Undergrad, MBA, and PhD Students Bid Haas Farewell

Nearly 900 business school students are graduating this month, bringing to a close their education in the classroom but not their lifelong connection to Berkeley-Haas.

PhD Commencement

Twelve PhD students were the first to toss their caps into the air at their commencement Saturday in the Wells Fargo Room.

The graduates will be moving on to faculty positions around the globe at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Germany's WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, and New York University-Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Within the States, students have landed professorships at such schools as the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Boston University, and the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, to name a few. One student is leaving academia for a position at Menta Capital, a San Francisco quantitative hedge fund firm.; another is crossing the pond to take a post-doc research position at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research  

Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA Commencement

On Friday, May 24, about 500 students in the Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA programs will celebrate their graduation at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre. The number of graduates is evenly split between the two programs.

Commencement speaker Arun Sarin, MBA 78, MS 78 (Material Sci. and Eng.), former CEO of Vodafone, will share the business insights and experience that he has gained from more than two decades leading the  telecom industry through a time of rapid expansion and change.

During the ceremony, outstanding MBA students will receive awards for excellence in three areas: academic achievement for the student with the highest GPA from each program; community service, given to those Beyond Yourself fellows who contributed the most volunteer hours; and service and leadership awards for full-time MBA students who are considered to have made the greatest lasting impact in improving the community and the school.

Haas also will announce the winners of the Cheit teaching awards for faculty and graduate student instructors during the MBA and undergraduate commencement ceremonies. (Please see related article about Cheit Award winners at https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/article/faculty-and-gsis-recognized-cheit-teaching-awards.)

Undergraduate Commencement

About 375 undergraduate students will receive their diplomas in a ceremony that will begin at 9 a.m. May 23 in the Greek Theatre. Marc Singer, BS 86, will deliver the commencement address, talking about his career guiding top companies through dizzying technological advances as director of McKinsey & Co.'s Marketing and Sales Practice for the Americas.

Students being recognized at the undergraduate commencement include Departmental Citation Winner Stephen Hwang and Haas Community Fellows Winner Shuonan Chen. Rebecca Hui was selected by her classmates to be the student speaker. In addition, for the first time, four students are receiving awards linked to the school's four Defining Principles—please see a related article on the Defining Principles awards at https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/article/haas-recognizes-four-haas-undergrads-champions-culture.

Stephen Hwang, who also majored in economics, has spent the last two years as an undergraduate researcher, working with Professor Cameron Anderson and PhD candidate Angus Hildreth.  He has contributed to a number of studies in social psychology and organizational behavior and helped develop executive training programs for several major health care companies.  During the summer, he plans to prepare for the CPA examinations before starting a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers in October.

Shuonan Chen, the Haas Community Fellows winner, has been focused on sharing financial knowledge with her peers during her time at Cal, driven by her family's suffering from the financial crisis and her own struggles to make ends meet as a college student. Chen helped teach the only Money Management DeCal course, which was oversubscribed by about 120 students due to space limitations. That prompted her to team up with two Haas friends to create a nonprofit focused on financial "edutainment" called Cashify, which was a winner in the UC Berkeley Big Ideas contest Friday. She hopes to continue her financial literacy efforts after graduation.

In addition to her BS in business, Rebecca Hui, the commencement speaker and also a winner in this year's Big Ideas context, double-majored in business and urban studies and is interested in investigating how cities are changing through art and cartography. She published “Life through the Perspective of a Cow” maps that show how stray cows are adapting to India’s changing socioeconomic and religious climate. She traveled to Tanzania to investigate China’s interests in Africa by mapping Chinese infrastructural investments.

Hui also co-founded an urban venture called “Apples and Wages,” addressing food insecurity in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco, with support from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation. Upon graduation, she is excited to return to India as a Fulbright Scholar with support from the National Geographic Society, Big Ideas at Berkeley, and Google Glass.

Job Outlook

This year’s MBA graduates are taking full advantage of a strong job market in both traditional and nontraditional roles. “The MBA market continues to thrive in such industries as consulting and technology. Silicon Valley maintains its appeal to students, and it is finishing strong with great opportunities even this late in the school year,” says Lisa Feldman, executive director of the MBA Career Management Group.

Feldman says she has seen a larger number of students interested in consumer-focused technologies; real estate big and small; and small, entrepreneurial ventures.  Companies that had a major presence on campus this year include McKinsey & Co., Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft, Zynga, The Boston Consulting Group, Goldman Sachs, Prophet, Kaiser, Visa, and LAN Airlines in Latin America.

The job market is also looking bright for undergraduates. "This year we have witnessed a steady improvement in the job market for Haas graduates—probably the best market for college graduates in the past three years," says Tom Devlin, director of UC Berkeley’s undergraduate Career Center. "Most notably, an increasing number of employers continue to strengthen and enlarge their internship programs as a major recruiting tool to attract graduates."