Meet The Incoming Haas Class of 2017

Members of UC-Berkeley's Haas Class of 2017

Members of UC-Berkeley’s Haas Class of 2017

When MBA classes began three days ago on Aug. 24, the women who make up 41% of the incoming full-time Class of 2017 at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business merged with last year’s record-breaking class, bringing the total number of women in the program to a new high.

Full-time MBA students at Berkeley are now just under 43% female, placing the school at or near the highest among top-ranked schools. Those numbers represent a significant shift for a student body that was less than one-third female just two years ago. You can largely credit the students for those vast change.

At Haas, where the incoming class went through an Aug. 17-Aug. 21 orientation that included ropes courses and plenty of networking opportunities, students became a driving force in changing the composition of the MBA class. Two years ago, after the proportion of incoming women in the full-time program dropped to 29%, a group of students embarked on an enhanced outreach campaign to new admits, working with admissions to boost the number of women in the class behind them.


Incoming MBA students at Haas endured a series of team-building games at last week's orientation

Incoming MBA students at Haas endured a series of team-building games at last week’s orientation

To build the right mix of MBA candidates, Haas takes a highly selective approach to admissions. And the Class of 2017 is no different. Last year, the school reported a 13.2% acceptance rate– third lowest behind only Stanford and Harvard. In 2014-2015, the full-time MBA program received 3,592 applications (up 42 apps from the previous year) and enrolled 246 students (just five students more over the Class of 2016). So, demand remains exceptionally high for a spot at Haas. In fact, Haas maintains the smallest intake among Top 10 MBA programs in the U.S., which enables students to better know their peers and make a bigger impact.

Academically, Haas has stayed as rigorous as ever. The Class of 2017 arrives with a 715 average GMAT, two points lower than the previous year, though it should be pointed out that the school dings more than 80% of those who apply with GMAT scores of 750 or higher. Berkeley’s admissions team isn’t chasing GMATs, but is still looking holistically at candidates.

The incoming group averaged a 3.66 undergraduate GPA, an .04 sliver of a point higher than last year’s class. Ever more, this average GPA is just .01 lower than Harvard’s incoming class. Some 14% of Haas’ 2017 class already holds advanced degrees.


Last year, business, economics and engineering majors accounted for 69% of the incoming class. And the Class of 2017 sustained those numbers, with business (26%), economics (23%) and engineering (20%) topping the list. At the same time, humanities dipped from 9% to 6%, while natural sciences climbed from 2% to 5%. What’s more, first-years were joining Haas with similar industry experience. Some 24% of the Class of 2017 come from consulting (down 1% from last year), with 19% possessing banking and financial services backgrounds (also down 1%). However, non-profits represented the biggest growth, climbing from 6% to 9% in the past year.

Haas owns a well-earned reputation for being among the most diverse full-time MBA programs. Despite remaining among the leaders for women, minorities, and international students, the Class of 2017 did slip a little in each of these demographics. Besides the two-percentage-point slip in women to 41% this year, the school remains among the leaders in trying to achieve gender parity (this year it is only slightly below Wharton and Kellogg. Among American minority students, the school fell from 41% to 36% (which still places Haas highest among the 12 Top 20 MBA programs that released class profiles before Aug. 21st). Although Haas expanded its reach from 38 to 46 countries with the Class of 2017, its overall percentage of international students fell from 43% to 40%.