Recap: The Dean’s Undergraduate Reception

On Thursday, October 13th, 2011, the Haas School of Business hosted the Dean’s Undergraduate Reception.  The event only lasted an hour but was filled with valuable information and personal insight from Dean Rich Lyons as well as other members of the administration and the career center.

Dean Rich Lyons

Dean Lyons started off the reception by explaining the state of the school. He touched first on two main points, higher costs for education and what’s changing with the undergraduate program. On the subject of higher costs he pointed out that even with cuts to higher education from the state of California, Haas hasn’t cut a single course, and in fact its added more. His view is that this is “not the time to be disinvesting and rolling things back,” and that maintaining and expanding services continues to be a goal of the Haas School. The new printing fees this year were also brought up. Apparently when it was free to print, printing was out of hand. Instead a credit was put in place that the school believes should be sufficient for students as long as they’re printing school-related material.

In regards to expanding and investing in the undergraduate program Dean Lyons stressed how integral student feedback and spring surveys are to improving the Haas experience, citing the shrinking of class size a result of that feedback. Dean Lyons also promoted the experiential learning workshops the school has been hosting in an effort to give students an opportunity to learn by doing. He went on to say that there are plans to expand on this program.

The Dean went on to discuss the value of cohesion in learning, saying that the cohort system exists to encourage that cohesion among members of the undergraduate class. He sees cohorts as a chance to build “relationship capital” and give students a list of “people you’ll be able to call” later on in life to help you build your network. He also recommended student usage of the Campusgroups website along with keeping informed through the Haas Undergraduate Blog.

At this point the Dean moved on to talking about new courses that will soon be offered: Diversity in the Workplace (which satisfies the American Culture requirement), a course titled Leadership, Purpose, Authority, and Empowerment as well as two additional courses being offered next semester which includes an Energy Environmental Market course and a course on Game Theory and Negotiations.

The investments in education made by the Haas School were also explained, in particular the Center for Teaching Excellence that was created out of a one million dollar gift to the school. The program is currently two years old and has been working to improve the quality in both the faculty and the GSI’s. The Dean then talked about school funding and where it comes from. He mentioned that with only 10% of California’s state funds going to higher education, Haas now relies on financing from Alumni and philanthropy more than ever.

Following that a topic of much discussion was brought up by the Dean, The Haas Curve. He explained that there were three main rational that went into the decision of enforcement of the Curve this year:

  1. Before the enforcement of the curve there was a radical difference in grade distributions across undergraduate courses.
  2. There were similar distributions across most of the MBA programs as well.
  3. There was a feeling that lax grading policy at the school would lower standards in the classroom.
Erika Walker

The Dean did admit that undergraduate students were underrepresented in the decision making process and called upon Erika Walker to discuss the curve further. Information given by Ms. Walker was very similar to the information provided in the Deconstructing The Haas Curve article on this site which can be found by going here. (NOTE: Things have changed recently with the Haas Curve The Haas Undergraduate Blog will provide an update when it becomes possible).

The expectations of the Haas School and its defining principals were also discussed. After reminding the students of the school’s zero tolerance policy for cheating, Dean Lyons promoted the school’s defining principals as a major selling point for Haas students in today’s job market, explaining that recruiters (such as those from Morgan Stanly) have taken notice of the school’s culture. He also mentioned that these principals are useless if the school doesn’t choose to live by them, and that Haas is doing what it can to encourage the students to carry on the principals that make up the programs foundation.

After this the Dean stepped aside and let the career center’s Tom Devlin and Paul Savage talk about the current job market

Tom Devlin
Paul Savage

and ways for students to improve their chances of landing a job post graduation. Tom Devlin informed those present that the job market is looking fairly good for Haas graduates, all things considered, and that recruiters are actually increasing their recruitment efforts. He also mentioned that there would soon be a “cool” new career center opening in the near future. Paul Savage promoted the career center’s ongoing efforts to help students at Haas find employment by the introduction of the career lounge as well as with offering employment counseling on site at the Haas School.

Next Meg Roundy, the associate director of Student-Alumni relations took a moment to

Meg Roundy

express the importance of students building their networks as soon as possible and gave information on Haas@Cal and the usefulness of having a LinkedIn profile along with making use of both of those sites.

Finally Dean Lyons closed the reception by reiterating the importance of giving back and staying involved at Haas, so that the school can continue to create, as he puts it, “path-bending leaders.”

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