Flex Benefits

New cohort widens access to the Berkeley MBA

Online instruction during the pandemic came with its share of frustrations, but it also came with unexpected upsides, including flexibility for learning in remote locations and novel online tools adopted by faculty.

Haas is taking advantage of those benefits by launching a new Flex cohort for its Evening & Weekend MBA Program. The option will combine online and in-person instruction to offer a wider cross-section of students access to a Berkeley MBA.

“When the pandemic hit, our faculty became increasingly expert in using online teaching technology, with all kinds of tools for interaction and enhancements to their courses,” says Jennifer Chatman, PhD 88, the associate dean for academic affairs. “We saw we could scale this to meet the needs of students from a wider geographical and demographic network—people across the country but also the working parent in Santa Clara who can’t come to campus two nights a week for three years.”

Students will take core classes virtually from Haas professors who will be teaching in new state-of-the-art video classrooms created specifically for remote instruction. For electives, students will have the option to come to campus for in-person instruction. “If students want to complete the entire degree program online, they can do that,” says Jamie Breen, the assistant dean of MBA Programs for Working Professionals, who oversees the EWMBA program. “But they can also come to campus for their electives and get all of the benefits any evening and weekend student gets, including access to the career management center and student clubs.”

Core classes taught online by regular Haas faculty will include a mix of synchronous and asynchronous content. Associate Prof. Ricardo Perez-Truglia, for example, has recorded lectures for key theoretical concepts for his core microeconomics course; last year, he found that students watched them multiple times and even used them for open-book exams.

“For topics like price discrimination or versioning, I can make an hour-long video for something that would take me two hours to say live,” says Perez-Truglia. “Students can watch them over and over until they understand it.” He is then able to devote more time in synchronous classes to discussion and applications to real-world situations.

The online environment also allows professors to use new tools to enrich instruction, including collaborative whiteboard spaces, simulation exercises, and other experiences that would be difficult in a fully in-person environment. “You can do instantaneous breakout rooms and have oneon- one conversations in ways you couldn’t do together,” says Associate Prof. Juliana Schroeder, who teaches the core leadership course. In one negotiation exercise, for example, she assigns a group of 10 students roles in a fictitious company, then encourages them to meet virtually to discuss strategy. A week later, they attempt to persuade the CEO of their strategy objectives. “All sorts of amazing things happen when you get to see who wielded the most influence over the course of the week and what coalitions formed,” says Schroeder.

In addition to the core classes, students take a wide range of electives, such as Power and Politics in Organizations, a highly sought-after class which Prof. Cameron Anderson specifically designed for an online environment well before the pandemic, as well as popular in-person courses such as Financial Information Analysis and Data Analytics.

While much of the interest in the cohort has come from Northern California so far, Haas has also seen strong interest from Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Portland, Ore., says Bill Pearce, assistant dean and chief marketing officer. “Our target is the same as for the evening and weekend programs: smart, talented people with seven to 10 years of experience who want to round out their skill set to prepare them for career advancement,” Pearce says. “Taking away some of the geographic restrictions just opens Haas up to more people.”

Classified: Using data and art to inspire conversations about climate change

“Classified” is a series spotlighting some of the more powerful lessons faculty are teaching in Haas classrooms.

George Milanovic,
George Milanović and Laila Samimi, both MBA 22, in the beginning stages of creating a hopscotch game that will reflect global warming. Photo: Jim Block

High above campus in Memorial Stadium last Wednesday, George Milanović, MBA 22, is lying on the pavement drawing hopscotch squares. It’s the first sign that this is not the usual business school class. His project partner, Laila Samimi, MBA 22, stands nearby. She translates what Milanović is doing.

“The shorter path is the point of no return if the earth’s temperature rises two degrees Celsius—the path of corporate greed and individualistic behavior,” Samimi says. “The other is a path of sustainability. It’s a longer path and it’s harder.”

Heavy stuff for a child’s game, but the hopscotch project makes perfect sense as art created in a new course called Sustainability, Art & Business. 

Clark Kellogg speaks to student in class.
Continuing Lecturer and Haas artist-in-residence Clark Kellogg (right) chats with undergraduate Alexis Mullard about her project, which explores the idea that earth is melting like an ice cream cone. Photo: Jim Block

The course calls on 25 undergraduate and MBA students to explore the meaning of sustainability—and the human response to global warming—through art. 

My hope is that this art will help people to see things differently–to reframe problems and challenge our comfortable assumptions,” says Clark Kellogg, a continuing lecturer with the Haas Professional Faculty and the Haas artist-in-residence. “We’re using art to invite people into a new relationship with sustainability, to inspire a different conversation that’s not about guilt or shame.”

“We’re using art to invite people into a new relationship with sustainability, to inspire a different conversation that’s not about guilt or shame.” — Clark Kellogg

The course, taught in the Berkeley Haas Innovation Lab, builds upon a series of classes Kellogg has taught at Haas over the past decade—from Creativity Lab to Art from Business to the pioneering Design Thinking class. 

Kellogg’s classroom method combines experiential learning-by-doing coupled with deep collaboration and peer-to-peer-critique, all on display in the new course. This morning, the class is focused on design, which is the second step of the three-step process for making public art that includes research, design, and execution.

Kellogg grabs a large roll of paper and starts cutting. 

“Let’s just start to play,” he says, as the class splits into small groups, clutching chalk, recyclable materials, and other supplies. 

Students in Memorial Stadium making art
(Left to right) MBA students Casey Dunajick-DeKnight, Rosa Huang, and Jesse Ruiz cutting recycled cans into flat aluminum that will be used to craft sea creatures. Photo: Jim Block

Preparing for the pop up

The idea is to finish something today that can be transferred to the Haas Courtyard next Wednesday to share during a pop up show.

Casey Dunajick-DeKnight and her team sit outside cutting recycled seltzer cans into shiny, flat metal pieces that will be used to craft sea creatures that are disappearing from oceans. Dunajick-DeKnight says she’s inspired by origami and found that aluminum is a flexible material “that cuts like paper.” Kellogg says he’s pleased that the cans are finding a second life as aluminum squid and crabs. “If it’s single use, and we use it twice, we cut the problem in half.”

Meanwhile, Zarine Kakalia, BS 22, is using chalk to draw a river that’s been diverted so many times that there’s no water left for the salmon. “I thought this was an interesting way to address resource constraints,” says Kakalia.

Samiya Mehreen, BS 23, presents her drawing, which explores how women artisans in developing countries are balancing business and sustainability. Photo: Jim Block

The class spends an hour working on projects before gathering for storytelling, where one group member describes the project to the class. Rachel Stinebaugh, MBA 22, shares an idea for a game of courtyard twister, with the dots representing vanishing coral reefs. Samiya Mehreen, BS 23, explains a drawing that explores the role of women artisans in developing countries, who are balancing sustainability and business. And Vincent Chang, MBA 22, says his drawing should provoke people to think about the future of a sky obscured by greenhouse gases. “It’s rainbow versus anti-rainbow,” he says.

Vincent Chang shows his artwork.
Vincent Chang, MBA 22, says his drawing—rainbow versus anti-rainbow—addresses the impact of greenhouse gases on the sky.

Kellogg offers praise and gentle prompts for students to take their ideas to the next level.

Before class breaks up, the students head outside to check out the hopscotch game. One student asks Kellogg if he remembers how to play hopscotch. Kellogg pauses, but then obliges, skipping through the squares as the group cheers him on.

Making a plan

Afterwards, the students must decide whether to transfer their projects in some form to the Haas courtyard or recreate their projects on site. The group votes to create their art on site. “Drawing time will be critical,” Kellogg warns, and the group agrees to plan more during the week on Slack, and meet at the courtyard by 10 a.m. on Wednesday. 

“It will be so great to look at the chalk drawings on the ground and think: ‘We did this,’ ” Rosa Huang, MBA 22, says.

Clark Kellogg's art
A work from Clark Kellogg’s 365 Art project—of making art daily for a year.

After next Wednesday’s event, a second courtyard pop-up show is planned for December, followed by a final gallery reception of student art.

Throughout the course, the class will read books like “Think Like an Artist” and “In Pursuit of Inspiration” and news articles that detail the links between taking walks and creativity and the importance of taking time to be alone to just think. (One of Kellogg’s personal projects was to document his commitment to making art daily.) 

Among the students, many of whom are involved in sustainability-focused student groups and working at environmentally-related internships, the consensus is that the class is fresh and fun, tapping a different part of their brains.

“As business school students we are often comfortable with data and frameworks and this class helps us break away from that and be creative and think of things on the spot,” says Alejandra Arrué, MBA 22. “That’s why we enjoy the class.”

Ten new professors join Haas faculty

Berkeley Haas welcomes 10 new professors to its tenure-track faculty this fall. Their expertise ranges from mergers and acquisitions to real estate finance to marketing to corporate growth and innovation. Other new faces include two new visiting professors and 10 new lecturers.

We spoke with our new ladder faculty members to learn what they’ll be working on, what they’ll be teaching, and why they chose to join Haas.

Portrait: Saikat Chaudhuri
Portrait: Saikat Chaudhuri

Saikat Chaudhuri

Title and Academic Group: Faculty Director, Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology (M.E.T.) Program; Grimes M.E.T. Chancellor’s Chair; Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Management of Organizations, and Mechanical Engineering (Joint Appointment, Haas School of Business and College of Engineering)

PhD institution and degree area: Harvard Business School; Technology and Operations Management

Describe your research focus: My research focuses on corporate growth and innovation strategies, particularly high-tech mergers and acquisitions, high-value strategic partnerships and outsourcing, and technological innovation in dynamic environments.  

Class(es) you’ll teach: Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Introductory Topics (Undergraduate Program); Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Capstone Course (Undergraduate Program); Chief Digital Officer Program, (Berkeley Executive Education, Co-Faculty Director)

Most excited to work on: As the inaugural faculty director of the M.E.T. Program, I’m excited to build out this dual-degree program in engineering and business to help create leaders who will integrate the two areas and solve the world’s most pressing challenges in a scalable and sustainable way.  I’m also keen to expand my work on external sourcing of innovation to provide insight for established and emerging firms in navigating disruptions.

Why Berkeley Haas: I moved here because I cannot imagine a better place right now to blend technology with business, and thereby impact companies, the economy, and society. Berkeley’s cutting-edge thought leadership, extensive alumni base, and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region make it the ideal platform for my work. Not to mention the distinctive and appealing culture Berkeley Haas has created with its Defining Leadership Principles that are embraced by everyone around.

Portrait: Celia Gaertig
Portrait: Celia Gaertig

Celia Gaertig

Title and Academic Group: Assistant Professor, Marketing

PhD institution and degree area: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Decision Processes

Describe your research focus: I study the psychology of consumer judgment and decision making. I am particularly interested in understanding how consumers make decisions under uncertainty and how they use advice—for example, when trying to forecast the course of the current pandemic. 

Class(es) you’ll teach: Decision Making (MBA Program) 

Most excited to work on: I am most excited to investigate how to best communicate the inherent uncertainty of the world to people in a way that can help them improve their own predictions and decisions. 

Why Berkeley Haas: Behavioral researchers at Berkeley Haas are at the forefront of improving research practices across psychology and the social sciences and have shaped our field in important ways. I am excited to become part of this community. 

Portrait: Matthew Grennan
Portrait: Matthew Grennan

Matthew Grennan

Title and Academic Group: Associate Professor, Economic Analysis & Policy

PhD institution and degree area: NYU Stern School of Business; Strategy and Economics 

Describe your research focus: My research examines how complex incentives and imperfect information endemic to health care markets affect how technologies are adopted, priced, and ultimately deliver value for society. Recent work relates to business and public policy debates regarding price transparency, relationships between physicians and industry, regulation of new products, and antitrust concerns about market power in the health care sector.

Class(es) you’ll teach: Life Sciences Business and Entrepreneurship (Undergraduate Program); Data Analytics (MBA Program)

Most excited to work on: One of my hats will be as faculty co-director of the new Robinson Life Sciences Business & Entrepreneurship Program, a joint undergraduate program between Haas and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. I can’t wait for us to grow this new program, which leverages the diverse strengths of Berkeley and the Bay Area to develop life sciences business leaders of the future.

Why Berkeley Haas: I believe that Berkeley Haas is the heart of what’s next, leading entrepreneurship and innovation at the intersection of life sciences and technology. I hope to work with others in the community, using business to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and healthy society.

Portrait: David Holtz
Portrait: David Holtz

David Holtz

Title and Academic Group: Assistant Professor, Management of Organizations (MORS) and Entrepreneurship & Innovation

PhD institution and degree area: MIT Sloan School of Management; Information Technology

Describe your research focus: I study the design of online marketplaces and platforms using large-scale online field experiments and novel digital trace data. My research agenda focuses on online trust and reputation system design, the business and societal impacts of personalized recommendations, and the design and analysis of field experiments in online marketplaces.

Class(es) you’ll teach: Online Marketplace and Platform Design (MBA Program)

Most excited to work on: I’m most excited to deepen and expand ongoing research collaborations with firms such as Airbnb, Spotify, and Etsy. Because much of my research involves collaborating with large internet firms to conduct field experiments, I’m constantly having conversations with product teams and learning about fascinating new problems that tech firms face. At the moment, I’m particularly excited about an ongoing project with Spotify, in which we are trying to understand how personalized recommendations shape both the individual-level and population-level diversity of content consumption, and what business implications that might have for a firm like Spotify.

Why Berkeley Haas: There are so many reasons that I’m excited to join Haas! First, there are tons of faculty members that I’m excited to collaborate with and learn from, not only in the MORS and Entrepreneurship and Innovation groups, but also in other academic groups across the school. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the brilliant students at Haas. Finally, Haas’ proximity to San Francisco and Silicon Valley will be very useful, both in terms of establishing research collaborations and in terms of keeping up-to-date with what is happening on the innovation frontier in tech.

Portrait: Peter Maxted
Portrait Maxted

Peter Maxted

Title and Academic Group: Assistant Professor, Finance

PhD institution and degree area: Harvard University; Economics

Describe your research focus: My research spans finance, macroeconomics, and behavioral economics. In recent work, I study how over-optimistic beliefs can lead to a buildup of crash risk in financial markets, and how present bias affects households’ response to fiscal and monetary policy.

Class(es) you’ll teach: Introduction to Finance (MBA Program)

Most excited to work on: I’m excited to continue my research on financial crises. Can crises be predicted? Are there errors in judgement that consistently amplify systemic risk? How should policymakers respond to early warning signs, and how should they respond after panics have already broken out? There is still so much that we need to learn!

Why Berkeley Haas: My research is interdisciplinary, and that’s something that fits perfectly into the Berkeley Haas culture. I’m really excited to be able to draw on the knowledge of so many incredible colleagues across both Haas and the broader UC Berkeley community.

Portrait: Timothy McQuade
Portrait: Timothy McQuade

Timothy McQuade

Title and Academic Group: Associate Professor, Real Estate, Finance, EIG

PhD institution and degree area: Harvard University; Economics

Describe your research focus: My overall, broad research agenda strives to provide empirical and quantitative guidance on important policy questions related to housing, household finance, and innovation. My approach is multi-faceted, bringing to bear novel datasets, quasi-experimental, reduced-form estimates, and finally, structural, theory-based modeling.

Class(es) you’ll teach: New Venture Finance (MBA Program)

Most excited to work on: I’m currently pursuing a broad range of issues in affordable housing policy.

Why Berkeley Haas: Berkeley Haas has world-class faculty working on exciting and innovative research. Moreover, given that my research interests span real estate, finance, and innovation issues, I could not ask for a better fit.

Woman wearing a red shirt and black blazerOlivia Natan

Title and Academic Group: Assistant Professor, Marketing

PhD institution and degree area: University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Marketing

Describe your research focus: I study the implications of information frictions on firms and consumers. My recent work has focused on excess product variety in platform markets and organizational frictions in airline pricing.

Class(es) you’ll teach: Marketing Analytics (MBA Program)

Most excited to work on: I’m excited to continue working on research that builds on firm-researcher collaboration. These projects let us look “under the hood” at how the cutting edge of marketing research and theory does (and sometimes doesn’t) work in the real world.

Why Berkeley Haas: Great colleagues! I am excited to join the wonderful group of marketing scholars and to be part of the broader Haas research community.

Portrait: Aruna Ranganathan

Aruna Ranganathan

Title and Academic Group: Associate Professor, Management of Organizations (MORS)

PhD institution and degree area: MIT Sloan School of Management; Management 

Describe your research focus: My research is focused on the many facets of work: the satisfaction it can bring, how it affects the economic decisions we make, how it shapes demographic inequality and how it intersects with technological change.

Class(es) you’ll teach: 
Managing People in the Global Context
 (MBA Program)

Most excited to work on:
 Gender inequality in the music industry

Why Berkeley Haas:
 Berkeley’s social mission and history of supporting disenfranchised and marginalized populations aligns very well with my focus on furthering the cause of low-income, but skilled workers all around the world.

Portrait: Park Sinchaisri

Park Sinchaisri

Title and Academic Group: Assistant Professor, Operations and IT Management (OITM) Group

PhD institution and degree area: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania;
Operations, Information, and Decisions 

Describe your research focus: My main focus is behavioral and data-driven operations management for the future of work and services. I’m currently focusing on designing incentives for on-demand/gig workers, and developing algorithms to help humans improve their decision-making and learn to improve performance on the job.

Class(es) you’ll teach: Introduction to Business Analytics (Undergraduate Program)

Most excited to work on: Designing new human-centric operational strategies for flexible and digital organizations, improving human-AI interfaces, making a positive social impact, and helping marginalized populations in the workforce through my research.

Why Berkeley Haas: From the groundbreaking research initiatives to developing close connections to industry leaders, Haas is truly the heart of what’s next, especially for my interest in the future of work. I look forward to connecting and collaborating with experts at Haas, Berkeley, and the greater Bay Area. I also spent the summer of my freshman year at Haas through the BASE Summer Program and fell in love ever since!

Jonathan Weigel

Jonathan Weigel

Title and Academic Group: Assistant Professor, Business and Public Policy (BPP) Group

PhD institution and degree area: Harvard University; Political Economy and Government

Describe your research focus: My research primarily explores the role of state capacity in development with a focus on taxation. I’m also interested in the co-evolution of culture and institutions. I run a social science research lab in Kananga, Democratic Republic of Congo, where most of my recent work is based. I’m often looking for students to work with as research assistants/managers in Kananga and would encourage anyone who might be interested to get in touch.

Class(es) you’ll teach: Ethics (MBA Program)

Most excited to work on: I’m excited to work on several projects that explore social norms and social networks within the Haitian state; the legal antecedents to fiscal capacity in a weak state setting; and how progressive taxation shapes citizen compliance and state revenue in Congo. 

Why Berkeley Haas: First and foremost, the amazing colleagues and research community in the political economy of development. The BPP group is at the frontier of empirical political economy research and I am eager to soak up the group’s wisdom and hopefully convince some colleagues to work in Congo with me. I also love the outdoors and plan to get lost in the Northern California wilderness early and often. I’m a runner and always looking for new running companions.

In addition to the 10 new ladder faculty members, Haas welcomes visiting professors Harris Sondak and Matthew Backus, along with new lecturers Jill Vialet, John Goldstein, Anne Simpson, Keval Desai, Mathieu Aguesse, Chris Jones, David Chen, Steve Johnson, Joe South, and Ashley Weinstein-Carnes.

Same Berkeley MBA without the commute: Berkeley Haas now offers flexible online option

Berkeley, Calif. — UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business announced a new flexible online option for its top-ranked, part-time Evening & Weekend MBA Program. The new Flex option offers the same curriculum and faculty and the same Berkeley Haas MBA degree in a highly customized and flexible online and on-campus format. 

Students enrolled in the Flex option will take their core MBA courses online. After completing their first three semesters of the core curriculum, students can take their elective courses either in person on the Berkeley Haas campus or online.  

Applications for the Flex option will open on August 17 through the Evening & Weekend MBA Program (EWMBA). The first group of about 60 Flex students will enroll in July of 2022. 

The Flex option will be part of the Berkeley Haas Evening & Weekend MBA Program, which is ranked #2 among part-time MBA programs by U.S. News. The program typically takes three years to complete, with some students completing their degree in just 2.5 years. 

“Students in the Flex cohort can get a top-ranked Berkeley Haas MBA from anywhere, without the commute to campus every week,” said Dean Ann E. Harrison. “They will have flexibility in how they complete their MBA program. Yet they can also enjoy the in-person and campus experience, giving them the ability to access the extracurricular experiences Berkeley and Haas have to offer.” 

The Flex option is designed for high-achieving and ambitious professionals with five or more years of professional work experience who seek additional skills to advance in their careers or to change jobs. They will join a network of 41,000 Haas alumni around the world.

In the Flex option, 40% to 60% of the online core courses will be delivered synchronously to create a robust, cohort-based learning experience. The significant percentage of synchronous content ensures that Flex students have the same opportunity for discussion and feedback as students in on-campus courses. Students will be assigned to study teams that are carefully selected for diverse skills and backgrounds, ensuring that students learn as much from each other as they do in the classroom. 

Given the importance of community in our EWMBA program, the Flex option also includes five in-person events:

  • WE Launch, the required orientation over a long weekend (Friday through Sunday) in late July on the Berkeley Haas campus. 
  • Leadership Communication, a required course taught on the Berkeley Haas campus as a weekend immersion (Friday through Sunday) in the second half of the second semester. 
  • RE Launch, an optional weekend immersion on the Berkeley Haas campus in October of the third semester. 
  • Business Communications in Diverse Environments, a required weekend immersion (Friday through Sunday), taught typically at a resort site in Napa Valley on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in January of the fourth semester. 
  • WE Lead, an optional weekend celebration and reflection on the MBA experience held in May of the graduation year. 

“In this fast-changing environment, our MBA experience provides professionals not only with a rigorous management education but also with an understanding of how innovation, inclusion, and sustainability will shape the future of business,” said Dean Harrison. “Our innovative courses will help prepare our students for what’s next, addressing a wide range of workplace challenges—from questioning the ethics of artificial intelligence to recognizing how unconscious bias impacts management decisions.”

In 2022, Haas will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its part-time MBA program. “We think the creation of this new Flex cohort reflects our commitment to innovation and UC Berkeley’s mission,” said Jamie Breen, Assistant Dean, MBA Programs for Working Professionals, who oversees the new Flex option.

As the second-oldest business school in the United States, Berkeley Haas has been questioning the status quo since its founding in 1898. It provides research, thought leadership, and talent development to lead the way to a more inclusive and sustainable future.

More at https://ewmba.haas.berkeley.edu/academics/flex

Media Contact:
Ute Frey, Executive Director of Communications
O: (510) 642-0342
M: (510) 301-9184

Stowsky and Goodson honored for ‘extraordinary teaching in extraordinary times’

Berkeley Haas Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction Jay Stowsky and Lecturer Peter Goodson have been recognized with UC Berkeley’s Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times award

The award was created by the Academic Senate’s Committee on Teaching to honor faculty, staff, and student instructors who embraced the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and engaged in or supported excellent teaching.

“These instructors and staff used innovative methods and worked beyond their traditional roles to ensure that students remained engaged and supported, and were challenged to do meaningful work under extraordinary circumstances,” wrote the award committee.

Jay Stowsky
Jay Stowsky

Stowsky has served as senior assistant dean for instruction for 14 years, and at Haas for 24 years. He played a critical role in overseeing the transition from live to remote classes. 

“Working to match the engagement level of a live, physical classroom has involved hours of brainstorming, planning, workshop training, and investments in a host of new technologies,” wrote Stowsky, who is retiring at the end of the semester. “It has been fascinating, and challenging, to conceptualize, organize and operationalize this goal with the faculty, graduate student instructors, and technology teams at Haas.” 

Remote learning innovations at Haas included the installation of four state-of-the-art virtual classrooms, technical upgrades to regular classrooms for virtual teaching, regularly scheduled faculty-student engagement sessions, improvements in production quality of digitized asynchronous content, a remote instruction workshop series for faculty, and tech training. 

Peter Goodson
Peter Goodson

Goodson is a distinguished teaching fellow and continuing lecturer who has taught popular courses on mergers & acquisitions, private equity, and turnarounds to MBA students since 2004. After the pandemic forced all courses online, he invested “hundreds of hours repurposing content and delivery” to transform his courses.

“Our lofty goal was to deliver a ‘value proposition’ that was as good as or better than the in-person model,” he wrote of the experience. “Our team designed an online classroom experience that is optimized for student engagement; altered curricula to showcase students’ company’s pandemic strategies; published COVID MBA cases (including the first at Berkeley Haas); established rigorous and equitable inclusion; and created a feedback system to continuously improve the course.” 

The result was courses where students were highly engaged and rated among the very best experiences they’d had with online learning.

Goodson and Stowsky are among 38 individuals and teams selected from 500 nominees for the award. See the full list of honorees.

Students return to reimagined courses and major technology upgrades

A virtual classroom at Berkeley Haas
Lecturer Robert Strand, executive director of the Center for Responsible Business, demonstrates one of the four new Berkeley Haas virtual classrooms.

Berkeley Haas faculty spent the summer with a ticking clock and a lofty challenge: to pull apart their courses and rebuild them to give students as rich an experience as possible, during a maddeningly uncertain time.

“It’s an interesting challenge—how to take what’s different about this environment and improve teaching,” said Finance Prof. Terry Odean. “One of the big challenges for the fall semester is helping students feel like they are part of the class, part of the school, and part of a group of students.” 

It’s an interesting challenge—how to take what’s different about this environment and improve teaching. —Prof. Terry Odean

When students begin class this month, they’ll benefit from the hundreds of hours Odean and the rest of the Haas faculty have spent on redesigning their classes with a single goal in mind: creating a top-notch academic experience focused on maximizing student engagement. 

Working to match, and potentially improve upon, some aspects of the engagement level of a live, physical classroom online is no easy feat. It has involved hours of brainstorming, planning, workshop training, and major investments in a host of new technologies to reinvent instruction. It’s been all hands on deck: Dean Ann Harrison said she’s proud of the work the faculty, graduate student instructors, and the Haas Digital and Exec Ed Digital teams have done over spring and summer. “After watching last spring when our faculty and staff moved within 36 hours to online teaching when the coronavirus broke out, I believe there’s little that we can’t do virtually going forward,” Harrison said. “Their hard work has opened up so many other opportunities for the future of teaching at Haas.”

A different experience

“We’re very excited to debut what we’ve learned and implemented,” added Prof. Catherine Wolfram, associate dean for academic affairs & chair of the faculty, who is overseeing the transition with Prof. Jennifer Chatman, associate dean for learning strategies, and Jay Stowsky, senior assistant dean for instruction. “I think this will be many cuts above what students saw in the spring, and they’ll be pleasantly surprised,” Wolfram said.

While Berkeley’s fall semester officially begins on Aug. 24, students in the evening and weekend MBA program started their first classes last week. Andrew Celin, MBA 22, said he enjoyed his first class taught by Assoc. Prof. Jose Guajardo from one of the classrooms at Chou Hall upgraded for virtual teaching.

“The difference in learning experience was immediately evident, and I think it put everyone into the mindset that we were truly in class and not on a webinar call,” he said. “The camera was following Prof. Guajardo around the room as he moved and used different whiteboards. Having the option to simultaneously view a slide and see the professor at the whiteboard added tremendously to understanding and keeping students engaged after a full day’s work.”

Here are details of some of the innovations:

  • Launching virtual classrooms: The school has improved existing classrooms and invested in four new state-of-the-art “virtual classrooms” in conjunction with UC Berkeley Executive Education. Two of the classrooms will be used for executive education programs, and two by the MBA programs for core classes. The setup includes multiple cameras installed at various angles, allowing students to choose their view of the instructor; a digital whiteboard which instructors can use in person and students can write on remotely; and a curved wall of high-resolution monitors and directional speakers where the instructor can see and hear up to 84 students at once. Mike Rielly, CEO of Berkeley Executive Ed, said these virtual classrooms were designed to simulate a live classroom environment as closely as possible. Senior Lecturer Homa Bahrami of the Management of Organizations Group said the setup works well for her because she can easily use a whiteboard and move around while she teaches. “It creates intimacy,” she said. “I can walk up to students and engage with them.” In addition to the four new virtual classrooms, faculty can also host Zoom classes from Chou Hall classrooms that have undergone technical upgrades for virtual teaching. Instructors have access to automated cameras, high-speed internet, and all the traditional aspects of a classroom, and they can see students on newly installed large monitors. 
  • Creating small student groups to engage with professors: To increase engagement, small groups of students will have the opportunity to meet weekly with a faculty member for a one-hour check-in. Half the ladder faculty have already signed on to participate in this new Faculty-Student Engagement Series (FSES), which invites students to discuss anything from current events to the faculty member’s research to how students are coping with shelter-in-place, Chatman said. “The goal, in lieu of the fact that there won’t be in-person interactions between students and faculty, is to really get to know that faculty member,” Chatman said. Bill Pearce, the Haas chief marketing officer and a professional faculty member in the Marketing Group, scheduled more than 100 individual Zoom meetings with students between mid-March and May. Going forward, he said the Faculty-Student Engagement Series will be a valuable additional way to replace the time before or after class students often spent with faculty before the pandemic.
  • Investing in high-quality asynchronous content: Faculty have invested many hours in improving the production quality of the lectures they are recording (lighting, sound, and graphics), Chatman said. In the “flipped classroom” approach that is considered a best practice for online instruction, students are typically asked to watch lectures in advance and to be prepared to discuss the content, take quizzes, or move into breakout groups during class time. Odean, a veteran of online content creation, built a home studio, with special lighting and cameras, where he filmed the 50 videos he uses with his course. “It’s a lot of work, a shocking amount of work,” said Odean.
  • Applying learnings from workshops to online teaching: Over the summer, more than 120 faculty members, GSIs and staff took part in four different workshops offered by the Haas Digital team—ranging from beginner to advanced levels. Haas Digital Executive Director Sara Sieteski said her group’s goal was to help the faculty improve student engagement, no matter what their level of online expertise. Key to that success, she said, was getting them to think about a live session as if it were a radio program. “Every minute is scripted out,” she said. “Dead air kills a class just like dead air kills radio.” To that end, faculty members will be relying more than ever on their graduate student assistants (GSIs), who are key to making classes flow smoothly—reading student questions from the chat, making sure students are called on, and helping with online quizzes and polls.  
  • Zooming, with all the bells and whistles:  In Haas Digital workshops and at home, faculty have been learning how to use Zoom features more effectively to break up classroom time. “The one issue that I am concerned with going into the classes is what we are calling ‘Zoom fatigue,’ said Shruti Sethi, EWMBA 23, who starts classes Aug. 8. To combat fatigue, faculty will be adding more games and simulations, and more class time devoted to discussions rather than lectures, Chatman said. Veselina Dinova, a professional faculty member who teaches finance, said she’s using the breakout rooms more to allow students to get to know each other and discuss specific topics in a small group before opening up discussion with the whole class after the breakout session. She also uses breakout rooms for breaks that allow students to catch up personally. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said.  In addition, a new instructional designer, expected to join Haas Digital this month, will work with faculty to add more sophisticated data visualizations to MBA courses. The designer will use Jupyter notebooks, a web-based interactive platform created at UC Berkeley. Prof. Don Moore said he’s already reached out to Sieteski, asking about how he can work with the designer on simulations for his courses.
Assoc. Prof Panos Patatoukas teaching his Financial Information Analysis MBA class with two graduate student instructors in March
Assoc. Prof. Panos Patatoukas teaches his Financial Information Analysis class with help from two graduate student instructors in a Chou Hall classroom last March, just after the campus shut down to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The classrooms in Chou Hall, which opened in 2017, have been upgraded to improve virtual teaching. (Photo: Jessica Christian / San Francisco Chronicle / Polaris)

While the Haas School has made significant investments in new technology and training, virtual teaching at Haas isn’t new. Prof. Cameron Anderson pioneered an online version of his popular course Power & Politics in 2012. Since then, he has worked continuously to improve the online version—the latest version, created with Haas Digital, is now the most in-demand elective in the EWMBA program—and has shared his best practices with other faculty members. 

Anderson uses online discussion forums, which make up almost a third of the course. “It forces students to think through these issues really deeply in a way that doesn’t happen as often in my in-person class,” he said. “Because of that deeper, critical thinking, I still think my online students learn a bit more than my in-person students.”

It forces students to think through these issues really deeply in a way that doesn’t happen as often in my in-person class. —Prof. Cameron Anderson

There are also big benefits for students who are more reticent in traditional settings, he says. “In a normal classroom, 20% to 30% of the students do almost all the talking,” he said. “In the online class, everyone is chiming in, and I try hard to respond to as many as I can.”  

Even so, online teaching can never fully replace the in-person experience, which many students—and faculty—crave, Anderson said. The goal is to return to a hybrid approach that blends online lectures with small-group, in-person discussions as soon as state and local authorities approve. 

In the meantime,  Haas is “maximizing and taking advantage of things that we can do as a small school,” Wolfram said.


Berkeley Haas Executive MBA Program ranked #1 by The Economist

Executive MBA Program
Executive MBA students enrolled in a Teams@Haas course. Photo: Noah Berger

The Berkeley Haas MBA for Executives Program placed #1 worldwide, according to The Economist “Which MBA?” 2020 ranking, published today. 

The Haas program got the top rating in career development. According to EMBA students and alumni, the program excels at meeting their pre-EMBA career goals. The program was also rated highly for alumni career progression and salaries, as well as for the strength of its alumni network. Additional highlights include the program’s and students’ culture and the quality of students and of faculty teaching in the program.

The Economist gathered data from participating schools and surveyed their current students and alumni who completed their EMBA course between July 2016 and June 2019. The ranking gives equal weight to Personal Development and Educational Experience, which includes quality of the students, faculty, and program as well as student diversity, and to Career Development, which encompasses career progression, salary, and networking. The Berkeley Haas program topped in this ranking, which focuses on two broad measures: personal development/educational experience and career development.

In 2018, the Berkeley MBA for Executives ranked #4 in the world. That was the first year the Berkeley Haas program was eligible to be ranked since it founded its stand-alone program in 2013.

The full report is available here.

FTMBA Program ranked #5 for Latin American students

Cronk Gate on Haas campusThe Latin American Magazine ÁmericaEconomía ranked Berkeley Haas #5 among global full-time MBA programs and #3 among U.S. peers. Haas ranked #6 globally and #3 among US schools in 2019.

The ÁmericaEconomía ranking focuses on the best business schools for Latin American students, based on data provided by participating business schools and a reader survey. Its weighting goes as follows: 22.5% multicultural experience and diversity, 15% networking for Latin American students, 25% school activities in Latin America, and 27.5% selectivity, and 10% innovation.

The full report, published June 12, is available in Spanish here


Classified: Training PhD students to advance the open science revolution

Note: The “Classified” series spotlights some of the powerful lessons faculty are teaching in Haas classrooms.

Prof. Don Moore passes around a jar filled with the titles of research papers on the psychology of scarcity. Psychology PhD student Ryan Lundell-Creagh selects the paper that he’ll have to replicate.

As a young researcher, Kristin Donnelly was captivated by the work of social psychologists who published striking insights on human behavior, such as a finding that people walked more slowly after being exposed to the words gray, Florida, and Bingo. That was one of many surprising studies that had crossed into mainstream pop culture—thanks to books like Malcom Gladwell’s Blink—but there was a problem: No one could reproduce them.

“It was a sad, dark time to enter the field,” says Donnelly, who is now a Berkeley Haas PhD student in behavioral marketing. “I was pursuing similar ideas to people who had these incredible studies, but I couldn’t get any significant results. I became very disillusioned with myself as a researcher.”

Psychology has been rocked by a full-blown replication crisis over the past few years, set off in part by a 2011 paper co-written by Haas Prof. Leif Nelson. It revealed how the publish-or-perish culture—which rewards novel findings and did not reward attempts to replicate others’ work—led researchers to exploit gray areas of data analysis procedures to make their findings appear more significant.

Professors Leif Nelson and Don Moore are leaders in the open science movement.

Now Nelson, along with Prof. Don Moore, is working to train a new generation of up-and-comers in methodologies that many see as key to a rebirth of the field. This semester, they’re leading Donnelly and 22 other doctoral students from various branches of psychology in what may be a first for a PhD seminar: a mass replication of studies around one psychological theory: to see how well they hold up.

“We aren’t doing this because we want to take down the literature or attack the original authors. We want to understand the truth,” says Prof. Don Moore, an expert on judgement and decision-making who holds the Lorraine Tyson Mitchell Chair in Leadership and Communication. “There are many forces at work in the scientific publication process that don’t necessarily ensure that what gets published is also true. And for scientists, truth is at the top of the things we ought to care about.”

Examining the psychology of scarcity

The theory they’re examining is the “psychology of scarcity,” or the idea that being poor or having fewer resources actually impairs thinking. Moore and Nelson chose it not because of an inherent flaw, but because it’s relatively new (defined by a 2012 paper), high profile, and relevant to the students’ interests. Each student was randomly assigned a published study, and, after reaching out to the original researchers for background details, is attempting to replicate it. Results will be combined in a group paper.

“At Berkeley, we’re at the epicenter of this new methodological and statistical scrutiny, and as a young researcher I want to do good work that will replicate,” says Stephen Baum, also a PhD student in behavioral marketing at Haas. “Most people were willing to take things at face value before 2011. Things have changed, and we all have to do better.”

Berkeley Haas PhD student Derek Schatz chats with Graduate Student Instructor Michael O’Donnell and professors Leif Nelson and Don Moore during a class break.

Moore and Nelson are leaders in the growing open science movement, which advocates for protocols to make research more transparent. Nelson, along with Joseph Simmons and Uri Simonsohn of Wharton, coined the term “P-hacking” in 2011 to describe widespread practices that had been within researchers’ discretion: removing data outliers, selectively reporting data while “file drawering” other results, or stopping data collection when a threshold was reached. These practices, they argued, made it all too tempting to manipulate data in pursuit of a P-value less than 0.05. That translates to a less than 5% chance that the results were due to pure chance, and it’s the standard for demonstrating statistical significance and the threshold for getting published.

Building confidence through pre-registration

At a recent session of their PhD seminar, Moore and Nelson led a discussion of one of the key ways to combat P-hacking: pre-registering research studies. It sounds arcane, but it’s simply the grown-up equivalent of what grade-school teachers require students to do before starting on their science fair project: Write out a detailed plan, including the questions to be answered, hypothesis, and study design, with key variables to be observed.

“How many of you are working with faculty who pre-register all their studies?” asks Nelson, a consumer psychologist in the Haas Marketing Group and the Ewald T. Grether Professor in Business Administration and Marketing. Less than half the class raises their hands.

Nelson and Moore estimate that only about 20% of psychology studies are now pre-registered, but they believe it will soon become a baseline requirement for getting published—as it has become in medical research. Although there’s no real enforcement body, the largest pre-registration portal, run by Brian Nosek of the Center for Open Science, creates permanent timestamps on all submissions so they can’t be changed later. Nelson co-founded his own site, AsPredicted, which now gets about 40 pre-registration submissions per day. It’s patrolled by a fraud-detecting robot named Larry that dings researchers for potential cheats like submitting multiple variations of the same study.

“Without pre-registration, statistics are usually, if not always, misleading,” Moore tells students. “They aren’t entirely worthless, but they’re worth less.”

The class is the largest PhD seminar that Moore has ever taught.

Gold Okafor, a first-year PhD student studying social and personality psychology, says she plans to pre-register all her future studies. Though it requires a bit more work up front, it may save time in the end. “I think if you don’t use some of these methods, you could be called out and have your work questioned,” she says.

Students are also learning techniques such as P-curving, which is a way to determine the strength of a study’s results and whether data manipulation may have occurred. They’re also learning from guest lectures from other open science leaders, including Economics Prof. Ted Miguel and UC Davis Psychology Prof. Simine Vazire, who edits several journals.

The bedrock of the scientific method

Then there’s reproducibility, one of the bedrocks of the scientific method and the heart of the course. The American Psychological Association now promotes systematic replications, where multiple researchers around the world all re-create the same study. (PhD student Michael O’Donnell, who is assisting Nelson and Moore in teaching the course, recently led one such effort that cast doubt on a study finding that people who were asked to imagine themselves as a “professor” scored higher on a trivia quiz than those who imagined themselves as a “soccer hooligan.”)

Baum, the marketing student, will be replicating a psychology of scarcity study that was published in the flagship journal Psychological Science. The researchers asked people to recall a time when they felt uncertain about their economic prospects, and then write about how much pain they were experiencing in their body at that moment. The finding was that those people reported feeling more pain than those in a control group prompted to recall a time when they felt certain about their economic prospects.

“If it replicates, I will be surprised, but I’ve been wrong before,” Baum says.

No matter what the results, the replications will offer important new insights into the psychology of scarcity—important to understand in a society plagued by growing inequality, Moore says. Beyond the one theory, the fact that the course has the highest enrollment of any PhD seminar he’s ever taught gives Moore great hope for the future.

“The stakes are high,” he says. “The most courageous leaders in the open science revolution have been young people—it’s the doctoral students and junior faculty members who have led the way. The next generation will be holding themselves, and each other, to higher standards.”

Donnelly is a case in point. “This whole movement has made me a better researcher. I’ve changed what questions I ask, I changed how I ask them, and I changed how I work,” she says. “It’s a brave new world, and we may be able to lay the foundation of a new science that will build on itself.”

New California Management Review explores neuromarketing & the ed tech revolution

Like DNA tests gathered by investigators to solve a crime, human brain scans can provide key evidence for marketers trying to better understand consumer behavior.

At the same time, just like DNA tests, there are clear limits to what a peek into the brain can tell marketers, says Ming Hsu, an associate professor in the Berkeley-Haas Marketing Group and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley.

In “Neuromarketing: Inside the mind of the consumer,” an article published in the new California Management Review, Hsu aims to set realistic goals and expectations about what the application of neuroscience to marketing can and can’t do. Hsu’s case is among seven new articles included in the current issue, including an article by Berkeley-Haas Dean Rich Lyons on “Strategies for Higher Education in the Digital Age.”

CMR cover summer 2017

In his article, Lyons explores how new technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and mobile, are changing how education is delivered and structured. The article outlines eight examples of ways in which technology will be used to rethink everything from how students learn to how to train faculty to use their classroom time more efficiently.

“Ed tech is already changing the education product,” Lyons writes. “Therein lies its disruptive potential.”

One example is MATLAB, a coding course at UC Berkeley that used to be taught solely in a traditional classroom, but is now also taught online. The online format gives students access to a quick feedback loop that relies on a grading engine: students submit code and get instant feedback and help with problem areas. Students so loved the iterative part of the course that the engine is now used to teach the traditional campus versions of the same course. “This is a different product, not the same product distributed through a new channel,” Lyons writes.

Meantime, Hsu’s case discusses how neuroscience promises products that directly measure customers’ underlying thoughts, feelings, and intentions by testing a multitude of responses coming from the brain. The key differentiator of brain-based techniques is that they separate what people say they think from what they actually think, Hsu says.

Common tools used include EEG, or electroencephalogram, a test that detects electrical activity using small, flat electrodes attached to the scalp; PET, or positron emission tomography imaging; and functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. Indeed, these techniques are more expensive than traditional methods such as focus groups, and that expense tends to inflate expectations.

“Managers sometimes have a vision that brain recordings are effortlessly translated into customer insights and delivered with a bow,” Hsu said. “But that’s like asking DNA evidence to completely replace tools likes suspects’ interview, crime scene observation, or general critical thinking. The inability to reconstruct the suspects’ profiles from DNA evidence alone has not made the impact of genetic testing on forensics any less profound.”

Hsu suggests using tools to complement traditional approaches, not replace them; taking insights from focus groups or surveys and testing them using brain-based methods. This is particularly important when it comes to decisions in marketing and brand strategy, which often address questions regarding how customers think, feel, and respond to a company’s offerings.

Getting the wrong answers can mean costly mistakes that take years, even decades, to become apparent, let alone correct, Hsu said.  “A growing problem today is the inundation of data from customer focus groups, surveys, and social media, some of which can be mutually inconsistent and contradictory,” he said. “Brain based methods allow marketers to validate, prioritize, and select among putative insights generated from this mountain of data.”

About California Management Review: Published quarterly, California Management Review is a top-ranked management journal that serves as bridge of communication between those who study management and those who practice it.

To subscribe, visit cmr.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.

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.

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.

UC Berkeley launches joint master’s degree in business and engineering

photo of Berkeley students holding a laptopThe Haas School of Business and College of Engineering have joined forces to launch a concurrent MBA/MEng degree program to equip innovative leaders with the skills to take on complex and technical challenges.

The new program, enrolling for fall 2020, will allow students with sufficient undergraduate technical training to earn both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Engineering degree in just two years.

The MBA/MEng program is designed for early-career professionals who wish to take their careers to a higher level of leadership, whether at a major firm, a startup, or as an entrepreneur, said MBA/MEng Program Faculty Director Candace Yano, a professor with joint appointments at Haas and Berkeley Engineering.

“The program will prepare students to meet industry demands for graduates who are both business- and technology-savvy and can lead technical innovation efforts—a combination of skills needed in Silicon Valley and beyond,” she said.

Haas Dean Ann Harrison said the program will draw from the strength of both schools, allowing students to learn from some of the world’s top minds from a wide range of disciplines. Students will have access to both UC Berkeley’s rich intellectual resources and the Bay Area’s innovation ecosystem.

“With this exciting new program, we’re leaning into our Berkeley strength and uniting two of our top-ranked programs at the engineering and business schools to fill a need to educate leaders who are fluent in both worlds,” Harrison said.

Berkeley Engineering Dean Tsu-Jae King Liu said this kind of technical and business fluency is essential for driving innovation.

“Today’s business leaders increasingly need to understand and harness the transformative potential of engineered devices, systems, and processes,” she said. “This concurrent degree program is aligned with our college’s mission to train graduate students who not only have expertise in their respective engineering subfields, but who also have the skills to succeed as entrepreneurs and as leaders in industries where technological innovation offers a key competitive advantage.”

Graduates with advanced engineering and business skills are in high demand. Companies that have recently hired Berkeley Haas MBA graduates who also have a master’s degree in engineering include Google, Apple, Boston Consulting Group, Citibank, Eli Lilly, Genentech, KPMG, Marvell Semiconductor, and Microsoft. Their typical roles include product manager, principal architect, marketing analytics manager, senior consultant, and manager of strategy and operations.

The MBA/MEng program will launch with a cohort of 20 students and is expected to grow to 30 during the next few years. Applicants will be considered for admission to both departments by a combined committee (students accepted to only one of the two programs may enroll in that program).

The rigorous curriculum will include MBA courses in leadership, marketing, management, finance, data analysis, ethics, and macroeconomics, along with engineering courses in one of seven areas of concentration: Bioengineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Nuclear Engineering. Students will also take courses in managing research and development, project management, and working in teams.

An integral part of the program is a second-year capstone project that asks students to solve real-world challenges for companies or nonprofit government organizations. Examples of these interdisciplinary projects include creating better solar and water reclamation opportunities for greener cities or completing the marketing analysis required to redesign a residential water filter for a manufacturer.

To be considered for the program, applicants must have at least two years of full-time work experience as well as sufficient undergraduate coursework to be successful in master’s level engineering classes. Depending on their intended field, that may include an engineering degree or a degree in physics or mathematics with coursework in computer programming. Applicants can submit either GMAT or GRE scores.

The new program was inspired by Berkeley’s undergraduate Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program (M.E.T.), launched in 2017 and aimed at teaching undergraduates the skills of business and technology in one four-year bachelor of science degree. Haas also has interdisciplinary dual degree programs with public health (MBA/MPH) and law (JD/MBA).

The concurrent degree program was launched with the support of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in honor of its founder, Morris Chang.

Teaming up with quants: MBA students dive into data science

L-R: William Rindfuss, executive director of strategic programs in the Haas Finance Group, Daniel Clayton, MBA 19, Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the MFE Program, and Michael Bausback , MBA 19, at the Berkeley MFE commencement. Photo: Noah Berger / 2019
L-R: William Rindfuss, executive director of strategic programs in the Haas Finance Group; Daniel Clayton, MBA 19; Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the MFE Program; and Michael Bausback , MBA 19, at the Berkeley MFE commencement, where the students were honored for completing MFE courses. Photo: Noah Berger

During his MBA orientation two years ago, Daniel Clayton heard something that grabbed his attention: if space was available, MBA students could enroll in data-intensive Master of Financial Engineering program classes like Financial Innovation, Dynamic Asset Management, Investments & Derivatives, and Behavioral Finance.

Clayton, MBA 19, jumped at the chance. “It was an awesome opportunity,” said Clayton, who is a CFA charterholder, and had worked in finance for six years before heading to Berkeley for his MBA. “I set the goal early that I should try to graduate with three or more of these courses to add more quantitative skills to my strong finance base. It’s the ‘quants’ who will be key to the future of the investment field by driving markets, developing new and innovative investment strategies, and disrupting decades-old industries.”

The top-ranked MFE program trains an elite group of students in financial engineering and data science, many who go on to work at top banks, tech companies, and startups. Since 2001, when the MFE program launched, a select number of its courses have opened up to MBA students to provide an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of quantitative finance and data analytics, preparing them for a job market that increasingly demands these skills, said Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the MFE program. On average, five MBA students take one or more courses each year.

“I saw this coming years ago and, in the future, the MBAs will need to be more data science savvy,” Kreitzman said. “It’s a critical need in the very near future; why we don’t have more MBA students taking our courses is quite surprising to me.”

Students, family, and friends attend the 2019 Berkeley MFE Graduation
Students, family, and friends attend the 2019 Berkeley MFE Graduation. Photo: Noah Berger

For taking at least three MFE courses, Clayton was recognized along with Michael Bausback, also MBA 19, at the March 2019 MFE commencement.

The start of “a more studied experiment”

While the typical MBA student does not take the most quantitative and programming-intensive MFE classes such as Stochastic Calculus and Asset Backed Security Markets, they are able to enroll in the more qualitative courses.

In 2013, MBA student Benjamin Cooper fully capitalized on that opportunity. As a CJ White Finance Fellow, Cooper was matched with an alumnus as his mentor in his area of focus within finance, global asset allocation. “This was the start of a more studied experiment for MBAs taking MFE courses,” said William Rindfuss, executive director of strategic programs in the Haas Finance Group. “The mentor’s first bit of advice was to take as many MFE courses as possible.  Ben wound up taking five MFE courses over his two years, and really kicked off this idea of MBAs leveraging the MFE program—literally under the same roof—to expand their training and set of opportunities in the more quantitative ends of finance.”

Cooper, MBA 15, now works as a multi-asset strategist at Wellington Management in London.

Exploring machine learning and quantitative finance

Bausback and Clayton shared similar goals in taking MFE courses: to challenge themselves in the quantitative side of finance.

Bausback, who worked in economic consulting before he came to Haas at a job that required financial modeling and knowledge of trading derivatives, took courses that would prepare him with a deeper, most up-to-date set of finance skills. “I now have the confidence to explore and interact with the fields of machine learning and quantitative finance, both of which seemed inaccessible prior to the program,” said Bausback, who will work at Morgan Stanley as an associate in its Tech Investment Banking office after graduating. “Coming out of the program I realize I had never fully appreciated how financial markets actually work, how prices are driven on a day-to-day basis—and how human biases affect that more than a math model will ever tell you.”

Clayton said he added the most value as a member of the MFE student teams by developing qualitative analysis based on data the MFE students crunched. “Once they coded everything I could interpret the results, articulate the findings clearly, and suggest additional analysis,” he said. “The MBA and MFE skill sets actually complement one another nicely.”

One of the biggest takeaways of taking MFE courses was learning to work with engineers, he said. “I still can’t code in Python or do Stochastic calculus but I do now know how to communicate with financial engineers and understand the kind of analysis they are capable of producing. In the future, I will have a better appreciation for what goes into this kind of work and what is possible, which will make me much more valuable in the finance world.”

Classified: Empowering undergrads to be changemakers

“Classified” is a series spotlighting some of the more powerful lessons faculty are teaching in Haas classrooms.

Alex Budak teaches a new undergraduate course called Becoming a Changemaker
Alex Budak teaches a new undergraduate course called Becoming a Changemaker.

Nearly 40 students poured out of the Chou Hall elevators on a recent morning on a strange mission: to find ways to get rejected in less than 15 minutes.

One student told a passerby it was her birthday. “Could you sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me?” she asked.  Another offered to swap his jacket for a person’s laptop. Yet another went from table to table at Café Think, asking for bites of food.

The exercise may sound like improv, but it’s just part of Haas Lecturer Alex Budak’s new undergraduate course called Becoming a Changemaker. The course aims to inspire and empower future leaders with the mindset and tools to make a positive impact on the world—a mission that includes learning to overcome fear of failure by confronting it head-on.

“If you seek to do anything innovative or meaningful in your life, you’re inevitably going to fail along the way,” Budak said. “It’s one thing to intellectualize failure, but it’s another to feel it personally. How often do we hold back asking for something because we’re sure we’ll fail when in reality we may not? We’re failing even before we try.”

Turning panic into confidence

The rejection exercise is just one example of how Becoming a Changemaker tries to upend traditional notions of leadership. In follow-up interviews, students described how a near sense of panic turned to newfound confidence as they practiced asking for something and not getting it.

“It was one of the most powerful educational experiences I’ve ever had,” said Nye Avilla, BS 20, who overcame her fear of asking people if she could borrow their umbrellas. Despite getting rebuffed time and again, she basically realized it was no big deal to ask. “By being more open to failure, I know now that I can be a better leader and a better individual.”

The course includes a little improv, with a goal of creating leaders.
The course uses many tools (including this “act it out” exercise) to create a new kind of leader.

The students were also struck by how many strangers agreed to their outlandish requests, because it reminded them that people do want to help and that their own reticence can be inhibiting.

“Outdated notions of leadership tell young people to wait their turn; to wait for permission to lead,” Budak said. “But while leaders might be scarce, leadership is abundant. We can all lead positive change from wherever we are, whether we’re an intern or a CEO. Leadership is not a title; it’s an act. This course reflects the Haas commitment to building a different kind of leader.”

That’s why the Haas Defining Leadership Principles—Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Student Always, and Beyond Yourself—are woven throughout the course curriculum, he said.

The sum of “small, daily acts”

Students say the course has fundamentally changed how they think about leadership and has transformed how they see themselves in the world.

Sarika Saksena, for example, was 14 years old when she launched a nonprofit, Ujala, that has taught more than 1,000 women in India how to make and sell candles to gain financial independence. Despite her success and experience, the self-described introvert says she never thought she had what it takes to succeed as a leader.

“Before this class, I believed, like many others, that successful leaders are always extroverts, outspoken, bold, and dominating,” said Saksena, a freshman who plans to apply to Haas. She said Budak has taught her that leadership instead requires, among other things, humility, trust in yourself and others, a collaborative team spirit, and the resilience to “fail forward” after taking calculated risks. She sees leadership now as the sum of these small, daily acts that are within anyone’s reach.

Adeel Cheema, a senior computer science major who will work as a software engineer at Facebook after he graduates in May, said he didn’t know what leadership in a culture meant before taking the course. “Now I know how to lead culture,” he says.

Budak gives students many opportunities to put what they learn into practice. Throughout weekly two-hour sessions, students break into groups to discuss the topic at hand—including, for example, the role of corporate cultures on change—and their own experiences with it.

Budak’s teaching approach is to help all students recognize their capabilities as changemakers, which involves many techniques. When students arrive in class, they’re greeted with classic songs about change by the likes of Tracy Chapman, Bob Dylan, and Sam Cooke, and written quotes from some of history’s greatest changemakers. His “Changemaker of the Week” exercise gets students to select a favorite change agent and present on how course frameworks and theories apply to their impact.  For their final projects, students will work in small teams to identify a positive change they want to make on campus, in the community, or even globally, and develop a strategy for achieving it.

“A dream come true”

Budak says his commitment to fostering changemakers is deeply personal. In 2010, he co-founded the social enterprise StartSomeGood, which has helped over 1,000 people in 50 countries raise over $10 million to launch and scale new social ventures. He joined Haas in 2016, first as the founding executive director of the former UC Berkeley Center for Reinventing Leadership, and then as the director of the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program. Becoming a Changemaker is Budak’s first foray into teaching and, he says, a decade-long dream come true.

For their final projects, students will work in small teams to identify a positive change they want to make.
For their final projects, students will work in small teams to identify a positive change they want to make.

“In a world where the only constant is change, our companies, our communities, and our world are yearning for changemakers who can not just survive change but can leverage it to improve lives. These students give me so much hope for the future.” he said.

Ibrahim Balde, BS 20, said the course has opened his eyes to the leader he wants to be and has helped him gain confidence. Balde, who is active in student organizations such as Faces of African Muslims and Black Collectivism for California Students, came to Haas with visions of one day helping disadvantaged groups find economic empowerment.

Balde said the class, with its focus on putting lessons into practice, has been a welcome balance to courses in microeconomics and other technical business subjects.

“This class allows me to think about my mission and purpose and to understand that leadership isn’t a defined trait,” Balde said. “It’s a series of actions, a conscious effort every day to do the right thing.”

Choreographing Haas’ future: New Dean Ann Harrison outlines her plans to advance Haas

Dean Ann HarrisonBerkeley Haas Dean Ann Harrison grew up with an insatiable curiosity and a dream to make the world a better place.

No surprise, then, that she ended up at Berkeley—first as a double major in history and economics and later, after receiving a PhD in economics from Princeton, as a professor in the Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics from 2001 until 2011. She then joined the World Bank as director of development policy and after that the Wharton School of Business, where she gained international acclaim for her research on foreign investment and multinational firms. On January 1, Harrison “came home” to Berkeley once more—this time to serve as the 15th dean of Berkeley Haas.

She recently spoke to BerkeleyHaas magazine about her early years on campus, her groundbreaking research, and her plans for strengthening Haas as a leader in 21st century business education.

What was your experience as a Cal undergrad?

Being a Berkeley student and growing up in the Bay Area pretty much shaped who I am today. I had an independent streak and had hiked all over California by the time I was in junior high. I remember campaigning door-to-door in support of a statewide ballot initiative to protect our coastline. When I came to Berkeley, I lived in a co-op on the North Side. I was—and still am—into modern dance and loved that I could take dance classes on campus from former stars with the Martha Graham company and go to Zellerbach Hall and see great performances. I wrote dance reviews for the Daily Cal and was elected to the ASUC senate.

How did you get interested in economics?

I started off as a history major with a plan to go to law school. But then I took economics and loved it. One day I saw a posting for someone to do the grading for Econ 101A and the professor, Leo Simon, hired me—although he was taking a bit of a risk since I was an undergraduate. He became my mentor and convinced me to get a PhD. He really changed my life. After college I became a health economist at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. It opened my world to the power of data. Kaiser had millions of members, and I would stay in the office until 10:00 p.m., just analyzing the data.

How did your time at the World Bank shape you as a leader?

It taught me diplomacy, patience, and how people can do amazing things when they have the will to work together. After the financial crisis a decade ago, the bank’s lending tripled but its overall budget stayed flat. So, there was a lot of competition internally for fewer resources. The different parts of the bank were able to overcome that because of the strong relationships between people.

You are a much-cited scholar in your field. What inspires your research?

As a trade economist, I’m interested in real-world questions and their policy implications. What I find most interesting are big-picture policy issues. During my first business trip to India in 1986, I was part of a team that helped the Indian government formulate policies to increase competition and reduce monopoly power. To be able to take part in a project that helps economies solve problems in real time is very satisfying.

The question I have been most obsessed with recently is whether rising international competition has led to job losses and stagnating wages for the American worker—and whether free-trade economists miscalculated the costs of globalization or whether trade is just a scapegoat. I’ve concluded through my research that China is not the culprit. The cause of all those job losses is automation. The Factory-Free Economy, a book I co-edited with French economist Lionel Fontagné, looks at what will happen to high-income economies when many tasks become automated and jobs that used to exist are done by machines.

Read the full interview here.

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