Bank of America Dean | Professor
Business & Public Policy | Economic Analysis & Policy

Renowned economist and dean of the Haas School of Business


About

Ann E. Harrison is the 15th dean of the Haas School of Business, and the second woman to lead this top-ranked business school. Harrison, a renowned economist, has dedicated her career to creating inclusive and sustainable policies in development economics, international trade, global labor markets, and now in higher education.

At Haas since January 2019, the one-time UC Berkeley undergrad and UC Berkeley professor is refocusing her work on evolving business school education to meet the needs of a diverse, rapidly changing world that is facing the existential threat of climate change.

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 under-represented 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 who wish 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 talented University of California undergraduates a streamlined application process.

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 the Spring of 2022, Haas will begin work on a new physical hub for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for students from across the Berkeley campus.

Berkeley Haas offers six degree programs, all ranked in the top ten. Under Harrison’s leadership, the school is launching Flex, a new option within the Evening & Weekend MBA program that begins online, then offers students the choice of continuing online or in-person. The course grew out of the school’s pandemic pivot, when it had just 48 hours to move all classes online. 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 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.

 

Expertise and Research Interests

  • Multinational Firms
  • Foreign Direct Investment
  • International Trade and Global Strategy
  • Emerging Markets
  • India
  • China