Answers to Frequent Questions

The most commonly asked questions pertain to the relationship of the Center for Social Sector Leadership with the Haas School of Business.

All students are required to take core business school classes. Students interested in social sector management are encouraged to do class projects with nonprofit organizations, take social sector management electives, and participate in a variety of social sector related activities.

Other Common Questions

I’m trying to decide between an MBA and a Master’s degree in public policy. What’s the difference?

The MBA curriculum emphasizes management skills, such as accounting, finance, and marketing. The public policy curriculum emphasizes public policy analysis. Haas MBA students may take one or two electives at the School of Public Policy. For a Public Policy program catalog, course descriptions, or other information, please contact the School of Public Policy at 510-642-4670.

Is a separate application required for CSSL at Haas?

No. You need only complete the application for the Haas School of Business.

When do I indicate that I want to be involved in CSSL at Haas?

You may indicate your interest in our work during the application process, or you may decide after enrollment that you want to focus on Social Sector Leadership. If you are admitted to the MBA program, contact the director of CSSL, Nora Silver (, and let her know of your interest.

If I participate in CSSL at Haas, what degree do I get when I graduate?

You earn an MBA. You may choose to have an “emphasis” or “concentration” in Social Sector Management, which means that most of your electives would be CSSL courses.

What percentage of Haas MBA students are involved in CSSL?

Approximately 60% of MBA students each year actively participate in CSSL by enrolling in Center courses, undertaking Center-sponsored applied projects, and/or participating in activities such as social sector management career workshops.

What courses do CSSL students take?

CSSL students are required to take the same courses as other MBA students, including the core courses and electives that fulfill distributional requirements. CSSL students choose primarily social sector management courses for their electives. CSSL students also may undertake one or two independent study projects addressing social sector management issues, and can take related courses from other UC Berkeley schools or departments such as public health, education, urban planning and public policy.

What courses does CSSL offer? Are any of them required in order to have an emphasis in Social Sector Management?

Currently, the CSSL offers these courses: Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations, Marketing and Fundraising for Nonprofit and Public Organizations, Nonprofit Financial Management, Collaboration and Partnerships Across the Sectors, and Nonprofit Boards of Directors. None of these courses is required.

What resources, in addition to CSSL, are available to Haas MBA students interested in nonprofit and public management?

  • Many students find courses of interest in the Haas School’s Business and Public Policy (BPP) group. For example, the BPP group offers courses on Environmental Management.
  • The Haas School offers a six-week summer program in Washington, DC, which emphasizes government issues.
  • Both the Nonprofit and Public Management Club and Net Impact are student-run organizations that sponsor a variety of activities, such as monthly guest speakers, monthly professional development sessions, yearly conference, brown bag lunch discussions, and a career night.
  • The Career Center assists all MBA students with their career search efforts. Materials and programs designed particularly for students with public or nonprofit interests include public and nonprofit employer directories, job newsletters, and panel discussions.
  • Organizations such as the MBAA, Challenge for Charity and Young Entrepreneurs at Haas give students an opportunity to be involved with nonprofit organizations and the community.
  • A joint degree program, the MBA/MPH (Master of Public Health), supports students who are interested in careers in health care administration.

Who employs Haas Social Sector Leadership graduates?

Haas graduates work for a wide range of nonprofit organizations
and government bodies. Following are just a few examples:

American Himalayan Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Business for Social Reponsibility (BSR)
California Legislative Analyst’s
City of Berkeley
City of Orinda
Co-op America
Environmental Protection Agency
Fair Trade USA
FSG Social Impact Advisors
Google – Makani Power
Imprint Capital Advisors
International Institute of the East Bay
Low Income Housing Fund
Kaiser Permanente
Lindsay Museum

McKinsey and Company
Mission Housing
National Park Service
New Island Capital
The Nature Conservancy
Omidyar Network
Rainforest Alliance
The Presidio Alliance
San Francisco Jewish Museum
Skoll Foundation
The Bridgespan Group
Trust for Public Land
UC Berkeley
United Way

How do I obtain additional information?

During the school year (August – May) we offer student-led information sessions, lunch with current students, and class visits. The program is coordinated by the Haas Student Ambassadors (HSAs). Learn more about the HSA team and read the HSA blog!

Questions about admissions requirements or requests for applications should be directed to MBA Admissions. If you have specific questions about CSSL, please call our office. The following telephone numbers may also be helpful:

Haas Student Ambassador: 510-642-5610,
MBA Admissions: 510-642-1405
Center for Social Sector Leadership: 510-642-162