Berkeley Debuts New EMBA Program

Berkeley's Haas School of Business

Five months after ditching an Executive MBA partnership with Columbia Business School with more than 600 graduates, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business today (Aug. 14) launched its own EMBA program.

The new offering, which will enroll its first class of up to 70 students in May of 2013, is expected to be priced at $145,000, nearly $20,000 less than the Columbia-Berkeley program, which will graduate its last class this February. It is the first time that UC Berkeley has created and marketed its own Executive MBA.

The Berkeley MBA for Executives Program was created after focus groups with both alumni and current Columbia-Berkeley EMBA students, and interviews with Haas faculty. “What we were trying to do is to vet a number of the different ideas,” explains Jon Kaplan, executive director of part-time and Executive MBA programs at Berkeley.


The result of that spadework is a program that features a number of new innovative components, ranging from a weeklong immersion in Washington, D.C., to a nine-day international trip to China.

Indeed, the most obvious similarity between the new EMBA program and the Columbia-Berkeley program is the format schedule. Classes will meet every three weeks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday over five terms stretched across 19 months. Each term will feature a deep dive into a subject, a project, or an off-site excursion.


During the first term, for example, the group of 60 to 70 students will be split into two sections and spend one three-day session on leadership, communication, and problem finding and problem solving, the latter an innovative and highly popular course developed by Professor Sara Beckman in the full-time and weekend MBA programs.

During the second term, students will spend a three-day session in Silicon Valley, with guest speakers from leading Valley companies.

In term three, the school plans to bring the entire class for a full week to Washington, D.C., where the University of California has a campus. This part of the program is a direct result of the alumni focus group feedback, says Kaplan. The trip will be led by a senior faculty member familiar with the inner workings of the capitol.


During the fourth term, the EMBA program will feature a new applied innovation course led by Beckman and Michael Barry, who teaches in Stanford University’s design program. That innovation focus will be in a lengthy Tuesday through Saturday course in which student teams will apply newly learned innovation tools to address an actual company challenge or global issue, such as providing safe drinking water. Faculty will coach and mentor students on working effectively in cross-disciplinary teams, on the content area of the project, and on experimenting with alternative solutions.

And finally, in term five, there will be a seven-to-nine day international trip. The first immersion excursion, in all likelihood, will head to Shanghai, adds Kaplan.

The school says that another addition is a campus-based lecture series that will expose EMBA students to the thinking of other UC Berkeley faculty researchers outside of the business school.

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