1. Faculty: Top Finance Scholar
Berkeley Haas Finance Professor Ulrike Malmendier was awarded the 2013 Fischer Black Prize from the American Finance Association in January. The prize honors the top finance scholar under the age of 40 and is modeled after the Fields Medal in mathematics and the Clark Medal in economics.
The award cited Malmendier's work in corporate finance, behavioral economics and finance, contract theory, and the history of the firm, noting the originality and creativity of her research.
Malmendier holds a joint appointment at Haas and Berkeley's Economics Department. She has long been interested in why and how individuals make decisions--specifically mistakes and systematically biased decisions.
2. Faculty: Trio Garner Honors
Professors David Teece, Nicolae Gârleanu, and Adair Morse have been honored for their research and scholarly service. Teece received the Royal Honour of Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to New Zealand/United States relations. Gârleanu has won two awards: the Journal of Finance Smith Breeden Prize for a co-authored paper titled "Technological Growth and Asset Pricing" and the Review for Financial Studies' Barclays Global Investors Michael Brennan Award for his paper "Margin-Based Asset Pricing and Deviations from the Law of One Price." Morse, a visiting professor, won the Journal of Finance's Brattle Prize for a paper on payday loans titled "Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases, and Payday Borrowing."
3. Financial Engineering: Morgan Stanley Prize Winner
Alfred Yuan, MFE 13, won the $5,000 Morgan Stanley Prize for Excellence in Financial Markets for a paper focused on designing and implementing an algorithm to accelerate the computations of complex financial systems.
Yuan competed against more than 100 financial engineering and PhD students around the country. The prize also includes a summer internship with Morgan Stanley and interview for a full-time position.
Yuan's paper outlines an algorithm to more quickly complete complex financial calculations that have been enabled by improvements in computing. Before coming to Haas, Yuan earned a bachelor's degree in statistics and actuarial science from Renmin University of China.
4. Executive Education: Inspiring Poland's Top Innovators
Forty Polish scientists, scholars, and business innovators learned from the Haas School's top professors and visited Silicon Valley's most innovative companies as part of a program developed by the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education.
The nine-week, customized program was funded by the Polish government and European Union. "Poland is full of bright people, but they don't know how to commercialize their discoveries," Lukasz Kutrzeba, a technology broker at the Jagiellonian Center of Innovation in Krakow, said during his Berkeley visit. "At Haas, we are learning to take our scientific knowledge to market. It's a contagious process, and we are excited to take our experience here back to our homeland."
5. Rankings: Rising in The FT
The full-time Berkeley MBA Program climbed to #12 this year from #14 a year ago in the Financial Times global MBA ranking. Among U.S. schools, Haas held its #7 spot from last year. The program ranked #3 again worldwide in faculty research and #6 worldwide in quality of PhD graduate placements.
6. Finance: Launching Investment Management Careers
This year Haas selected five first-year full-time MBA students to inaugurate a new Investment Management Fellowship Program: Felipe Gonzalez, Andrew Krowne, Nick Shea, Bryan Wong, and Eric Yanagi, all MBA 14. The fellows receive a one-time $5,000 scholarship, preference in finance electives, and matching with a mentor in the field. The program is modeled after the school's successful, seven-year-old Investment Banking Fellowship Program.
7. Students: Reaching for the Stars
Viewing Earth from the International Space Station, Soyeon Yi, MBA 14, had an epiphany. "You realize Korea is such a small part of the world," she says.
She understood then how lucky she was to have been born in South Korea, a country wealthy enough to send her into space. And that's part of the reason she came to Haas: to find the best, most innovative way to help others in less fortunate circumstances on Earth.
Yi, 34, rose above 36,000 other applicants to become South Korea's first astronaut. The Korean government chose her, she says, because of her PhD in biotech systems and her personality: “I think they felt I was open minded and would easily reach out to the public.”
After training for a year in Russia, Yi launched into the sky on April 8, 2008, with two Russian astronauts. She spent 10 days at the space station conducting experiments on fruit flies, plants, and her own heart.
She returned to Earth in a capsule with an American and a Russian, but the capsule missed its mark and landed 260 miles away, near some shepherds in Kazakhstan. “They thought at first we were aliens,” she said.
After a whirlwind few years of speaking engagements, Yi, 34, decided to add an MBA to her PhD in biotech systems. She chose Haas because of its proximity to Silicon Valley and distance from Korea, where she's a celebrity with little privacy. "California is an easy place to be an Asian woman engineer," she says. "It feels like home."
8. Students: Shopping Science
One morning last fall, 17 MBA students traded statistics for...shopping. Their tours of local Target and Safeway stores were part of a retail trek led by Haas career adviser Wendy Pratt.
Pratt, who has more than 12 years of experience building brands and launching new consumer packaged goods (CPG), guided students through the aisles while sharing her knowledge on how products get developed, packaged, discounted, and placed on store shelves. "The best way to learn the basics of marketing and discuss consumer behavior trends is to see how CPG companies handle the marketing mix on the 'front line' as consumers see it," she says.
Perfect test subjects, the students also found themselves unable to resist the lure of well-presented merchandise. Eliza Rosenbaum, MBA 14, left with a Cal hoodie. "There was just no time to shop in Fall A, and I really needed something for Big Game," she explains.
9. Alumni: Banking on Haas@Work
When Amir Zelazny, MBA 09, applied to the Haas@Work Program for spring 2009, he was a student uncertain of his future in the thick of the recession. Little did he know that he would go on to work for his Haas@Work client, building the kernel of an idea from the program into a major new strategy for Wells Fargo Bank.
Zelazny was on a student team asked to advise Wells Fargo on helping customers better save for their sunset years. After the project ended, Wells hired Zelazny as a contractor and then employee to shepherd a new proprietary retirement tool through a complex design process. The "My Retirement Plan" tool launched in December.
Once an extracurricular program, Haas@Work is now a course that satisfies MBA students' experiential learning requirement. Each semester, student teams advise companies on innovation challenges.
"Our Haas@Work team brought fresh ideas to Wells Fargo," says Zelazny. "The project feels like the fruition of all the principles I learned at Haas, such as Questioning the Status Quo and going Beyond Yourself."