Independent Research Study Initiative by MBA Gordon Chan

Haas student, Gordon Chan, MBA ’12, conducted an independent research study to understand the distinct strategies and capabilities for growth of nonprofit organizations.

Gordon stresses that not all nonprofit organizations can sustain growth with the same strategies and structures and chose to divide the sector into three specific segments. He defined these segments as the following:

  • Customer-oriented organizations: In these organizations, the beneficiary of the product or service is the same individual as the funder.
  • Beneficiary-oriented organizations: In these organizations, the beneficiary of the product or service is separate from the funder.
  • System-oriented organizations: These organizations serve other nonprofits and seek to enable or coordinate the work of others in the field.

Gordon divided the nonprofits with the highest revenue growth between 2007 and 2011 into these segments. He then interviewed the selected organizations to identify key differences in strategies, decisions, and circumstances for growth in the three categories. Here is a summary of his findings:

  • Customer-oriented organizations clearly adopted a more intentional and proactive approach to growth given their experience was overwhelmingly part of their internal plans and growth for these nonprofits is usually an internally generated effort.
  • Growth among beneficiary-oriented organizations is usually externally driven and focused on one program within the nonprofit at a time.
  • System-oriented respondents strongly agree that they will have to significantly change their organizations to sustain their growth suggesting that they reach for a diverse set of opportunities as they arise from a collective effort of multiple parties.

Following is a chart that summarizes the self-reported ratings of characteristics of the organizations.

Self-reported ratings on characteristics of non-profit organizations by category.

Self-reported ratings on characteristics of non-profit organizations by category.

Gordon was pursuing an MBA in order to make a career switch into the social sector. The classes and programs offered by CNPL became a factor that set Haas apart for him. Once at Haas, he was very involved with the Center, taking many classes, becoming involved with the Berkeley Board Fellows program, and attending the Schwab Charitable Speaker Series events. In his final semester at Haas, Gordon completed this independent research study with CNPL, working closely with Director Nora Silver and several other professors.

Here is a link to Gordon Chan’s full report:Different Paths to Hyper-Growth in the Nonprofit Sector


Berkeley-Haas ranked #1 in social impact by yearly MBA survey


Net Impact Business as UNusual 2013 Report

Net Impact Business as UNusual 2013 Report

Net Impact, a national organization that supports students and professionals seeking to make transformational change, released their yearly “Business as UNusual” guide to MBA programs.

Berkeley-Haas topped the Social Impact category, with an overal student satisfaction score of 4.67 out of 5.

  • #1 in Social Impact
  • #6 in Sustainability

The annual report has become a go-to resource for prospective MBAs who want to incorporate social impact into their professional and personal lives. Part of the guide’s success is its presentation of the student perspective on these issues. Readers can understand what current MBAs are experiencing in each of these programs.

The #1 ranking in Social Impact is in line with Berkeley-Haas’ continued and growing commitment to equip business graduates to change the world in meaningful and positive ways. In an open letter outlining his view of his second term as Dean of the business school, Rich Lyons said he wants Berkeley-Haas to be, “…the business school without peer in the world in areas like technology, social impact, and strategy,”.

Aaron Schwartz’s Time With Berkeley Board Fellows

Alumni Spotlight: Aaron Schwartz, MBA 10, Co-founder and CEO of Modify Watches
Board Member at Larkin Street Youth Services

ImageAaron Schwartz, Berkeley Board Fellow 2008, Co-founder and CEO of Modify Watches

Aaron Schwartz, Berkeley Board Fellow 2008

In the Fall of 2008 I applied to be a Board Fellow as a first year MBA. Board Fellows sounded like an excellent way to see the inner-workings of a non-profit. I understood that setting a mission, raising funds, and executing were critical to any Board – but that was the extent of my knowledge and I certainly didn’t understand how any of that was done.

An Apprehensive Start

I was incredibly fortunate to be placed with the board of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. Larkin Street provides everything from housing and food to healthcare and counseling for at-risk and homeless youth. I was only a few years older than some of the youth in Larkin Street, and was extremely excited with the placement. I walked into the first meeting to meet the board members from Delloitte, Bain, First Republic and more. Needless to say, as an MBA candidate, I was intimidated by the group.

What I quickly learned is that the success of Larkin Street was not simply Continue reading

Alameda Point Collaborative Combats Poverty and Homelessness with the Help of Haas MBAs

Community Partner Spotlight: Alameda Point Collaborative

apc_logoAlameda Point Collaborative ( is a supportive housing community that was founded in 1999 to combat poverty and homelessness. Operating within the local community, APC began by transforming military housing on the former Alameda Naval Station into supportive housing communities. APC provides 500 formerly homeless residents, including more than 300 youth, safety and stability with a home to live. In addition to providing shelter, the organization focuses on providing job training skills and mental health counseling by trained professionals to encourage development. APC places a special focus on the youth of its community to ensure the future can overcome the drastic effects of poverty and homelessness. Emphasizing education as the core indicator of success, APC helps youth learn about health, nutrition, and horticulture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos courtesy of Alameda Point Collaborative’s Facebook page

Ever year, as a part of orientation week, first-year full-time Haas MBA students spend half a day providing community service at Alameda Point Collaborative.

Continue reading

Laura Callanan’s Step Forward in Social Impact

LauraCallanan-Consultant-and-Head-for-Social-Impact-Initiative-McKinsey-Company-262x300Faculty Spotlight: Laura Callanan, Haas Scholar in Residence and former consultant with McKinsey & Company

“It is clear to me that the approach to social innovation is different on the East Coast and the West Coast.  I’m excited to have a West Coast home at Haas for the next year to broaden my thinking about how to scale social change.”

We are pleased to welcome Laura Callanan to Haas as a Scholar in Residence at the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership. Most recently, Laura was a consultant in McKinsey & Company’s Social Innovation Practice based in New York. Laura is the lead author of Continue reading

Haas Staff Volunteer at the Oakland Zoo

An outdoor laboratory used by the Oakland Zoo to teach students about habitats is much improved after Berkeley-Haas staffers swept through wielding clippers, shovels, and rakes to clear the area of brush along the Arroyo Viejo Creek restoration project. The Zoo’s animals reaped benefits as well from Haas staffers who created chimp enrichment packets and potted native grasses that will be used to enhance animal habitats and zoo landscaping.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was all part of the first-ever Haas Staff Volunteer Day, organized by the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and Engage@Haas – 72 enthusiastic Haas staff members participated on June 4, 2013. The service day exemplified Haas’ staff commitment to going “Beyond Yourself.”

“It was invigorating to see my colleagues rallying together to accomplish what seemed at first to be an inconceivable feat.” –Brandon Gardiner, Haas Facilities Coordinator    Continue reading

New Alumni Programming for Baby Boomers

Alumni Engagement:  New Social Impact Programs 

We are excited to pilot our Berkeley Board Fellows program for alumni this Fall.  Alumni will be joining student Fellows for eight months of Board service, training and coaching.

Photo courtesy of

We are in the early planning stages of co-hosting a workshop with the Rest of Your Life Institute for alumni within five years of retirement; for alums contemplating their second/third act.  For the nearly 8 million Americans already retired and the increasing number of baby boomers reaching the turning point every year, figuring out what to do next after work can be difficult.  People live longer today and retirement as we once knew it has been upstaged by a new phase of life where contribution to society, meaning, and happiness are key ingredients to composing a great rest of your life.  Look for more information soon on this full day workshop to be held in January 2014.

For alumni programming, please contact Cathy Garza, Director of Alumni Engagement at

Click here for more information

Two Berkeley-Haas Programs That Directly Benefit Community Organizations

Berkeley Board Fellows

Bay Area nonprofits are encouraged to apply for Berkeley Board Fellows. Leverage the skills of these highly trained and professional students on a strategic project for your organization.  Board Fellows are UC Berkeley graduate students from business, law, public policy, and public health who participate in board meetings and contribute to nonprofit boards from October to May.  Submit your application by August 16th.

In 2012, a record 93 fellows served on 50 Bay Area nonprofit boards.  Apply Today! 

Here’s what Terry Kramer, US Ambassador and member of Larkin Street Youth Services’ board of directors says about engaging board fellows:

Social Sector Solutions

Work with Haas MBA students and consultants from McKinsey & Company on a 15-week strategy consultation to help your nonprofit achieve greater impact.  You will benefit from the latest academic and consulting thinking in strategy, marketing, finance and more.   The program begins January 2014 and continues through May.  Applications are due August 31, 2013!  Apply today or send questions to

“I was an Ernst & Young consultant. I would put [the students’] work up against the deliverables of the professional consultants any day. This is really good.” – Steve Janowsky, Wetherby Asset Management

Fall 2013 Events

 Upcoming Social Impact Events: Fall 2013

SOSOCAP ConferenceCAP13
September 3-6, 2013
San Francisco

This year’s Social Capital Markets Conference in San Francisco proves to be one of the best yet. SOCAP13 speakers are doing everything from educating India’s social entrepreneurs, bringing information access to Africa’s farmers, funding the world’s leading solutions and much more.  This year’s themes:  Health, Oceans, Communities, Meaning, Investing, Faith Art  Register today.

Farooq KathwariGlobal Leadership for Social Impact with Farooq Kathwari, CEO of Ethan Allen
September 25, 2013
7:00 – 8:30pm
Haas School of Business – Wells Fargo Room

Mr. Farooq Kathwari, CEO of Ethan Allen, will  speak about the need for global leaders to identify their personal passion and engage with social issues.  His experience as a humanitarian and social advocate informs his discussion of the need for emerging cross-sector leaders to be active, conscious global citizens as well as “executives”.  Successful global leaders must address the ways in which their efforts affect local peoples and incorporate social efforts to have a positive impact in the world.  Register Today!

Fall 2013 EventsNet Impact Conference 2013
October 24-26, 2013
San Jose, CA

Learn from 100+ sessions across 11 tracks – from Tech for Good to International Development – designed to take your inspiration, innovation, and impact to the next level. Engage with 350+ inspiring speakers from across sectors breaking new ground in social and environmental change, and discover how you can use your career for good.

image0031Social Impact Consulting Career Panel

November 13th, 2013
4:00-6:00 pm
Haas School of Business

Ever wonder what it is like to apply your analytical skills, passion and education to have a positive social impact? What does a career in nonprofit, public, or social enterprise consulting look like? How do you get started and what are the steps you need to take to be successful? These and other questions will be answered at the Social Impact Consulting Panel.  Panelists and Registration TBA