One of the last elite two-year business school programs is expanding to four years — thanks to the largest gift in the B-school’s history.
The Haas School of Business at the University of California today (July 19) announced that its two-year undergraduate business program will expand to become a four-year program. The historic shift is funded by a $30 million gift from Haas alumnus Warren “Ned” Spieker, who earned his business bachelor’s degree from Berkeley in 1966, and his wife, Carol, who earned a political science degree from the university the same year. UC-Berkeley will name the Haas School’s four-year undergraduate business program the Spieker Undergraduate Business Program, in which the first four-year cohort of students will enroll in August of 2024.
“A four-year undergraduate business experience will provide remarkable new opportunities for students,” says Ned Spieker, a Haas School Board member and founder and former chairman and CEO of Spieker Properties, one of the largest owner-operators of commercial property in the U.S. “My hope is that this gift will help build a program that’s second-to-none in the world, cementing Haas as the top undergraduate business school for generations to come.”
FALL 2021 INTAKE: 345 STUDENTS, 53% WOMEN
Haas is the second-oldest business school in the United States, having been established in 1898. Beginning in the 1960s, students applied to the Haas undergraduate program as sophomores and enrolled as juniors. By the last decade, the volume of annual applications had risen to around 750 from current Berkeley students and another 2,500 from transfer students, with the school making fall admission offers to around 250 from UC-Berkeley and roughly 100 from elsewhere. The fall 2021 entering class size was 345 total students, with 12% minorities among the Berkeley cohort and 22% among transfers; both cohorts were 53% women.
With the switch to a four-year program, the school announced that prospective Berkeley students will now have the option to apply directly to Haas and enter as freshmen, “giving them an additional two years for deeper learning, including career development, study-abroad opportunities, entrepreneurship programs, capstone projects, mentorship engagements, and internships.” But while the majority of undergraduates will enter as freshmen in the future, the school added that UC-Berkeley and transfer students may continue to apply for acceptance to the program as sophomores.
“This is a historic, game-changing investment in undergraduate business education,” Berkeley Haas Dean Ann E. Harrison says of the Spiekers’ gift. ”We are so thrilled that Ned and Carol have made a commitment to Haas toward building the next generation of business leaders.”
UC-Berkeley Haas’ undergraduate program was ranked third in 2021 by U.S. News & World Report. The B-school does not participate in Poets&Quants‘ annual ranking. In 2020 the school launched a deferred admission program for undergraduates to apply to its MBA program, which is the highest-ranked public-school graduate program according to both U.S. News and P&Q.
GIFT WILL ESTABLISH NEW SPIEKER SCHOLARS PROGRAM
The Haas School announced that the Spiekers’ $30 million gift will be used in five main areas, chief among them the establishment of a new Spieker Scholars Program that will aim to attract top undergraduate talent. Spieker Scholars “have challenged themselves academically throughout their high school experience and demonstrated exceptional leadership skills through athletic and co-curricular pursuits,” the school announced, “their commitment to creating a positive social impact in their communities, and their curiosity for learning outside of the traditional academic setting.” Three to four Spieker Scholars will be chosen per class, receiving “significant financial support and enrichment opportunities.”
The Spiekers’ gift will also fund an expansion of scholarships for students who may have financial barriers to attending UC-Berkeley, the school announced. The other areas where the Spiekers’ gift will go:
- Expansion of outreach efforts “to ensure that high-performing students from all backgrounds consider Haas. A first-year academic advisor will work with admitted students, providing the knowledge and resources required to navigate the university system. Students will also have access to preparatory courses that will build their foundational knowledge around business concepts and strengthen their quantitative skills.”
- “Haas will increase staffing for academic and admissions advising, mental health services and support, marketing and admissions, alumni outreach, and student orientation. These additional touchpoints will ensure that undergraduate students are maximizing their time within the ecosystem of Berkeley Haas and developing deep relationships with the alumni community.”
- “Funds will be used to support student activities such as experiential learning workshops, international research, travel opportunities, social gatherings, student conferences and competitions, and additional leadership opportunities.”
- Funds will help provide students “a state-of-the-art learning experience,” including upgrading classrooms in Cheit Hall “with the latest audio, visual, and media equipment.”
MORE THAN $45 MILLION RAISED FROM SEVERAL BENEFACTORS
After serving as a “catalyst and champion” for the construction of Haas’ Chou Hall, which opened in 2017, Ned Spieker shifted his efforts to the undergraduate program. With his support, the program has added three multidisciplinary programs and one minor outside of the core program over the past several years including:
- The Robinson Life Science, Business, and Entrepreneurship Program, a joint venture between the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Haas that allows students to earn a bachelor of science degree in business administration and a bachelor of arts degree in molecular and cell biology.
- The Global Management Program, a four-year international program that requires students to study abroad their first semester, fulfill a language requirement, and take specialized global business courses.
- The Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology (M.E.T.) program, a collaboration between Haas and the UC Berkeley College of Engineering that grants graduates two degrees in business and engineering in four years, with the goal of providing deep leadership and technology skills.
- The Summer Minor in Sustainable Business and Policy, a collaboration between Haas and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics that provides students with the skills needed for careers in business or government focused on sustainable business and policy.
Ned and Carol Spieker are not the only benefactors helping the Haas expand its undergraduate program. Other supporters have helped bring the total raised so far to more than $45 million, among them Janelle and Michael Grimes; Steve Etter; Maria and Gene Frantz; Joanne and Jon Goldstein; Melissa and Clif Marriott; Adria and Brian Sheth; Roshni and Jagdeep Singh; and Melody and Jerry Weintraub.
DON’T MISS BERKELEY HAAS LAUNCHES DEFERRED ADMISSION PROGRAM and look for P&Q’s exclusive interview with Berkeley Haas Dean Ann Harrison later this month