Haas News

Dean's Letter
Football Fanatics
The Origins of Haas
Energy’s Leading Light Delayed Gratification

Dean's Letter

Investing in the Future

Anticipating the opening of our new academic building

Dean Lyons

Dean Rich Lyons, BS 82; Grace Lee, BS 17; Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks; and Warren E. “Ned” Spieker Jr., BS 66, at the mid-rise celebration for the new North Academic Building.

As we pass the midpoint of constructing our new North Academic Building, some of you may have heard about UC Berkeley’s efforts to address a significant budget shortfall. All of us at Berkeley Haas support the central campus in taking steps to ensure our collective financial health and excellence.

Fortunately, Berkeley Haas has a balance sheet and operating model that will allow us to adjust to central campus fiscal changes without compromising the outstanding reputation of our programs.

The new building is important to our strategy of investing in the future of Haas, and it is financed entirely with your private donations (as was our existing Haas campus—the first buildings on campus financed 100 percent privately). Having a state-of-the-art new facility devoted entirely to classroom and other learning spaces will enable us to serve more students by expanding existing programs and launching new ones, increasing revenues over time.

We remain true to our mission to develop leaders who redefine how we do business, and we do so together by living our Defining Leadership Principles. Staying true will continue to power our advance among the world’s finest business schools.

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

Football Fanatics

Haas researchers advance the new field of neuromarketing

Bri Treece, MBA 14, dons a skullcap that will monitor her brain activity during the Raiders’ game.

Bri Treece, MBA 14, dons a skullcap that will monitor her brain activity during the Raiders’ game.

When fans packed the Oakland Coliseum Dec. 6 to watch the Raiders play the Kansas City Chiefs, eight had a unique experience. These volunteers—some Berkeley Haas alumni—donned white skullcaps sprouting small electrodes that monitored their brain activity as they watched the football game.

The EEG tests were a field trial of sorts that is pushing the boundaries of a new field of neuromarketing, pioneered by Berkeley Haas Asst. Prof. Ming Hsu and Prof. Leif Nelson. The pair aim to understand how consumers think and feel about companies and their product offerings using neuroscience. This study originated when they were contacted by Brandon Doll, MBA 14, the director of strategic projects for the Oakland Raiders.

Doll’s job involves figuring out how to keep existing ticket holders happy and convert novices into loyal fans. Of the volunteers, four were diehard Raiders fans and the others had either never been to an NFL game or not attended one in at least five years.

“We wanted to…see if we could get casual fans’ brain activity to move closer to that of the loyal fans during the game,” Doll explains.

Hsu says that sporting events demonstrate how experiences shape our preferences and behavior. “We see from our data that for casual fans, attendance resulted in long-lasting positive memories—not only of the event but also of the Raiders’ brand,” Hsu says.

Says Doll, “This could one day allow us to reverse- engineer customer loyalty.”

The Origins of Haas

New book provides window into history of Haas

Business at 
		Berkeley: The History of the 
		Haas School of Business

How did the nation’s second oldest business school evolve from its post-Gold Rush founding to become one of the world’s leading producers of new ideas and knowledge? In Business at Berkeley: The History of the Haas School of Business (Institute of Governmental Studies Press, 2016), Sandra Epstein, a former University of California administrator, researcher, and decades-long friend of the school, details the journey.

The historical account is anchored by Epstein’s personal connections to Berkeley Haas. Her book includes dozens of interviews with key Haas deans, faculty, and administrators whose decisions, policies, collaborations, and leadership led the school to where it is today. The book also covers many of the century’s political and cultural struggles and controversies: the 1949 faculty loyalty oath, the 1960s Free Speech Movement, and improving the roles of women in business schools.

Meticulously researched, this book provides a detailed account of the rise of a top-ranked business school through the tumultuous 20th century to today.

Energy’s Leading Light

Prof. Severin Borenstein wins lifetime achievement award


For his nearly 30 years researching and analyzing energy markets, Prof. Severin Borenstein was awarded the Outstanding Contributions to the Profession Award from the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE).

Borenstein, who led the U.C. Energy Institute beginning in 1994 and its successor organization, the Energy Institute at Haas, until 2014, when he stepped down, was credited not just for his work in energy economics, but for his insights into how markets of all types behave when it comes to competition and price discrimination.

Now a research associate with the Energy Institute, Borenstein has been heavily involved in California’s energy policy. As chair of the California Energy Commission’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee, he is seeking to understand why the price of gas in California has been substantially higher than the national average. He also advised the California Air Resources Board on the implementation of the state’s cap-and-trade program, which took effect in 2013 and is aimed at leveraging market forces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In 1997, Borenstein was appointed to the governing board of California’s Power Exchange, which oversaw the state’s wholesale electricity market, on the eve of deregulation.

For the last decade, Borenstein has worked extensively on climate change and the economics of restricting greenhouse gas emissions. Today, much of his research is focused on distributional impacts— specifically, ways to minimize the harm that climate change policies could have on the poor.

Delayed Gratification

Alumni see their student project in Bulgaria come to fruition

In Spring 2012, four Berkeley Haas students met with the President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevnelien, to create a plan for the country’s first science and technology park.

Fast forward to December 2015 and the students, now alumni—Benny Du, Hassam Hussain, SeungHo Song, and Dan Tavares, all MBA 13—got great news: the Sofia Tech Park has opened for business. The state-owned park is partnering with private and public institutions to encourage innovation, build educational programs, and provide support to startups.

The project was part of an International Business Development course for which the team was asked to define the scope of the park as well as potential challenges.

After meetings with stakeholders, the team recommended services to lower up-front capital costs, such as legal support, prototyping labs, and access to key licenses. The team also suggested focusing on the information and communications technology sector.

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By the Numbers

Berkeley Haas broke its own one-day fundraising record during Berkeley’s second Big Give in November. Dean Rich Lyons played his guitar to gain support. Watch him: haas.org/biggive-video.


Raised for Haas in one day

Gifts to Haas

Raised for Cal in 24 hours

Prize money won by Haas for placing second among all schools and departments