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Haas was the only West Coast business school selected to participate in a global competition created by worldrenowned Spanish chef Ferran Adrià of elBulli restaurant, whose culinary creations include pumpkin oil caramel, liquid ravioli, and pine cone mousse.
Adrià visited Haas in October to launch his "Ideas for Transformation" competition— a high honor for a school less than two miles from Chez Panisse, which established Berkeley as the birthplace of organic, cutting-edge cuisine. Adrià is asking students to develop strategies and models to guide the 2014 launch of elBullifoundation, the successor to his recently closed restaurant, which he hopes to establish as a "pioneering center for gastronomic creativity and innovation."
A dozen Haas teams are competing against students from Harvard, London Business School, Columbia, and ESADE. The winner will be announced May 25.
Imagine reducing prison overcrowding, lowering recidivism, and creating a new form of human capital investment. Five Berkeley Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) Program students did just that last fall for an assignment in Adjunct Professor John O'Brien's Financial Innovation course.
Ting Gao, Angelo Caraballo, Ruchit Duggal, David Cornejo Rodriguez, and Jay Yang, all MFE 12, developed "Valjean Financing"—a plan to lend money to felons who served their time and aim to be entrepreneurs or small business owners. The plan also offers private investors new philanthropic opportunities at surprisingly low risk and could save the government and taxpayers millions of dollars, the students say.
The proposal is named after Jean Valjean of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, who spends 19 years in prison after stealing bread. Ultimately a kindly bishop leads Valjean to build a new life.
After all, asks Caraballo, "Who doesn't want to help a Jean Valjean?" Adds Gao: "We wanted to show financial engineering can benefit society."
After graduation, the class of 2011 went to work for an average annual salary of $114,232, up from $107,451 in 2010, and collected an average signing bonus of $22,520. The top industries where graduates went to work were technology (32%), consulting (27%), and financial services (16%). McKinsey & Company hired the most 2011 grads, followed by Deloitte Consulting.
While other business schools are setting their sights on India and China as the new frontier, Berkeley-Haas is going a little off the beaten track, thanks in part to Munkhsukh Sukhbaatar, MBA 08, CEO of Eznis Airways and the school's only alumnus in Mongolia.
A mining boom in Mongolia is fueling international investment, but there's a dearth of executive education and MBA training. So Munkhsukh contacted the school's Center for Executive Education (CEE) to bring Lecturer Mark Rittenberg to teach his managers because he enjoyed him so much at Haas. Since Rittenberg's first leadership course there in March 2011, CEE has offered two additional open enrollment courses in Mongolia and is planning eight more in 2012.
"Mongolia is a clear example of how human capital development goes hand-in-hand with economic development," says Assistant Dean Whitney Hischier, MBA 01, who leads CEE. "We have had more people interested in taking these courses than we can accommodate."
Apple and Hewlett- Packard were founded in garages, Facebook in a college dorm. Now UC Berkeley students and alumni entrepreneurs will take their startups to new heights at Skydeck—a 10,000-sq.-ft. penthouse in downtown Berkeley's tallest building. Skydeck, a startup accelerator, creates an ecosystem of startup teams, tech veterans, and investors to help resident teams build out their ventures. Skydeck is a collaboration of Berkeley-Haas, the College of Engineering, and UC Berkeley's Vice Chancellor for Research Office.
Two new professors joined the Haas faculty this spring semester: Gustavo Manso from the MIT Sloan School of Management and Przemyslaw Jeziorski from Johns Hopkins University. Manso has researched incentives for innovation and firms' investment and financing decisions. Jeziorski has studied mergers and Internet search advertising.
Victoria Pham, BS 12, competed with a record 120 contestants in the 2011 Miss World pageant Nov. 6 in London.
Pham, a senior in the Undergrad Program, won the national title for Vietnam on Aug. 21 in order to represent her country at Miss World.
Pham said her favorite part of the experience was meeting women from around the world. "I often was the 'translator' for many of the women from Spanish-speaking countries, including Venezuela," who won Miss World, she says. "It was a great way for me to brush up on my Spanish!"
What surprised Pham most was learning to adapt to a high-stress environment, with people constantly looking at and judging her. "I was not used to being in this kind of environment, but I wanted to make sure I was able to show the judges my true colors," she says. "I found myself reminded of the Berkeley-Haas Defining Principle Confidence Without Attitude."
Design thinking may be all the rage, but it's been a matter of course for nearly 15 years at Haas. In the school's Managing New Product Development Process class, teams of MBA, engineering, and art students take a project from concept generation through prototype, with coaching from such firms as IDEO and Google. Sue Young, MBA 12, worked on PocketKey, a keychain that can charge a cell phone. Her biggest take-away from the class: learning the importance and the how-to of understanding customer needs. "In a corporate setting, the focus within problem solving is more on finding solutions and less on a deep understanding of the problem. In the design process, understanding the need is absolutely critical."
Dean Rich Lyons's annual visit with European alumni will feature a colloquium in Barcelona this year from June 1 to 3. Adjunct Lecturer and alumnus Henry Chesbrough, PhD 97, the father of open innovation, will give the closing keynote.
After 39 days on the ice, alumnus Alan Lock, MBA 11, became the first visually impaired person to trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole on Jan. 3. Lock and his Polar Vision team, including classmate Andrew Jensen, MBA 11, were blessed with "perfect weather" for their pole arrival: clear blue skies, low winds, and the temperature at -25 degrees Celsius. Lock, who lost part of his vision in 2003, and his team raised about $25,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind and Sightsavers.