UC Berkeley Haas has released its 2013 application essays. It reduced the number of required essays by one and shorted its longest essay by 250 words, reducing the maximum for its goals essay from 1000 words to 750 words.
2. List in order of importance all community and professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, size of the organization, dates of involvement, offices held, and average number of hours spent per month.
Whenever possible, quantify your impact or contribution. Please note that Haas is not interested in high school grades or activities.
3. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.
Again, quantify as much as possible your responsibilities and impact. Focus on achievements. Avoid job descriptions that are obvious from your job title.
4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
Provide the circumstances, but as always, be succinct. If your position was eliminated during a restructuring and it took you three months to find a job, say so. No harm, no foul. If the layoff was much longer, also indicate how you used your time, other than job-searching. Learning new skills or serving your community, if true, would be great to mention here.
5. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended, or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.)
Please, please, please don’t “forget” to answer this question if it applies to you. It’s far worse to omit it than to answer it.
At Berkeley-Haas, our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — Question the status quo; Confidence without attitude; Students always; and Beyond yourself. We seek candidates from a broad range of cultures, backgrounds, and industries who demonstrate a strong cultural fit with our program and defining principles. Please use the following essays as an opportunity to reflect on and share with us the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are. (Learn more about Berkeley-Haas’ Defining Principles).
1. If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 word maximum)
If it’s heavy metal, go for it. And if it’s a Beethoven Sonata, let it sing forth. And if it’s a classic folk song that you learned as a child in a non-Western country, don’t hesitate to share that information too. The what isn’t nearly as important as they why. Be authentic and tell them your favorite song, whatever it is. And then tell them why you love it. Is it the lyrics, the melody, or the meaning you ascribe to it?
2. What is your most significant accomplishment? (250 word maximum)
What are you most proud of? When did you make a real contribution and go “beyond yourself”? Tell the story of your accomplishment, but also reflect on it. Why do you consider it the “most significant”? Was it the impact you had on others, or the impact the experience had on you, or what the experience says about you?
For a brief article on accomplishments, please see “What is an Accomplishment?”
3. Describe a time when you questioned an established practice or thought within an organization. How did your actions create positive change? (250 word maximum)
These questions go to the heart of leadership. This one also reflects Haas’ core principle, “question the status quo.”
So please think of one time — not several — when you questioned the way things were within a school, club, department, or organization, and you made a difference. What was the positive change and how did you motivate, persuade, and lead?
4. Describe a time when you were a student of your own failure. What specific insight from this experience has shaped your development? (250 word maximum)
Another essential quality in leaders and a Haas core principle here: Students always. Combine with a heavy dose of resilience and you will have a dynamite essay. Show that you can learn from a failure and rebound. That quality implies you can take prudent risks, experience failure, grow and move on.
Again, choose ONE time, tell the story, and then discuss what you learned from it and how you have applied that lesson since the initial failure.
5. a. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How have your professional experiences prepared you to achieve these goals?
b. How will an MBA from Haas help you achieve these goals? (750 word maximum for 5a. and 5b.)
Standard MBA goals question. What are you short-term and long-term goals? How do your goals flow from your professional experience? What are the one or two key experiences that shaped your goals, and how do they reveal you have what it takes to achieve those aims? How will the Haas MBA at this point in time help you achieve your goals?
You will find the Haas posts in Accepted’s series on MBA Career Goals and the Business Schools that Support Them helpful in responding to part b.
1. Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)
A bonus! If there is an element in your background, be it personal, academic or professional, that you have not revealed elsewhere and would like the adcom to know about, this is the spot. Give them another reason to admit you, but don’t submit the grand summary, appeal, or closing statement. Keep it succinct and focused. Obviously, you could use this essay to explain a weakness, but that would leave your application ending on a weakness, which is less than optimal. Try to fit the explanation in somewhere else in the app or if necessary tuck the weakness into this essay, but have the main focus of this essay be something positive. For example: Your pride in working your way through undergrad, the challenges, and the ultimate satisfaction of learning to manage your time. An essay with this core idea explains a less than stellar GPA; it won’t justify a 2.0.
2. If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)
If you are a liberal arts graduate or the proverbial poet applying to business school or if you simply don’t have a lot of math on your transcript or on your resume, you need to respond to this question. You could show that your work may be more quantitative than initially assumed or you could discuss quantitative courses you are taking now that do not yet appear on your transcript.
Round Due Date Notification
Round One October 17, 2012 January 10, 2013
Round Two November 29, 2012 February 21, 2013
Round Three January 16, 2013 April 11, 2013
Round Four March 12, 2013 May 16, 2013
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.