Haas List


1. Game Master

Prof. John Morgan

Prof. John Morgan hands out his own cash rewards to students in experiments in his game theory class because he believes small stakes are necessary for the simulations to feel real.

Professor John Morgan is the first recipient of the inaugural Williamson Award, named in honor of Nobel Laureate and Haas Professor Emeritus Oliver Williamson. Presented to Morgan in December, the award recognized Morgan for his contributions to the school, his colleagues, and students. It is the Haas School’s highest faculty award.

Morgan teaches game theory and strategy and serves as faculty director of the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education. His research focuses on competition in online markets. In 2004, he founded the school’s Xlab Experimental Social Science Laboratory for conducting experiment-based investigations.


2. Case Series Launches

The Berkeley Haas Case Series, which extracts lessons for success from unconventional management strategies and disruptive trends, is now reaching a wider audience, thanks to a new distribution agreement with Harvard Business Publishing.

Twenty Berkeley Haas cases launched on the Harvard Business Publishing website in January, expanding the potential audience to universities around the country. They include studies of Netflix’s pricing strategies, Genentech’s use of culture to drive business, and a startup’s search for the right market for its new technology. The Haas School will add a dozen new cases to the Harvard website every year. Visit cases.haas.berkeley.edu.


3. Field of Dreams

UC Berkeley and Kabam, a mobile gaming company co-founded by Haas undergraduate alumnus and CEO Kevin Chou, BS 02, announced a long-term partnership in December that includes the field naming rights at California Memorial Stadium.

Starting in 2014, the field will be known as “Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium.” The 15-year contract, valued at nearly $18 million, also includes a scholarship program, an internship program, and speaking engagements.

With more than 650 employees and more than $325 million in annual revenue, Kabam was recently named the Bay Area’s fastest growing Internet media company.


4. Yellen Takes Helm of Fed

Janet Yellen

Haas Professor Emeritus Janet Yellen became the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve Board of Governors when she succeeded Ben Bernanke as chair on Feb. 1. Her presidential nomination was approved in the Senate in early January. In a Senate Banking Committee hearing in November, Yellen said she intends to use the role to prevent another financial crisis. She said she will hold down short-term interest rates until unemployment recovers and will continue promoting transparency of Fed decisions. Yellen was the second woman at Berkeley’s business school to earn tenure in 1982 as well as the title of full professor in 1985, forging the path for other female business professors at Berkeley Haas.


5. Soaring Startup

An aeronautics startup co-founded by Haas student Jordan Greene, BS 14, with two Berkeley undergraduates landed $1 million in venture capital funding. Their startup, VIRES Aeronautics, is now testing new wing technology that promises to make airplanes take off and land faster, carry more weight, fly longer, and use less fuel.

Executive Education

6. Teaching Innovation Online

More than 150 executives from such diverse industries as technology, retail, and finance became the first students to take a new online course called Leading Innovative Change, offered through the UC Center for Executive Education at the Haas School. Students learned from cases, online lectures by Haas faculty, and each other in teams facilitated by a professional coach.

“The experience was absolutely just as good as being in a classroom,” says Jon Arnold, a marketing executive at Cumberland Farms, an East Coast chain of convenience stores and gas stations. “Even better was the flexibility to listen to the lectures when you wanted.”

Arnold says learning how culture fosters innovation was particularly valuable as Cumberland Farms reinvents itself and harnesses a new phone app.


7. Innovating in India


Students take a break from studies for a “quick” elephant ride.

Twenty-five Haas undergrads traveled to India during winter break for a new applied-learning course called Open Innovation in Emerging Economies.

Based in Bangalore, students visited multinational firms such as IBM and local companies such as Apollo Hospitals, one of Asia’s largest hospital groups. Students also teamed up with local business students and consultants in a rural village to develop new business models for six companies.

“The biggest highlight for me was realizing that we have a lot to learn from developing countries and not just the other way around,” says Arushi Saxena, BS 15, a student in the course. “They operate with lower budgets and their customers usually have more constraints, so their innovation is done in a way that can be applied everywhere. But innovation in America and other developed countries cannot always be applied to India.”


8. Maker Lair


From a special tote bag for farmers’ markets to a weightlifting glove that provides instant feedback, a smorgasbord of prototypes were shown off by students at the annual December tradeshow for the interdisciplinary Managing New Product Design course. Hugo De Blauwe and Swapnil Dixit, both MBA 14, collaborated with chemical and mechanical engineers to develop IntelliCrop, a mobile app that automates the collection of crop data. The seed for the idea came from a Sacramento nut farmer who wards off winter frost by flying helicopters over his fields throughout the night—at no small cost. Alumnus Brad Edgar, BS 90, PhD 97, CEO of 44 Energy Technologies, served as a tradeshow judge and coach for team Garden Gate, which designed a compartmentalized tote bag to improve shopping at farmers’ markets. Edgar was impressed by the thorough market research demonstrated by the teams: “Students got in touch with customers as real people.”


9. Olympic Triumph


Darrin Steele, MBA 08, CEO of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, will never forget the Sochi Olympics. Even before the Games began, the federation grabbed attention with a new BMW partnership on two-person sleds. Then the U.S. became the first nation ever to win a medal in all five bobsled and skeleton races, culminating with the four-man team’s bronze. “I have to admit it was a very emotional moment when we earned the medal in the four-man race,” says Steele. “That was the icing on the cake for a fantastic overall Games performance.”

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