The supplemental information that Haas requests is unchanged. Essay 2 and 3 are somewhat different from last year’s questions. There is a new option replacing what was the second option for question #2. #3 is a clarification of last year’s #3. #1 is unchanged. Haas also is a little less encouraging in terms of using the optional this year, but it’s still there and pretty open-ended.
Haas has not increased or decreased its word limits. It does provide more helpful guidance regarding its questions than it has in the past.
My tips are in blue below.
Essays help us learn about who you are as a person and how you will fit with our community. 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. We encourage you to reflect on your experiences, values, and passions so that you may craft a thoughtful and authentic response.
Below are the required essays, supplemental essays, and optional essays for Fall 2017.
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. Your actions speak far louder than words.
If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 word maximum)
Your song can be in any language, from any culture, and does not need to contain lyrics. The strongest responses will focus on answering why this song expresses who you are.
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.
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 time when you were challenged by perspectives different from your own and how you responded.
• Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.
In your response, clearly indicate to which prompt (1, 2, or 3) you are responding. We do not have a preference among the prompts and suggest that you select the one for which you can share a specific experience, professional or personal.
The second prompt this year replaces “Describe a significant accomplishment and why it makes you proud.” from last year. The new prompt is more in line with the other two prompts and all address your ability to deal with difference and challenge. Your response will be a great way to assess your ability to grow.
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 time 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.
Tell us about your career plans. How have your past experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? How will Berkeley-Haas help you? (500 words maximum)
You are encouraged to reflect on what it is you want to do after business school, including the types of roles, responsibilities, and organizations that are of interest. Through this essay we hope to learn about your professional journey to date and how an MBA will facilitate your success – broadly defined – in the future.
Although this question has different wording than last year’s question, it’s quite similar, just clearer. This prompt is asking to map out how your past when combined with a Haas MBA will enable you to achieve your career goals.
It 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 prepared you for this path? How will the Haas MBA experience build on what you have done to day so that you can realize your post-MBA goals?
Obviously to answer this question you have to have a clear post-MBA goal. You also need clarity regarding what Haas offers and what intend to take advantage of; you must thoroughly understand Haas’ program and culture. They put it all together in a coherent essay. In “mathematical” terms, it’s Your Past + Haas MBA = Your Career Goal.
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.
Use this essay to share information that is not presented elsewhere in the application, for example:
- Explanation of employment gaps or academic aberrations
- Quantitative abilities
- For re-applicants, improvements to your candidacy
Haas isn’t restrictive in terms of its optional question, but its example suggests that they are not seeking info about an unusual hobby or personal challenge overcome. They seem to prefer context for possible issues in your application. If you want to go beyond that to the unusual hobby, distinctive achievement or personal challenge not discussed elsewhere, it’s a judgment call.
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.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.