This post about Haas and finance is part of a series of interviews of top MBA programs called “MBA Career Goals and the B-Schools that Support Them.” Please subscribe to our blog to ensure that you receive all the interviews exploring the elements at each school that support career goals in finance, consulting, general management, entrepreneurship, marketing and more.
- What kind of background and skills do you like to see in applicants expressing interest in a career in finance?The Berkeley MBA Program is delivered from a general management perspective, and thus attracts applicants with a diverse range of backgrounds and interests. We seek candidates who have solid professional experience and leadership potential, and who possess the Berkeley values of confidence without attitude and a willingness to look beyond the status quo.
Candidates who wish to pursue a post-MBA career in finance should demonstrate at least one of the following pursuits through their application: previous work experience in a finance function or industry, extracurricular involvement in finance with a leadership role, or comprehensive research into specific positions or organizations for post-MBA employment. Candidates who are making a career-switch into finance should also be able to clearly articulate how they intend to leverage their skill set and work experience to date to successfully make this transition.
- What aspects of your curriculum do you feel are best suited to students who want to eventually pursue a career in finance?Elective courses comprise over 60% of the curriculum, and students begin to customize their own course of study in the first year of the program. Students have access to numerous elective courses in finance, accounting and economic analysis, designed to prepare them for the rigors of a career in the field.
Students can choose from a range of finance electives specific to their area of interest:
- Investment Banking, courses include:
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Global Financial Services
- Investment Management, courses include:
- Portfolio Management
- Risk Management
- Venture Capital and Private Equity, courses include:
- Private Equity: Leveraged Buyouts
- New Venture Finance
- Corporate Finance(in private industry), courses include:
- Corporate Financial Reporting
- Taxes and Firm Strategy
- Sales and Trading, courses include:
- Futures and Options Markets
- Behavioral Finance
In addition, student-initiated courses bring finance leaders and practitioners to the classroom for first hand insights. These courses have included The Private Equity Speaker Series, Investment Speaker Series, Microfinance and Real Estate Speaker Series. Each year students initiate new finance speaker series to reflect the interests of their classmates and current economic environment.
Haas’ general management curriculum teaches students fundamental business concepts – from accounting and finance to marketing and strategy. Through core and elective courses, experiential learning and a global focus, the Berkeley MBA Program helps students develop skills to become innovative leaders.
- Investment Banking, courses include:
- Which school clubs and extra-curricular events are most relevant to people interested in finance? Providing students with hands-on exposure to real-world business situations is a key strength of the Berkeley MBA Program. Experiential activities are required for graduation, and numerous out-of-the-classroom initiatives give students the opportunity to build on their business skill set.
Finance courses are integrated with successful practitioners in financial firms. Students have the opportunity to develop skills outside the classroom through:
- Clubs: Most students take a leadership role in the industry club that aligns with their career interests, such as the Haas Finance Club, Haas Investment Club and Haas Private Equity Club. In recent years, the clubs have organized career treks to Wall Street and Hong Kong, as well as an annual trip to meet Warren Buffett. Treks also explore career opportunities in the Bay Area and Southern California.
- Conferences: The Berkeley Finance Conference is an annual event featuring top financial industry executives and academics, as well as students from the Haas MBA program. It is the only student-run finance conference on the West Coast.
- Business Competitions: Case competitions challenge students to apply classroom learnings to real-life business problems. Berkeley-Haas students have participated in many nationwide competitions, such as the Wells Fargo Finance Case Competition (1st place), the Wharton Buyout Case Competition (3rd Place) and the UNC Kenan-Flager Alpha Challenge (3rd Place).
- Haas@Work: This experiential learning course gives students an opportunity to develop innovative recommendations to address a competitive challenge posed by the sponsor company. The strongest recommendations are then added to the client’s business roadmap for implementation. Haas@Work projects often have a finance component, and sponsor companies have included Visa, Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab.
- Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund: The Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund (HSRIF) is the first and only student-led investment fund of its scale ($1M+) with a leading business school focused on both social and financial returns. HSRIF Principals are MBA and MFE students interested in finance and corporate responsibility. Through the Fund they have the opportunity to test the investment and corporate responsibility principles they’ve learned in the classroom, and to experience the complexities, challenges, and rewards of the investing world.
- Industry Leaders at Haas: Each year distinguished leaders are brought to campus to share their real-world experiences and insights. Recent speakers with a finance bent include Janet Yellen, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Nils Tcheyan, Director for Strategy and Operations, World Bank, and Laura Tyson, Member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and Haas faculty member.
- Career Management: The Berkeley-Haas Career Management Office was ranked #4 nationwide by recruiters in a 2008 BusinessWeek survey. Career Management plans workshops, panels, networking events, job fairs, company visits and receptions specific to all phases of the finance job search. For finance students, it has also facilitated outside programs such as Training the Street, Bloomberg and Factset.
Learn about other extracurricular activities directly from Haas students on the Berkeley MBA Student Blog. Browse the blog library or find finance specific posts using relevant keywords.
- Since “finance” is a very broad term, can you break down some of the sub-categories in the field that your school excels in?The Berkeley-Haas Finance Program covers several sub-categories, including corporate finance and investment management. Classroom learning and experiential opportunities prepare students for careers in:
- Investment banking (including industry coverage, for example technology or healthcare/biotech clients)
- Investment management, including hedge funds
- Corporate finance departments
- Private equity
- Venture capital
- Economic development
- Management consulting firms
- Which financial services firms recruit at Haas? How many graduates of your 2010 class received offers from each of these firms? Berkeley-Haas remains one of the world’s leading centers for the study of finance. Approximately 15-25% of students gain full-time employment in a finance function after graduation.
In 2010, dozens of firms recruited on campus for finance jobs in investment banking, corporate finance, asset management, financial services, and private equity. A selection of firms includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Citi, Barclays, Dodge & Cox, Franklin Templeton, Parnassus Investments, Scharf Investments and numerous others.
Learn more about the finance career paths post-MBA from upcoming graduates:
- MBA ‘11 Sam Snyder, Investment Banking Associate, Goldman Sachs
- MBA ’11 Hallie Marshall, Portfolio Manager, Dodge & Cox
- MBA ’11 Scott Coleman, Investment Banking, Wells Fargo
Students can also apply for the Haas Investment Banking Fellowship, awarded to a select number of students who are pursuing careers in investment banking. As a fellow, students receive a partial tuition credit, get paired with an industry mentor, and receive priority for finance courses and career treks.
By Morgan Eckles, Assistant Director, Haas Full-Time MBA Admissions.