1. Capital Campaign: Courtyard Comes Alive
Renovation of the Haas courtyard was completed in late April just in time to provide a welcoming space for alumni at reunion weekend and new full-time MBA admits at Days@Haas.
The new courtyard was envisioned by Dean Rich Lyons to serve as a lively hub to share ideas, mingle, and socialize. The plaza-like space is intended to foster more multi-disciplinary discussion among students, faculty, and staff from Haas and the entire Berkeley campus.
The renovation included replacing large planters with pavers in order to provide a larger gathering space as well as planting several large maples and other landscaping improvements.
2. Executive Education: New CEO Brings Consulting Chops
Derek Dean joined the Center for Executive Education (CEE) as CEO in April, bringing more than two decades of consulting experience to the position. Dean spent 20 years at McKinsey & Co., leading the firm’s global semiconductor practice for 10 years and then managing its San Francisco office. In 2010 he moved to The Exetor Group, where he designed and delivered development programs and coached executives and teams in such industries as technology, advertising, and professional services. Dean’s arrival comes after CEE’s April 1 restructuring into a self-supporting, affiliated nonprofit of the Haas School in order to grow faster and help meet the school’s financial goals. CEE’s profits help support academic areas and operations at Haas.
3. MBA for Executives: Class is in Session
Dinner at the top of Memorial Stadium with a Nobel Laureate surrounded by jaw-dropping views. A talk on design thinking by IDEO General Manager Tom Kelley, MBA 83. And three intense days of coursework on economics, statistics, and accounting.
Those are just some highlights of the first block of classes for the new Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, which began May 15.
The 19-month program will feature courses in Washington, D.C., Shanghai, and Silicon Valley. Among the students in the inaugural class: executives from Southern California, Virginia, New York, and Seoul, South Korea; two high-level military officers; an early Google employee; and a veterinarian.
4. Students: Meeting the Oracle of Omaha
Twenty Berkeley MBA students flew to Omaha, Neb., in April to meet with legendary investor Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
During a two-hour Q&A session, Buffett predicted more bubbles and more buy opportunities in our lifetimes, but said the trick is knowing whether a company has lost its edge permanently or is in temporary crisis.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” says Bryan Wong, MBA 14, co-president of the Haas Investment Club and a Haas investment management fellow, who called Buffett “incredibly humble and down the earth.”
One highlight of the trip for Joanne Xu, MBA 14, was hearing from the people who run Buffett’s companies, including jewelry retailer Borsheims and party supplier Oriental Trading Co. “People are very loyal to him, and he puts a lot of trust in them,” says Xu.
5. Rankings: #1 in U.S. News
Berkeley MBA Program climbed to #1 in this year’s U.S. News ranking. In a separate ranking, the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program ranked #7 for the sixth year in a row. The part-time MBA ranking focuses on a peer assessment and admissions measures, while the full-time MBA ranking also includes placement success, a recruiters survey, and starting salaries.
6. Faculty: Responsible Business Leader
Kellie McElhaney, founder of Haas’ Center for Responsible Business (CRB) and now faculty director, received the Founder and Visionary Award from Dean Rich Lyons at CRB’s 10th anniversary March 20. Through CRB, McElhaney has brought Haas to the forefront of the corporate social responsibility and business sustainability movements. Indiegogo, a fundraising platform co-founded by Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell, both MBA 08, received the center’s new Homer Redefining Business Award, named for late CRB chair and tech veteran Mike Homer.
7. Students: Tee Time
In April, with the semester in full swing, Michael Weaver, BS 14, set aside his business studies and set out for a different kind of course: the Masters, golf’s prestigious springtime rite.
Weaver, the first current member of the Cal golf team to play in the tournament, parred the first hole of the opening round. Round 2 fell on his 22nd birthday, which he celebrated with birdies on two of his final four holes. Though he missed the cut, he looks back on the golf competition as a sort of career day.
“I didn’t feel like I didn’t belong there, and that’s the most important take-away for me,” he says.
Drawn to economics and investing, Weaver opted for a business major with thoughts of a career in financial services. Though he now plans to turn pro after graduation, he’s realized the golf course and classroom have something in common: “You get out of it what you put in. The harder you work, the more payoffs you see.”
8. Students: Lessons from Batman
How should Panasonic enter the smart-home market? That was the question the electronics company posed to evening-and-weekend MBA students as their final in their Problem Finding Problem Solving course in March. The winning proposal focused on a new technology, dubbed “My Alfred,” to simplify people’s connected lives. “Everyone wants to be like Batman with cutting-edge technology, but Batman succeeds only because he has Alfred taking care of everything behind the scenes,” explains Kim Cabot, MBA 14. “We proposed a virtual butler that acts as a bridge technology to unite all the screens in your house, anticipate your needs, and fit into the way you live.” Cabot and three other students are now helping Panasonic envision the first device to move toward creating a virtual Alfred.
9. Alumni: London Calling
Alumni gathered in London May 31 to June 2 for a weekend of activities, including a one-day symposium focused on leadership. Alumna Connson Chou Locke, PhD 08, a lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science, shared her research examining how communication styles, such as nonverbal behavior, affect perception, judgment, and conduct in the workplace. Haas alum and Senior Lecturer Paul Tiffany, PhD 83, discussed the limitations of current strategic management models and offered a new approach to how leaders can best achieve competitive advantage.