All For One: Berkeley-Haas Students Build MBA Diversity

By Morgan Bernstein

MBA commencement 2016 student speaker Kendrick Vaugn and friends

If you look around at the mix of students, speakers, faculty, and events on campus, you'll quickly see that every program is devoted to fostering MBA diversity at Berkeley-Haas.

Whether that means bringing students together from different professional and personal backgrounds, or inviting speakers who are experts in a variety of fields, Berkeley-Haas believes in the value of diverse minds and skills—and the endless possibilities they create when brought together. Here, diversity is more than a buzzword—"it is truly built into the school's DNA" says full-time MBA student Raphael Chines.

Students are an integral and active part of MBA diversity. From the student-run Gender Equity Initiative, to the Freshmen to Alumni outreach program, to the LGBT club, Q@Haas, there is a wealth of resources. One of the most notable campus events is the annual Diversity Symposium. Prospective students and current students are hosted on campus for a day of panels, discussions, and workshops that honor the school's remarkable student and alumni diversity.

Pride Day at Berkeley-Haas

And the best way to learn about the Diversity Symposium, and diversity in general, is from Berkeley-Haas students themselves:

Raphael recalls attending the Diversity Symposium, and how it influenced his own perception of diversity at Haas and beyond.

"We heard what diversity means to members of the administration, faculty, and student body, and why it is critical to the success of any organization, and a student panel of LGBT students and allies revealed how Haas' welcoming environment creates a space for students to safely take risks and learn from one another. I walked away from the day with not only an appreciation for how Haas treats diversity, but also a deeper understanding of the importance of diversity generally."

Sera Lee, a student in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, found the Diversity Symposium to deliver an empowering message: "The Diversity Symposium made me want to attend Haas, a school that truly embodies its defining principles. Dean Rich Lyon stressed that one of Haas' main goals is…to challenge students to become drivers of change. It's about moving away from thinking, 'they do that' to 'I can do that.'"

Candice Knoll of the part-time evening and weekend MBA program felt inspired by and connected to Symposium speakers. "I remember hearing a Latina woman discuss the small number of Latina women in upper management, and even in business school, and I was motivated and inspired by that. Sometime during her speech, my mindset shifted from 'I don't belong here' to 'I don't care how or when, but I am going here.'"

Berkeley MBA students at the 2016 Women in Leadership Conference

While the Diversity Symposium is a pivotal event, fostering MBA diversity at Berkeley-Haas happens in many other ways, through its inclusive culture, eclectic class offerings, and its well-rounded student body. EWMBA student Bill Collins recalls attending the school's Women in Leadership Conference. "I was impressed by the richness of content, the variety of perspectives offered, the quality of speakers, and most of all the passion from the attendees," he says.

Diversity_Post_Cristy_Limon.jpgSays Berkeley executive MBA student Cristy Johnston Limón, "Diversity shows up in the EMBA program largely through our cohort. Because we hail from such different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and nationalities, we each bring such a broad and diverse perspective in the classroom."

"I never feel like an outsider," says evening and weekend MBA student Anthony Barrs. "Maybe it’s the Confidence Without Attitude and Students Always Defining Principles, but Haas feels open, humble, and approachable…People genuinely want to share and connect with others."

Adds Anthony, "This allows me to experience lots of diverse people and perspectives…and vice versa. And this is true up-and-down the ladder: from Dean Lyons, to the faculty, to the program office, to the students."

We invite you to learn more about the Berkeley-Haas commitment to Diversity on our website. 

Learn More: The Berkeley-Haas Commitment to MBA Diversity


Posted on September 20, 2016
Morgan Bernstein
Morgan was the Executive Director of Full-time MBA Admissions at Haas from 2016-2019 as well as a graduate of the program. She enjoys making personal connections with prospective students and guiding them through the MBA admission process.