MBA Snapshot: Haas School of Business

Young and cutting edge, this West-Coast school truly embodies the California culture.  Rolling out their “Defining Principles” in 2010, it’s hard to find a fresher approach to b-school than Haas in the top tier.  They’re not located quite as close to Silicon Valley as Stanford, but Haas continues to attract high-level, entrepreneurially-minded applicants who dream of changing the world.  Perhaps these attributes will highlight why.

1)    Entrepreneurship

Berkeley probably benefits from their proximity to Stanford and Silicon Valley by catching applicants who use them as a backup plan for GSB, however they have built their own culture and reputation to the point that they now stand solidly on their own.  The school’s mission statement is “Leading through innovation,” and their prowess in management of technology is hard to top.  Coupled with their commitment to social responsibility (which would be difficult to avoid at a school like Berkeley), what you have are a very on-trend graduates who are highly sought in today’s sustainability-conscious business world.  Haas business plan competitions and entrepreneurial encouragement run through every class, so it’s hard to turn around without running into students who are working on a startup.

2)    Stickiness

Most Haas grads end up working within an eight hour drive of Berkeley, whether it be the attractiveness of the California lifestyle or the fact that Haas is more of a regional player in b-school world.  Still, this phenomenon is unique, and has resulted in a very strong network of alumni, as long as you do the same.  Students also connect at a deep level because Haas has one of the smallest class sizes of any school in the top twenty.           

3)    Prestige

If you speak to anyone out West, you won’t find a more impressive name to drop than Cal Berkeley.  Essentially a public ivy, Berkeley’s brand opens doors and the success of its alumni has only added to the mystique of the school. Haas benefits greatly from Berkeley’s broader reputation and graduates of Haas enjoy tapping the larger network of Cal grads in addition to the smaller network of Haas grads. Even with all the California universities in the top tier, Berkeley rises above, so if you want to impress folks, open doors, get funding and start a business, Haas is a great choice.

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