While Haas has made it very clear that you need outstanding academics to get in, they will not compromise their values to maintain those stats. The Four Defining Leadership Principles are taken very seriously by Haas’ administration and admissions team. You need to show you share and live by those principles if you are to receive serious consideration at Haas. The Four Principles are:
- Question the Status Quo
- Confidence Without Attitude
- Students Always
- Beyond Yourself
Keep those principles very much at the forefront of your mind as you prepare your Haas application.
Haas is one of the few schools that doesn’t have an essay about goals. Don’t be surprised, however, if you are asked about your goals and how Haas will help you achieve them when invited to an interview.
Ready to get to work on your Haas application? Here is some expert advice to help you get accepted:
Haas School of Business Application Essays
Be sure to visit the Haas website which provides excellent resources and advice.
Haas MBA essay #1
What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)
A successful essay will share a specific and personal experience that helps the reader get to know you better, giving insight into your character, values, or how you would uniquely contribute to the Berkeley-Haas community.
This question asks about something that “makes you feel alive when doing it.” Since most of us like to feel alive, we’ll return to that kind of activity again and again for the sense of vitality it gives us. This activity could be a hobby. It could be a responsibility tied to giving in a community service activity. It could be something to do with nature. Hiking, scuba diving, parachuting, gardening, or thousands of other activities could fit the bill. Perhaps it’s something that ties you to your tradition and belief system. The possibilities are endless.
However, while the options may be limitless, the word count is not: 300 words. A possible structure for this essay would be to start with a vivid description of the activity and then go into why it makes you feel “alive.” The why is probably going to be harder than describing the activity, but make sure you do it.
Try to connect to relevant elements of Haas’ Four Principles without parroting them mindlessly.
Haas MBA essay #2
What kind of leader do you aspire to be and why? (300 words max)
How do you define “leader” in this dynamic environment? What qualities do you need to develop further to be a successful leader?
Can you give an example of a time when you succeeded in a leadership role by revealing some of the qualities required for leadership, as you define it? That example would serve as a great start to this essay. Then acknowledge what you need to develop and improve to become the kind of leader you really want to be. If your example also reveals that you share Haas’ 4 principles you will further strengthen your case for admission.
Watch: Eric Askins, Executive Director of Admissions discusses how the adcom looks at an application
Haas MBA supplemental information
- If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.
The most common reason for not asking a supervisor for a letter of recommendation is that you feel doing so will limit your opportunities for good projects and advancement. It is a perfectly acceptable reason for not requesting a recommendation from a specific supervisor.
You can then request one from a supervisor who has left the firm or perhaps a supervisor at a company where you worked previously.
- List, in order of importance, up to five significant community and professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Include the following information for each 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
- 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.
- 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.)
If you need to answer anything except “N/A” to this question, don’t even think of writing “N/A.” If admitted, Haas will do a background check and lying on the app is worse than disclosing what happened.
If you do have to write about any of the topics in this question, make sure you briefly describe what happened, take responsibility for any mistakes, and discuss what you learned as a result. Do not whine about the unfairness of it or blame others.
Haas MBA Optional Information
We invite you to help us better understand the context of your opportunities and achievements.
- What is the highest level of education completed by your parent(s) or guardian(s)?
• No High School
• Some High School
• High School Graduate
• Some college or university
• Associate’s degree (2-year)
• Bachelor’s degree
• Master’s degree
• Doctoral or professional degree
• Decline to state
- What is the most recent occupation of your parent(s) or guardian(s)?
• Skilled worker
- If you were raised in one of the following household types, please indicate.
• Raised by a single parent
• Raised by an extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
• Raised in a multi-generational home
• Raised in foster care
- If English was not the primary language spoken in your childhood home, please indicate.
- If you have ever been responsible for providing significant and continuing financial or supervisory support for someone else, please indicate.
• Extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)
Please elaborate on any of your above responses. Alternatively, you may use this opportunity to expand on other hardships or unusual life circumstances that may help us understand the context of your opportunities, achievements, and impact. (300 words maximum)
Simply and honestly answer the short answer questions and then elaborate in the space provided if relevant, or use this essay to discuss hardships, disadvantages, or “unusual circumstances” that are the context for the rest of the application.
In providing that context, especially when talking about hardships overcome, provide enough information for the admissions committee to understand the hardship, but not so much that you end up writing a pity essay or you end up appearing somehow “damaged” or broken. Overcoming hardship can strengthen a person. That’s the kind of image you want to create if you choose to write on the topic. Yes, you may have experienced something difficult, maybe even tragic or terrible, but you have overcome this and are stronger as a result. The reader’s reaction? Admiration, not pity.
For an example, listen to Ida Valentine: Investment Banker, Inspirational Speaker, HBS 2021.
Haas MBA Additional Optional Information
This section should only be used to convey relevant information not addressed elsewhere in your application. This may include explanation of employment gaps, academic aberrations, supplemental coursework, etc. You are encouraged to use bullet points where appropriate.
The point of any responses to this question should be to provide context for events, usually negatives, while at the same time conveying that the context no longer exists or no longer affects your performance. It’s also a good idea to provide evidence that you have moved past that circumstance and are performing at the level required by a top MBA program like Haas.
For expert guidance with your Berkeley Haas MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Berkeley Haas’ MBA program and look forward to helping you too!
Source for questions: Haas website
Berkeley Haas 2022 – 2023 MBA application timeline
|Application Deadline||Decision Notification|
|Round 1||September 22, 2022||December 15, 2022|
|Round 2||January 5, 2023||March 23, 2023|
|Round 3||April 6, 2023||May 11, 2023|
Source: The deadline chart can be viewed inside Berkeley Haas’ online MBA application.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2023 Profile
Here is a look at the UC Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2023, taken from the Haas website.
Class size: 291
Years of work experience:
- Average: 5.5
- Middle 80% range: 3.8-8.0
U.S. minorities (Includes U.S. citizens and permanent residents who identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Multiethnic): 49%
Underrepresented minorities (Includes U.S. citizens and permanent residents who identify as Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Multiethnic): 23%
Countries represented: 46
- Average: 3.67
- Middle 80% range: 3.34-3.93
- Average: 726
- Middle 80% range: 690-760
GRE verbal score
- Average: 161
- Middle 80% range: 155-168
GRE quant score:
- Average: 162
- Middle 80% range: 155-168
Top Undergraduate majors:
- Engineering: 24%
- Economics: 17%
- Business commerce: 15%
- Social sciences: 14%
- Natural Sciences: 7%
- Finance: 7%
- Arts/Humanities: 5%
- Computer sciences: 2%
- Math: 1%
- Other: 8%
- Consulting: 22%
- Financial services: 17%
- High Technology / Electronics: 12%
- Health / Pharma / Biotech: 9%
- Consumer products / Retail: 7%
- Not-for-profit: 7%
- Government: 5%
- Military: 5%
- Real Estate: 3%
- Energy: 3%
- Other: 10%
Which MBA program is right for you? Want to know which schools to target for your best chance of admission? Check out these resources to help you in your decision:
- GMAT, GPA, and MBA Acceptance Rates: The B-School Selectivity Index
- How to Apply to the Best Med Schools for You, a podcast episode
- Top MBA Programs Get STEM-Certified to Attract Int’l Students
- Which MBA Program is Right for Me? The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an MBA Program
Getting into Haas, or any of the top-tier MBA programs, is very competitive. Our MBA Services Packages have all you need to get you there. We’ll match you with an experienced admissions consultant who will work with you one-on-one to create an outstanding application and prepare you to ace your interview. So give yourself the edge and get ACCEPTED!
By Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted. Linda earned her bachelors and MBA at UCLA, and has been advising applicants since 1994 when she founded Accepted. Linda is the co-founder and first president of AIGAC. She has written or co-authored 13 e-books on the admissions process, and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, Poets & Quants, Bloomberg Businessweek, CBS News, and others. Linda is the host of Admissions Straight Talk, a podcast for graduate school applicants. Want an admissions expert to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!