Haas School of Business expands, renames undergraduate business program

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Nick Quinlan/Senior Staff
The Haas School of Business plans to expand its undergraduate business program, supplemented by funds gifted by Ned and Carol Spieker.

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Update 7/21/22: This story has been updated to include additional information about the undergraduate degree’s availability to sophomores and transfer students.

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business announced Tuesday that it will rename and expand its undergraduate business administration program to become the four-year Spieker Undergraduate Business Program.

The renaming of the program is in recognition of Haas alumnus Warren “Ned” Spieker and his wife Carol Spieker’s $30 million gift to the school. The expansion of the undergraduate business program will be supplemented by the Spiekers’ gift, allowing incoming students to apply to Haas as freshmen, according to a Haas press release.

The gift comes as Ned Spieker has focused his efforts toward the undergraduate business program.

According to Haas Assistant Dean Emma Daftary, a four-year undergraduate business program will allow students to gain additional years of deeper learning, career development and entrepreneurship opportunities.

“The four-year experience will allow our students to focus on being students and learning rather than devoting time to a very competitive application process halfway through their college experience,” Daftary said in an email.

Daftary noted that the undergraduate business program will not be changing its curriculum. However, an experiential upper-division capstone leadership course is being explored.

According to Daftary, this course would provide a chance for students to apply their learning through a consultancy project.

Additionally, first-year and second-year students will have a co-curricular series available to them to help them acclimate to college and explore potential careers and leadership opportunities, Daftary added in the email.

Funds from the Spiekers’ gift will be used to increase academic and admissions advising, alumni outreach and mental health services to enhance the student experience.

According to Daftary, the gift will fund expanded scholarships available to students facing financial barriers to attend UC Berkeley. The gift will also fund the Spieker Scholars program, which is designed to provide significant financial support and enrichment opportunities to three to four students per class.

Campus associate professor of finance Dmitry Livdan supports the four-year Haas undergraduate program, having had the chance to observe the advantages of a four-year undergraduate program as a Wharton alumnus.

The first four-year cohort of students will enroll in August 2024, according to Daftary. Sophomore students will still be able to apply to the business major — however, fewer spots will be available for continuing students as the program transitions to a four-year model, according to Daftery.

Additionally, while the new undergraduate program will be mostly filled by future freshman, continuing campus and transfer students can continue to apply to enter the program as incoming juniors, according to the press release.

“They will have more time to form lifelong connections with each other and our alumni network, more time to learn and apply business concepts through various experiential opportunities and more time for career exploration and discernment,” Daftary said in an email.

Contact Maya Banuelos at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @mayambanuelos.