Tenth Berkeley-Columbia Class Includes Adventurers, Artists, Athletes

On May 18, the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program welcomed 71 students as its 10th class, which includes a playwright, a doctor who trained at the Mayo Clinic, and a former member of the U.S. Equestrian Team.

The 10th Berkeley-Columbia class is more geographically diverse than its predecessor, with 59 percent of students from the Bay Area (compared with 67 percent last year), 10 percent from Southern California, and 27 percent students from outside California. The class includes three international students–from Korea, Canada, and Australia.

Female students comprise a larger proportion of the class this year–28 percent compared with 21 percent last year.

The students' average age is 35, and they boast an average 11 years of work experience. Nearly one third of the class–31 percent–have another graduate degree.

Students come from a wide range of industries and companies, from high tech to consumer products to military. Their employers include PayPal, Genentech, the U.S. Navy, ExxonMobil, T-Mobile, and Time Inc. The class also includes several entrepreneurs working for such startups as news aggregator Fark.com and IT consulting firm cPrime, one of the top 500 fastest growing companies in America and the sixth fastest growing company in the Bay Area, according to Inc. magazine.

The class has accomplished a wide range of feats. One student climbed Mt. Fuji, Japan's highest mountain, at the age of 12. Another student has gone on an international expedition to the North Pole, while another student has yachted around the world. Two students are authors: one published a diet book and another is working on a book of 365 daily good deeds.

Their experiences also have varied dramatically over the course of their lives. As a child, one student lived without electricity and studied using street lamps. Another student fled Afghanistan during the 1980 Soviet invasion. Another student is fluent in Igbo, a language spoken in southeastern Nigeria.

The students kicked off their orientation with a team-building exercise making prosthetic hands for land mine victims—in keeping with one of the Haas School's defining principles, Beyond Yourself. Students met Haas Dean Rich Lyons and Columbia Vice Dean Amir Ziv at a reception Thursday night and then heard a IDEO General Manager and Haas alum Tom Kelley, MBA 83, talk on Friday, May 20.