Reforming Education

Berkeley-Haas Wins 2011 Education Leadership Case Competition

The winning ELCC team: German Freiwald, MBA 12; Paul Perry, MPP 11; Moritz Plischke, and Bruce Dos Santos, both MBA 12

A Berkeley MBA team took first place in the Haas Education Leadership Case Competition (ELCC), providing the nation’s second largest school district with ideas for implementing and marketing a new school governance model.

Bruce Dos Santos, German Freiwald, and Moritz Plischke, all MBA 12, teamed with Paul Perry, MPP 11, to win the February 18-19 Haas-run competition, which this year focused on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The district is facing major budget cuts and, at the same time, moving to a budgeting model that allocates resources by students rather than teachers.

The ELCC creates cases for districts facing immediate challenges (New Orleans, D.C., and Oakland) and that genuinely rely on the participating MBA talent to provide readily implementable ideas. “Working with LA offered yet another tremendous opportunity for students to influence nationwide educational reform,” says Aaron Sokol, MBA 12, who co-organized the competition with second-year student Jason Dolan and led the case-writing effort.

In the LAUSD challenge, the Haas team realized that parents might believe that moving to the new budgeting model actually caused the budget cuts. “With this risk in mind, we proposed that they position the new model as a change that mitigated the negative impacts of budget cuts,” says Freiwald. The team also proposed a buddy program between Oakland principals and LA principals—since Oakland recently went through a similar budgeting transition.

LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia served as the keynote speaker and a judge at the event.

She and other senior LAUSD officers weighed in on ideas from eleven competing teams, including ones from Stanford, MIT, Yale, Columbia, and the London Business School, the competition’s first international team.

“The ELCC is a terrific example of Haas providing leadership in a field,” says Andrik Cardenas, director of operations for the Haas School’s Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and staff advisor to the ELCC. “It gives the school a written case, provides the MBA community with the learning experiences of the competition, and offers the education community solutions to very real problems.”

Who makes you proud to be Berkeley-Haas? Tell us in the comments below or share your stories with vgilbert@haas.berkeley.edu.

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