Feature StoryDean's Column
The UC Berkeley undergraduate business program has since 1898 graduated thousands of alumni who have gone on to successful careers – a process that continues to this day. Two recent surveys have confirmed that a significant number of our current undergraduate students are immigrants or come from immigrant families. Our undergraduate program is making it possible for these newcomers to our country to gain access to the best jobs in the economy – from which so much other good flows.
Surveys of the incoming Haas undergraduate class over the past two years have found that about one third of the 350 new students each year are immigrants to the United States, and as many as two thirds identify one or both parents as immigrants. Only about one third of Haas undergraduates speak English as their primary language at home. The survey of the 2005 entering students found that 38 percent primarily speak a language other than English at home, while an additional 27 percent speak English and another language at home.
In both years of the survey, Haas undergraduates who are also immigrants named over 20 different countries as their place of birth. The top five countries were China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia, Korea, and Iran. Students also reported emigrating from Belarus, Ukraine, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Germany, and Pakistan, among others.
Serving the newest immigrants to the state is not a new phenomenon at Haas. Some of the school’s most successful alumni have immigrant roots. They include Rudolph Peterson, BS 25, former CEO of the Bank of America whose parents came to the America from Sweden; Michael Blumenthal, BS 51, former Secretary of the Treasury (1977-1980), who was born in Germany; Dennis Wu, BS 65, MBA 67, executive vice president and CFO of United Commercial Bank, who emigrated from the Philippines; and Paul Merage, BS 66, founder of Chef America and creator of the snack food HotPockets, who emigrated from Iran.
Our graduates receive a first-rate education and join a lifelong network that enables them to move rapidly up the economic ladder. This is the classic American Dream, and it is happening every day in our classrooms.
With kind regards,
Bank of America Dean and Professor of Business
Walter A. Haas School of Business