People, Place, & Culture


People, Place, and Culture

Our unique combination of people, place, and culture is our foundation. Our plan leverages each.


We Are Thinkers

World-class scholarship permeates the Haas School, and our faculty is widely respected and honored with lifetime awards and Nobel Prizes.

Our two Nobel Prizes in economics, including the most recent in 2009 to Professor Oliver Williamson, are proof of the profound nature of faculty research. We are known even among the top business schools as one of the hardest for getting tenure. We place great emphasis on ideas that are truly pioneering. The tradition of intellectual excellence we are part of is evident from many sources, for example the campus' 21 Nobel Prizes and its discovery of a large fraction of the elements (including Berkelium and Californium). The anchoring of Berkeley Haas in academic disciplines dates from well before the industry-defining reports from the Ford and Carnegie Foundations that advocated greater academic rigor.

We Are Problem-Solvers

Our graduates are distinguished for hitting the ground tackling challenges in many disciplines (marketing, finance, accounting, strategy).

One quality that sets apart the leaders we produce is that they are direction-setters. This is in part because we attract this kind of potential leader and in part because the combination of experiences we offer draws this out and develops it. This kind of leader is also a disciplined generalist, in that he/she is rigorous, discipline-based, and capable across the full sweep of business subjects — a foundation in general management. Direction-setting blended with broad-based capability manifests itself in our graduates across many fronts, including our technology-industry C-level executives, our leaders in social enterprise, our pathfinders in the clean-tech/sustainability areas of business, and our entrepreneurs — both start-up and corporate. We are at the edge of what's next.


We Are Berkeley

Our university is regularly among the world's top five and is #1 in the number of graduate programs in the top 10 (National Research Council). Arguably, its brand — including dedication to society's biggest issues — is even stronger than its academic standing. This combination of breadth and depth is part of its uniqueness.

Uniqueness also stems from being the country's top public university and the oldest and flagship university within an outstanding UC system. Berkeley's brand is strong globally and particularly in Asia, owing in part to geographic proximity and in part to the historic connections to students from the region in science and engineering. Finally, Berkeley is widely considered stronger than most all of the universities of the top business schools — a key advantage for us.

We Are Innovators

Our local ecosystem of innovators, entrepreneurs, and innovative organizations is the envy of the world.

We benefit from, and contribute to, a Bay Area ecosystem of business innovation that includes linked sub-systems in bio-science, venture capital, high technology, clean energy, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco's Mission Bay. Haas is embedded in many ways, including links through our 35,000 living graduates, through our professional and research faculty, through our programs in applied innovation (e.g., Haas@Work) and entrepreneurship (e.g., business plan competitions), and through our strong links to the rest of UC Berkeley in Real Estate, Management of Technology, Public Health, Clean Technology, and Economics. If the world's first business school were being created today, many would eagerly locate here.


We Are Culturally Distinct

Though people have always chosen Berkeley for its uniqueness, we codify resulting elements of our culture for the first time.

Among top business schools, we are culturally distinct. Two of our norms/principles in particular help define our authentic approach:

  • Question the status quo
  • Confidence without attitude

Questioning the status quo may be the quality more closely associated with "Berkeley" than any other. Berkeley is a place where people stand up and speak out when things don't seem right. Confidence without attitude (or with humility) is a refrain we regularly hear from recruiters about our students. This trait also supports our principle of "We are always students."

We Are Responsible

Positive impact on society is part of our public-service heritage and has always been a focus at Berkeley.

Serving something larger has always been part of the Berkeley tradition. This motivation stems from the university's sense of shared mission and public mindedness. This is an especially important factor to attract and retain the very best staff. It also stems from its active history, including preeminent roles in civil rights and free speech. Berkeley has, for example, more graduates than any other university in the Peace Corps. At Haas, our Net Impact student club for responsible leadership — corporate, public, and nonprofit — is our largest and includes a larger percentage of students than at other top schools. Our faculty, too, have a long tradition of public service.