From 1993-2003, California-Berkeley's Haas Business School was--along with USC's Marshall--the Consortium's West Coast option. When prospective students applied to the Consortium and expressed an interest in going to school in California, Cal-Berkeley was an attractive choice. Moreover, it was the hey day of dot-com investing; MBA students wanted to be near Silicon Valley, wanted to work for upstart Internet firms, wanted to dive into private-equity ventures, or wanted to start at banking boutiques that focused on new ventures.
The dot-com craze, as we know, dimmed or righted itself during the same period, although the Bay Area remains a hub for venture investing, Internet enterprises, and innovation. But it was during the time, Cal-Berkeley (Haas) decided to withdraw from the Consortium. Proposition 209 in California prohibited it from giving preferential treatment on the basis of ethnicity or sex, and its dean then pulled Haas off the Consortium roster.
In ensuing years, the Consortium has reaffirmed its commitment to diversity in business, but opened its membership to all--permitting Haas, despite Prop 209, to rejoin the Consortium seven years later. (The Consortium announced its return this week (www.cgsm.org). It is the 16th Consortium school.)
Welcome back, Haas. (See photo above.)
Cal-Berkeley's return immediately gives prospective applicants yet another choice among many top-tier schools and yet another West Coast alternative. Over the years, applicants have been attracted to the Consortium for many reasons--the fellowship, the Orientation Program, the networking, the comaraderie among fellow students, the immediate tie-ins with sponsors, the geographies of specific schools, and, just as important, an entry into one of the nation's top business schools.
Haas being back gives prospects more reasons to apply to the program, more choices and chances to find the best fit within the Consortium umbrella.
Cal-Berkeley's business school has been around for over 100 years. It differs in some ways from other Consortium schools. But there, too, are similarities. It has a large undergraduate program (like Michigan and Texas), where schools such as Yale and Dartmouth do not. It has a large part-time program (like NYU), where many other schools emphasize the full-time graduate program. It sits on the east side of the Bay Area in the vicinity of a major metro area (San Francisco). In that way, it's similar to NYU (New York), Emory (Atlanta), and Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh).
It is a featured part of a prestigious public university (like Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and Indiana). And it has a friendly rivalry with another top business school nearby (Stanford)--like North Carolina (Duke) and NYU (Columbia).
Like almost all Consortium schools, it is considered top-tier, ranking respectably in just about anybody's ranking and considered highly desirable for those who want to be in the midst of Silicon Valley frenzy or who have grand ideas about entrepreneurship.
Prominent alumni include the CEO's or chairpersons of Adobe Systems, Intel, and Williams-Sonoma. Many top leaders of Wells Fargo and Bank of America, the latter once headquartered in nearby San Francisco, are graduates.
The full-time MBA program, where Consortium students have enrolled and will do so again, is modest-sized, about 240 in a first-year class chosen from over 4,000 applicants. About 28% of the current graduating class are women; 30%, minorities.
The school likes to boast of having Nobel laureates and past deans who have had major roles in economics or finance in previous presidential administrations.
Rich Lyons is the current dean and in his stint has instilled a renewed vigor and emphasis on diversity in all aspects of the school. Hence, getting back into the Consortium was a natural next step for him and all at Haas.
Haas joins Cornell and Yale, two other top-tier schools that joined the Consortium in recent years. Schools like Cal-Berkeley, Cornell and Yale (as well as the other prominent 13) make it harder and harder for successful applicants to turn down the Consortium offer and go elsewhere. Even more, the same slate of schools certainly make it unwise for any outstanding applicant not to think of the Consortium--no matter race, color, sex or ethnicity.