Letter from the Dean

Haas Unveils Strategic Plan

Dean Rich Lyons

Exciting news! The Haas School launched its new strategic plan on Feb. 1, after it received overwhelming support from our faculty. The plan centers on the school's mission of developing leaders who redefine how we do business, as well as the distinctive Haas culture that supports this mission. Let me give you a brief overview.


The culture component of the plan takes a stand, for the first time in our history, on a set of defining principles that distinguish us from other schools. Haas is a singular place, with a singular culture; explicit principles will help us to communicate our narrative in a coordinated, powerful way.


These principles include excellence and inclusion, also the core of all of UC Berkeley’s culture. We put special emphasis on four defining principles that reflect the strengths of Haas culture in ways that also differentiate our school. They are:

  • Question the status quo
  • Confidence without attitude
  • Students always
  • Beyond yourself


As alumni, you will no doubt see our school reflected in these principles because they have always been our school's "heartbeat." But we never explicitly articulated them until now. I believe that building an awareness of who we are enables us to more readily achieve our goals and attract top-notch faculty, students, and staff who resonate with our unique culture.


The leadership component of our strategic plan is our answer to a fundamental, competitive question: Given that all top business schools produce leaders, what type of leader does Haas develop? Our explicit goal going forward is to produce innovative leaders— men and women who drive growth by putting new ideas to work in every corner and in every function of our organizations. And they need to do so responsibly. In our best judgment, this is the archetype leader that society needs now and will need the most in the future.


We live in a world where value in the marketplace is increasingly driven by ideas that are not yet widely known nor fully poven. Whether it's producing more fuel-efficient cars or dreaming up new business processes, innovative leaders are the ones who will be able to deliver into our idea economy. It is new ideas, put to work effectively, that are the root source of business advantage and success.


Haas has always produced graduates who leaned toward the innovative leader archetype. With key changes to our core curriculum and with new extracurricular programs— starting this fall in our MBA programs — we can provide all of our students with a distinct toolkit of skills and the experiential learning to become an innovative leader. The defining principles of our Haas culture reinforce these lessons, ensuring that our graduates are well prepared for the future.


Over the last 18 months, many alumni, students, staff, and faculty participated in the development of our strategic plan. One message came through incredibly strongly: Let’s set the highest possible aspiration, but let’s go about it our way. We've done our best to remain true to ourselves and to what makes Haas so special.


I close with a request. In many ways, writing this plan was the easy part. Now it's time for implementation. We consider you a partner as we execute on the plan. Let's hold each other to being "all-in," as our great institution deserves.


Sincerely Yours,



Rich Lyons