Diversity at Haas

Dean Rich Lyons

Dean Rich Lyons on Diversity

Q: How would you define the role of diversity and inclusion at Berkeley-Haas?

A: Diversity and inclusion are central to our culture and to our mission.

We strive to admit, develop and send into the world leaders capable of redirecting industry and creating systemic change; leaders who can harness the power different kinds of thinking. We call this path-bending leadership.

Who better to do that than people who bring different life and professional experiences to their studies? The ability to be what we call ‘path-bending’ leaders is found among people of all genders, all races, ethnicities, religions, and identity groups. We see that every year in the diversity of our incoming classes and in the achievements of our graduates.

Q: How does diversity figure in your admissions process?

A: I firmly believe that Berkeley-Haas is a human capital organization. We will succeed or fail based on the quality of people that we attract and retain. We must make sure that we are accessing the deepest possible pool of talent. That means casting our net as widely as possible. It means looking at applicants not as a series of checklists, but as unique individuals, each with his or her own experiences, accomplishments, and challenges in life.

This outlook extends to our faculty and staff. We have to make sure that everybody contributes to this place is given access where it is earned. We want to deliver the kind of welcome that every member of our community deserves.

Q: How do the four Defining Principles support diversity and inclusion?

A: Our idea of a perfect class is one that embodies our four defining principles. We want students who will Question the Status Quo, who are Confident Without Attitude. We look for students who are willing and able to go Beyond Themselves and who will be Students Always.

These attributes cut across gender and race. You find them in people of all cultures and backgrounds. At Berkeley-Haas, everyone—our students, faculty and our staff—lives by these principles.

Q: Can you give us an example?

A: Our faculty’s research and innovation in the classroom is an example of Questioning the Status Quo on a number of diversity-related topics. Professor Laura Kray researches the role of gender in organizations, often to decidedly politically incorrect result. Professor Cameron Anderson brings his ground-breaking research into power, hierarchy, and status in organizations into the classroom. And classes like Problem Finding/Problem Solving teach students new ways of thinking.

All of the research done by our faculty and their commitment to innovation in the classroom acknowledges the importance of thinking in different ways, and helps us develop path-bending leaders who will take business and our society in new directions.