Meet The Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2019

It was also a bounce back year for the school in several demographic areas. The percentage of women in the program rose to 40%. This represents a 2% increase…one that still falls short of its Class of 2016 heyday of 43%. By the same token, the percentage of international students rose a point to 39%, with students hailing from 44 countries – up from last year’s 41. In fact, the only drop-off in the class came with minority representation, which slipped from 32% to 29%.

Academically, business and economics majors comprise the largest segment of the class at 21% each. Engineering majors compose another 15%. Combined, these majors account for 57% of the class, down 12% from the Class of 2017. Social sciences snapped up 10% of the class (down 3%) and humanities and natural sciences accounted for 8% and 6% respectively.

Like previous years, consultants represented the largest bloc of students at 25% — a 3% increase over the 2018 Class. The percentage of banking and finance professions also rose 3% to 20%. These gains came at the expense of tech and non-profit, which both fell to 7% respectively. The class is rounded out by healthcare (7%), consumer products (6%), and energy (4%).


Peter Johnson

Over the past two decades, the student population at Haas has nearly doubled from 1,300 to 2,300 students. To accommodate this growth, the business school launched a $60 million dollar building project that resulted in Chou Hall. The six story building may be the most “green” academic building in the United States, designed to produce no waste and cut energy and water usage by over a third each. Forming a quad with Haas’ three existing buildings, Chou Hall is devoted exclusively to students and will expand the options and accommodate future growth, says Johnson.

“This facility will complement our existing buildings nicely and will add 80,000 square feet of new “smart” classrooms, group study rooms, event space, and a new café,” he explains. “The entire building is devoted to student-facing activities, providing more modern classroom technology and inviting surroundings for classes, co-curricular activities, conferences, and other events. It will also enable us to increase the size of our incoming class from 250 to 300 by the fall of 2018, giving us cohorts of 75 students each, which is average size in the top 10 programs.”

Long-term, the MBA program plans to grow near the 350 student class range, says Dean Rich Lyons in a September interview with Poets&Quants. This would increase the current class size by 66 students. That said, the building is a reflection of form meets philosophy, with a careful design that facilitates the school’s team-driven culture. “The nature of work has changed and this building reflects how collaborative work has become,” Lyons notes. “We didn’t have nearly enough breakout rooms or flexible classroom space. Now the honeycomb work places facing the courtyard are places where you can see people at work day and night. I know people talk about a building arm’s race among business schools, but we have grown a lot and we needed space that would allow us to catch up.”


Another major development, adds Johnson, is Haas’ increasing commitment to expanding its offerings in data analytics. “We were one of the first MBA programs to include data analytics in the curriculum, beginning with a Marketing Analytics course in the early 2000s,” Johnson asserts. “Since then, we’ve added “Big Data and Better Decisions,” Data Mining, Workplace Analytics, and Influencing Customers, all of which are data analytics heavy courses. We’ve seen tremendous growth in interest in this area from both students and potential employers, and we will be adding additional course options to allow students to explore the application of data science to a variety of functional areas and a group of co-curricular and workshop opportunities for students who want to enhance their relevant software skills using Python, R, and other coding platforms.”

It was an investment that aligns with the school’s strengths, which is preparing students for the tech field. Although 7% of the incoming class matriculated in tech roles, a full 39% of the 2016 graduating class landed in tech, with Google, Amazon, Adobe, and Facebook ranking among the biggest consumers of Haas talent. That is a third higher than nine years ago, when tech hired roughly a fourth of the graduating class (26.3%).

Such interest will only grow as tech firms and startups push the boundaries of what’s possible. In 2016, for example, a handful of students launched the Berkeley Haas FinTech Club. Fast forward a year later and the club had already signed up 145 members, making it one of Haas’ most popular extracurriculars. Tech has also sparked an increased interest in entrepreneurship. The program now boasts LAUNCH, a three month startup accelerator run by first Haas students. Notably, LAUNCH sponsors a Demo Day in the spring, where school ventures compete for $25K and $15K under the watchful eyes of area investors.


However, the crown jewel may be social enterprise, which weds Northern California’s tech prowess with a Millennial instinct to use business tools to tackle social issues. Already ranked among the top schools for nonprofits, Haas offers something for everyone in areas from corporate social responsibility to clean technology – with nearly a dozen professors dedicated to the field. This includes a Center for Social Sector Leadership and a Haas Center for Responsible Business. The Berkeley Board Fellows places MBAs on boards of local charities, while the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund fusies return with impact thanks to a $2 million dollar fund. Such wide offerings appealed to Bardet, who plans to work in the social sector after earning her MBA.

“I want to head a social enterprise that tackles environmental, economic, and social issues at a grassroots level,” she says. “The Berkeley MBA program, with its deep understanding of social impact, will help me to develop the specific business acumen that many social enterprises need to realize the double bottom line of mission impact and financial sustainability. Haas is the only business school where I can focus on my areas of interest – social impact, clean tech, sustainability and entrepreneurship – all at once and with the best faculty.”

Berkeley, California

Best of all, this is all packaged in Berkeley, an inclusive cultural epicenter just an hour drive from Silicon Valley. The region has it all: scrumptious restaurants in The Mission, stunning hikes along Land’s End, and thrilling surfs in Steamer Lane. Breezy summers with mild winters make the Bay Area the perfect place to spend a year, with nearby hot spots like Napa Valley and Carmel by the Sea making for tempting weekend getaways for students.

Berkeley embodies Californian liberal dynamism: it is one of the most progressive universities and cities in the United States and has an unrivaled entrepreneurial culture,” adds Bardet. “For the last several months, while I was trying to understand why Haas was the perfect fit and how I could contribute to the program, I contacted many students, professors and staff who enjoyed sharing their stories with me and answering my questions. No other school has this level of accessibility and openness which characterizes Haas. No other school has people that are so deeply and genuinely engaged and passionate about change. As a future social entrepreneur, having a collaborative environment with like-minded people is a necessity.”

The Class of 2019 did get off to an unexpected start with Dean Lyons’ June announcement that he would step down in 2018. A landmark figure, Lyons was instrumental in molding the Defining Principles and raising over $350 million dollars for the school. In addition, he fostered a forward-leaning, action-driven culture fueled by purpose and geared for transformation. And the incoming class serves as a homage to his vision and vocation.

Looking ahead to the spring, the Class of 2019 has an array of goals to meet. Brian hopes to master two vital c-suite skills: setting priorities and balancing competing interests. Devlin will explore the “Student Always” principle, challenging himself to take new risks, explore newly-discovered passions, and form lasting relationships with new friends who will challenge me to think differently.” Like most Haasies, Bardet dreams of “doing something meaningful and that matters” – in other words, Question the Status Quo.

For Mariana Lanzas Goded – whose background ranges from NGO analysis to social entrepreneurship – success would include strengthening her finance skills or exploring CleanTech and social investment. More than that, it would be a validation of her decision to come to Berkeley. “Success would also mean still feeling 100% sure that going to business school was the right next step.”

To read profiles of incoming Haas students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

DON’T MISS: Meet The Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2018 OR The Pioneering MBAs In The Class Of 2019

Student Hometown Undergrad School Previous Employer
 Lucie Bardet  Paris, France  Ecole de Biologie Industrielle  Shanghai Morimatsu Pharmaceuticals
 Jamil Bashir  York, PA  Temple University  The Graham Company
 Leslie Brian   Pasadena, CA  Stanford University  Revolution Foods
 Michael Devlin  Laytonsville, MD  Boston College  Citibank
 Tam Emerson  Boston, MA  Wheelock College  Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership  Program
 America Gonzalez  Monterrey, Mexico  Tec de Monterrey (ITESM)  Bain & Company
 Aun Hussain  Plymouth, MN  Carleton College  General Mills
 Mariana Lanzas Goded  Madrid, Spain  Yale University  Bridge for Billions
 Caroline Schraer  Hamburg,  Germany  Hamburg School of Business  Administration  Warner Music Group Germany
 Catherine Swanson  Potomac, MD  Stanford University  Bank of America
 Jorge Tellez  Fairfax, VA  Virginia Military Institute  United States Navy
 Sarah Wallingford  McKee  Maysville, KY  Duke University  Frito-Lay