The Berkeley Haas MBA: What You Need To Know
The insider’s joke that Berkeley’s Haas School is the business school for hippies. Truth is, that’s never been true, but it’s a nearly quaint way to refer to one of the hardest schools in the world to get into. If you’re interested in tech, entrepreneurship, and innovation, Haas is one of the best schools in the world for an MBA.
The highly selective program, which enrolls a small class of 240 full-time MBAs each fall, is anchored by 12 required courses that promote a general-management perspective and that provide a framework for the more function-specific courses that follow. The first year of the program is divided into four quarters. The core curriculum is rooted in business fundamentals — including marketing, finance, and accounting.
Two years ago, however, the school put through significant curriculum changes to focus more on innovative leadership. In the overhaul, a pair of existing core courses, Leading People and Leadership Communications, had been restructured to offer additional leadership skills, such as the ability to influence others. And then a new and highly innovative course called “Problem Finding, Problem Solving” was added to the core to address what the school considers “underlying skill sets that are missing in a typical MBA education.” All of these various pieces fall under something dubbed Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD), the connective theme that runs through the entire MBA curriculum to ensure that every student develops the skills required of innovative leaders.
The Problem Finding course is a prerequisite to Haas’ required experiential learning module. MBAs can choose one or more of these experiential courses from among ten programs, including Haas@Work, which assigns student teams to innovation challenges at a select group of companies that have included Cisco, Walt Disney, Visa, Virgin America, and Yahoo!
Haas Dean Richard Lyons had been instrumental in getting the course to be a required part of the MBA curriculum. “It is really not very helpful to tell people to think outside the box,” he says. “People don’t know where the box is. An important element of this course is developing a capacity in our students to be explicit about the typically implicit assumptions that frame opportunities and problems. That shows you where the box is and allows you to move one side or the other to see solutions you wouldn’t have seen. We believe society needs more people with this skill.”
Berkeley Haas MBA Rankings Data
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Note: MBA Program Consideration Set: If you believe you’re a close match to this school–based on your GMAT and GPA scores, your age and work experience, you should look at these other competitive full-time MBA programs as well. We list them by stretch, match, and safety. These options are presented on the basis of brand image and ranking status as a general guideline.