Haas NewsWire

Haas NewsWire, October 20, 2003

Entrepreneur Howard Lester Honored as Haas School's Business Leader of the Year
Haas Undergraduate Team Takes First Place at the International Business Challenge
Undergraduate Teams Face Off in Sixth Annual Banking Competition, Oct. 22
Clif Bar Owner and CEO to Speak on Corporate Responsibility, Oct. 21
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Howard Lester, chairman of the board and former CEO of Williams-Sonoma and creator of many successful retail and software companies, has been named Haas School Business Leader of the Year for his outstanding contributions to the retail industry and the school.

He will be honored this Friday at a sold-out Haas School event.

In 1991, Lester made a significant gift to the Haas School's Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which subsequently was named after him. Lester also regularly guest lectures in the MBA entrepreneurship course and serves on the Haas School Advisory Board.

"Thanks to Howard Lester, the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation has become a leading light for entrepreneurship, both here in the world capital of entrepreneurship -- the Bay Area -- and beyond," said Haas School Dean Tom Campbell. "It has permitted many, many people to create, to hire people, and to see their dreams realized."

Led by Executive Director Jerome Engel and Faculty Director John Freeman, the Lester Center organizes the monthly Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, teaches executive-level venture finance, and supports students through teaching and through initiatives such as two business plan competitions, entrepreneurial internships, and fellowship programs. The Lester Center has also created the Berkeley Business Incubator and supported the founding of scores of successful ventures by Haas students and alumni.

Lester's illustrious career as one of the masters of the retail trade began modestly enough with a job in computer and office-equipment manufacturing in 1958. The Oklahoma native quickly revealed an entrepreneurial streak, simultaneously opening an employment agency and attempting several small startups. From 1961 to 1972, he created a few computer service and software businesses, and eventually served as vice president for the country's then top software company, Computer Sciences Corporation in Los Angeles. Lester subsequently left to develop Centurex Corp., which became one of the leading suppliers of software systems to America's banks in the 1970s.

Seeking new ventures, Lester happened upon Williams-Sonoma, a cookware shop with only four retail stores that was generating $4 million a year in sales, and yet losing money. Purchasing the company in the summer of 1978 for $100,000, Lester began to transform it into the country's premier culinary and casual entertaining merchandise operation.

Williams-Sonoma now includes the home furnishing retailers Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen, Hold Everything, Chambers, and West Elm, all of which sell products through hundreds of stores, millions of catalogs, and numerous Internet sites. Through Lester's leadership as CEO and now chairman, Williams-Sonoma has grown at a compound rate of over 30 percent for the past 23 years. Sales now exceed $2 billion annually.

Lester is active on many boards of directors, university advisory boards, and industry and philanthropic boards. He attended the University of Oklahoma and was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2001.

He is the Haas School's 27th Business Leader of the Year.

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The Haas School's undergraduate student team won the 2003 University of Texas International Business Challenge Case Competition in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, October 18, competing against 17 teams from top business schools from around the world.

"The Haas School once again solidified its position as the top Undergraduate Case Competition Program in the world with another outstanding performance this past week," said Dan Himelstein, executive director of the Haas Undergraduate Program. "The team's made us all proud again."

The winning team consisted of undergraduate students Allen Chang, Jas Khaira, Mary Tran, and John Wilson. Haas Assistant Professor Mark Seasholes; Lecturers George Cluff, Steve Etter, and Dave Robinson; and Undergraduate Admissions Director Annie Lai, as well as members of the Haas School's 2003-2004 Case Competition Team and numerous faculty and staff helped the team to its victory.

The case focused on BroadQ, an existing Austin-based company that designs a software technology product that currently targets the home and retail market. The student teams were asked if BroadQ should enter into new markets with their product and, if so, what their strategy should be.

Haas School undergraduate teams have earned awards at five of the past six University of Texas International Business Challenge Case Competitions, including a first prize in 1999. In addition, Haas undergraduate case competition teams have won awards in well over half of the international case competitions they have entered since fall 1998.

Ford Motor Company was the official sponsor of this year's International Business Challenge. The competition was judged by several Ford representatives, as well as prominent UT faculty and Austin community leaders.

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Three finalist undergraduate teams will present their analysis of The Guitar Center's capital structure at the Sixth Annual Investment Banking Case Competition at the Haas School, sponsored by Goldman Sachs and the Haas Undergraduate Program, this Wednesday, October 22, at the Haas School.

The final competition takes place from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Arthur Andersen Auditorium, featuring the finalists' presentations and recognition of a fourth runner-up team. The entire Haas community is invited to attend the competition and the reception that will follow in the Bank of America Forum. The winning team will be announced at the reception.

Each year this event showcases one of Goldman Sachs' recent high-profile transactions, in this case The Guitar Center, to give interested students an opportunity to demonstrate and further develop their knowledge and skill base. Each of the finalist groups will make a short presentation followed by questions from a panel of judges, which will include company management, investment bankers, members of the investment community, and faculty from the Haas School.

This year's three finalist teams are Alina Gonsales, Honore Louie, and Maria Shevchenko; John Yoon, Yoon Um, Dan Lee, and Amy Lee; and Joy Chang, Doris Lin, Ada Ngo, and Wendy Szeto. The runner up to the finalists included Gennie Chen, Vikas Jain, and Aaron McDaniel.

This year's judges include the CFO of The Guitar Center, Goldman Sachs investment banking professionals, and Dan Himelstein, executive director of the Haas Undergraduate Business Program. Attending Goldman Sachs professionals will be happy to answer any questions students may have about investment banking and about the recruiting process at the event.

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Originally a baker, Clif Bar owner and CEO Gary Erickson definitely found a recipe for success when he created his all-natural energy bar.

Erickson will speak at the Haas School on Tuesday, October 21, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in S480. Clif Bars may be available at this event, although no other food is allowed in this room.

This event is sponsored by Net Impact and the Center for Responsible Business. For more information, contact Denise Mooney at dmooney@haas.berkeley.edu.

Erickson started the company as a small bakery when he co-founded Kali's Bakery of Emeryville in 1986. In 1992, Kali's introduced the first Clif Bars to the public. The company was renamed Clif Bar, Inc., five years later. Today, Clif Bar is one of the nation's leading makers of all-natural energy and nutrition foods. Erickson's vision can be seen in the company's use of all-natural ingredients and its generous contributions to many causes and nonprofit organizations.

Clif Bar has made Inc. Magazine's list of fastest-growing private companies four years in a row as well as Health magazine's list of "the Healthiest Companies for Women to Work" in the United States.

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The Haas School received widedspread coverage for a presentation on the California economy by Robert Parry, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, San Francisco, at the Haas School on Thursday October 16. Parry spoke at the Business Week CEO Leadership Forum, which was co-sponsored by the school's Center for Executive Development. Articles were published by:

Jonathan Leonard, the Thomas J. Fitzmyers and Barclay Simpson Distinguished Professor of Corporate Responsibility, was quoted in The Palm Springs Desert Sun on October 16 in an article titled "Walkout's Success Dependent on Good Will of Consumers." For full text: http://www.thedesertsun.com/news/stories2003/local/20031016030241.shtml.

The Haas School was mentioned in the October 16 issue of Business Edge in an articled titled "Haskayne Rates High in Stewardship." The article was about the Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings of business programs. For full text, visit http://www.businessedge.ca/ViewNewsItem.aspx?NewsItemID=4158&EditionID=1.

Severin Borenstein, the E.T. Grether Professor in Public Policy and Business, was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 15 in an article titled "Iraqi Oil Reaches California." For full text: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi? file=/chronicle/archive/2003/10/15/BUGI12BFVG1.DTL&type=printable.

Jonathan Leonard was quoted in the Palm Springs Desert Sun on October 15 in an article titled "Teamster Action May Cut Grocery." For full text: http://www.thedesertsun.com/news/stories2003/local/20031015013058.shtml.

Dean Tom Campbell wrote an opinion piece titled "A Message to President Bush" that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 15. For full text: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi? file=/chronicle/archive/2003/10/15/EDGAA2BD7E1.DTL&type=printable.

The Haas School of Business was mentioned in a Berkeleyan article about "The Builders of Berkeley" on October 15. For full text: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2003/10/15_bob.shtml.

Peter Sealey, adjunct professor in the Marketing Group and the co-director at the Center for Marketing and Technology, was featured on WAMU Public Radio on October 14 at 12:00 p.m. in a segment titled "Hollywood's Technology Challenges."

Severin Borenstein was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on October 13 in an article titled "Schwarzenegger Plan Blends Energy Ideas: The Governor-elect's Initial Policy Relies on a Mix of Free Markets, Conservation and Green Power Sources. For full text: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-energy13oct13220420,1.4017334,printstory.

Paul Gertler, professor and faculty director of the Graduate Program in Health Services Management, and Kristiana Raube, adjunct professor and executive director of the program, were mentioned in Health and Medicine Week on October 13 in an article titled "Prescription Coverage; Four California Health Plans to Participate in Generic Medication Program."

Christine Rosen, associate professor in the Business and Public Policy group, commented on Minnesota Public Radio's Marketplace in a segment titled "Newscast: IBM Facing Lawsuits by Workers Claiming They Developed Cancer as a Result of Contact with Hazardous Chemicals" on October 13.

The undergraduate program at the Haas School of Business was mentioned in UC Berkeley News on October 13 in an articled titled "Major Decisions: Look Before You Leap on an Academic Path, Advisors Say." The article discusses the increasing difficulty of gaining acceptance to the Business Administration major. For full text: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/13_majors.shtml.

Dean Tom Campbell was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on October 12 in an article titled "Taking a Page From Reagan's Script." Campbell commented on Schwarzenegger's strategies to improve the state budget and financial system. For full text: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-flan12oct12,1,5503933,print.column.

Kenneth Rosen, the California State Professor of Real Estate and Urban Economics and co-chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on October 11 in an article titled "Economist Optimistic Over Real Estate Market." Rosen commented on the improving commercial real estate scene. For full text: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sbriefs11.8oct11,1,4431353,print.story.

The Haas School was featured in the East Bay Business Times on October 10 in an article titled "Haas Sees Drop in Applicants." For full text: http://eastbay.bizjournals.com/eastbay/stories/2003/10/13/story5.html.

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Alumni Events

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