Ripple Effect

The ripple effect of culture is subtle, but it can have a big impact. Here, some examples of alumni and friends of Haas whose appreciation of the Defining Leadership Principles created new opportunities for others—from Berkeley to Perth.

Grads Agree: Haas Embodies Its Culture

Exit poll data from 2015 full-time MBAs

feel that the culture as described by the Defining Leadership Principles was what they expected it to be

feel their classmates display Confidence Without Attitude

Confidence Without Attitude

Spurring Energy Innovation Down Under


While at Haas, Australian native Toby Gardner, MBA 10, studied entrepreneurship, sustainable technologies, and new venture finance. He returned to Australia to work as associate director at KPMG in Perth, focusing on M&A.

Gardner noticed Australia’s energy sector struggling to adjust to a new world of declining commodity prices and sought a solution—in his spare time. The result was Energise, a startup accelerator designed to link corporate clients with entrepreneurs solving energy-related problems. Having never run an accelerator, Gardner asked alumni—including Gary Coover, Eric Kuhn, Adam Lorimer, and Rohan Thompson, MBA 10s; Jarom Feriante, MBA 12; and Mira Inbar, MBA 09—for advice. They helped create the program and serve as volunteer mentors.

It wasn’t easy getting buy-in from KPMG and its large corporate clients—in Australia, entrepreneurial mindsets are not as ingrained as in Silicon Valley. But Gardner succeeded largely on his certainty that Energise would spur innovation and benefit all involved. “I have confidence in myself and in my education,” Gardner says. “I relied on my Berkeley brand and fellow alumni. While we don’t have all the answers yet, we’ll find them.”

Energise, which launched in July 2015, is now one of the largest accelerators in Asia-Pacific, with 100 mentors and 14 supporting companies, including global brands BHP Billiton and Shell Petroleum. KPMG is now considering rolling out similar accelerators worldwide in sectors such as healthcare or financial technology.

Students Always

What’s in Your Wallet


After Berkeley Haas launched its Defining Leadership Principles, Greg Patterson, MBA 00, suggested they be distributed to the community via a keepsake item.

The culture card was born and handed out at all Haas and alumni chapter events. The latest iteration is made from sustainable wood.

Dean Lyons and staff also give them to business leaders they meet.

Beyond Yourself Propels Alumni-Founded Companies

Many students and alumni start companies with social impact. Here is just a small sample.

Back to the Roots | Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, BS 09s, co-founders
Sustainable ready-to-grow and ready-to-eat products

Fair Trade USA | Paul Rice, MBA 96, founder, president, and CEO
The leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America

Jacaranda Health | Nick Pearson, MBA 08, founder and executive director
Transforming maternity care in Africa

Pact Apparel | Jeff Denby and Jason Kibbey, MBA 08s, co-founders
Underwear, socks, and clothing made with sustainable Fair Trade cotton in sweatshop-free conditions

Revolution Foods | Kirsten Saenz Tobey and Kristin Groos Richmond, MBA 06s, co-founders
Healthy, fresh, real food for schools and families nationwide

Team4Tech | Julie Clugage, MBA 02, co-founder and executive director
Improving education in developing countries through innovative technology solutions

Students living in orphanages in Vietnam learned coding and design thinking thanks to Team4Tech—co-founded by Julie Clugage, MBA 02—and its collaboration with Orphan Impact.Students living in orphanages in Vietnam learned coding and design thinking thanks to Team4Tech—co-founded by Julie Clugage, MBA 02—and its collaboration with Orphan Impact.

These leaders—even ones who aren’t alumni—find themselves inspired by our Defining Leadership Principles. During a Dean’s Speaker Series lecture in 2013, Bill Hambrecht, chairman of W.R. Hambrecht + Co., pulled the Defining Leadership Principles card out of his jacket pocket and said: “I look at it every now and then to remind myself that this is the way you’re supposed to make decisions.”

Question the Status Quo

Haas Culture Transforms Urban Planners


When Haas began discussing its campus transformation, William Riggs, PhD 11 (Environmental Design), served as UC Berkeley’s lead planner for the project. Haas was preparing for a range of improvements: a renovated courtyard, air-conditioned classrooms, an Innovation Lab, and a new building (currently under construction).

Dean Lyons impressed upon Riggs that any enhancements to the Haas campus must reflect our Defining Leadership Principles.

Haas culture left an impression on Riggs, one that continued beyond Berkeley. When he became an assistant professor at Cal Poly, Riggs revamped a required graduate course for city planning and public policy students to focus on management instead of government permit processes. The course is structured around the Defining Leadership Principles. “I want to create professionals who work in cities who are risk takers and who Question the Status Quo,” he says.

Riggs also spread the word about the Defining Leadership Principles in print, penning an article for Cal Poly’s Focus: The Journal of Planning Practice & Education called “Lessons in Leading: Developing a Culture of Innovation in Public Sector Planning and Governance.” He adapted this for a column in Planning, the magazine of the American Planning Association.

Beyond Yourself

Championing A Diverse Pool of Leaders


Consortium students from the Classes of 2015 and 2016

Nikita Mitchell, MBA 15, was the first African-American woman elected to serve as president of a Full-time Berkeley MBA class. She was also elected as a liaison for the Consortium for Graduate Study of Management (CGSM), the country’s largest and oldest business diversity organization.

Mitchell, along with co-liaisons Kory Vargas Caro and Dan Wong, both MBA 15, organized professional treks and other community-building events to make Haas stand out among 16 other CGSM business schools. They also took an active role in admissions to increase minority students at Haas.

Because of their efforts, Berkeley Haas won CGSM’s highest honor for the first time in school history. Haas was also awarded $10,000 to continue diversity and inclusion initiatives—the first time CGSM has ever provided financial support for any winner.

What’s more, the Berkeley Haas Class of 2016 had the largest ever number of Consortium fellows, ensuring Berkeley Haas educates a diverse pool of leaders.

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