On Monday I was able to attend a presentation in London hosted by Stephanie Fujii, Executive Director of Admissions (and Alum ’04) at Berkeley-Haas Business School. It was a breakneck speed, I went in full of good intentions to take notes but was totally engrossed and failed miserably.
So in summary here is the (very) brief version of what was said:
- It was stated at the beginning, much of what is said at these presentations is similar for all business schools (Timbob: very true, after all the syllabuses and setup will share many common things so this is obvious) so the presentation focused on what makes Haas different as that is what you need to know.
- Wow the culture. So much culture emphasis at Berkeley. I was expecting this from prior research, but not this much. Key words I’d say were: ‘collaborative’ ‘easy-going’ ‘innovative/innovation’. Best part of this was this really shone through even more in the Alumni Q&A at the end. They really believe this, and I could see the similarities in this between them. when speaking. Read http://mba.haas.berkeley.edu/community/students.html for more.
- Haas has a general management curriculum. Although Finance is still the main source of students, I got the impression that this is not so much of an emphasis than other places. Again: innovation is a key word here.
- Err…. California? Bay Area? Tech companies on your doorstep? Location location location. Haas is well regarded (as part of a world-renowned reserach university) and has close links to local industry – as many other schools will also do – its just San Francisco area is a bit… different in what those industries are.
- There are no ‘majors’ per se, but ‘areas of emphasis’ – their ‘Cleantech to market’ focus is more obviously linked to the area than any other, is quite new and mentioned a few times. http://mba.haas.berkeley.edu/academics/areas-of-emphasis.html for more of these.
- Several alumni (i.e. not an isolated case) had a chance to do placements and projects on beer and wine. Awesome. And there is a large Latin American group that do really good mojitos. Seemed popular!
- A quote from an Alumni: “At other schools I’d ask where the admissions office was, and they’d point me round the corner and say ‘that way’, at Haas they’d point me round the corner, shake my hand and say ‘good luck!’. That was why I decided to go to Haas.
So final thoughts? What do I think? In a nutshell:
- It seems a really warm and welcoming place. The alums were very engaging and all very interesting. In London you do tend to get finance-concentrated alums but I got the feeling they were a little more diverse than some other presentations.
- I put Haas in the same bracket as MIT Sloan. Both similar rankings & very technologically strong, MIT because of its links to the technology college in particular, Haas also stands out because of its local industry links and what functions they tend to be. Both syllabuses and elective options reflect this. Maybe Haas has less of an operations emphasis, more raw tech.
- Finally I liked it. I was keen before, although I’m more nervous about west-coast than east, mainly because I’m not as familiar with it. The school seems great, and I made a decision during the evening to definitely apply as I’d planned in around a week.