The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » News » Real Humans of the UC Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2020

Real Humans of the UC Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2020

Image for Real Humans of the UC Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2020

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is a world-class institution that prides itself on its culture. Beyond simply training them for future careers in the business world, Haas teaches its students to adhere to a set of defining principles designed to ensure that they become responsible, effective leaders who consider the future when they make decisions.

The distinctive Haas culture is fostered in part by its close-knit student body. Although it welcomed its largest-ever class this fall—291 students—Haas remains one of the smallest classes among elite MBA programs.

It is also one of the most academically accomplished classes in the school’s history. The average GMAT score for incoming students was a record-setting 726, one point higher than last year and a 12-point gain over the past five years. Average GPA, at 3.66, was also among the highest on record, though a .05 decrease from the Class of 2019.

In terms of professional backgrounds, Haas students bring a range of work experience with them to campus. About a quarter of the students in this year’s entering class come from the consulting industry, and another 20 percent have backgrounds in banking or financial services. The next-largest groups come from high-tech (10 percent), nonprofit organizations (9 percent), and the healthcare/pharmaceutical/bio industries (7 percent). In addition, 5 percent of the incoming class served in the Armed Forces.

Haas was an early leader among top business schools in its efforts to move toward gender parity within the student body, reaching 43 percent women with the Class of 2016. This year’s class is a return to that record-high level and 3 percent increase over last year.

Meanwhile, international students from 30 countries make up 34 percent of the incoming class. This is down from 39 percent for the Class of 2019 but in keeping with several other top U.S. schools, which have also reported declines following a year of lower overall international applicant volume. All told, total applications to Haas fell by 7.5 percent year over year, from 4,132 to 3,821. Here though, too, Haas was joined by the majority of its U.S. peer schools, which also saw declining application volume overall.

The entering Haas MBA Class of 2020 will be the first to graduate under the leadership of a new dean. The school last month announced that renowned Wharton Economics Professor Ann Harrison will take the helm on January 1, 2019.

Of course, the experiences of this newest group of Haas MBA students will also be shaped by the legacy of outgoing Dean Richard Lyons. Lyons, who stepped down this past June after 11 years in the role, raised more money than any prior dean, helped establish the school’s four Defining Leadership Principles (DLPs), and oversaw construction of the new Connie & Kevin Chou Hall, which opened last fall.

Read on to get to know a handful of students in this year’s incoming MBA class. Their profiles provide insight into the diverse backgrounds that help shape the class as a whole, as well as the different motivations that led them each to choose Haas.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.