There are many reasons why working professionals choose to pursue an MBA—from career advancement or making a career change to starting their own business to personal fulfillment. “For a long time, people had been telling me to go to business school. But I wasn’t sure why I would be going, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do afterwards,” says Joanna Shujman, MBA 17.
Before you can find the right business school you need to define why you want your MBA in the first place. Once you’ve gained clarity around your motivations for the degree, you’ll be one step closer to finding a top MBA program that best fits your needs.
Here are five reasons why recent full-time MBA grads chose Berkeley Haas.
1. Culture that encourages collaboration over competition
“When I was choosing a business school, I wanted to make sure I was going to be in a community where people were supportive of one another, even if we’re growing in different directions and working on different things,” says Amy Fan, MBA 19.
“This is the most supportive environment that I have ever seen in my entire life,” says Joanna. “I was just struck by how humble and how collaborative and supportive and talented every single person I met from this school was. That is the environment I wanted to be in.”
“Once I came out to Haas and visited and saw the small class size and what it meant for the tight-knit community that I would be able to cultivate here, that really was the tipping point for me,” says Shom Gupta, MBA 19.
2. Exposure to people with diverse backgrounds
“Haas really attracts people from a very diverse set of backgrounds. I wanted to get exposure to a lot of different paths that I may not have even known existed,” says Joanna. “Haas seemed like the perfect place to expose me to all those different potential paths so that I could understand more about them and make my own.”
“I wanted to be surrounded by peers who weren’t all going into the same thing or interested in the same industry or same handful of jobs,” says Chen Song, MBA 18. “Berkeley really stood out to me for the people that I met along the way during the admissions process who shared such a broad variety of interests—whether it was nonprofit leadership or things more traditional like consulting or banking.”
3. Location at the epicenter of innovation
“I wanted to get exposure to the full Berkeley ecosystem including the core science and technology that’s coming out of the labs,” says Shantanu Mittal, MBA 17. “I wanted exposure to the biggest and best names in the biotechnology industry and the ability to collaborate with them.”
“You really can’t find a better place that is just nestled in the middle of so many huge tectonic shifts in technology. It’s really the epicenter of innovation,” says Kyle Bertin, MBA 18.
“Obviously the Bay Area is beautiful, and then there’s such great access to companies here. Really, anything you’re looking for—big, small, something in between,” says Erin Casale, MBA 19. “I was excited about the options that gave me.”
4. Ecosystem that provides clarity on leadership style and career path
“I think Haas is a place that builds really true leaders. And we do it in a way that is different and unique than many other top business schools,” says Amanda Parker, MBA 18. “I find myself coming out of Haas as a new person. Going through that transformation was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
“I think the benefit of Berkeley Haas is that it really changes the frameworks you think about your life through. To have a class at a top tier business school makes space to ask, ‘What do you want to do, and why do you want to do it?’ says Adrian Rodrigues, MBA 18. “To have that conversation before jumping into the next phase of my career really allowed me to have a metamorphosis-like experience where I got to redefine the type of business leader I wanted to be.”
“Haas is an amazing place to not know what you want to do. You’ll be surrounded by people who have passions and interests that you’ve probably never heard of or ever even considered,” says Chen. “What that did for me was open up brand new ways of thinking and brand new lenses to look at the world through in terms of what’s possible for me or what I might be interested in.”
5. To learn fundamental business skills but with a mindset for change
“Haas really screams out responsible business and social impact to me, and those are issues I’m passionate about,” says Shom. “I want to use my business education to drive a meaningful impact in the world, and Haas really has a strong reputation for that.”
“Haas has found a way to teach the fundamentals and blend that with a mindset for change, innovation, and challenging what you think you know. You won’t find that anywhere else,” says Amanda.
“Being a conscientious business person was one of the primary reasons I came to Haas. I didn’t want to just be in it for the bottom line. I didn’t want to just be a business person that thought solely about returning value to the shareholders—although of course that’s important too. I was really interested in what it meant to run a sustainable business and to learn about those practices in a way that was both strategic but also ethical and moral and good. And I found that at Haas, everything we learned was geared toward being both a fiscally responsible leader as well as a person who was conscientious about our people and our practices and our products. It’s something I value the most out of my time at Haas.”