UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business needs no introduction. In fact, only Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School had lower acceptance rates than Haas did last year. Given the school’s intimate learning environment and strong ties to Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that so many applicants apply to Haas every year. What does surprise us, though, is that so few of those applicants really know the school beyond its obvious strengths. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Haas applications.
If you’re considering applying to Haas, ask yourself: How do you know if Haas really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Haas admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at five things that set Haas apart from other top-tier MBA programs:
The Haas Culture
Regular reader of our blog know how much we like Haas’s culture. How that culture translates for students is in extensive collaboration inside and outside of the classroom. Teamwork is the cornerstone of the Haas experience. Small groups are formed in practically all classes, allowing students to exercise different team roles based on their interests and areas of expertise. Versatility is often a prized attribute of Haas students in the eyes of employers, and is one reason why the school places graduates into such a broad range of industries and functions.
The Haas tagline for some time has been Leading through Innovation, and the Innovative Leader is now a hallmark of the school’s marketing message. The school combines theoretical and experiential learning opportunities to develop confidence and judgment for real-life situations. Industry thought leader Henry Chesbrough is a professor at Haas, and a deep set of electives in open innovation, product development, and design are natural complements to the strong entrepreneurship support expected from a top business school.
While “innovation” is not limited just to high tech, a key distinction at Haas is the focus on technology and the school’s ability to place students into the tech industry. Haas sends over 25% of each graduating class into the tech sector, which is high compared to other top tech programs like MIT and Stanford but about the same in absolute number of placements. This is of course enabled by the school’s proximity to Silicon Valley as well as the wealth of resources available on the larger Berkeley campus, particularly in the engineering school. Haas offers a distinctive Management of Technology certificate (open not just to business and engineering students but other UC Berkeley grad students as well, such as those in Environmental Design). The Haas Technology Club is one of the largest and most active student groups on campus. The Haas School even has a CIO (Chief Information Officer) featured on the Leadership page of its website.
Social Responsibility & Social Entrepreneurship
Haas prides itself on being the preeminent institution for research, teaching, experiential learning, and community outreach in areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Woven into the core curriculum, Haas offers more than a dozen different programs and initiatives around social responsibility and business sustainability. Nonprofit management is also a focus here. With the University’s radical history and the very liberal government and policies in the surrounding City of Berkeley, it is to be expected that many are attracted to Haas because of an interest in changing the world. This is a positive quality that can be nurtured through the ecosystem of the Haas School, including the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and a specialized curriculum, plus a range of social venture courses.
Nearly every business school currently espouses a “global perspective,” but Haas is one of the few that combines its international focus with its emphasis on experiential learning. The International Business Development program places about 150 students a year in all corners of the globe for three-week consulting projects. This program allows students to confront and solve business challenges in unknown business settings, forcing them to apply innovative thinking and problem solving skills while developing a global business mindset. While the MBA itself is sometimes seen as a little regional — most graduates stay on the West Coast after finishing the program — Haas has an expanding network of connections in the business and academic communities around the world and 31% of full-time MBA students come from foreign lands.
Today’s blog post was clipped from our Berkeley-Haas Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s best MBA programs, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Haas or other top business schools, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!