Still of Chloe Kauffman, MBA 23, in Berkeley Haas Video.

Insights into why Haas might be the business school for you

By Jenny Clare

There are just shy of 500 accredited business schools in the U.S. But there is only one Berkeley Haas School of Business. As entrepreneur Jarett Wright, MBA 22, described it, his choice was “between Berkeley and… Honestly, it was just Berkeley. That's the only school I applied to.”

This post digs into what sets the Berkeley Haas MBA programs apart, told from the perspective of several evening & weekend MBA students and graduates. 

Leadership and Inspiration

This program is for people who are inspired and want to be around more inspiring people..."

“This program is for people who are inspired and want to be around more inspiring people and give back to this environment,” said Chloe Kaufman, MBA 23, a product manager with Cisco. “Ultimately, we all want to impact and change the world.”

The ability of Haas students to change the world also attracted Kyle McKenzie, MBA 23, overlaid with a couple of the school’s Defining Leadership Principles: Confidence Without Attitude and Question the Status Quo. “Haas leaders look like everyone out there. They're your coworker, they're your family member. They're your manager. But they are really attacking the world's problems and trying to make the world a better place,” said Kyle, vice president, senior regional director, Private Equity, Voya Investment Management/Pomona Capital.

And as much as he knows he could calculate the financial ROI of his MBA, Alan Duong, MBA 22, a consultant with EY-Parthenon, he would really like to find a way to value “the impact on people's lives. That's something that I can't put numbers to, and I think that's what matters.”

Aspiration and Hard Work

On a less global, more personal level, Marissa Maliwanag, MBA 23, chose Berkeley Haas because “it felt like the students here would make me a better version of myself. Bringing your whole identity into how you approach business problems and how you think about business is really unique at Haas.” Marissa is a senior manager, Global Logistics & Provisioning at Fuze.

Once he arrived on campus, Farzad Yousefi, MBA 23, soon recognized that “There's just the smell of, you know, aspiration and hard work… I feel like a different person. Energized, ready to go out there and get something done.”

For Shilpa Worlikar, MBA 21, an engineering product manager at Cisco, “The most important value from a Haas MBA is that you are confident that no matter what the challenge is, even if the challenge is not from your exact field, you have the capability to solve it.”

And when you can’t solve a challenge, Alan added that “Haas really cares about not just being successful in every single thing, but how do you learn from your failures? That's why I really do love this program. It doesn't just celebrate the great milestones, but we also celebrate when you have failures as well. And we ask how we as a community can come together and help you learn from those mistakes?”

Curiosity and Intelligence

Sometimes it is not what you know, but who. You will meet, debate, and form friendships with an astonishing array of people at Berkeley Haas.

“You're interfacing with students or professionals from a wide range of industries,” said Chris Dekmezian, MBA 24, a product manager at QuantumScape. “I never thought I would have exposure to so many people with so much deep expertise in so many different domains.”

Charanya Venkataramani, MBA 21 moved from Yahoo to being a principal product manager at Amazon after graduation. As a student, she encountered plenty of engineers, but also lots of people outside of tech, including an author, investment bankers, and other product managers. But what struck her were their commonalities, including curiosity and intelligence. “I don't know how the Admissions team does it, but they seem to have mastered the secret sauce of bringing in people who really reflect the Berkeley principles,” she said.

Jarrett summed it up: “This is a loving community. You will learn how to execute. You will learn how to move to the next level, but hopefully not at the cost of everyone else around you.”

That is “just Berkeley.”

To hear more about what draws students to Berkeley Haas, watch this video.

Interested in making an impact through your career? An MBA from a top business school can help you grow your network and leadership skills so you can take the next steps toward a fulfilling career.

Watch: Why Berkeley Haas

Posted on February 23, 2023
Themes: MBA Benefits
Jenny Clare
Jenny is Senior Associate Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She hopes these blog posts provide you with useful insights into the Berkeley MBA experience and answer questions you may have about the MBA in general.