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UC-Berkeley Haas Shakes Up MBA Core Curriculum

UC-Berkeley Haas students in Chou Hall. All three Haas MBA programs are now STEM programs. Haas photo

Students in the full-time MBA program at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business will have three new required core courses beginning this fall. It’s part of a curriculum shake-up announced by the school at the end of July.

“I am so proud of the hard work that our faculty-led team put into these transformative core curriculum changes,” Dean Ann Harrison said in an announcement from the school. “We are rolling out innovative courses that will help prepare our students for what’s next, addressing a wide range of workplace challenges—from questioning the ethics of artificial intelligence to recognizing how unconscious bias impacts management decisions.”

The changes come from an eight-member “task force” created by Harrison during the pandemic. Haas faculty members Ross Levine and Dana R. Carney led the committee, which made recommendations back in April.

NEW COURSES IN DATA ANALYTICS, LEADING DIVERSE TEAMS

The three new courses are very Berkeley and include data analytics, data-focused decision making, and leading diverse teams. Data Analytics will focus on using big data and artificial intelligence. Data-Driven Presentations will focus on using data to create and make persuasive arguments. And Business Communication in Diverse Work Environments will focus on things like understanding bias and making sure there is equality in opportunity across organizations. Berkeley MBAs now have 14 required core courses.

“It’s very important for any type of program to re-evaluate, reassess, renew, modernize, and make things as relevant and useful for students as possible,” Levine, the Willis H. Booth Chair in Banking and Finance, said in the announcement. “We worked very hard to make some changes that would help our students achieve their professional ambitions.”

TASK FORCE MET WITH FACULTY, RACE INCLUSION, AND GENDER EQUALITY INITIATIVES

While Levine is the chair in Banking and Finance at Haas, Carney is a psychologist who specializes in racial bias and is the director of Berkeley’s Institute of Personality and Social Research. Carney said in the announcement from the school lots of research was included in the ideation process. The task force met with tenure track and teaching faculty, current Haas students, and MBA students actively participating in the Gender Equity and Race Inclusion Initiatives at Haas.

The research also included surveys that went out to recent alumni and corporate recruiters. Haas Senior Director of Employment Engagement and Industry Jenn Bridge led the alumni and recruiter surveys. “Being nimble as a leader and managing people through change are skills that are highly desired,” Bridge said about the survey. “The pandemic has accelerated all of this.”

To make room for the new courses, Haas dropped its decade-old Fundamentals of Design Thinking core requirement to an elective. Haas will also consider curriculum refreshes in its other MBA programs.

DON’T MISS: STUDY: 77% OF EMPLOYERS WANT TO ‘REINVENT’ THE MBA or UC BERKELEY HAAS TO ENTER ONLINE MBA SPACE