The Dean’s Undergraduate Reception is a semi-annual event at Haas wherein current and prospective Haas students are invited to attend to learn about upcoming plans for the Haas community as well as strides that have already been made to address past challenges and concerns. On October the 11th, Dean Lyons and other Haas leaders spoke for a good hour to present insightful and useful updates about the business school.
While the reception lasted only for a relatively short time, there were myriad topics covered that served valuable for attendees. Dean Lyons started off the event by acknowledging alumni involvement as a huge factor to Haas’s success in the world. He talked about how Haas and UC Berkeley are massively strong brands in the globe, and that as Haas students we should be proud for being a part of such a recognized institution.
The University of California, Berkeley placed fifth in the 2012 Times Higher Education university rankings by reputation, showing Berkeley’s power as a global university brand. We are also fourth in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s 2012 Academic Ranking for World Universities. Moreover, the Haas Undergraduate Business Program was top 3 in the country by US College News. Specific undergraduate business fields such as Finance, Marketing, Management, and Real Estate also ranked third by the same website/report.
UC Berkeley evidently has a prestigious and well-known identity worldwide, while Cal has more personal resonance for students, Dean Lyons emphasizes on our need to promote ourselves as Berkeley students as opposed to Cal. Moreover, the dean stresses how candid input and satisfaction surveys from students are important in maintaining or progressing the university’s high ranking in the globe. It is only through our constructive feedback that Haas can make the changes and improvements we want to further better the program.
Some student feedback that have helped ameliorated the Haas curriculum is the majority request for more courses that provide experiential learning. In response, Haas faculty and staff have created new business electives that used to be only for graduate students to the undergraduate program. This improvement integrates the “learn by doing” factors into Haas courses, as students will notice have become more prevalent in their classes.
Additionally, Haas leaders also expect cohort case competitions contribute to better experiential learning for participating students, giving them a feel of what it’s like to do research, studies, and develop valuable analyses in real life. It is no wonder that Haas students do so well in international case competitions globally. These opportunities are what allow Haas to develop the most prepared, dedicated, and intelligent people.
Haas prides itself for producing the right kinds of people in the world. The “right” kind of people, not only in the context of competition, innovation, or entrepreneurship, rather people who have adopted and adhered to the Haas culture. The Haas culture encompasses four defining principles: (1) Question the Status Quo, (2) Confidence without Attitude, (3) Students Always, and (4) Beyond Yourself. These cultural elements, in addition to leadership capabilities, are what separates Haas from the typical business students. Haas alumni emerge in the business world not only with skill and talent, but more important, with principles and ethical values.
Dean Lyons also mentioned the actions that the Haas School is taking to improve our Haas experience. To start off, he explained Haas’s short-term investments, which involves:
- Revamping the courtyard – the courtyard renovation is strictly funded by gifts. Imagine a village square, October Glory Maple trees, and composite tiles. Dean Lyons wants to create an environment wherein Haas students will feel comfortable networking and building friendships with each other. Therefore, this four-month project, expected to begin on December the 15th and estimated to be completed by April 2013, hopes to fulfill just that.
- Air conditioning system – Haas students should notice that there are work being done on the Cheit ceilings. The Haas School acknowledges the fact that when the heatwave comes in, similar to the one from a few weeks back, students are just unable to be as productive or efficient as they would usually be. Air conditioning should be operational by the end of the month.
There are also other investments, such as the capital campaign for a new building. The building has already acquired $40 million dollars in pledges and commitments. The new structure aims to make Haas’s and UC Berkeley’s reputation better.
In talk of betterment for the students, the Haas Curve was brought into discussion. The Haas Curve is a big factor into Haas’s overall collaborative culture. It creates competitiveness so people do not simply skate through the program after being accepted into Haas. The Haas Curve had always existed as a suggestive curve, even prior to its official enforcement last year. This became a problem due to the radical variations in grade distribution among professors who taught similar courses. Therefore to be fair, Haas had to enforce the requirement across all UGBA courses.
Nonetheless, the dean admits that they had overshot last year by enforcing (1) the curve, (2) the mean distribution, (3) and the mean requirement altogether. Hence, starting Fall 2012, they have eliminated the Mean of Distribution for the mean time. Dean Lyons reassured the audience that the main purpose of the curve was to improve performance in the classroom, so that we would hold ourselves to the highest standard as Haas students.
The new Haas Career Services counselor, Pamela Paspa, gave a short talk about current career programs. This year, Paspa and the career services team developed 22 programs/events specific to Haas. Their staff aims to continue the programs that work, such as industry-specific events and sharing panels from students who were successful in their internships. The on-campus recruiting for transfer students was also extremely popular, with 80 students RSVPing and 93 in attendance. Furthermore, new programs that cater to the growing international and transfer student population are on the way.
For more information or counseling help, appointments can be made to meet Pamela through e-mail, or drop in during her office hours at the Undergraduate Program Office every Wednesday from 1-4pm this Fall.
Following Paspa’s brief was Tom Devlin’s talk regarding the Job Market. According to Devlin, the job market remains competitive, however, promising for Haas and UC Berkeley students. This is due to the following datapoints: There have been (1) more employers coming in for on-campus recruiting, (2) greater number of job postings on Callisto, (3) internships have increasingly become a launching head for full-time employment, and (4) survey shows that there have been more hirings in UC Berkeley compared to last year.
Devlin is also excited to announce the new Career Center’s opening one week from Monday. The New Career Center is on Bancroft across Eshleman Hall. It is spacious, full of light, glass, and energy. The conference rooms are designed to create a cool and welcoming atmosphere so students do not feel as tense when they enter for on-campus interviews. The career services team also hopes future info sessions from various companies and employers can do their presentations in the new Career Center. The goal of the Career Center’s modern architecture is to reflect the quality of Haas and UC Berkeley.
Haas students would also be happy to know that there are career staff hired exclusively to grab the bigger piece of the job market pie for Haas students. Berkeley has six staff markets, in comparison to only three in Stanford, five in Wharton, and four in UCLA.
Finally, to talk about the Haas Alumni Network (HAN), Meg Roundy enthusiastically engaged attendees into understanding that Haas as a community and a legacy for us to continue and be a part of. Haas is so close to becoming number one, and it is our role as current Haas students to guide HAN into the future.
What makes Haas so admirable is that Haas gives back. Roundy spoke about the current fundraising initiatives HAN is pursuing for Haas. One of which is the Senior Gift Campaign, aimed at raising money for the Haas Annual Fund, or the Dean’s Discretionary Fund.
This year, the Dean’s Discretionary Fund has $3.3 million. Without which, the Haas School will not be able to make the improvements it has continuously done for Haas students. Dean Lyons is working towards making the Haas income statement available for students. Because he believes it is important that as business students we understand how Haas operates as an institution.
In closing, Dean Lyons shared exciting news about signing letters of thanks for a $100,000 donation for Haas Undergraduate Scholarships. After the the building project investments are secure, Dean Lyons assured attendees that the Haas staff will be reorienting funds into more scholarship and fellowship opportunities for Haas students: residential, transfer, and international students, alike.
Class of 2014