A host of honors for faculty

Top row: Chesbrough, Mowery, Wallace. Middle: Dal Bó, Schroeder, Morse. Bottom: Konchitchki, Patatoukas, Finan.

Assoc. Prof. Yaniv Konchitchki and Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas received the 2019 Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award from the American Accounting Association. Prof. Emeritus David Mowery received the 2019 Irwin Outstanding Educator Award from the Academy of Management’s Strategic Management Division. Adj. Prof. Henry Chesbrough received the Leadership in Technology Management Award from the Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET). Prof. Nancy Wallace was honored by campus with a prestigious faculty service award. Miguel Villas-Boas was awarded the 2019 INFORMS Society for Marketing Science Fellow Award, which is the organization’s highest award recognizing cumulative scholarship and long-term contributions to the marketing field. Prof. Ernesto Dal Bó and Prof. Frederico Finan received the 2019 Williamson Award at the 2019 Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics (SIOE) conference. Assoc. Prof. Juliana Schroeder was recognized as a “Best 40 Under 40” professor by Poets & Quants. Cheit Awards for Excellence in Teaching went to professors Adair Morse, Ross Levine, Yaniv Konchitchki, and Hoai-Luu Nguyen, along with lecturers Janet Brady, Eric Reiner, and Veselina Dinova.

12. Going deeper on culture

We continued to embed our Defining Leadership Principles (DLPs)—Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself—throughout the school. In January, the Berkeley Haas Cultural Initiative launched with a  pioneering conference where executives from Facebook, Netflix, Zappos, Pixar Animation Studios, Deloitte, and other “culture aware” companies mingled with top academics from around the world. Separately, Haas supporters donated over $200,000 to distribute as grants for efforts aimed at keeping our DLPs strong. After reviewing 29 proposals from students, faculty, and staff, grant reviewers funded six projects and initiatives.

Strong salary bump for FTMBA Class of 2019

Full-time MBA students at 2019 commencement. Photo: Noah Berger
Full-time MBA students at 2019 commencement. Photo: Noah Berger

Class of 2019 full-time MBA graduates got a healthy salary bump this year, jumping to a median starting salary of $140,000 from $125,000 last year.

“The Berkeley MBA is demonstrating its value in the market, with starting salaries for our MBA grads increasing by 12%,” said Abby Scott, assistant dean of Career Management & Corporate Relations. “Compensation packages from consulting firms and financial services firms are the biggest contributors to that increase—as more students headed to the top firms in those fields this year.”

About 93% of the job seeking population, or 211 students, received job offers within three months of graduation, and 91% had accepted offers within three months of graduation.

In addition to record strong base pay, 76% of graduates received signing bonuses that averaged $29,141, and 46% of the graduates received stock options or grants. (Option values, which are hard to quantify, are not included in the compensation totals in the 2019 employment report.)

Top employers of Haas graduates this year included Adobe, Amazon, Bain, Ernst & Young (including Parthenon), Boston Consulting Group, Cisco, Deloitte, The Clorox Company, Google, LEK, McKinsey & Co., PWC, and Visa.

Tech, Consulting top sectors

Christina Chavez took a job at Google after graduation.
Christina Chavez interned at Google and took a job at the company after graduation.

Technology was again the most popular sector for new Berkeley MBAs, pulling in 33 percent of the graduates.

Christina Chavez, MBA 19, headed to Google, where she interned in 2018, as an agency development manager, working with the same team under the same manager. “A few different things appealed to me about Google,” she said. “They have a transparent culture and it’s a fairly flat organization for a large company. You have a lot of autonomy to shape your career and your role and that was really appealing to me.”

About 25% of students accepted jobs in consulting, followed by 15% in financial services and 9.7%t in consumer packaged goods/retail.

Joining a group of graduates who went to McKinsey was Kelly Lamble, MBA 19, who landed a job as an associate in strategy and corporate finance at McKinsey’s New York office.

Lamble arrived at Haas focused on impact investing and social entrepreneurship and interned at financial services startup Branch International, spending five weeks in Kenya with the company. But her journey ended up leading her to consulting, where she thought she could gain the professional skillset she needed to transition from finance to strategy. “I was looking at all of the top consultancies,” she said. “McKinsey was the right fit for me.”

“A tangible impact from the work”

Rob Zuban works at Ford.
Rob Zuban, a former consultant, now works in product marketing at Ford.

Close to 20% of graduates chose the entrepreneurship/startup route. Fifteen percent of the job- seeking population took jobs at startups, while 5% of the class started their own companies, like Ludwig Schoenack, MBA 19, a former McKinsey consultant who co-founded car rental app Kyte.

An increasing number of students are interested in both interning and working at transportation-focused companies, including Rob Zuban, MBA 19, who joined Ford as a product marketing manager in the company’s cross vehicle and connected technology group. Zuban said he got an MBA to transition out of strategy consulting, where he’d spent six years. “I realized that I wanted to see more tangible impact from the work I was doing, and be closer to the customer.”

At Haas, he pursued opportunities in mobility and clean energy, participating in Cleantech to Market, and working with the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC). With Ford, he’ll rotate among divisions during his training program, beginning in marketing. In his current role, Zuban helps launch new assisted driving features such as hands-free driving.

“Ford makes products that people use daily, which appealed to me,” he said. “It’s exciting to launch new technology features, especially on our upcoming electric vehicles that can drive customer adoption.”

FTMBA ranked #7 in the world by The Economist

The Economist magazine ranked the Berkeley Haas Full-time MBA program #7 in the world—up four points over last year—and #6 among US schools in its “Which MBA?” ranking published today.

Haas students and alumni once again ranked the school #1 for culture and classmates.

Haas’ four-point jump in the overall ranking was primarily due to a significantly improved ranking in career opportunities. Specifically, Haas rose in the diversity of industries recruiting the school’s graduates and in its student and alumni rating of Haas career development services.

Haas students and recent alumni also rated its alumni network as more effective than they have in past years. Its alumni network again ranked as the most international.

This ranking is based on data provided by participating schools and a survey of students and recent alumni (MBA classes 2018, 2019, and 2020), conducted in spring 2019. The Economist evaluates schools in four categories: career opportunities, personal development/educational experience, salaries, and potential to network.

In last year’s Economist ranking, the FTMBA program was #11 in the world and #10 among US peers, after previously ranking #7 in the world in 2016 and in 2017.

See full report.

Haas launches Biology+Business dual-major program

Photo of Chou Hall with cyclists passing
The new Biology+Business dual-major program aims to provide interdisciplinary solutions to 21st-century challenges.

The new Biology+Business dual-major has launched, a program designed to prepare students for careers in healthcare, in addition to biotech and drug discovery research.

The program, a joint venture between the Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Haas, will enroll about 25 students a year, providing undergraduates with an integrated curriculum, mentoring, and internships to develop innovative leadership skills in bio business. It is the second program of its kind in the country.

Former Haas Dean Rich Lyons and Michael Botchan, dean of Biological Sciences, came up with the idea for the program. The first class of Biology+Business students will enroll in fall of 2020. The window for students to apply is Nov.1-29, 2019.

In the program, students will earn a bachelor of science degree in business administration and a bachelor of arts degree in molecular and cell biology in the emphasis of their choice: biochemistry & molecular biology; cell & developmental biology; genetics, genomics, & development; immunology & pathogenesis; or neurobiology.

Admission to the Biology+Business Program is open only to students who enter UC Berkeley as freshmen. Students must complete all prerequisite requirements for Haas, alongside the requirements for molecular cellular biology. Students apply to the Biology+Business Program during their sophomore year.

There are no curriculum changes to either degree program, although there is specialized coursework offered along the way, said Sarah Maslov, program manager of the Biology+Business Program. Internships are a key part of the program.

“The program’s real value-add is the professional development opportunities it offers,” Maslov said.

Gail Maderis, BS 78, and Ann Stock Zakaria, BA 79 (biochemistry), PhD 86 (comparative biochemistry), are among the founding program donors.

“This program will provide Cal students with the fundamental knowledge to change patients’ lives,” said Maderis, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Antiva Biosciences, a venture-backed biopharmaceutical company. “Having a baseline of understanding of business and science creates a much more well-rounded employee who can move fluidly between the disciplines.”

Zakaria said the program is crucial for preparing students to enter professional life. “While the academic labs are a very rich environment for innovation and the generation of ideas, it’s hard to bring those things to a marketable point—or even to a point where large pharma would be interested in them—without biotechnology and venture enterprise coming in,” she said.

Haas unveils revamped sustainable and impact finance program

Katharine Hawthorne, MBA 20, came to Haas to build a career in impact investing.

Katharine Hawthorne, MBA 20, came to Haas to build a career in impact investing.
Katharine Hawthorne, MBA 20, came to Haas to build a career in impact investing.

She’s found plenty to dive into so far—as co-president of the Haas Private Equity Club, a principal of the school’s student-run social impact fund, and a summer intern at Patamar Capital in Jakarta, helping to make investment decisions in high-growth companies in South and Southeast Asia.

Now in her second year at Haas, she’ll be able to go even deeper, in a newly expanded sustainable and impact investing program that Berkeley Haas rolled out last week. The program, called Sustainable and Impact Finance, or SAIF, is focused on three sectors: sustainable investment, impact investment, and impact entrepreneurship.

Moving to the next level

By creating the new pathways, the program will better position students who aim to work in sustainable and impact finance as public fund managers or private equity investors, or in the startup world.

Assoc. Prof. Adair Morse spent the past year developing the new program with Prof. Laura Tyson, faculty director for the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI).

SAIF includes new courses, expanded activities, research projects, internships, and student investment fund management opportunities in impact finance, which differs from traditional investment finance because investors aim for both positive financial return and a positive impact on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) outcomes, as well as social justice. In class, students learn how to evaluate a company based on its ESG performance.

Assoc. Prof. Adair Morse
Assoc. Prof. Adair Morse, faculty director of the new Sustainable and Impact Finance program.

“With SAIF, we’re continuing the Berkeley Haas tradition of thought leadership in sustainability and impact in finance and entrepreneurship,” Tyson said. “There’s deep interest in sustainable and impact investing careers at Haas, and our existing courses and activities, including the student-run Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund, have been enormously successful.  SAIF will build on this strong foundation, enabling us to move to the next level in an organized, targeted, and meaningful way that keeps pace with rapid changes in sustainable and impact investing and impact entrepreneurship.”

“Haas needs to continue to lead the way in these areas,” said Morse, faculty director for SAIF. “The world is changing and we have issues of climate change, supply chain transparency, gender diversity, and social justice to take care of and this should be fully integrated into the business curriculum.”

A pioneer in corporate social responsibility

Photo of Prof. Laura Tyson
“We’re continuing the Berkeley Haas tradition,” – Prof. Laura Tyson, who worked on the SAIF initiative for the past year.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Haas was ranked the top graduate business school in sustainable finance and investing, according to data from the QS World University Rankings. The school is a pioneer in social impact investing, with efforts beginning during the late 1950s when late Dean Budd Cheit launched the first courses on corporate social responsibility. Haas now offers a total of nine courses devoted to the topic, more than any other school, as well as several others that cover related topics such as social impact metrics and impact ventures.

SAIF’s three tracks are designed to emphasize different aspects of impact investing. The course pathways are:

  • Sustainable investment: This track trains students to be managers of and investors in sustainable/responsible/ESG investment portfolios, primarily in publicly traded stocks and bonds. First-year courses include “Financial Information Analysis” and “Sustainable Portfolio Construction,” followed by a full year of investment work with the $3 million Sustainable Investment Fund. The fund, formerly called the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund, was founded in 2007 and has graduated over 90 students. Enrolled students become fund managers, analyzing investments and constructing and managing a portfolio.

    Haas students who manage the sustainable investment fund.
    MBA students who have managed the Sustainable Investment Fund at Haas, formerly called the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund. Photo: Jim Block
  • Impact investment:  Impact investing, a term coined by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2007, includes investments that generate financial returns and create a positive impact. This track prepares students for investment careers in private equity, venture capital, and real assets. Courses include “Impact Finance & Entrepreneurship” and “Impact Venture Partners: Portfolio.” Another course, “Impact Investing Practicum,” places student teams with impact investors to complete pre-vetted projects. Haas has placed seven teams, a total of 20 students, over the past several years in projects for clients including Omidyar, Salesforce, Patagonia, Cambridge Associates, and Gratitude Railroad.

    Photo of Jessie Tang, MBA 20
    Jessie Tang, MBA 20, worked on an impact investing project for Gratitude Railroad.
  • Impact entrepreneurship: This track helps students understand social impact financing from both a fund perspective and a startup perspective. Courses include “Impact Startup Launchpad” (previously Social Lean Launchpad), and “New Venture Finance.” Haas entrepreneurship lecturer Jorge Calderon leads the pathway, which includes management of a new fund called Berkeley Impact Venture Partners. The fund has a dual strategy: The “catalyst fund” provides startup teams at the pre-seed stage with $5,000 grants, while the “scale fund” helps startup teams, on or off campus, that are further along in their development with larger market rate equity investments. Electives for students in this track include “Food Innovation Studio,” “Impact Disco,” and “Social Impact Metrics.”
Haas entrepreneurship lecturer Jorge Calderon leads the entrepreneurship pathway
Haas Lecturer Jorge Calderon leads the impact entrepreneurship pathway of the new SAIF program.

Jessie Tang, MBA 20, said the pathways are a great way to formalize all of the program’s offerings. “I like that they’re trying to put more of a framework around this,” said Tang, who was on a team assigned last spring to an Impact Investing Practicum project with Gratitude Railroad, an alternative investment platform committed to solving environmental and social problems. “They’re working out ways to help the students navigate the course offerings in a better way.”

Growing interest in impact investing careers

Additional members of the SAIF team, who helped develop parts of the program and will also teach courses, include William Rindfuss, executive director of strategic programs, Julia Sze, a lecturer in social leadership, Ben Mangan, executive director for the Center for Social Sector Leadership, Nora Silver, founder and faculty director with the Center for Social Sector Leadership, and Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas, who is launching new research on impact finance.

Tang, who will be the Graduate School Instructor (GSI) for the Impact Finance & Entrepreneurship class Morse is teaching this fall, is among a growing group of Haas students and alumni working in social and impact investing, including Patrick Hamm, MBA 20, who was a research analyst intern at Parnassus Investments, a pioneer in socially responsible investments, in San Francisco last summer; Adrian Rodrigues, MBA 18, who is co-founder and managing partner of Hyphae Partners, which works with businesses to develop and finance regenerative business models; Zeina Fayyaz Kim, MBA 16, an associate partner at NewSchools Venture Fund in Oakland, a national nonprofit venture philanthropy fund focused on public education; and Zach Knight, MBA 15, who is a co-founder and partner of Blue Forest Conservation, which works to protect forest health through a forest resilience bond.

Haas welcomes more than a thousand new students to campus

photo of the new MBA class
The new full-time MBA class! Photo: Benny Johnson

Haas welcomed new students in the full-time MBA, undergraduate, and PhD programs to campus this month for orientation and the start of fall semester. New students in the evening & weekend MBA program arrived earlier this summer, beginning classes July 29.

Full-time Berkeley MBA Program

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Photos of the Cohort Olympics by Jim Block.

The theme of diversity and inclusion in business ran throughout orientation, also known as Week Zero, for the 283 new students in the full-time MBA class, with sessions on diversity and leadership led by Director of Inclusion & Diversity Élida Bautista, and new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer David Porter.

“We chose the diversity and inclusion theme intentionally this year and we wove it throughout the week,” said Peter Johnson, assistant dean full-time MBA program and admissions. “We want to help our students better understand the business case for diversity and the importance of becoming leaders who are able to effectively guide a diverse and inclusive organization.”

The week kicked off with alumni speaker and Cisco executive Nikita Mitchell, MBA 15, and continued with a business case reveal Tuesday and surprise visitors: executives from global investment management firm BlackRock (students had read a case about BlackRock’s diversity efforts before arriving). Weijian Shan, chairman and CEO of PAG Group, launched the fall Dean’s Speaker Series, discussing his new book “Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America.” (Watch the video of Shan’s talk here.)

Class members also met their study teams, worked together at an urban farm at the Alameda Point Collaborative, and competed in the annual Cohort Olympics.

Photo of BlackRock's Frank Cooper, who surprised the MBA students
Frank Cooper, global CMO of BlackRock, makes his way to the stage, as surprised students react to BlackRock’s visit. Photo: Benny Johnson

The incoming class of MBA students is comprised of 37% women. U.S. minorities are 30% of the class overall, and underrepresented minorities comprise 14% of the class (or 22% of just the U.S. students). They include a total of 41 African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students—a sharp increase from last year, when they were 7% of the class (11% of the U.S. students). The group is 35% international, hailing from 39 countries; India, China, Brazil, Peru, Canada, Japan, and Mexico are the top represented countries.

Dean Ann Harrison photo by Jim Block
Dean Ann Harrison: “We have really high expectations of you.” Photo: Jim Block

Dean Ann Harrison, addressing her first entering MBA class as dean, urged students to take time to really get to know each other, and to take advantage of the Haas alumni and broader UC Berkeley network. “This place is awesome, and it’s also awesomely demanding,” she said. “We have really high expectations of you. How hard you work this year will immediately pay off.”

Students in the class have an average of five years work experience, 20% in consulting, 17% in finance and financial services, and 11% in the nonprofit world. The class includes 24 veterans.

Morgan Bernstein, executive director of full-time MBA admissions, called out many students by name during a reception, including Manny Smith, who competed at the Team USA World Sprinter Championships and was the Armed Forces Men’s Track Champion in 2017; Randall Nixon, a Division 1 football college quarterback; Margie Cadet, a trained doula who helped expectant mothers; Jung Bahk, a back-up dancer for K-pop singers; and Daniela Kurinaga, who helped give 600 small & medium enterprises their first access to credit at Banco Credito del Peru.

MBA students break into study groups to get to know each other.
MBA students met their study groups during orientation. Photo: Jim Block

Students said they are excited to begin classes.

“If Week Zero is a representation of what the next two years at Haas will be like, it will likely be the best two years of my life,” said Soniya Parmar, MBA 21, who is from India.

Undergraduate Program

The new class of undergraduate students—an international group of music lovers, cooks, speakers of multiple languages, athletes, travelers, and photographers—kicked off orientation Tuesday in Spieker Forum in Chou Hall. Dean Harrison welcomed the students, professional faculty members Todd Fitch and Krystal Thomas led a discussion on thriving in the Berkeley Haas community. Chief DEI Officer David Porter and Derek Brown, a Berkeley Haas PhD candidate, steered sessions on team building and leadership.

Of the 362 incoming undergraduate students, 265 are continuing UC Berkeley students and 97 transferred into the program. Continuing students held an average GPA of 3.67 and transfer students’ GPA averages 3.89.  The class was accepted from a total of 2,663 applicants.

In addition, 49 undergraduate students in the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology program (M.E.T.) started this week. The program, a collaboration between the Haas School of Business and the UC Berkeley College of Engineering, grants graduates two degrees—in business and in engineering—in four years, with the goal of providing deep leadership and technology skills.

Over the summer, 28 new students arrived in the undergraduate Global Management Program, a selective, four-year international Berkeley Haas program that launched in 2018. On top of an already demanding undergraduate curriculum, students must fulfill a language requirement, study abroad their first semester, and take specialized global business courses.

“We’re so proud of this international, talented new class,” said Erika Walker, assistant dean of the Haas Undergraduate Program “They’ve achieved amazing feats academically and are going beyond themselves in so many ways inside and outside of the classroom. We can’t wait to see what they do.”

All of the new undergrad students received new Berkeley Haas backpacks.
Entering undergrad students show off their new Berkeley Haas backpacks. Photo: Dinko Lakic

Evening & Weekend MBA Program

The 279 new students in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program gathered for their WE Launch orientation July 26-28 at the Doubletree Berkeley Marina, where they were assigned to a cohort of 70 to 75 students for their core courses.

Students in the EWMBA program balance their classes while working full time. Class members work for a total of 216 companies—23% in high tech, 11% in computer related services, and 9% in consulting. The top job role is engineering (18%), followed by marketing and sales (15%).

New evening and weekend students gather
The 279 new students in the EWMBA class participate in We Launch orientation before starting classes. Photo: Jim Block

Seventy-nine percent of the class lives and work in the Bay Area, although the students hail from 21 countries. More than a third of the class are women and the median student age is 30.

A few fun facts: one student was an extra in the 2011 Steven Soderbergh movie “Contagion,” while another founded the Bay area’s Greenfoot Hiking Club, which has more than 350 members. The class also includes a former pro baseball player and an opera singer. Many of the students are multi-lingual (one even speaks seven languages).

PhD Program

Twelve new students began the PhD program this year, bringing the total number of the students in the program to 71.

New PhD student photo of the class
The new class of PhD students. Top row, left to right: Top row, l-r: Pavel Bacherikov, Yixiang Xu, Shoshana Jarvis, Charlie Townsend, Jaeyeon Lee, Yunhao Huang. Bottom row, l-r: Morgan Foy, Saqib Choudhary, Sandy Campbell, William Ryan, Summer Zhao, Konhee Chang Summer Zhao. Photo: Jim Block

The new students are international, hailing from China, Russia, Korea, and India and from universities including Carnegie Mellon, Higher School of Economics Moscow, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Duke, UC Berkeley, and Tsinghua University.

Their research areas range from the impact of gender bias on women to why people make systematic errors with certain types of choices. “It’s always so exciting to follow our students as they work their way through this rigorous program, to learn about their fascinating research, and ultimately how it contributes to their field,” said Melissa Hacker, the program’s director of student affairs.

Questioning the status quo: a Q&A with Chief DEI Officer David Porter

David Porter, Haas' first chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, started July 15. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small
David Porter, Haas’ first chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, started July 15. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small

David Porter, Berkeley Haas’ new chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, believes in questioning the status quo—which happens to be his favorite Defining Leadership Principle.

“I’m not a ‘follow the rules’ kind of guy,” said Porter, who started his job July 15. But before he shakes things up, Porter is getting acclimated with the Haas campus and community, meeting with his team, and setting his priorities.

Porter comes to Haas from the Walter Kaitz Foundation, a media nonprofit, where he served as CEO. He’s also the former director of graduate programs at the Howard University School of Business and was an assistant professor and faculty director at UCLA’s Anderson School.

We sat down to interview him last week.

Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, although I was born in Nashville. Kansas City was a great place to grow up. It was a large enough city that you had access to all the city stuff, but it wasn’t so big that my parents had to worry about my safety. Of course, it was a different time, so as long as you were in by the time the lights came on, it was all good. My father was a pediatrician. My mother was an assistant dean at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she ran the medical center’s diversity programs. I have one sister, who’s now a psychiatrist.

When did you first come out to California?

In 1981, I drove cross-country to attend Stanford, where I stayed for eight years. At Stanford, I was very active in the black community. In addition, I was elected president of the student body and later served as the chair of the student senate. These experiences helped shape my understanding of universities and honed my leadership skills. As a student activist, I was the guy who often stood in the middle working to negotiate creative solutions with the administration.

My experience as a leader helped prepare me to serve on Stanford’s University Committee on Minority Issues. This was my first opportunity to think strategically about how one might diversify an organization. The committee was created in response to student protests in the spring of 1987. Its role was to make a comprehensive review of the entire institution. We worked for two years to develop a report which made numerous recommendations, many of which were adopted. That’s where I developed a lot of the skills around exercising influence without authority which I still use to this day.

What drew you to this position at Haas?

What I was really looking for was an organization where I thought the leaders were serious. A lot of diversity roles are what I call “diversity eye candy.” These companies often hire individuals who will come in and make the organization look good, without making real change. When I saw this role, I said to myself, “Let’s go through the process and see.” And as I went through the process, it seemed like Haas was serious with the DEI action plan. The fact that Haas has responded so energetically to the issues raised was impressive. You don’t often see a dean and her senior staff say they’re going to take the next 30 days to dig into a problem and actually take specific actions to address it.

When you first read our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan, what did you think of it?

I think it outlined some great first steps. For example, it recognized that the admissions process has some inherent biases which needed to be addressed. It also made some quick changes that were critical to impact the incoming class and it identified additional resources, including the expansion of the DEI team.  These efforts helped Haas to yield a critical mass of underrepresented students in the incoming class. It is my hope and expectation that these students will have a great experience which they will be able to share with future prospective students.

What are your first priorities here at Haas?

My first priority is making sure that the students, particularly students of color, have the best experience possible. I don’t want any of them to say, “Hey, this was a bad choice for me.” Part of that will be about meeting with them, being a good mentor, being a good resource. Another part of it will be working with my team to make sure that the environment continues moving in the direction that we’re going: to become more inclusive, to make sure that we put true meaning in the word “equity.”

I’d also like to get a better understanding of all the diversity activities going on at Haas. I’ve been amazed that in almost every conversation I’ve had, I’ve learned of another diversity initiative or an individual who has taken it upon themselves to do something to make this place more inclusive. I want to know what everyone is doing regarding diversity-related efforts and I’d love to create a big flow chart, because I think that we can do a better job of telling that story. I also think that better coordination could take place. All of those people who are doing that diversity work in addition to their regular day jobs—they are instant allies.

What are some of the things that can be done inside of the classroom?

There are lots of ways in which we can make a more inclusive experience in the classroom. For example, including more cases with diverse protagonists or covering diversity-related topics or bringing in more diverse guest speakers.  Hopefully, over time as our students see a broader range of individuals who are successful leaders, their view of what a successful leader looks like will change.

Will African American enrollment increase this fall and do you think that will change the campus environment?

We don’t have the final numbers yet, but we’re definitely expecting to have more African American students on campus this fall.

Every class comes in with a different mix. You can never really predict who will step up early on as leaders. But I do think that when you have a more diverse group of folks, there are more ingredients in the mix, and if Haas does a good job of creating an inclusive environment where everyone can come in and feel like they can be who they are and contribute actively, it will be a great experience for everyone.

Chou Hall earns third in trifecta of green building credentials

Photo of the front of Chou Hall
Chou Hall is the country’s greenest academic building. Photo: Dan Williams

Connie & Kevin Chou Hall has earned the third in a trifecta of green building credentials: a WELL Certification recognizing its “strong commitment to supporting human health, well-being, and comfort.”

The certification comes on the heels of two others the building has received over the past year from Green Business Certification Inc. (GBSI). It achieved TRUE Zero Waste Certification at the highest possible level and LEED Platinum Certification for its architectural design, construction, and energy efficiency.

“From the start of the Chou Hall construction project, we focused on building a student-centric academic space that reflected our school’s unique culture and how we value sustainable impact,” said Courtney Chandler, senior assistant dean and chief operating & strategy officer of the Haas School. “Being the first academic building to be WELL Certified, and the greenest academic building in the country, exemplifies our Defining Leadership Principles in action.”

Photo of Cafe Think in Chou Hall
Cafe Think’s floor-to-ceiling windows connect the indoors to the outdoors. Photo: Jim Block

“It’s particularly rewarding to cap off the building certification journey with the last of these three certifications,” said Walter Hallanan, BS 72, who has managed the Chou Hall project as well as the school’s Master Plan Project. “We’re breaking new ground with Chou Hall. It’s a significant achievement that sets an example for the Berkeley campus, particularly with regard to the LEED and WELL certification.”

Attention to many details

WELL Certified spaces are designed to improve the overall health of the people who use the building, by addressing areas such as nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of the building occupants. Design details include everything from the solar panels that provide energy to the building to the fact that as much outside air as possible is funneled into the building’s interior.

Photo of students on the shairs in Chou Hall
Students descending stairs in Chou Hall get exercise and a view of the trees. Photo: Jim Block

The WELL Certified credential is the culmination of literally years of detailed planning and design. “There are hundreds of requirements you have to comply with,” Hallanan said.

Certification officials toured Chou Hall for performance verification site visits in December 2018 and June 2019 to get a sense of the building’s environment.

“The level of detail and thought that went into the design and construction of the space and flow throughout Chou Hall contribute to the overall feeling,” Chandler said. “It’s not an accident that when people come to Spieker Forum—our top floor event space with huge windows and amazing views—they often say it feels like they’re in a tree house.”

An innovative funding model

Another novel aspect of the building was its funding model that enabled greater efficiency and cost savings. A private nonprofit fund, the Partnership for Haas Preeminence, chaired by Ned Spieker, BS 66; Walter Hallanan, BS 72; and former Dean Rich Lyons, BS 82, raised the donations and managed design and construction in tandem before donating the completed building back to the university last year.

Photo of Chou Hall classroom.
The new Chou Hall classrooms and meeting spaces were part of the Haas Master Plan Project, led by Walter Hallanan, BS 72. Photo: Blake Marvin

Chou Hall is the core of the Haas Master Plan Project, which also included the new courtyard and the addition of cooling to Cheit Hall. The student-centered building includes classroom and meeting spaces, the state-of-the-art Spieker Forum event space, and a cafe at the courtyard level.

Chou Hall provided much-needed space at Haas, where enrollment has nearly doubled over the past 20 years.

It is named for Kevin Chou, BS 02, and his wife, Dr. Connie Chen, in recognition of their donation: the largest personal gift by an alum under the age of 40 in UC Berkeley’s history.

“I am proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Chandler said. “What I love hearing most is how the building makes people feel. That’s what people are going to remember.”

Photo of the interior of Chou Hall.
“What I love hearing most is how the building makes people feel. That’s what people are going to remember.” – Haas COO Courtney Chandler. Photo: Blake Marvin

Former Dean Rich Lyons named new campus innovation officer

Dean Rich Lyons

Former Berkeley Haas Dean Rich Lyons has been named as UC Berkeley’s first-ever Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer (CIEO).

In this new role, Lyons will work with campus partners to further develop and communicate Berkeley’s rich portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship activities to benefit students, faculty, staff, and startups. He will also be responsible for developing strategies to raise the visibility of these activities internally and externally and to create high-value partnerships with stakeholders.

“If together we can improve the transformation of Berkeley’s prodigious intellectual product, across the whole campus, into greater societal benefit, then we will have achieved a great deal,” Lyons said in an interview.

Lyons wrapped up his 11 years as Berkeley Haas dean in June 2018, and after a sabbatical year will return to teaching on the finance faculty this fall while transitioning into his new campus role on a part-time basis. He will officially assume the new role in January, 2020.

Read the full announcement from Vice Chancellor for Research Randy Katz on Berkeley News.

MBA grads: Be brave, embrace your power to change the world

Sora Elcan, EWMBA 19, holds up her baby.
Evening & Weekend MBA graduate Sora Elcan holds up her lil’ grad baby, Jackson Lee Elcan.

Berkeley Haas MBA students in the Class of 2019 were urged to be brave and embrace their power to make significant contributions to improve the world at Friday’s commencement.

The commencement was held under sunny skies at the Greek Theatre, where Dean Ann Harrison welcomed parents, friends, and family of evening & weekend MBA and full-time MBA students. “All of you have been transformed in some profound way. That is, after all, why you came here,” she told them.

Watch the video of 2019 MBA commencement.

Commencement speaker Patrick Awuah, MBA 99 and founder of Ashesi University in Ghana, told graduates the story of how he arrived at Berkeley Haas in his early 30s, with a new baby, having quit his job at Microsoft. He had a singular goal to prepare himself to start a successful university, and he built his plan for Ashesi during his entire time at Haas.

Patrick Awuah, 2019 MBA commencement speaker
“At Ashesi (University) today I see echoes of Berkeley.” – Patrick Awuah, MBA 99 and 2019 MBA commencement speaker. (Photo: Noah Berger)

“Ashesi started here, and I recognize the fact that there are not many places where this could have happened,” said Awuah, whose school has grown from 30 to 1,000 students. “We all had hope that it was going to be a remarkable institution, but it has exceeded even our loftiest dreams…At Ashesi today I see echoes of Berkeley: In our classrooms and the curriculum that we teach and the values we share; in the open embrace of equitable access to the opportunity for learning and development. I see echoes of Berkeley in how our community works and in our corporate culture. I see echoes of Berkeley in Ashesi’s people and leadership.”

Full-time MBA student speaker Bree Jenkins, who is co-founding the Hayward Collegiate Charter School, shared a personal story of feeling powerless as a teen.

FTMBA student speaker Bree Jenkins
FTMBA student speaker Bree Jenkins (Photo: Noah Berger)

“Age 15, days before my birthday, on a bitter December night, my mom leaves for a tour in Iraq. I honestly don’t know if she will ever come back. When this feeling of powerlessness grabs hold of you, it is usually dark. And you’re typically alone. Your whole body clenches. Palms sweaty. There’s a tightening of your stomach as you realize there is nothing you can do.”

Jenkins said the transformation from powerlessness to power has many faces. “As a new graduate of the Haas School of Business, it has your (face),” she said. “And as a black woman who represents just 1% of her class, yet has the privilege of speaking on your behalf, it has mine. Right now, we have power. And with this power, we share an incredible responsibility to this world and to one another.”

EWMBA student speaker Nancy Hoque (Photo: Noah Berger)

Calling out classmates by name, Nancy Hoque, student speaker for the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, addressed why they were brave for different reasons: for risking it all in changing a career, for joining her in protesting the immigration ban at the San Francisco Airport, for traveling across the world to help Syrian refugees, and for organizing female students to wear white on their commencement caps to symbolize the strength and unity of women who completed the program.

“Yes, absolutely they were all brave, because bravery entails taking a chance,” she said. “Grabbing onto that door which is cracked open and, regardless of the obstacles and unknowns, walking through it.”

MBA grad wtih flowers around his neck
Evan Krokowski, who graduated from the evening & weekend program, celebrates. Photo: Noah Berger.

Commencement Awards

Full-Time MBA Program

Student speaker Bree Jenkins (center) surrounded by the Defining Leadership Principles award winners
FTMBA student speaker Bree Jenkins (center) surrounded by the Defining Leadership Principles award winners. (Photo: Noah Berger)

Academic Achievement Award: Somiran Gupta

Full-Time MBA Defining Leadership Principle Awards:

Question the Status Quo: Tam Emerson; Confidence without Attitude: Somiran Gupta; Students Always: Mariana Lanzas Goded; Beyond Yourself: Matthew Freeman Hines; The Berkeley Leader Award: Bosun Adebaki

The Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching: Adair Morse

Cheit Award for Graduate Student Instructor: Margaret Fong


Evening & Weekend MBA Program

Evening & Weekend Program Defining Leadership Principles award winners.
Evening & Weekend Program Defining Leadership Principles award winners: Tess Peppers, Eppa Rixey, Michael Toomey, and Melanie Akwule.

Academic Achievement Award: Eppa Rixey

Defining Leadership Principles awards:

Question the Status Quo: Tess Peppers; Confidence Without Attitude: Aimee Bailey; Students Always: Eppa Rixey; Beyond Yourself: Michael Toomey; The Berkeley Leader Award: Melanie Akwule

The Earl F. Cheit Awards for Excellence in Teaching: Prof. Ross Levine (for weekend program) and Assoc. Prof. Yaniv Konchitchki (for evening program)

Graduate Student Instructor: Zachary Olson for the Data & Decisions course



Education pioneer Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, welcomed back as MBA commencement speaker

Education pioneer Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, founder of Ghana’s Ashesi University, will be welcomed back to campus this week as the 2019 MBA commencement speaker.

Commencement for both the Full-time MBA and Evening & Weekend MBA programs will take place on Friday, May 24, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Born and raised in Ghana, Awuah came to Berkeley Haas after attending Swarthmore College and working at Microsoft. His son’s birth inspired him to want to give back to his home country by establishing a new university that would offer a liberal arts education.

In past interviews, he has emphasized the need to teach through critical thinking rather than through rote memorization, which was the general practice in Ghana. His dream was to develop ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who would go on to revitalize Ghana and the African continent.

At Haas, Awuah turned his idea into a project through the International Business Development (IBD) Program. For several years, Berkeley MBA students helped build the business plan for Ashesi University, and Haas faculty served as advisers. Classmate Nina Marini helped Awuah launch Ashesi in 2002 in a rented facility with just 30 students. Today, Ashesi has a new 100-acre campus outside Accra with an enrollment of more than 1,000 students who hail from 15 African nations. The school has more than 1,200 alumni.

“Patrick is an inspiring business leader who truly represents our Defining Leadership Principles,” said Laura Tyson, former Haas dean and faculty director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact. “We are very proud of all that he has accomplished and honored to welcome him back for commencement.”

Awuah, who was profiled in BerkeleyHaas magazine, has earned many accolades, including:

Undergraduate Class of 2019 encouraged to “elevate and empower others”

Photo of a group of women grads at undergrad commencement.
Photo: Josh Edelson

Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the Berkeley Haas undergraduate Class of 2019 Sunday morning, as close to 400 students were urged to make an impact on the world and “elevate and empower” others.

The threat of bad weather moved the typical commencement ceremony from the Greek Theatre to Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum, where Dean Ann Harrison welcomed the crowd indoors, thanking parents, families, and friends for supporting the grads.

“Today we celebrate your achievement,” said Harrison, herself a Berkeley undergraduate alumna in economics and history. “You have persevered through four years of a rigorous undergraduate curriculum. You have mastered new knowledge and skills, and you have adopted a larger view of the world. You have met new people, volunteered for great causes, and made many friends. You should be proud of yourselves. I know we are.”

Dean Ann Harrison congratulates a student.
Dean Ann Harrison (right) told the grads “You have met new people, volunteered for great causes, and made many friends. You should be proud of yourselves. I know we are.” Photo: Josh Edelson

“Living life consciously”

Commencement speaker Steve Etter, BS 83, MBA 89, a Haas finance faculty member who co-founded Greyrock Capital Group, pointed out the diversity and accomplishments of the 2019 class: three quarters of the grads started at Cal as freshman, while a quarter came from the community college system. Many hail from around the globe, including Asia, Europe, and Latin America; and many, like Etter, are the first generation in their families to attend college. A third of the class completed simultaneous degrees across 34 majors.

Etter, who has taught at Cal for the past 24 years—even while going through cancer treatment—shared four themes “for students to live their life by” when they leave Berkeley Haas: choosing to have a good day instead of a bad day, every day; focusing on how you treat others on a daily basis—not just friends and family, but everyone from the airport security checker to the Starbuck’s barista; thinking about ethics and “living your life consciously within your views”; and finally, focusing on your contributions to society.

Photo of undergrad commencement speaker Steve Etter
Stephen Etter, who has taught at Cal for the past 24 years, shared four themes “for students to live their life by” when they leave Haas. Photo: Josh Edelson.

“This has nothing to do with how your work day contributes to the world economy,” he said. “This focus is on the donation of your time, knowledge and dollars outside of the workforce.”

Hip hop music’s link to business

In his speech “Business is Boomin’,'” a nod to a DJ Khaled lyric, student speaker Sreyas Sai Samantula noted that the business world and the hip hop world share a lot in common. “At its core, hip hop music is a catalyst, paving the way for progress and change,” he said. “It’s about uplifting yourself and your community and, in its purest form, it’s about utilizing personal success as a means of elevating others. Business should be the same.”

Watch student speaker Sreyas Sai Samantula’s commencement speech: Business is Boomin’.

Holding a diploma is a privilege that many others around the world will never have, he told the grads. “Many of my brothers and sisters in my birthplace of South India who go hungry for food every day will never have this privilege,” he said. “Many of our brothers and sisters right next door in Oakland and L.A. who suffer from violence, discrimination, inequity every single day of their lives will never have this privilege….. but that can change.”

Like song writers, business people, through the companies and products they create, share a distinct and rare opportunity to inspire millions of people, he said. “On our professional journeys, we have the ability to elevate and empower others,” he said. “As Haas grads we need to understand that we do have the power to be socially responsible, to support diversity, and to invest in our communities no matter what we’re doing, what industry we’re in.”

Some of the undergraduates who graduated at Spieker Forum.
Photo: Josh Edelson

And the award winners are….

Culture of Haas Awards:

Ana Mancia for Question the Status Quo

Patrick Ong for Confidence Without Attitude

Mark Ansell for Students Always

Jaskirat Gaelan for Beyond Youself

The Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching: Janet Brady, distinguished teaching fellow

The Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Award for Excellence in Teaching: Cori Land, MBA 19

The Departmental Citation for the most outstanding academic achievement: Tyler Barbee, who has been inspired throughout his life by the determination of his older, autistic brother, Connor. “In his time at Berkeley and at Haas, he has sought to develop a similar work ethic and perseverance as his brother in all that he does,” Harrison said.

Berkeley Haas undergrad Defining Leadership Principles award winners
Haas culture award winners: Mark Ansell for Students Always; Patrick Ong for Confidence Without Attitude; Ana Mancia for Question the Status Quo; and Jaskirat Gaelan for Beyond Youself. Photo: Josh Edelson


Former Dean Raymond Miles, trailblazer in strategic management, dies at 86

Raymond Miles, a former Berkeley Haas dean and professor emeritus whose leadership has had a deep and lasting impact on the Haas campus and community, passed away on May 13 in Albany, California. He was 86.

Former Haas Dean and Prof. Emeritus Raymond Miles
Former Dean and Prof. Emeritus Raymond Miles

Miles is credited with growing the school’s thriving alumni network, securing a campus that invites community, and hiring prestigious faculty members who have included two Nobel Laureates. As a scholar, he was a trailblazer in strategic management, defining human resource management styles commonly taught today.

“Ray Miles was an outstanding scholar and a visionary leader. He helped build the fields of organizational strategy and innovation at Berkeley Haas and around the world,” said Former Dean Laura Tyson, distinguished professor of the graduate school. “He represented all of the stakeholders at Haas—the students, the faculty, the alumni, and the business community, and he began the planning and fundraising process that enabled the move of the Haas School to its new complex. He dedicated his professional life to our community and we will miss him.”

Crash course in management

Born in Cleburne, Texas in 1932, Miles got a crash course in business management when he was just 22. Attending the University of North Texas (UNT), he paid for his BA in journalism by working nights for the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad. There, he said, he learned hard lessons about how managers should best supervise their employees—and how they shouldn’t. Those musings led to a lifetime of inquiry into strategic management, making Miles an early pioneer in thinking about how companies could align their strategies with the goals they were trying to accomplish.

After marrying Lucile Marie Dustin in 1952, and training and serving as an Air Force pilot, he earned an MBA at UNT and then a PhD at Stanford on a scholarship. Eventually, he landed in Berkeley, where he embarked upon a 50-year career in research that helped to crystalize the concept of strategic management. He put his leadership teachings into practice as dean in the 1980s.

The emergence of human resources

When Miles first arrived at Berkeley as a new professor in the Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations group in the fall of 1963, the concept of strategic management was in its infancy. His 1965 Harvard Business Review article, “Human Relations or Human Resources?” led managers to think differently about how to utilize people in their organizations.

“Ray was one of the early contributors to the idea of human resources as a strategic function,” said James Lincoln, the Haas Mitsubishi Chair in International Business and Finance Emeritus, who worked with Miles at Berkeley’s Institute of Industrial Relations. “Instead of thinking about employees as personnel, he put forth the notion that human assets are as important as the financial and physical assets of a company and need to be managed in a strategic way. Of course everyone thinks that now, but back then, it was new.”

In the next decade, Miles studied how organizations could improve, eventually developing his breakthrough 1978 book, Organizational Strategy, Structure, and Process, written with his former student Charles Snow, PhD 72. They argued there were three distinct types of successful companies, each with its own management style: prospectors, defenders, and analyzers (and one unsuccessful type, reactors). Once a company figured out which class it belonged to, it could design its management structure and processes accordingly. Furthermore, the authors wrote, companies could change over time in response to their environments.

The book has become a classic in the management strategy field and is still regularly cited.

In later research, Miles continued to explore new concepts in the field of management strategy, creating the notion of “fit” that would help companies determine the best company strategy and how to create their structure and process accordingly. “That underlying idea of having the right strategy and structure for the market environment is still front and center of what every business school teaches in MBA courses on strategy and organizational design,” said Glenn Carroll, a former Haas professor who now teaches at Stanford.

Building campus and community

Former Dean Raymond Miles shows off the new Haas campus
Raymond Miles, second from right, shows off progress on the new campus to Haas alum Steve Herrick, BS 60, and other supporters who were active in the building campaign.

Miles proved the validity of his management strategies as dean of Haas between 1983 and 1990. His tenure started at a time of crisis for higher education, with both federal and state funding slashed. At the same time, the business school was bursting at the seams, cramped into Barrows Hall with several other departments. Berkeley’s chancellor, however, was reluctant to include a new building for the school in its capital campaign.

To manage the crisis, Miles expanded the school’s advisory board with dozens of business people who urged the school to raise money for a new building by itself. Miles commissioned former Berkeley architecture chair Charles Moore to design a new building on the site of the old campus hospital that could create community and serve as a bridge to the rest of the university. Moore’s elegant model, with interconnected buildings around a central courtyard and arches connecting it to campus, helped sway the administration. With the help of former dean Earl “Budd” Cheit, Miles secured what was then the largest gift in UC Berkeley’s history to build it.

At the same time, Miles helped grow the Cal Business Alumni Association (now known as the Berkeley Haas Alumni Network) into an active, thriving community and hired the school’s first full-time development director to increase outreach to alumni and bring the vision of a new building to fruition. By the time Miles stepped down in 1990, plans were well underway for the building, which broke ground in 1992 and opened in 1995.

Raymond Miles with Michelle McClellan, former Assistant Dean for Development & Alumni Relations
Miles with daughter-in-law Amy Miles at the 2012 Haas Gala

During his time as dean, Miles also boosted the school’s academic potential and prestige by helping to expand the faculty. He doubled the number of endowed chairs to 24—then about a fifth of the Berkeley campus total—recruiting such luminaries as Nobel Laureate Oliver Williamson.

Miles also advanced the field of business education by supporting new programs to build on the school’s unique interdisciplinary heritage and blending of research and application, which he described as “theory-based professional practice”. The Program in Organizational Strategy focused several disciplines’ research on strategic decisions facing organizational managers. The Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation focused on the process of developing a business plan and the broader issues of how technological and economic innovation is stimulated or stunted. And the Program in International Competitiveness focused on the need for new strategies in a rapidly changing global economy.

Miles also believed that the business school should not be an island, isolated from the community around it. In 1989, he started the Boost@BerkeleyHaas program—formerly known as the East Bay Outreach Program and then Young Entrepreneurs at Haas (YEAH)—to bring local high school students from families who traditionally hadn’t gone to college to Haas to learn about business and entrepreneurship and get comfortable on campus. The program just celebrated its 30th anniversary. It serves about 140 young people annually, and the overwhelming majority go on to college.

A “powerful people-developer”

Miles with Ann Hsu, MBA 98, the 2012 Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award winner, at the Haas Gala
Miles with Ann Hsu, MBA 98, the 2012 Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award winner, at the Haas Gala

Former Dean Rich Lyons, the William & Janet Cronk Chair in Innovative Leadership, credits Miles with having a huge influence on him and other Haas leaders.

“Ray was an important mentor to me, and a powerful people-developer more generally. You always had the sense that he had your best interest—and the school’s best interest—at heart. It’s hard to get more ‘beyond yourself’ than Ray,” Lyons said, referencing one of the school’s four Defining Leadership Principles.

Prof. Candi Yano, associate dean for academic affairs and chair of the faculty, noted that until quite recently, Miles continued to come into the office nearly every day and was continuing to publish research articles on organizational strategy and innovation. “He leaves a remarkable legacy,” she said.

In honor of the significant impact Miles has had on Berkeley Haas, the Cal Business Association created the Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award in 1990. This award is presented each year to an alumnus who exemplifies superior volunteer leadership.

Miles is survived by his daughter Laura (Jim), sons Grant (Patti) and Ken (Amy), brother Don (Jodi), and seven grandchildren: Justin, Michael, Nathaniel, Anthony, Sarah, Courtney and Brooke. He was predeceased by his wife Lucile in 2014.

A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.





MBA students fight the gender pay gap—one offer at a time

While she was working at Microsoft several years ago, Christina Chavez, MBA 19, logged into an anonymous online job compensation board called Blind and was shocked to see the tech gender pay gap in plain sight.

“People were posting their data, and we started saying ‘whoah’ there’s some major differences in how our colleagues are getting paid,” said Chavez, who will start working at Google after graduation.

With these numbers top of mind, pay equity and transparency was a top goal for Chavez when she arrived at Berkeley Haas. She put that priority into action last fall when she and classmate Jack Anderson—a fellow member of the student-led Haas Gender Equity Initiative—set up a new spreadsheet where classmates can share all the details of their compensation packages. (The spreadsheet is managed by Jordan Sale, MBA 19, and founder of startup 81cents, which provides salary support for women during job negotiations.)

Using salary data and research provided by Berkeley Haas Prof. Laura Kray, the students created a Haas Wage Gap Infographic, which shows that women who graduated from Haas last year earned 96% of what their male peers earned. But the more concerning finding was that for alumni with greater than 10 years experience, the salary gap between men and women widened.

“We earned 96 cents to the dollar in the last MBA class and people were like ‘yeah we’re approaching equity,’ but this gap grows over time,” Chavez said.

Christina Chavez
Christina Chavez 

Moving toward transparency

The Haas students launched this project to expand what’s offered through CMG Bears —the Haas Career Management Group’s tool that allows MBA students to anonymously enter and look up salary data based on company and job role. The database offers a wealth of information, but doesn’t track salaries by gender.

Abby Scott, assistant dean of MBA Career Management and Corporate Partnerships, who worked with the students to provide historical data for the project, said the long-term salary gap is a concern. She added that Haas is working to add gender identification to CMG Bears to provide as much context to the salary data as possible.

“I don’t think that we know the real cause of the long-term pay gap, but we are advising students to make sure they’re negotiating salary and thinking beyond compensation—and we speak frequently to women about both the importance of negotiation and taking on leadership roles,” she said.

By many estimates, American women working full time earn about 80% to 85% of what men earn (a statistic that varies by race/ethnicity and how it’s measured). Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) at Haas, said transparency is a critical weapon in the fight to close the pay gap. “Knowledge is power,” she said, noting that a growing group of companies such as Salesforce, Gap, and Google have been moving in the right direction, toward public reporting of compensation.

In recent research, Prof. Kray and Margaret Lee, a postdoctoral research fellow sponsored by the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL), looked at the Berkeley Haas alumni surveys of full-time professionals who graduated between 1994 and 2014. The researchers found that while men’s base salaries were on average about 8 percent higher than women’s, it’s in the bonuses, share values, and options—which tend to not be tracked as publicly as salaries—where the men’s salaries outpaced women’s. Overall compensation for Haas women MBAs averaged about $290,000, or about 66 percent of men’s $439,000 average. Kray and Lee also linked part of the pay gap to the fact that men manage larger teams than equally qualified women.

Tricky negotiations

It’s the company shares and stock options that are trickier in negotiations and not often tracked, Anderson said, adding that for some reason, male MBAs appear to fare better in those areas after graduating from Haas.

Jack Anderson
Jack Anderson

“That’s the thing that jumped out to me: how much of the offer goes beyond base compensation [salary and signing bonus],” he said. “So many companies are offering other compensation, RSUs (restricted stock units), and stock options. It drove us to think about how important it is for people to understand this and to get some basis for comparison. We need to work on how we display that information for people.”

But that might not be enough. In their research, Kray and Lee found that the problem goes far deeper than negotiation skills, pointing toward a bias about leadership that leads men to be put in charge of larger teams than equally-qualified women, and get paid more because of it.

McElhaney agreed that better negotiating skills will only go so far—if it comes down to the basic fact that managers just want to pay men more and that women are facing entrenched bias.

“You can change processes but the long-term problem is people’s individual biases,” she said. “If they believe things like men do a better job at leading big teams, or that women bosses are unlikable, this is unconscious and conscious bias at work.”

To access the new spreadsheet, students must agree to share their own salary data anonymously, including their preferred gender, job title and function, years of post-college work experience, geographic location of the job offer, and compensation details, including base salary, bonus, and any equity package offered. All students are asked whether they negotiated their compensation— and if so, to include the initial and final offers. So far, 58 students in the 2019 MBA class who have received job offers have added data to the sheet—split about evenly between men and women.

Patrick Awuah & Steve Etter named 2019 commencement speakers

Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, founder of Ashesi University in Ghana, will be the speaker at the 2019 Full-time MBA and Evening & Weekend MBA commencement, while Steve Etter, BS 83, MBA 89, a founding partner of Greyrock Capital Group and a long-time Haas finance lecturer, will speak at undergraduate commencement.

The 2019 MBA commencement will take place on Friday, May 24, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

The  undergraduate commencement will take place on Sunday, May 19, at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Patrick Awuah, MBA 99

Patrick Awuah
Patrick Awuah

Born and raised in Ghana, Awuah came to Berkeley Haas after attending Swarthmore College and working at Microsoft. His son’s birth inspired him to want to give back to his home country by establishing a new university that would offer a liberal arts education.

In past interviews, he has emphasized the need to teach through critical thinking rather than through rote memorization, which was the general practice in Ghana. His dream was to develop ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who would go on to revitalize Ghana and the African continent.

At Haas, Awuah turned his idea into a project through the International Business Development (IBD) Program. For several years Berkeley MBA students helped build the business plan for Ashesi University, and Haas faculty served as advisers. Classmate Nina Marini helped launch Ashesi in 2002 in a rented facility with 30 inaugural students. Today, Ashesi has a new 100-acre campus outside Accra with an enrollment of more than 1,000 students who hail from 15 African nations. The school has more than 1,200 alumni.

“Patrick is an inspiring business leader who truly represents our Defining Leadership Principles,” said Laura Tyson, former Haas dean and faculty director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact. “We are very proud of all that he has accomplished and honored to welcome him back for commencement.”

Awuah, who was profiled in BerkeleyHaas magazine, has earned many accolades, including:

Stephen Etter, BS 83, MBA 89

Steve Etter
Steve Etter

Etter has spent the last 30 years of his career working in private equity. As one of the founding partners at Greyrock Capital Group, he helped raise and invest almost $1 billion over four funds.

Previously, he held positions at Bank of America, GE Capital, Citibank and PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he obtained his CPA. Most recently he has transitioned into the world of social impact investing.

For the last 24 years—48 consecutive semesters—Etter has been a professional faculty member in finance at Berkeley Haas. He has twice earned the school’s prestigious Cheit Award for Teaching Excellence from his undergraduate students.

Alumnus Kevin Chou, BS 02, cites him as an inspiration for his gift toward the funding of Chou Hall.

“The personal commitment and coaching Steve provides his students is extraordinary,” said Erika Walker, assistant dean of the undergraduate program. “Steve’s classes have inspired scores of students to go beyond themselves.”

Etter’s role at Haas goes beyond teaching. He coaches Haas external case competition teams, helps with professional job searches, and works with many student athletes who go on to professional sporting careers (including Jarod Goff, Jaylen Brown, Missy Franklin, Ryan Murphy, and Marshawn Lynch).

Riley Brown, BS 19, and a Cal varsity crew coxswain, said Etter helped her think more seriously and deeply about what set her apart as a student when she was applying to Haas. “He gives me incredible advice,” she said. “Every time he opens his mouth I have to listen because I know there will be a nugget of gold.”

Steve Etter with Cal athletes
Steve Etter with Cal athletes


Berkeley Haas rises in the U.S. News rankings

The Full-time Berkeley MBA and the Berkeley MBA for Executives rose to their highest ranks ever in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking published today.

U.S. News ranked the Full-time Berkeley MBA #6 for the first time—tied with Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Columbia Business School; the Berkeley MBA program had ranked #7 for the prior 11 years.

The full-time MBA rankings are based on data provided by participating U.S. schools and on polls of business school deans and directors of accredited MBA programs, as well as surveys of corporate recruiters and company contacts. The score is calculated from placement success and starting salary (35%), student selectivity (25%), peer poll (25%), and the average of the last three years of recruiter polls (15%).

The Berkeley MBA for Executives rose to #7, up from #9 last year, in the EMBA ranking. The EMBA ranking is based entirely on the peer assessment by business school deans and directors of accredited MBA programs.

The Evening & Weekend MBA ranked #2 with an index of 99 (out of 100) points, after being ranked #1 for the past six years. The part-time MBA ranking is based on a peer assessment score by deans and MBA directors (weighted 50%), various student quality measures, and percent of MBA students who are part-time (12.5%).

In the specialty rankings, Haas placed as follows:

#3 in nonprofit

#5 in entrepreneurship

#6 in international

#8 in finance

#8 in management

#9 in marketing

#14 in accounting

#14 in info systems

#14 in production/operations

#19 in supply chain/logistics

The full report is available here.

Full-time MBA Program ranked #7 by Financial Times

Financial Times logoThe Full-time Berkeley MBA Program again ranks #7 among US schools and #10 in the world, according to the Financial Times Global MBA ranking published today.

Haas faculty research ranked #9 in the world and #7 among US schools.

The ranking is based on data provided by participating schools and input from alumni who graduated in 2015, which accounts for 55% of the ranking.

Strong alumni salaries are a factor in the Haas School’s showing. Haas alumni recorded the 4th highest weighted salaries in the world and 8th highest salaries today. (Weighted salaries refers to the average alumni salary three years after graduation, US$ PPP equivalent, with adjustment for variations between sectors). These two salary components account for 40% of the ranking.

Haas, tied with Michigan Ross, scored the highest in aims achieved with 91% alumni reporting that their MBA achieved their aims.

In the top special categories, determined by the alumni survey, Haas ranks as follows:
#2 in corporate social responsibility

#3 for entrepreneurship

#3 in e-business

View the full report.

Chou Hall certified as country’s greenest academic building

Chou Hall is officially the country’s greenest academic building, having earned TRUE Zero Waste certification at the highest possible level along with a LEED Platinum certification for its energy efficient design and operation.

The TRUE Platinum Zero Waste certification came after more than a year of dedicated waste sorting, composting, and other efforts to divert over 90 percent of Chou’s landfill waste. The official notice came from Green Business Certification Inc. (GBSI) on Dec. 20, following an on-site audit by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The whole team is beyond excited to lead the way with the country’s greenest academic building,” said Danner Doud-Martin, the staff lead of the Haas Zero Waste Initiative and associate director of the International Business Development (IBD) Program at Haas. “It’s been such a journey—more than two years of trying to get all of our stakeholders on board with behavioral changes. It’s been a significant challenge, but we are so proud of all that we’ve accomplished.”

“A mark of leadership”

The Chou Hall Zero Waste Initiative is a joint effort led by a multidisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students working closely with Cal Zero Waste, Haas faculty and staff, facilities management, and building vendors to ensure that building operations are designed for successful waste diversion.

“Zero waste is a culture change for organizations and we’re thrilled to see that Berkeley Haas students, faculty, and staff have wholeheartedly committed to it,” said Stephanie Barger, director of TRUE at the U.S. Green Business Council. “TRUE certification is a mark of leadership and ongoing commitment to advancing a zero-waste economy.” About 25 percent of the more than 100 TRUE-certified facilities have achieved TRUE Platinum, Barger said. Chou Hall is the only academic building to achieve the honor.

Danner Doud-Martin at a recent Chou Hall zero waste audit.
Staff lead Danner Doud-Martin (right) with Michelle La of Cal Zero Waste at a recent Chou Hall zero waste audit.

During their December visit, the final step toward certification, the Green Building Council interviewed stakeholders involved with the project—including Courtney Chandler, Haas chief strategy and operating officer, former Haas COO Jo Mackness, and Haas Management Lecturer Frank Schultz, among others.

Separately, GBCI also announced this month that Chou received LEED Platinum certification for its architectural design, construction, and functioning of the building, earning 85 points—well above the 80 points required for the Platinum rating. Points are allotted in areas such as water efficiency, energy use, construction materials used, indoor environmental quality, and design innovation. Haas is also pursuing a third designation, WELL certification, given to buildings that promote user health and well-being.

“Going for all three certifications at the highest level is incredibly ambitious,” Chandler said. “With WELL certification we hope to achieve a trifecta. We are so proud of the work that everyone has done to make Chou Hall the greenest academic building in the country, and we hope that our work will inspire and guide all of the UC campuses and other institutions across the country.”

“A wonderful confirmation”

TRUE Zero Waste certification levels include Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To achieve TRUE Platinum, the Chou team earned 69 out of the 70 credits that they applied for, providing a narrative and evidence for each credit. Credits included everything from composting food scraps to tracking the purchase of environmentally preferred products to providing employees with access to zero-waste training to reducing the use of hazardous waste chemicals.

Jessica Heiges sorting trash during the recent Zero Waste audit.
Student team lead Jessica Heiges sorting trash during the recent Zero Waste audit.

Jessica Heiges, the Chou Hall Zero Waste Initiative student lead and a candidate for the Master’s of Development Practice program at the College of Natural Resources, called the certification “a wonderful confirmation that the enormous amount of hours that the community devoted toward the effort was finally validated.”

“This was a very difficult initiative because we are the first ones to go through it,” she said. “There were no best practices, no industry trends that we could fall back on or implement with our eyes closed. We had to address every single credit and the underlying motivation behind each credit, and had to go through it in a much more meticulous manner because it was all brand new.”

With the certification earned, Doud-Martin said the committee will now draft a “best practices” manual as a guide for other UC campus buildings that want to follow in Haas’ footsteps. Heiges said she’s excited to meet with other groups on campus to share what they’ve learned.

A shift toward reusing and reducing

The zero waste certification process began as soon as Connie & Kevin Chou Hall opened to students in August 2017.

“We initiated the TRUE Zero Waste certification for Chou Hall as our beacon to demonstrate that zero waste is definitely achievable for the entire campus,” said Lin King, manager of Cal Zero Waste, which manages waste for all of campus and is aligned with the University of California’s commitment to move toward zero waste by 2020.

In August 2018, Haas participated in its third week-long TRUE Zero Waste audit. Waste audits—a messy, hands-on endeavor that requires separating compostable items like soiled paper towels and paper cups from recyclable cans and bottles. The audits are a required component to better understand the waste flow and provide a benchmark for improvement.

The team used audit data to make more zero-waste adjustments and recommendations, including working with Café Think and the Evening & Weekend MBA program to change student snack offerings to bulk items; implementing a program to donate Café Think’s coffee grounds to UC Berkeley’s Gill Tract Farm for garden compost, and replacing the bathrooms’ one-roll toilet paper dispensers with two-roll dispensers to conserve toilet paper. (Custodial staff are less likely to toss an almost-spent roll if there’s a second one in the dispenser, Doud-Martin said.)

Doud-Martin said the next phase will be to encourage a shift from recycling and composting toward reusing or reducing single-use items such as “to go” containers and coffee cups. One recent example is a pilot with Café Think, which allowed customers to put down a $1 deposit for a mason jar of overnight oats and yogurt that can be refilled at the cafe. “Our goals are mighty,” she said. “But this shift would align us with more of a true zero-waste model.”


Strong job outcome for full-time MBA Class of 2018

<em>The job market is bright for the 2018 full-time MBA class. </em><em>Photo: Noah Berger</em>
The job market is bright for the 2018 full-time MBA class. Photo: Noah Berger

Salaries and sign-on bonuses remained strong for the Class of 2018, with a bump in the number of students landing jobs three months post-graduation.

About 93.4 percent of job seekers accepted offers within three months of graduation, with about 83 percent receiving job offers by graduation.

“This is just about as strong of a job market for MBAs that I’ve ever seen,” said Abby Scott, assistant dean of Career Management & Corporate Relations. “Salaries are up, thanks to stock options and bonuses. We’re really pleased with the employment success of this year’s class.”

Pay is solid this year for the class of 242 graduates, with average salaries of $127,571, up from $125,572 last year. Those salaries were topped off by an  average sign-on bonus of $29,212. About seventy percent of the class received signing bonuses, and about 41 percent received stock options or grants.

Tech, consulting top sectors

Technology was again the most popular sector for new Berkeley MBAs, pulling in 32 percent of the graduates. Amazon, Google, and Adobe were among the top tech employers.

Gabriela Belo Soares, MBA 18, said she took a full-time job at Google in business operations and strategy for a number of reasons.

“I always admired the company trajectory and how it changed the way we use internet, and I strongly identified with the company’s values and mission and the challenges and opportunities I would face,” she said. “Tech companies are currently under massive scrutiny from users and the media and have a big pressure to keep up the high pace of growth and innovation. This environment is exciting and requires making smart decisions responsibly and quickly. That was what I was looking for.”

Meantime, 24 percent—or 44 students—took jobs in consulting, with McKinsey & Co., Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and IDEO representing the top hiring firms in consulting.

Carina Serreze, MBA/MPH 17, who graduated in December, took a job as an associate with McKinsey—her first choice of the three offers she received.

“When it came down to it, I was choosing between a full-time offer at Genentech or a startup or McKinsey,” she said. What drove her decision was the opportunity to work across different healthcare verticals at McKinsey, where she also has more geographic flexibility (she now lives in Seattle and travels often to San Francisco).

“Consulting was an opportunity to go really broad,” she said.

New companies make list

Nearly 14 percent of grads took positions in finance, including fintech, up from 11.8 percent last year. Meantime, 14 graduates started companies, while 25 others went to startups in various industries.

New companies on the school’s top hiring list include EY Parthenon, IDEO, Kraft Heinz, and Tesla.

Maxwell Kushner-Lenhoff, MBA 18, said the work he did at Haas taught him many of the skills he needed to be successful in his current role as a global supply manager in battery materials at Tesla.

“I came back to Haas to get into cleantech and I discussed the work I did in the Cleantech to Market course during my interview process,” said Kushner-Lenhoff, who previously worked at the Dow Chemical Company. He is one of seven members of the Class of 2018 who went to work at Tesla.

Read the 2018 employment report.