Experiential Learning

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 innovative leadership.

In Class and in the Field

Over 50 percent of full-time Berkeley MBA electives make use of hands-on projects. This almost always means team projects — an important aspect of experiential learning.

For example, students in the Emerging Markets course work in groups to develop a business concept and plan for a venture of their choosing in a developing country. And in High-Tech Marketing, student teams examine products and offerings of actual technology companies and analyze the life cycle and effectiveness of their strategies.

A Required Applied Innovation Course

As a Berkeley MBA student, you will enlarge your innovative leadership skills by taking a required applied innovation course that will enable you to hone your leadership skills in a real-life setting. The applied innovation course requirement is taken in conjunction with a teamwork module, designed to make the experience as meaningful as possible. You can choose one or more from more than a dozen programs:

Haas@Work

Haas@Work sends teams of Berkeley MBA students to work with top executives at major firms, such as Visa, Virgin America, Cisco, Disney, Panasonic, Clorox, and Wells Fargo. Students research and develop solutions for a competitive challenge posed by the firm. The best ideas are then selected for student implementation by the firm's executives.

Social Sector Solutions

Students engage in a major strategy consultation for nonprofit and public organizations or a select social enterprise in partnership with a major consulting firm.

International Business Development

International Business Development (IBD) arranges consulting projects with a variety of for-profit and nonprofit clients. Students work in small teams with clients throughout the spring semester and then for three weeks each summer in various countries. Recent examples include:

Finland

IBD students collaborated with Nokia at their research headquarters in Tampere, Finland, to assess the feasibility and implementation of advanced mobile services.

Cambodia

Working for the DK Kim Foundation, another team of IBD students conducted a feasibility study for the creation of a new private high-school with world class education in Cambodia.

Zambia

In Zambia, Africa, an IBD team conducted market research for products designed by the Wildlife Conservation Society to promote sustainable agriculture and end animal poaching.

Indonesia

One team recently worked in the jungles of Borneo, Indonesia, helping farmers set up a viable business co-op that will allow them to pool the rattan they harvest and sell it to furniture manufacturers at a reasonable profit.

Cleantech to Market

Students work with scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to evaluate the commercial viability of new technologies. C2M develops the next generation of energy leaders capable of addressing critical energy and climate change issues. Learn more >

Corporate Social Responsibility

Students engage with companies such as Wells Fargo, Autodesk, or Tesla 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.

Managing New Product Development

Students develop a product or service from idea through first-pass prototype in a cross-disciplinary team.

Real Estate Investment Analysis

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.

Hedge Fund Strategies

This course combines broad exposure to the many types of hedge funds and their strategies, together with hands-on development of unique investment strategies within student teams. Content includes guest speakers representing different sectors of the hedge fund industry, as well as training, lectures and reading. Concurrently, student teams develop and test their own investment strategies, and pitch them to a panel of investment professionals. Teams may continue on to execute their strategies in a related course the next semester.

The Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund

As the first and only student-led investment fund of its scale ($1.5M+) within a leading business school focused on both social and financial returns, the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund (HSRIF) seeks to contribute to the field of social investing by defining and exploring new ideas around unlocking hidden value based on companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices.

Advertising Strategy

Students learn useful frameworks, strategies, and tactics for designing effective integrated marketing communications (IMC) campaigns. The foundation of the class is advertising strategy, with an emphasis on new media. The class partners with a major brand, and student teams develop their own IMC campaigns for the brand. The teams pitch their ideas to brand representatives and test some of their ideas using search engine marketing.

Design and Development of Web-Based Products and Services

This course introduces innovation and new product development while focusing on the design and development of Web-based desktop and mobile customer products and services. Students will learn a process for Web-based product and service development and relate that process to the more general problem of product design. Project teams will work through a full product development cycle that culminates in a virtual design fair, soliciting and analyzing customer feedback.

Lean Launchpad

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.

The Startup Lab

This course teams UC Berkeley students with local venture-backed startups in an effort to identify, frame and address strategic business challenges. Students will gain experience working within agile and dynamic startup environments while applying their academic knowledge in an entrepreneurial context. They will actively engage with senior management while applying learned principles toward market selection, market entry and sales strategy, as well as new product development and instruction strategies.

Extracurricular Opportunities

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.

Business Competitions

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 Bosch Robotics Competition, the Haas Technology Club Case Competition, and the Education Leadership Case Competition.

Annual Conferences

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 Asia Business Conference, the Business of Healthcare Conference, the Latin American Business Conference, and the Women in Leadership Conference.

Business Leaders at Haas

Hundreds of business and thought leaders visit Haas each year to share their real-world experiences in classes and in special speaking events.

Special Interests

Entrepreneurship

Berkeley Solutions Group (BSG) is a Haas-student-run program that provides MBA student consultants to local new enterprises, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations at below-market rates. Student consultants typically focus on market research, feasibility studies, financial analysis, and human resource planning.

Management of Technology - Mayfield Fellows Program is a paid summer internship program at venture capital-funded Silicon Valley high tech startups. These internships are made available to up to 10 graduate students at UC Berkeley.

Haas Venture Fellows is a program that provides MBA students, interested in venture capital or entrepreneurship, with a hands-on opportunity to work with one or more VC affiliates on small projects throughout the semester. Fellows also manage and participate in the UC Berkeley pitch lab, which gives entrepreneurs from the UC Berkeley community an opportunity to practice their pitches and receive feedback on their ventures in a neutral environment.

Health Management

Health Management International and Community-Based Internships provides two MBA/MPH students with up to $5000 in funding to work at a domestic or international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization or quasi-governmental organization with an established internship program and a history of no stipend (i.e., WHO, UNAIDS).

Nonprofit Leadership

Berkeley Board Fellows provides students with the unique opportunity to work at the highest level of an organization and make a positive impact on the local Bay Area community. Managed by the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, Berkeley Board Fellows places Haas MBA students on local nonprofit boards of directors. Board Fellows are paired with a mentor, serve on a board committee, attend full board meetings, and produce a board-related deliverable. Program begins in October and ends in May.