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Berkeley Haas Mba Essays Examples

Haas School of Businessat University of California Berkeley is both highly selective and a small class. With a much larger admissions pool than the school can admit, it’s important to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate fit with the culture and program. This year the essays have significantly changed, but continue to ask for creativity from applicants.

The Haas admissions committee has a series of videos and podcasts posted on the website that are worth reviewing for their key insights and tips.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has successfully coached applicants to the Haas MBA each admissions year. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you set a winning application strategy.

ESSAY #1
Tell us a six-word story that reflects a memorable experience in your life-to-date. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to you. (250 words maximum)

The Haas admissions committee has their own six word stories in each profile, check them out for great examples.

Think of your six-word story as a compelling headline for the memorable experience you will describe. Just as journalists write the headline after the story, it will be easier to start with the elaboration and then encapsulate it in a pithy and captivating six-word story.

Haas has asked creative and open-ended questions for many years, and this is another version of that kind of essay. Brainstorm the most compelling story you can, preferably one that shows your diversity of experience. Ideally your experience also reveals something about you.

For example, we worked with a client who had a dramatic story about surviving a plane crash. The first time we read the draft it was highly exciting, but missed any description of his actions and what it meant to him. We worked on the meaning of the story and ended up with both a compelling and memorable narrative, and a story about leading through uncertainty, as he worked to help his fellow passengers through language barriers and lack of medical training.

Once you have written your own story, think about that six-word headline. You should reveal some of the plot while leaving enough to the imagination to grab your readers interest.

ESSAY #2
Respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words maximum)
• Describe a significant obstacle you have encountered and how it has impacted you.
• Describe how you have cultivated a diverse and inclusive culture.
• Describe a leadership experience and how you made a positive and lasting impact.

The admissions committee is open to either professional or personal experiences in this essay. Think about what you have described in the prior essay and the stories you may use in the next one. What aspects of your background, experiences, and values have yet to be highlighted? This may be the right place to explore those elements.

This essay asks a behavioral question (“Describe” is the operative word) and you will want to briefly explain the situation, then explain in depth how you thought, felt and acted in the situation. If you choose the middle option and describe how you have cultivated a diverse and inclusive culture, make sure you have specific examples of what you did and how you did it.

Perhaps you first recognized that a diverse culture was needed in your workplace or extracurricular activity, then you researched how you could improve the situation, finally you took action and followed through to a result. If you faced challenges and stumbling blocks it will be interesting to read how you overcame them. It will be tough to provide detail in 250 words, so be selective and specific as you tell your story.

ESSAY #3
1. Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goals. (50 words maximum)
2. How have prior experiences motivated and prepared you to pursue these goals? (250 words maximum)

This is a short career goals essay and asks you to describe your immediate goals succinctly and then how your past experiences have led you to those goals. path to business school along with your future goals. You should not focus on reciting your entire resume here – rather highlight the key experiences that will be relevant in your future career. Think about the experiences you would describe in a cover letter for your post-MBA job application, and tailor your approach accordingly.

Be specific about why the Haas School of Business is the right program to pursue your goals as well. As you consider past experiences and your future goals you will be able to see what you want to gain from the Haas experience to fill any gaps.

For example, If you have an advertising background and want to become a brand manager you’ll likely need classes in operations and finance to understand the analytical side of brand management. Other goals will require specific skills gained from an MBA and your own unique background will inform how you take advantage of the Haas experience.

OPTIONAL ESSAY
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

Note that there is a specific place to indicate that you won’t have a recommendation from your current supervisor in the supplemental information section, so you do not need to explain that here in the optional essay.

Haas recommends using this space to address any information that was not adequately covered elsewhere, specifically suggesting that any employment gaps or lack of apparent quantitative skills be covered.

If you have a strong quantitative background like an engineering or hard sciences degree, or you work in a quantitative field like finance, it is likely unnecessary to further explain your quantitative skills.Otherwise, you may want to take one or two examples to demonstrate that you have an analytical mind and can take a quantitative approach to problem solving and evaluating data.

As the question specifically asks you not to focus on the grades on your transcript, use this space to describe projects at work, additional post-graduate coursework, or your plans to strengthen your quant skills before you enroll at Haas.

A short gap between school and a secured job is not necessary to explain, but an unexplained gap of several months between two jobs should be addressed. If your resume has significant employment gaps you should describe what you did between jobs in this space. Ideally you can point to additional education, training, volunteering or traveling that you engaged in while unemployed.

Reapplicants can describe hard improvements to your candidacy such as an improved GMAT score, new grades from quantitative classes, or a promotion. Other improvements might include refined career goals and additional leadership responsibilities at work or within a volunteer activity.

This entry was posted in Application Tips, UC Berkeley Haas Advice and tagged application essays, Berkeley MBA, essay advice, Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, Haas MBA, Haas School, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
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My comments are in blue throughout. The black font represents quotes from Haas, which provides excellent resources and advice on its web site. In a nutshell, Haas kept the basic structure of its app similar to last year's, but really changed the essay questions, #1 in a dramatic way. Essay 1 is entirely new and distinctive among MBA essay questions. Please see 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 industries, backgrounds, and cultures. 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 thoughtful and authentic responses that demonstrate your fit with our program - culturally, academically, and professionally.

Below are the required essay and optional essays for Fall 2018.

Required Essays:

Essay 1

Tell us a six-word story that reflects a memorable experience in your life-to-date. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to you. (250 words maximum)

Tip: A successful six-word story will pique the reader’s interest in the forthcoming explanation. Together, the story and explanation 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. View sample six-word stories and video tips from the admissions committee.

First off, I strongly encourage you to watch the video and review the examples linked to above. Then follow these steps:

1. Think about what you want Haas to know about you that isn't covered in the other essays or information that you provide. Realize that by asking this question, Haas is seeking to get to know you better. They want to glean "insight into your character, values, and how you will contribute to the Berkeley-Haas community." This is a great place to show fit with Haas and its Four Principles (or at least some of them).

2. Then choose the six words that best reflect this memorable experience, and perhaps make them curious to know more. Haas says contractions are OK, and perfect grammar isn't necessary. The “what” clearly isn’t nearly as important as the “why.”

3. The elaboration – the why – is where the rubber meets the road in this question. You may have to briefly provide context so the reader will know what you're talking about and elaborate on the significance of those six words. Most of those 250 words should be devoted to why the event is important and the meaning you ascribe to it.

Please note that the six words and subsequent elaboration are supposed to focus on one experience, not your whole life or several experiences.

Essay 2

Respond to oneof the following prompts: (250 words maximum)

• Describe a significant obstacle you have encountered and how it has impacted you.

• Describe how you have cultivated a diverse and inclusive culture.

• Describe a leadership experience and how you made a positive and lasting impact.

Tip: Responses can draw from professional or personal experiences. Through your response, the admissions committee hopes to gain insight into your achievements, involvement, and leadership footprint.

These prompts are all new this year, but like last year, you select the prompt you want to respond to.

First decision: Which to choose? Select the one that you can answer most easily and enthusiastically and that complements the other essays and information found elsewhere in your application. Please note that the first and third prompts are asking for one experience or one obstacle. While the second prompt isn't as specific, the pattern in Haas' questions suggests that they would prefer an experiential focus to your response. In most places in the application, 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, answer the question in full.

Try to choose an event that illustrates you identifying with at least one of Haas’ Four Principles.

Essay 3

1. Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goals. (50 words maximum)

2. How have prior experiences motivated and prepared you to pursue these goals? (250 words maximum)

Tip: You are encouraged to reflect on both what you want to do professionally after business school and why this path interests you.

Last year's Essay 3 was also a goals question, but it was less structured and specific, and gave you a little more room.

For #1, focus on the function you want to perform and the industry in which you want to perform it. If geography is relevant, include it. Note that this question is about your "immediate" post-MBA goal, not long-term.

For #2, focus on what is motivating you to pursue this goal and how past experiences have prepared you to achieve it. One possible approach: start with an achievement and then discuss how this experience reflects both your preparation for this kind of work and your motivation.

Optional Essay

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 examples suggest that the admissions committee is not seeking info about an unusual hobby or personal challenge. 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 application, check out 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 application.

2018 Application Deadlines:

***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.

 

Related Resources:

• Exploring the Haas MBA: An Interview with Peter Johnson, podcast episode
• Which B-School is the Best for You?
• Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!

This articleoriginally appeared on blog.accepted.com.

Applying to a top b-school? The talented folks at Accepted have helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to their dream programs. Whether you are figuring out where to apply, writing your application essays, or prepping for your interviews, we are just a call (or click) away.

Contact us, and get matched up with the consultant who will help you get accepted!

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