The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a hotbed for new venture creation, and Berkeley-Haas is one of the world’s leading centers for the study and practice of entrepreneurship. Through academic and experiential learning, the Berkeley MBA program offers its students the training and ecosystem to launch scaleable enterprises and also teaches them how to start careers in the venture capital industry. Some Haas entrepreneurs have numerous opportunities to join Silicon Valley startups and launch their own.
At the center of UC Berkeley startup activities is the highly ranked Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, which emphasizes the integration of academic and experiential learning by bringing entrepreneurs and venture capitalists into the classroom. Among its many activities are two prominent startup competitions, the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, cross-campus mixers, hackathons, and meetups. All provide the opportunity to meet with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. Situated in the heart of downtown Berkeley is the new UC Berkeley Startup Accelerator at Skydeck, a jointly-run program of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, and the UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research. The purpose of the UCBSA is to accelerate the launch of fundable startup companies with scalable business models. The Lester Center's classes, events, and programs are designed to provide the resources and experiences to help students interested in exploring entrepreneurship and starting companies get the most out of their time on the Berkeley campus and in Silicon Valley.
Brian L. Maxwell Fellows Program
The Brian L. Maxwell Fellows Program supports Berkeley MBA students who exhibit an entrepreneurial nature and a willingness to take a chance on new ideas and innovations. Students selected as fellows receive full tuition and fees, and become part of a fellowship network with other recipients. The program was established by Jennifer Maxwell, BS 88, (Nutrition) in honor of her late husband, PowerBar co-founder Brian Maxwell, BA 75.
For 20 years the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum has provided an informative and stimulating setting for students and the public to meet with and hear from seasoned professional entrepreneurs. Recent presenters have included David Weild, founder and chairman of Capital Markets Advisory Partners and former vice chairman of the NASDAQ Stock Market; Brian Cayce, vice president of Gray Ghost Ventures; and Steve Blank (pictured above), a Berkeley-Haas faculty member and serial entrepreneur who was involved in or co-founded eight Silicon Valley startups over the past 20 years.
In 2009, US News & World Report ranked the following Haas School areas of study in the top ten nationally: