The Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, is one of the smaller top MBA programs in the United States, with an average class size of between 250 and 300 students. Despite its small size, however, Berkeley Haas offers a diverse community, both regionally and professionally. Roughly 40% of each incoming class is made up of international students, and each entering class as a whole reflects a wide array of interests and professional backgrounds. Each of Berkeley Haas’s incoming classes is divided into smaller groups, called cohorts, and students remain in their cohort for the first semester, taking all core courses together. Within the cohort, students are further divided into study groups. Study group members work together to prepare for presentations and exams as well as to study cases, and these small groups help enhance and reinforce the relationships between classmates. Noted a second-year student with whom mbaMission spoke, “With everyone trying to work out their identity at the start,” the cohort “makes everything less overwhelming.” Indeed, Haas offers a well-defined structure that supports a collaborative community.
Located just an hour’s drive from UC Berkeley Haas, the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is similarly well known for its close-knit atmosphere, though its typical class size is a bit larger, with approximately 400 students. However, the school’s relatively small class size allows it to provide students with individualized coaching. First-year students at the GSB are assigned a dedicated Faculty Advisor who helps them create a customized plan for fulfilling their General Management Perspectives and General Management Foundations (core) requirements based on their strengths, weaknesses, experiences, and interests. Students can also take advantage of career advisors, who can offer new perspectives on life beyond the GSB, and of Leadership Fellows, who work with first-year students through lab sessions and one-on-one meetings.
For more information on Berkeley Haas, the Stanford GSB, or 15 other leading MBA programs, check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.