The supplemental information that Haas requests is almost unchanged. The essays are different from last years. For #1 they have an essay question very similar to one from two years ago. And for #2, they give you a choice of prompts.
My tips are in blue below.
At Berkeley-Haas, we seek candidates from a broad range of cultures, backgrounds, and industries who demonstrate a strong cultural fit with our program and defining principles. Our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. 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)
Please use the following essays as opportunities to reflect on and share with us the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are.
As you are answering the following four questions really think about Haas’ defining principles and when possible tie your answer and experiences to those principles. As I frequently do, I want to warn you against simply repeating the principles or stuffing them into your essays. That’s a waste of time and space. Use your essays to reveal that you share those values and have those qualities.
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 the “why.” Be authentic and tell them which song best expresses your essence, whatever it is. And then tell them why you believe it reflects the true you.
2. Please respond to one of the following prompts: (250 word max)
• Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.
• Describe a significant accomplishment and why it makes you proud.
• Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.
First question: Which to choose? Select the one that you can answer most easily and enthusiastically and that complements the other essays and information found elsewhere.
Please note that each option is asking for one experience or one accomplishment, or one difficult decision. Haas seeks an example that you find meaningful and illustrative of how you approach situations and events. they want a window into how you act and think. Whatever option you choose, don’t omit answering what comes after the “and.”
Try to choose an event that illustrates you identifying with at least one of Haas’ 4 Principles.
3. Tell us about your path to business school and your future plans. How will the Berkeley-Haas experience help you along this journey? (500 words max)
This is a connect-the-dots goals question. What do you want to do after you earn your MBA? How has what you have done in the past convinced you this is the right path for you? How will the Haas MBA experience prepare you to achieve your goals for your MBA?
You don’t have to answer the questions I posed in the order I posed them, but the strong answer to this question will answer all three questions if you want to answer Haas’ question. And to answer the about the Berkeley-Haas experience, you must thoroughly understand Haas program and culture. How will take advantage of its strengths?
1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.
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. Include the following information for each organization or activity using the format below:
• Name of organization or activity
• Nature of organization or activity
• Size of organization
• Dates of involvement
• Offices held
• 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. Note also that they want the list not in chronological order, but in order of importance — however you define “importance.”
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. 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 ignore it than to answer it.
Optional Essay: Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? You may also use this essay to provide further explanation of employment gaps or your quantitative abilities. (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.
If you would like professional guidance with your UC Berkeley Haas MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Haas MBA application.
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.