Exchange Program

The Exchange Program – if you can bear to be away from Berkeley – expands your horizons and gives you first-hand experience in the global marketplace. Haas has reciprocal agreements with leading business schools in Europe and Asia, and with Columbia Business School in New York City.

You may:

  • Participate in the Exchange Program in the Fall semester of your second year if you have completed your core course requirements
  • Complete no more than 12 units of course work as an exchange student

Participating students pay the normal Haas tuition and fees during their exchange semester.


Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Hong Kong

The HKUST was founded in 1991 in partnership with UCLA to to foster Hong Kong's economic, social and technological development. Its MBA program focuses on the Asia-Pacific region and has an internationally recruited faculty, many who hold Berkeley PhDs. Classes encourage discussion and project work, and rely on case studies, computer models, and management exercises. Classes are held in English. The fall term runs from early September through late December


London Business School (LBS), London, England

LBS has one of the best MBA programs in the United Kingdom. Its students, nearly 75 percent of whom are international, represent 30 countries. Courses are designed to provide a general management education. The teaching style emphasizes cases studies, group work, and interaction between students and faculty. LBS is known for its courses in strategy, finance, and marketing. Located near London's financial center, LBS benefits from the quiet beauty of nearby Regent's Park. Classes are in English and run from early October to mid-December.

L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC), Jouy-en-Josas, France

French students compete vigorously to obtain admittance HEC, one of the most prestigious business schools in France. Group work, oral presentations, papers, and reports are the most common teaching techniques. If your career will involve business in France, you will benefit from HEC's wide-ranging network of ties to the French business community. The modern campus is located on a 236-acre site near Paris. Courses in English are available for exchange students. The fall academic period is from mid- September to mid-December.

IESE Business School, Universidad de Navarra, Barcelona, Spain

IESE follows the Harvard case method and offers courses in English and Spanish. If you want to take classes in Spanish, you must pass oral and written exams prior to the start of classes. (IESE offers a three-week intensive language course in late summer before the exam.) If you take courses in Spanish and immerse yourself in Barcelona's daily life, you can expect to develop a good working knowledge of Spanish. The school is located in an attractive suburb of Barcelona and students live off-campus. The fall term is from early October to mid-December, preceded by the optional three-week intensive language course.

North America

Columbia Business School (CBS), New York, NY
Established in 1999, the Haas-Columbia exchange is the first exchange program between two top US business schools. The program is aimed at Haas students who want to take course work in finance and media in New York City, and to Columbia students who want to study technology and entrepreneurship while living in close proximity to Silicon Valley. The program also makes post-graduation employment searches more convenient

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider going on exchange?
There are lots of reasons: academic, professional, and personal. Our partners are among the top business schools in the world; taking classes at these institutions will give you a different perspective. Studying abroad allows you to polish your language skills, delve into a new culture, and make friends. Many Haas students use their exchange semester to contact local firms with the goal of securing employment beyond the Bay Area or outside the U.S.

Who is eligible for exchange programs?
You must be in good academic standing (a GPA of at least 3.0) and have completed the core courses. You also must be a solid citizen at Haas. Exchange students are Haas ambassadors, our exchange relationships depend in part on your good citizenship while on exchange. We reserve the right to deny applicants whose behavior while at Haas indicates they might endanger those relationships and prevent future Haas students from going on exchange to a particular school.

Can I participate in both IBD and an exchange?
Yes, you can. Participation in IBD typically requires enrollment in MBA298A in the Spring semester of your first year and MBA298B in the Fall semester of your second year.

However, special arrangements will be made for students who participate in an exchange to complete the fall component of IBD in some other way.

Students who are accepted and choose to participate in both programs should contact Kristi Raube, IBD co-director.

When can I go on exchange?
Full-time MBA students typically go on exchange during the Fall semester of their second year. Concurrent degree students may go during the Fall of their third or fourth year.

How many students can go on exchange each year?
Typically, we send between one and three students each year to each school, or 8 to 24 students in total. The number is a function of the size of the partner school's exchange program and the “balance of trade” between Haas and the partner school over time. The Exchange Program Coordinator, Amy Hornstein, can give you current information on the schools you are considering.

How and when do I apply? What are the selection criteria?
Exchange applications for full-time MBA students are due in mid-February of your first year. All students are notified by email about the dates for information sessions, the number of placements available at each school, and the application deadline.

The application includes a brief essay stating which school you want to attend, why going on exchange is relevant to your personal and professional goals, and how you would be a good Haas ambassador while abroad.

If there is space available at the school you have selected, you are in good academic standing, and we have no concerns about your ability to represent Haas, you will be offered a space at your chosen school.

If demand for the school you selected exceeds supply, exchange students will be selected by lottery. Those who don’t win the lottery are welcome to go to another school where space is available.

All offers for the exchange program are conditional on your maintaining a 3.0 GPA for all course work and successfully completing the MBA core courses before the exchange semester.

Because the focus of international exchange is the opportunity to gain exposure to a new country and culture, we do not send students on exchange to their home countries.

How much will it cost?
You will pay your usual tuition and fees to the University of California, as if you were spending the semester at Haas. No additional tuition or fees are paid to the exchange school, except perhaps secondary fees to use the computer center or other services.

Will going on exchange affect my financial aid?
You should check with the Haas Financial Aid Office if you will need financial aid while on exchange. All paperwork should be completed and in order before your departure.

You must sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) so your financial aid proceeds can be deposited directly into a designated bank account. Budget appeals can be considered to augment the standard financial aid budget for the some of the increased costs of studying on exchange.

Will going on exchange affect my California residency?
Since Haas does not determine your California residency, we cannot guarantee that your residency status will not be affected by a semester on exchange.

However, former Haas students who have spent semesters abroad, and were long-time California residents before they left, have reported no problems. Students who are still attempting to establish California residency should be aware that participating in an exchange program might have a negative impact. You should check with the campus Residency Office.

How fluent do I need to be in Spanish, French, or New York-ese?
The degree of fluency in the local language required at each school varies. All partner schools teach many electives in English. You should investigate the policy at the particular school you are interested in by visiting its website.

English is widely spoken in some countries, less so in others. In all cases, familiarity with the local language will be important to getting the most out of your exchange experience.

What classes may I take?
You will take only elective courses at the exchange school.

This means you will only be able to take Haas electives during the Spring semesters of your first and second years. If there is a Haas elective that you feel you must take, check on the likelihood of its being offered during those semesters. Remember, course schedules are subject to change and there is no guarantee that it will be offered.

You can also check whether the partner school is offering an equivalent course during the Fall, but there is no guarantee you will get a place in that class if the school uses a bidding process and the class is oversubscribed.

How will classes be credited toward my degree?
You must complete 12 units of coursework while on exchange. Before you depart, you will register for an assigned MBA Exchange Program class at Haas. Your exchange units will transfer back to your UC Berkeley transcript as a block of 12 units on a pass/no pass basis. You will receive an official transcript from your exchange institution listing the specific courses completed and grades earned.

How do I get to the school I selected?
You must make, and pay for, your own travel arrangements.

How do I find a place to live?
Our exchange partner programs require you to find local housing on your own, but will provide you with guidance. One option is to trade housing with visiting exchange students coming to Haas.

Will my student medical insurance be valid?
Berkeley's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) will be valid while you are abroad, provided you are properly registered and pay all your current Berkeley fees before you leave.

You must pay out of pocket for any health expenses incurred while on your semester abroad, and seek reimbursement when you return by bringing your bills to the Student Health Insurance Office. SHIP covers 100% of emergency department care, 90% of hospitalization, and 80% of professional fees—such as physicians' fees, lab tests or X-rays—while out of the country. However, SHIP will cover only care that is “medically necessary,” as determined by Blue Cross.

The plan does not cover medical evacuation from a foreign country or repatriation of remains.

If you have private coverage and waived enrollment in SHIP, be sure to check with your private insurance carrier on the extent of coverage while abroad.

How do I get a visa?
The partner school will provide the necessary documentation to apply for a student visa, but you are responsible for submitting the paperwork to the appropriate governmental agencies far enough in advance that you can start school on time.

How will an exchange affect my job search?
Applying to on-campus recruiting opportunities: You may submit resumes and cover letters to any jobs you see in CareerNet. In your cover letter, please indicate that you are away on exchange this fall.

  • If you are invited to interview or to be an alternate: Please decline the interview.
  • After you decline the interview, contact the relevant account manager. Let the account manager know you were invited; the account manager can either call the recruiter for you or advise you to call the recruiter to ask for an interview by phone or in your current location. The recruiter may decide not to interview you at all—it is his call.
  • Accepting an interview means that you are expected to be physically present on campus for the interview. If you accept alternate status, you also may end up on the Haas on-campus schedule. If you miss a scheduled Haas on-campus interview, you will receive a warning; two warnings results in your on-campus recruiting privileges being revoked.

You do not receive bid points if you are away on exchange. You do, however, have access to the career services of the school you are visiting, so be sure to take advantage of that.

When will classes start?
Your classes will start at the normal date for the school you selected. Some are on the quarter system, so your summer break will be longer than usual.

Will I like it?
Studying abroad can be a wonderful chance to experience another culture and meet students from another part of the world. It also can be very challenging to find housing and negotiate a foreign city while keeping up with the academic demands of another top MBA program.

We have a file of feedback from Haas students and alumni who participated in exchanges. You can ask them for their impressions and tips. During your first year, there are likely to be some second-year students on exchange from the schools you are considering. They are a wonderful source of advice.

[back to top]