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Dean's Letter
Transformation Seeker
Diversity Champion

Dean's Letter

New Thinking for the New Economy

As business evolves, so too does Berkeley Haas

Dean Lyons

Dean Rich Lyons, BS 82, speaking to undergrads at their August orientation

Take a look at the Berkeley Haas homepage and you’ll see this phrase: New thinking for the new economy. What we mean by this is largely due to the profoundly disruptive nature of tech. It’s no longer a sector, as it was in the 1990s. We’ve seen the rise of marketplace, or platform, businesses: Uber/ Lyft, Airbnb, Blockchain, and others. These are transformations that have no similarly scaled analog.

Now, tech as a separator of winners and losers is pervasively important across all industries. Witness CEOs of airlines stating that they are tech companies with wings, or Jeff Immelt of General Electric predicting it will be a top 10 software developer by 2020, or the importance of data science in driving competition across companies. These are not changes that will be reversed with a tough business cycle—they are here to stay.

CEOs these days need to be digital and tech savvy. They need to be able to interrogate the company’s analysis around technology. And they need to appreciate how technology can drive future competitive conditions to be able to set direction effectively.

Why new thinking? I’ll bet you never learned about the economics of networks or the economics of information and information goods in Econ 1. The reality is that the economy is less and less about goods and more about services and information. The fundamentals still apply, but we have to advance our thinking to these new tools.

And to think: This business school, in this place, and this time in world history. Can you imagine a more interesting time to be a part of Haas?

Go Bears,
Rich Lyons, BS 82
lyons@haas.berkeley.edu | @richlyons

Transformation Seeker

Alumna returns to Haas to lead Development & Alumni Relations


Leslie Schibsted, BS 86

Leslie Schibsted, BS 86, became assistant dean for Development & Alumni Relations at Berkeley Haas earlier this year, marking a homecoming for the undergrad alumna. She takes over for Michelle McClellan (now Berkeley’s associate vice chancellor of university development) and brings a wealth of fundraising experience to Haas. Schibsted previously served as the associate vice president for development at San Diego State University (SDSU), leading the development team as the school concluded its $800 million campaign.

Prior to joining SDSU, she served as the interim associate vice president for development at California State University, Chico, where she helped launch the school’s first-ever comprehensive campaign. Earlier in her career, she counseled more than 60 nonprofits as vice president and senior consultant at The Focus Group, a fundraising consultancy.

“The key to fundraising for public institutions is to frame it not in terms of need but in terms of impact on people’s lives,” Schibsted says. “We all know the value our Haas degrees have afforded us and that Haas has launched so many amazing careers, companies, and startups. We’re eager to invite philanthropic partners to invest in our people at Haas so they can have a transformational impact on the world.”

Schibsted, who earned an MA in education leadership and development from CSU, Chico, says that Haas prepared her well for this new role.

“What I bring to the table is a data-driven, systems-based approach that is built on a strategic plan, which I credit to my education at Haas,” she says. “It’s an honor and a privilege to now serve Haas in this role.”

Diversity Champion

Award-winning volunteer promotes inclusion at Haas

Monica Stevens, MBA 96

After Prop 209 banned affirmative action in California schools, Monica Stevens, MBA 96, felt like a drought had hit Berkeley Haas. “I was saddened that the best public business school in the world did not reflect the rich and diverse population of California,” says Stevens, who recruited Berkeley MBAs for Wells Fargo.

So she encouraged Dean Lyons to rejoin the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, which connects talented diversity leaders with top business schools. Haas rejoined in 2010 and has since enrolled more underrepresented minority students.

Stevens was inspired. She founded the Alumni Diversity Council in 2012 and, since that time, Haas has woven diversity and inclusion throughout its strategic business plan, hired a director of diversity initiatives, and added courses helping students manage diverse teams.

The Council, led by Stevens and vice chair Brett Conner, MBA 12, has grown to 20 alumni members across all academic programs. They discuss high-level initiatives and how to impact current students. Council members also engage with fellow alumni to increase participation and encourage networking with current students. Stevens, a senior VP for Wells Fargo Merchant Services, hosts an annual alumni reception as part of the MBA Diversity Symposium to connect with prospective students.

For her efforts enhancing diversity and inclusion at Berkeley Haas, Stevens is being lauded with the Raymond E. Miles Alumni Service Award, the school’s highest volunteer honor. She is the first African-American woman to receive it.

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