Waiver Guidelines

Waiver exams allow you to waive certain core courses and start taking electives in your area of interest early in your time at Haas. You should consider taking a waiver exam if you have academic or professional experience in the subject matter.

Waiver exams for all courses offered in a given semester are given before the semester starts. A passing grade on a waiver exam exempts you from having to take the class, although you may choose to take it anyway. Waiving a core course does not reduce the number of units needed to graduate. You must take additional elective course(s) to complete the 51-unit graduation requirement. You may, however, take the elective(s) in a later semester.

You may waive any of the core courses except:

  • MBA 200P Problem Finding, Problem Solving
  • MBA 205 Leading People
  • MBA 200C Leadership Communication
  • MBA 207 Ethics
  • MBA 299 Strategic Leadership

If you have any questions about the waiver exam process or the specific exams, please contact the MBA Program Office by email at FTacademics@haas.berkeley.edu.

Waiver Examination Guidelines – 2016 Fall A Courses

Waiver exam guidelines for Fall 2016 Courses are available on the New Admit Website.

Waiver Examination Guidelines – 2016 Fall B Courses

Waiver exam guidelines for Fall 2016 Courses are available on the New Admit Website.

Waiver Examination Guidelines – 2017 Spring A Courses


Course Overview

In this course, we learn about the factors shaping national economies and how those forces influence business opportunities. We analyze how governments' monetary, fiscal, trade, exchange rate, financial, and labor policies affect, and are affected by macroeconomics. We examine what makes interest rates, inflation, unemployment, foreign exchange rates, and economic growth go up and down. We use the tools developed in class to examine current events around the globe.

The class will sharpen students’ abilities to analyze and (in some cases) forecast:

  • Interest rates and inflation rates
  • Wages, salaries, and unemployment rates
  • New business starts, consumer spending, and housing construction
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship, and business profits
  • The government budget deficit, the trade deficit, and exchange rates
  • Economic growth rates over the long run and across countries

Course Format

The course meets twice a week (either on Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday), in 2-hour classes, for the first 7 weeks of the Spring semester. In addition, there is an optional 80-minute discussion section each Friday with a GSI.

Course Textbook

The eighth edition of Macroeconomics by N. Gregory Mankiw (on reserve at Haas’ Long Library).

Waiver Exam Overview

The waiver exam will ask questions about both theories and applications of the concepts that are useful for understanding the macroeconomics of consumer spending, business investment, fiscal and monetary policies, financial and labor market policies, imports and exports, and rates of interest, inflation, international exchange, and economic growth. To prepare, be sure that you are comfortable with the concepts and applications above at the level of conventional intermediate-level macroeconomics textbooks and that you can apply the concepts to current events.

Exam Preparation *Section updated on 10/6

Here are some sample exam questions to help you assess your ability and as a study guide. In addition here is a syllabus from a previous offering of the course. Please note that this syllabus is not current so you should not refer to it, except in preparation for the waiver exam. In addition, you should consider reviewing chapters 1-14, 19, and 20 of the course textbook, current events (as contained in major newspapers), the Federal Reserve's publication on "Fed Purpose & Functions" and readings on moral hazard and adverse selection (which can be found in many places.)


Course Overview

This course introduces you to concepts and techniques related to matching supply with demand in manufacturing and service operations. The goals are to make you conversant in the language of operations management; provide you with quantitative and qualitative tools to analyze basic operations issues; and allow you to see the role of operations management in the overall strategy of the firm. The course covers topics in process and capacity analysis, inventory management, demand uncertainty, supply chain management, and service operations. In each module, you are introduced to tools for analyzing operations problems and methods of managing that aspect of operations. You will prepare cases for class discussion, analyze cases and problem sets, participate in simulations/exercises, and take mid-term and final exams. Our objective is to create as much interaction with operations issues as possible, allowing you to examine how they affect an organization’s overall performance.

Course Format

The course meets twice a week in 110-minute classes for the first seven weeks of the Spring semester. There also is an optional 80-minute discussion section each Friday.

Course Textbook

The course will use readings and cases that are made available electronically or through a course reader. If you want additional background, you may consult one of the many operations management textbooks that are available including: Matching Supply and Demand: An Introduction to Operations Management by Gerard Cachon and Christian Terwiesch.

Waiver Exam Overview

If you have a background in industrial engineering or very strong analytical experience in manufacturing or operations management, you should consider taking the waiver exam. If you have questions about the format of the waiver exam, please direct them to the MBA Program Office (not the instructor).

Exam Preparation

The Cachon and Terwiesch text (on reserve at Haas’ Long Library) provides a good review of basic operations principles. Many other operations management textbooks would serve equally well. You should be familiar with process and capacity analysis, service operations (including queueing phenomena), inventory control, demand uncertainty, and supply chain management. If you plan to take the exam, you are encouraged to review the course syllabus from last year. The syllabus includes references to sections of the Cachon and Terwiesch text that are relevant; the text also includes practice problems.

Automatic Waivers

Automatic waivers are available for three courses if you can provide a copy of your certificate or transcript demonstrating completion of the requirements listed below.

  • MBA 202 Financial Accounting: passed the CPA exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the ACCA exam administered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. (Other international accountants also may be waived. Contact the Director of Academic Affairs) or
  • MBA 202 Financial Accounting: passed level II of the CFA exam
  • MBA 203 Finance: passed level III of the CFA exam.
  • MBA 204 Operational Leadership: passed the CIPM exam administered by the American Production and Inventory Control Society.

Alternatives for Waived Courses

To make up the units for a waived course, you may:

  • Select an MBA elective for which you have the necessary prerequisites(s). The MBA Program Office maintains a list of courses that have open seats and will work with you to identify an appropriate course. You should attend at least one class session before you request admission to be sure the course is a good fit for your interests and your level of academic preparation.
  • Take a course outside Haas. For example, this might be a good time to start learning another language. You can refer to the policy on foreign language courses. Or, you might find something in another field among Berkeley’s many degree programs. The University's course listings are available at http://schedule.berkeley.edu/. For course descriptions, see the University Catalog and/or visit the Website of the specific department for detailed information.

Since the core courses are taught in seven-week modules and the electives are mostly taught over the 15-week semester, you face a small dilemma if you waive only one course or waive more than one in the same module. Some electives meet once a week for two hours; these might fit your schedule and not be too heavy a workload. You also may delay making up the units until a later semester. Contact the MBA Program Office for scheduling assistance.

[back to top]