Ann E. Harrison is the 15th dean of the Haas School of Business, and the second woman to lead the top-ranked business school. A renowned economist, Harrison is one of the most highly cited scholars on foreign investment and multinational firms. She has dedicated her career to creating inclusive and sustainable policies in development economics, international trade, global labor markets, and now higher education.
At Haas since January 2019, Dean Harrison has prioritized meeting the needs of a diverse, rapidly changing world that is facing the existential threat of climate change. Under her leadership, Haas increased fundraising commitments by 50 percent. Over the last four years, total fundraising exceeded all previous records for the business school. She has also significantly expanded faculty size through both generous gifts from alumni and revenue expansion. This has allowed her to create a more diverse group of superb faculty and increase female faculty representation by 50 percent. Under Dean Harrison’s leadership, Haas also secured the largest single gift in the school’s history—$30 million from alumnus Warren “Ned” Spieker, BS 66—to transform the number-two ranked undergraduate program into a four-year program.
Dean Harrison also launched the first Flex MBA cohort at any top 10 business school, which lets students take courses remotely with the option to come to campus for electives. Virtual classrooms make the Evening and Weekend MBA—now ranked number one nationally by U.S. News & World Report—available to students who prefer flexible schedules, including students based abroad and working parents. Partnerships with the rest of UC Berkeley have allowed Dean Harrison to offer exciting programs with the School of Law, the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Berkeley Engineering, the Graduate School of Journalism, and the Rausser College of Natural Resources (RCNR). A concurrent degree program for a joint MBA and master’s degree in climate solutions with RCNR is anticipated to launch soon.
Please note: Dean Harrison is on sabbatical from July 1 through December 31, 2023. During this period, the Berkeley Haas Interim Deans are Professor Don Moore (July 1-Sept. 30) and Professor Jennifer Chatman (Oct. 1-Dec. 31).
Under Harrison’s leadership, Haas became one of the first leading business schools to appoint a chief officer for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her focus on DEI was instrumental in the enrollment of the most diverse full-time MBA class of any top ten business school in the country, with 49 percent of the class representing students of color; and underrepresented minorities accounting for 23 percent of enrolled U.S. students.
In parallel, Harrison launched two new successful programs for expanding, diversifying, and strengthening access to Haas. The first program, Accelerated Access, allows students to pre-commit to business school while acquiring important work experience to apply to Haas in their senior year of college and gain conditional acceptance. The second program, Cal Advantage, offers a streamlined application process to talented University of California undergraduates.
Harrison is bringing the same intense focus to sustainability. In addition to an MBA certificate—and a summer minor—in sustainable business, Haas plans to retool all of its MBA core courses by the end of 2023 to incorporate thinking about climate change and other sustainability challenges throughout various business disciplines.
PitchBook ranks UC Berkeley as the #1 public institution for startups. For Harrison, entrepreneurship and innovation are the growth engines that will fuel a more inclusive and sustainable future—and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset is a critical part of a business school curriculum. In 2022, Haas began construction on its Entrepreneurship Hub, an incubator for faculty and students with exciting ideas across the Berkeley campus.
Berkeley Haas offers six degree programs, all ranked in the top ten. Since Harrison arrived at Haas, the school has also introduced a joint MBA and MEng program—which allows students to earn an MS in Engineering and an MBA in two years—as well as a joint biology and business degree for its top-ranked undergraduate program.
Harrison came to Haas from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where she was the William H. Wurster Professor of Multinational Management and a professor of business economics and public policy. Before joining Wharton in 2012, she was the director of development policy at the World Bank, where she co-managed a team of 300 researchers and staff. Harrison is also the most highly cited scholar on multinational firms and foreign investment.
As director of development policy at the World Bank, Harrison reformed its process for allocating research funds and oversaw the institution’s flagship publications. She convinced the World Bank’s president to release all historical records on project loans, a milestone in increasing its transparency.
Harrison earned her PhD in economics from Princeton University. She also holds a DEUG (diplôme d’études universitaires générales) from the University of Paris. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley with a double major in economics and history. She also served as a professor of Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics from 2001 to 2011.