Providing students with hands-on exposure to real-world business situations is a key strength of the Berkeley MBA Program—and an essential ingredient in shaping innovative leaders.
Experiential activities are a required part of your coursework, and numerous out-of-classroom opportunities also offer you the opportunity to build upon your skill set. These activities utilize all aspects of general management and include strong innovative leadership components.
Many Berkeley MBA electives make use of hands-on projects in the field. This almost always means team projects—an important aspect of experiential learning.
As a Berkeley MBA student, you will enhance your innovative leadership skills by taking a required experiential course that will enable you to hone your leadership skills in a real-life setting. The Applied Innovation core course, which is taken during your third semester in the program and completed through participation in the Mid-program Academic Retreat (MPAR), fulfills the experiential learning requirement. This course is taken in conjunction with a teamwork module, designed to make the experience as meaningful as possible.
In addition to the Applied Innovation core course, you may choose to take one or more experiential learning elective courses.
Haas@Work is a 3-unit project-based course dedicated to driving innovation in corporate settings. Each term, the course is built around specific innovation opportunities (or challenges) faced by partner companies. Teams of Berkeley MBA students then spend an entire semester working closely with executives in the companies—applying a structured and proven contemporary innovation methodology to uncover new insights about customers, the industry, and the market; and to develop, model, validate, and advance novel and actionable ideas and solutions.
This innovative course partners with the international consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to engage in major consulting projects for nonprofit organizations, such as the David Brower Center, the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and the Opportunity Fund. Students work with senior leaders of the organizations and McKinsey consultants in offering plans, creative ideas, and solutions. The course is co-taught by Nora Silver, Director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, and Paul Jansen, McKinsey & Company Director of the Global Philanthropy Practice.
This course is offered in partnership with consulting firms Dalberg and FSG. Students engage with five select social enterprises—impact-driven organizations with sustainable business models. The course is designed to help these social enterprise clients achieve greater impact by addressing their most important strategic challenges with data- and values-driven decision making support.
This course provides real world, hands-on learning on what it's like to actually start a high-tech company. The goal is to create an entrepreneurial experience where students are exposed to all of the pressure and demands of the real world in an early stage start up. Teams use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company and customer development to get out of the classroom to see whether anyone would use the product. Finally, based on the feedback gathered, teams rapidly iterate the product to build something that customers would use and buy.
Students engage with companies such as Wal-Mart to develop socially responsible business strategies that are aligned with business objectives and core competencies. These consulting projects are combined with classroom "best practice" lectures of companies who have attempted to implement socially responsible strategies while maintaining or maximizing financial returns.
Under the leadership of distinguished faculty, teams of MBA students provide managerial expertise to clients all over the world. Projects include business and strategic plans, feasibility studies, financial analyses, and market research. These engagements benefit a wide range of industries including high technology, healthcare, environmental and energy, among others. Corporations, non-profits and governments are all served by IBD teams.
Groups of students apply the skills develped in finance and other courses to develop and implement a trading strategy. Students are encouraged to innovate as they participate in the actual investment process. The five steps to successfully completing the course are devising an investment strategy, evaluating it through rigorous back testing, presenting an investment proposal to an outside board drawn from the business community, trading based on determined capital allocation, and evaluating performance in a final report.
Students learn cutting-edge tools and techniques used for new-product development as well as examine the strategies, success metrics, processes and methods used by successful companies. To address these dynamics, the course is a semester-long immersion in the roles and responsibilities of an innovation manager. Students learn to identify, diagnose and enact solutions to innovation problems. To apply what they are learning, students are assigned to “innovation teams” and a business project. This course is appropriate for students seeking careers in innovation, general management, strategy, marketing, finance or entrepreneurship.
In this introductory course in real estate investment analysis, students examine real cases. The primary deliverable is a comprehensive analysis that includes concept development, full market analysis, funding strategy, and entitlement and stakeholder consultation and approval strategies. Several working teams of five to six students focus on different aspects of the project. The course deliverables will be the product of extensive face-to-face interactions with stakeholders, real estate professionals, design professionals and capital market providers. A number of the stakeholders will themselves play an active role in the vetting and approval process for the final written group project and presentation.
Beyond the course-related field activities is a plethora of programs, projects, student-organized conferences, case and business plan competitions, and numerous special events that challenge Berkeley MBA students to put their learning to work right away.
Dozens of individual and team competitions challenge students to come up with solutions to real-world challenges. Berkeley MBA students recently created new competitions, including the Berkeley MBA Latin Business Challenge, and the Facebook Connect Case Competition.
A wide selection of popular annual conferences — all completely organized and led by students — gives you the opportunity to address top issues in a range of topic areas. The conferences include the >play Conference on digital media, the Finance Conference, the Diversity Conference, the Asia Business Conference, and the Women in Leadership Conference.
Hundreds of business and thought leaders visit Haas each year to share their real-world experiences in classes and in special speaking events.