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UC Berkeley Haas School of Business announces new MBA program for executives

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business announced a new MBA program for executives on Tuesday.

The Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, which will enroll its first class in May 2013, is “targeted at senior professionals that have on average about 12 years of professional experience and who wish to round out their general management skills and expand their ability to bring fresh ideas to drive their businesses forward,” according to Ute Frey, associate director of marketing and communications at the Haas School of Business.

Most MBA students participating in this program will be local to the greater San Francisco and Silicon Valley Bay Area, but Frey said she expects that some students will fly in from other parts of California or other states or even other countries.

This innovative leader curriculum — which is, according to Frey, continually refined and improved as business needs change — was developed because of the changes the business landscape has undergone as of late.

The program will be structured in a business-friendly format in order to accommodate the schedules of working executives. Classes will meet Thursday through Saturday every three weeks.

“We are very excited about a Berkeley-only program,” said Jon Kaplan, executive director of the part-time and executive MBA programs at Haas. “We think it’s going to embrace everything that makes Haas great, especially our culture and our goal to create task-bending leaders for the business world.”

The program will feature creative new courses such as “Problem Finding, Problem Framing,” which will teach students about innovation and design processes and how to identify and reframe challenges or opportunities.

Applied innovation courses will also be offered. These courses will see students organized into teams “in which they apply the program-framing tools to address an actual company challenge or global issue, such as providing safe drinking water,” according to Frey.

Though classes will be taught primarily at the Haas school and by Haas faculty, the program will also feature a mandatory trip to Asia.

“The week-long, required international trip to Asia will further deepen familiarity with problem-framing tools and the innovation process applied to an international challenge,” Frey said.

Additionally, students will also take part in trips to Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., and they will have the option to join additional international study trips.

Haas and the Columbia Business School had previously participated in the joint executive MBA program but mutually agreed to end the program in Feb. 2013 “in recognition of the growing differences in each school’s goals and future direction,” Frey said.

The Berkeley MBA for Executives Program is similar to the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program in that it has the same program structure, but the new program is based on the Haas curriculum, which is focused on challenging convention and leading through trust and collaboration, according to the Haas website.

In regards to whether making this program independent will be a financial benefit to the school or will incur greater costs, Kaplan said the program will “benefit the school by being Berkeley-only.”

According to the Haas website, the cost of the program will be available soon.

“Organizations are flatter. Business is inherently global, product life cycles grow increasingly shorter,” Frey said. “The ability to innovate is critical for the future success of any organization. And Berkeley-Haas has developed a curriculum that addresses these needs.“

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