Haas News

Dean's Letter
Impact Investing
Smoking Hot

Dean's Letter

Foundation for Excellence

Haas launches ambitious campaign to take school to next level

Dean Lyons

Promoting November's Big Give with Matthew Hahn, MBA 17; Carina Serreze, MBA 17; Jennifer Kodia, BS 19; Dean Lyons, BS 82; Patrick Burden, BS 17; Susy Schöneberg, MBA 17; and Juan Casanova, MBA 17

The financial support Berkeley Haas receives from alumni and friends is crucial to maintaining our position among the world’s top business schools. Just look at some of the exciting things donor generosity has allowed us to accomplish:

  • Launching the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology program with our College of Engineering, offering both business and engineering undergraduate degrees to top students
  • Opening the Innovation Lab at Memorial Stadium, which provides faculty and students with flexible, studio-style classroom space for team-based, hands-on learning and experimentation
  • Powering our school’s startup accelerator, SkyDeck, jointly with Engineering
  • Attracting and retaining our world-renown faculty in a hyper-competitive talent market
  • Expanding the offerings of essential experiential learning opportunities to our students…

…and much more. Every one of these successes has something in common: they were germinated from the Haas Fund, a discretionary fund that I use to make the 10 to 20 exciting “seed stage” investments each year that drive our school’s future strength and reputation. These investments typically fall into three buckets: student/alumni opportunities, programs, and faculty retention. The Haas Fund is the high-powered money I use to spark advances in these areas.

To maintain our competitive advantage, we’ve launched an ambitious campaign called the Foundation for Excellence. This “campaign within a campaign” focuses specifically on discretionary giving, aiming to increase annual support to $5 million by June 30, 2019, by asking you to make a leadership-level commitment to the Haas Fund over three years. The three-year commitment helps you—our alumni and friends—to recognize the depth of your affinity and commitment to Haas and to participate more fully in this championship team we’ve built together. Why $5 million? We are currently at about $3.7 million and I am seeing at least another $1.5 million of additional exciting investment opportunities each year (e.g., investments in valuable research that will preemptively retain faculty or in new ways of delivering cutting-edge course content to alumni digitally).

As incentive, an anonymous donor has offered a $1 million Leadership Challenge, which will match dollar-for-dollar any increase in your support to the Haas Fund between $2,500 and $99,999. The $1 million matching fund is just the kind of turbo-charge we need, and we’ll do our best to have something like this in place to accelerate this category of giving in future years.

These discretionary funds and the catalytic seed-fund investments they enable me to make are putting our school on a different trajectory. I am counting on you to lift Berkeley Haas a notch on your list of philanthropic priorities this year.

Sincerely Yours,
Rich Lyons, BS 82
lyons@haas.berkeley.edu | @richlyons

Impact Investing

Award-winning study focuses on “supply” and demand of impact funds


Assoc. Prof. Adair Morse

When it comes to impact investing, supply is failing to meet demand, a new study co-authored by Assoc. Prof. Adair Morse found. “Impact Investing,” which won the 2016 Moskowitz Prize for Socially Responsible Investing, also found that Europe’s demand for impact funds over traditional investments was three times higher than in North America.

Morse, along with Brad Barber and Ayako Yasuda, both of UC Davis, investigated 3,500 limited partners, 5,000 funds, and 25,000 capital commitments results. They developed an “investment choice model” to chart investor demand for impact funds over traditional options, matching characteristics between fund and investor, referred to as limited partner or LP in the framework. The study proves that investing to have a positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return is here to stay. Another important finding shows that demand for impact is higher in countries that are United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) signatories.

The Moskowitz Prize is determined and managed annually by Berkeley Haas’ Center for Responsible Business and is the only global award recognizing outstanding quantitative research in the field of sustainable, responsible, impact investing. Morse, who teaches New Venture Finance at Haas, is the first UC Berkeley professor to win the award in its 21-year history. Previous winners have explored shareholder activism, socially responsible mutual funds, and socially responsible investing as a catalyst to financial performance, among other topics.

Smoking Hot

Haas case study explores a high-growth industry: legal cannabis


The legal cannabis industry is on fire: sales are projected to reach $6.7 billion this year and to top $21 billion by 2020, according to research firm IBISWorld. Some 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed measures legalizing the drug in some form.

As entrepreneurs and investors move in on the “green rush,” Haas has published the first major business-school case study on a cannabis enterprise.

The case, “Cannabusiness in Washington, D.C.,” profiles Corey Barnette, a Duke Fuqua MBA and former Bank of America investment banker who owns a cultivation center and dispensary. The study was spearheaded by Mohsin Alvi and Jamaur Bronner, MBA 16s, who were interested in exploring not only the business opportunities presented by the budding industry but also the public policy and social justice issues that surround a substance that is still illegal under federal law.

The study, co-written by Alvi, Bronner, and Deena Malaeb, BS 17, along with lead author Rui de Figueiredo, Haas associate professor, appears in the Berkeley Haas Case Series and the California Management Review.

De Figueiredo says there are challenges facing the fledgling industry that, taken together, are unique. These include questions about strategy, leadership, and—given that the federal government classifies marijuana among the most dangerous drugs—public policy. “Basically, the legal side of the industry is starting from scratch,” says de Figueiredo. “You don’t typically see that in traditional business-school cases and discussions.”


Haas institutes diversity initiatives

Incoming full-time MBA students pose for a selfies during orientation week

Last year, Berkeley Haas adopted a strategic business plan that puts a high priority on ethnic diversity, gender equity, and leading in a diverse world.

“Our mission as a school is to develop leaders who redefine how we do business, and that requires people who experience the world in different ways, who think differently, and who welcome different ways of thinking,” says Dean Rich Lyons, BS 82.

Assistant Dean Erika Walker is serving as the student equity officer, reviewing how diversity is reflected in the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and the school community across all programs. Profs. Jennifer Chatman, PhD 88, and Jonathan Leonard are serving as faculty equity officers, working on equity issues among students and faculty; Human Resources Director Denise Boyd serves a similar role for staff.

Admissions initiatives aim to boost applications from underrepresented minority students. One such effort is Haas’ participation in the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, which seeks to increase the number of African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans in top business programs and corporate management. It offers fellowships and scholarships for exceptional MBA candidates with a track record of promoting diversity and inclusion.

This year, the incoming full-time MBA class includes a record 47 Consortium fellows—the largest group among the organization’s 18 member schools.

The full-time MBA office and the student-led Gender Equity Initiative work to increase the proportion of women in the program, with direct outreach from alumnae and senior women leaders from Haas. Women make up 40 percent of the program overall.

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By the Numbers

Giving Results

Thanks to all the donors who helped us surpass previous fundraising successes in FY16.

Raised for Berkeley Haas, July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016

Number of donors—highest ever

One-day fundraising record for the second-annual Big Give in 2015

Given to the Haas Fund—the most in a single year


To learn more about the programs and people that your donations to Haas support, check out the new Annual Report of Private Giving: haas.berkeley.edu/annualreport.