Category Archives: Berkeley

Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Essays for 2012-2013

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the Class of 2015. The Haas admissions team has trimmed down its essay count, going from six to five required essays in this year’s application, and shortening one essay from 1,000 to 750 words. Beyond that, there haven’t been too many dramatic changes this year, although the school’s new Essay #1 is definitely new and different.

Here are Haas’s essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays

  1. If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words)

    This question is new this year, and replaces another essay prompt that asked “What brings you the greatest joy?” We expect that many applicants will over-think this essay, and trick themselves into coming up with a song that is neither close to their hearts nor does a good job of expressing who you are. Admissions officers frequently say, “There is no right answer to our essay questions,” but this guidance is particularly true in this case. Do not be afraid at all to have a little fun with this essay. Ideally your response will be deeper than saying “‘Call Me Maybe’ expresses me best,” but if a fun pop song expresses some aspect of you very well, then so be it! We doubt that many applicants’ chances will be ruined by this essay… If anything, this is a chance to have a little fun and stand out from the pack. Completely stumped? Then don’t sweat it… Don’t feel the need to pull off an irrational gimmick here just to try to stand out.
  2. What is your most significant accomplishment? (250 words)

    This question carries over unchanged from last year. Ideally the story you choose will demonstrate at least one or two of the key themes in your application. All things being equal, a story from your professional life will serve you best, but don’t feel that your significant accomplishment MUST be from the workplace.
  3. Describe a time when you questioned an established practice or thought within an organization. How did your actions create positive change? (250 words)

    This question also carries over unchanged from last year. This question is quite specific as far as essay prompts go, and hits on what MBA admissions officers really wan to see in applicants: a willingness to go beyond the norm, go outside of their comfort zone, and improve on the status quo (and don’t miss the fact that “question the status quo” is one of the school’s four key principles). Note the second part and its emphasis on “positive change”… this also gets to the heart of the matter. They don’t want to just see that you question everything all the time, but rather than you do it when there’s an opportunity to make things better. Anyone can be a thorn in everyone else’s side, but how did you make a positive impact on the community or organization around you?
  4. Describe a time when you were a student of your own failure. What specific insight from this experience has shaped your development? (250 words)

    This question is also unchanged from before. Again, notice how Haas uses the second part to specifically call out what the admissions committee looks for in your response. As we always advise with “failure” questions, this is the real meat of the essay — illustrating what you learned and, ideally, describing a later time when you put that lesson to work. These essays are all very short, so that last part may not make the final cut, but be sure to give enough emphasis to what you learned. In an essay this short, it’s easy to finish describing the failure and then realize you’ve already hit the word limit; you can’t afford to let that happen here.
  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 words for 6a. and 6b.)

    This question also carries over unchanged from last year, although the word limit has dropped from 1,000 to 750 words. Once again, we find it interesting how Haas so specifically calls out what it wants to see in your response. This question is essentially the typical “Why an MBA? Why this school?” essay that most schools ask, although Haas makes an effort to explicitly call out parts a and b, which suggests that past applicants haven’t sufficiently answered both parts — especially the “Why Haas?” part. Ask yourself these questions: Where do you see yourself in a few years (and beyond that), and why do you need an MBA to get there? Specifically, why do you need a Haas MBA to get there? Why not another top-ten MBA program? Really force yourself to answer that question, even if not all of your answer makes its way into your final essay response!

To stay on top on all of the latest news about Haas and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Get to Know: Haas School of Business

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is very popular among applicants. In fact, these days only Harvard and Stanford consistently have lower acceptance rates than Haas. The school’s “Confidence Without Attitude” mission is very appealing to recruiters, especially in the post-meltdown environment that has companies looking for ethics in their new MBA hires.

Are you thinking about applying to Haas? How do you know if the school really is a good fit for you? here are five reasons why UC Berkeley may be the perfect school for you to target for your MBA experience:

You are interested in green technology
Few other business schools offer any curriculum at all in the field of renewable energy or cleantech, and even fewer have demonstrated a commitment to leading these fields forward into the future.

You’re interested in the business of technology
Whether you want to develop software, or develop a software company, Haas is a great place to expand your expertise in the areas of product development and product management, the management of innovation, and bringing new technology ideas to market.

You might want to go into healthcare
Haas has great support for educating future leaders in healthcare. Berkeley is known for its joint MBA/MPH (Master’s in Public Health) program, and they offer a Graduate Program in Health Management as well. Haas is a natural fit for someone interested in tackling some of the biggest problems facing the world.

You’re a woman or a U.S. minority
As other top schools are doing, Haas is reaching out to women and to underrepresented ethnic groups, through programs and organizations such as the Forte Foundation and The Consortium. Haas hosts a Women’s Workshop and a Diversity Weekend in an effort to spread the word about its programs to these different groups. While Haas does not lower its standards for female or minority applicants, they do seem to be interested in improving the proportions of students in these categories and may give such candidates a closer look.

You have plans to start a nonprofit or social venture
One of the strongest business schools for nonprofit management has traditionally been Yale. Haas has similar strengths, with somewhat different emphasis on the innovation side. Someone considering an application to Yale for nonprofit might want to also consider Haas for similar reasons.

To stay on top on all of the latest news at Haas and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays for 2011-2012

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the Class of 2014. Haas made some big changes to its essays (lots of short ones!) this year’s so let’s dig in. Here are the school’s application deadlines and essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Haas Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 12, 2011
Round 2: December 1, 2011
Round 3: January 18, 2012
Round 4: March 7, 2012

Haas Admissions Essays
Before you dive into the essays, be sure to read the passage on the Haas admissions website. Last year this was used as a prompt for one of the school’s short-answer essays. Now, all of the essays are built off of this statement of the school’s principles.

  1. What brings you the greatest joy? How does this make you distinctive? (250 words)
    This question is new this year, although we consider it a distant cousin of last year’s question, which asked, “What are you most passionate about? Why?” We like this version better, perhaps because the old one reminded us too much of Stanford’s first essay question. Also, the choice of words — “What brings you the greatest JOY?” — makes this unique among business school essays. The key here is to write about something that you really, really care about. A good litmus test is this: How knowledgeable are you about the subject? Many applicants will be tempted to go bold and say something like “Fighting global warming is what I’m most passionate about,” because they feel like that’s just what one is supposed to say here, but then can’t back it up with facts. Admissions officers will see right through this, so avoid those temptations here.

    The latter half of this question — “How does this make you distinctive?” — is interesting because that’s almost the implied second half of every essay question that you’ll answer. We actually think that this may mislead some applicants because they’ll feel a need to choose a topic that based on “distinctiveness” rather than “joy.” We recommend at least starting with an emphasis on joy (What do you really, REALLY enjoy doing?), and then revisiting if it looks like you’re falling flat in the distinctiveness department.
  2. What is your most significant accomplishment? (250 words)
    This question carries over from last year, although Haas subtly rephrased it this year. Ideally the story you choose will demonstrate at least one or two of the key themes in your application. All things being equal, a story from your professional life will serve you best, but don’t feel that your significant accomplishment MUST be from the workplace.
  3. Describe a time when you questioned an established practice or thought within an organization. How did your actions create positive change? (250 words)
    This question is new this year. We like this a lot better than last year’s question that asked you to give “an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership.” This new question is far more specific, and gets closer to what MBA admissions officers really wan to see in applicants: a willingness to go beyond the norm, go outside of their comfort zone, and improve on the status quo (and don’t miss the fact that “question the status quo” is one of the school’s four key principles). Note the second part and its emphasis on “positive change”… this also gets to the heart of the matter. They don’t want to just see that you question everything all the time, but rather than you do it when there’s an opportunity to make things better. How did you make a positive impact on the community or organization around you?
  4. Describe a time when you were a student of your own failure. What specific insight from this experience has shaped your development? (250 words)
    This question is also new this year. Continuing a trend, notice how Haas uses the second part to specifically call out what the admissions committee looks for in your response. As we always advise with “failure” questions, this is the real meat of the essay — illustrating what you learned and, ideally, describing a later time when you put that lesson to work. These essays are all very short, so that last part may not make the final cut, but be sure to give enough emphasis to what you learned. In an essay this short, it’s easy to finish describing the failure and then realize you’ve already hit the word limit; you can’t afford to let that happen here.
  5. Describe a time when you led by inspiring or motivating others toward a shared goal. (250 words)
    This is another new question that is descended from last year’s “an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership” question. Haas clearly wants to dissect applicants’ leadership abilities at a much more granular level than it has in the past. Here, what the admissions committee wants to see is an ability to get things done through others, rather than a tendency to be a great contributor but not necessarily a leader. Other, similar questions from other schools as you to “win others over to your way of thinking.” While that’s not exactly what Haas asks here, think about this question that way if you’re having a hard time coming up with a story from your past experiences.
  6. 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? (1000 words for 6a. and 6b.)
    This question is an evolution of a similar one from last year. Once again, we find it interesting how Haas so specifically calls out what it wants to see in your response. This question is essentially the typical “Why an MBA? Why this school?” essay that most schools ask, although Haas makes an effort to explicitly call out parts a and b, which suggests that past applicants haven’t sufficiently answered both parts — especially the “Why Haas?” part. Ask yourself these questions: Where do you see yourself in a few years (and beyond that), and why do you need an MBA to get there? Specifically, why do you need a Haas MBA to get there? Why not another top-ten MBA program? Really force yourself to answer that question, even if not all of your answer makes its way into your final essay response!

To learn more about Haas and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Five Things We Like About the Haas School of Business

The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley draws applicants from all over the world. Given the school’s intimate learning environment and strong ties to Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that so many applicants apply to Haas every year. What does surprise us, though, is that so few of those applicants really know the school beyond its obvious strengths. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Haas applications.

If you’re considering applying to Haas, ask yourself: How do you know if Haas really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Haas admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at five things that we think really set Haas apart from other top business schools:

The Haas Culture
Regular reader of our blog know how much we like Haas’s culture. How that culture translates for students is in extensive collaboration inside and outside of the classroom. Teamwork is the cornerstone of the Haas experience. Small groups are formed in practically all classes, allowing students to exercise different team roles based on their interests and areas of expertise. Versatility is often a prized attribute of Haas students in the eyes of employers, and is one reason why the school places graduates into such a broad range of industries and functions.

Technology
One thing that really stands out about Haas is its focus on technology and the school’s ability to place students into the tech industry. Haas sends over 25% of each graduating class into the tech sector, which is high compared to other top tech programs like MIT and Stanford but about the same in absolute number of placements. This is of course enabled by the school’s proximity to Silicon Valley as well as the wealth of resources available on the larger Berkeley campus, particularly in the engineering school. Haas offers a distinctive Management of Technology certificate (open not just to business and engineering students but other UC Berkeley grad students as well, such as those in Environmental Design). The Haas Technology Club is one of the largest and most active student groups on campus. The Haas School even has a CIO (Chief Information Officer) featured on the Leadership page of its website.

Innovation
The Haas tagline for some time has been Leading through Innovation, and the Innovative Leader is now a hallmark of the school’s marketing message. The school combines theoretical and experiential learning opportunities to develop confidence and judgment for real-life situations. Industry thought leader Henry Chesbrough is a professor at Haas, and a deep set of electives in open innovation, product development, and design are natural complements to the strong entrepreneurship support expected from a top business school.

Social Entrepreneurship
Haas prides itself on being the preeminent institution for research, teaching, experiential learning, and community outreach in areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Woven into the core curriculum, Haas offers more than a dozen different programs and initiatives around social responsibility and business sustainability. Nonprofit management is also a focus here. With the University’s radical history and the very liberal government and policies in the surrounding City of Berkeley, it is to be expected that many are attracted to Haas because of an interest in changing the world. This is a positive quality that can be nurtured through the ecosystem of the Haas School, including the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and a specialized curriculum, plus a range of social venture courses.

Global Reach
While most top business school talk about having a “global perspective,” Haas is one of the few that combines its international focus with its emphasis on experiential learning. The International Business Development program places about 150 students a year in all corners of the globe for three-week consulting projects. This program allows students to confront and solve business challenges in unknown business settings, forcing them to apply innovative thinking and problem solving skills while developing a global business mindset. While the MBA itself is sometimes seen as a little regional — most graduates stay on the West Coast after finishing the program — Haas has an expanding network of connections in the business and academic communities around the world and 31% of full-time MBA students come from overseas.

To learn more about Haas and other top-ranked MBA programs, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

UC Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays for 2010-2011

Recently we wrote about the Haas application deadlines for the coming admissions season. Today we’ll dig into the school’s admissions essays. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:

Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Essays

Short Answers:

  1. What are you most passionate about? Why? (250 words)

    The key with this essay — which sounds very similar to Stanford’s famous “What matters most to you and why” question — is to write about something that you really, really care about. A good litmus test is this: How knowledgeable are you about the subject? Many applicants will be tempted to go bold and say something like “Fighting income inequality is what I’m most passionate about,” because they feel like that’s just what one is supposed to say here, but then can’t back it up with facts… and passion. Admissions officers will see right through this, so try any stunts here!

  2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250 words)

    This question also carries over from last year. Ideally the story you choose will demonstrate at least one or two of the key themes in your application. All things being equal, a story from your professional life will serve you best, but don’t feel that your significant accomplishment MUST be from the workplace.

  3. At Haas, our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles -— question the status quo; confidence without attitude; students always; and beyond yourself. Give an example of when you have demonstrated one of these principles. (250 words, Review Berkeley-Haas’ Defining Principles)

    This question is new this year, replacing a question that put emphasis on innovation and creativity. The fact that the admissions office directs you to the school’s defining principles sends a very clear message that those ideas/traits matter to Haas A LOT, and that the admissions office will be looking closely for evidence of those throughout your application, not just in this essay. Any of the four should make for a good starting point for a compelling essay, although we have noticed the admissions office frequently bring up the the “confidence without attitude” one in our discussions with them. If you’re unsure of which one to choose, we’d say go with that one.

  4. There are many ways to learn about our program, what steps have you taken to learn about the Berkeley MBA? (250 words)

    Haas slightly reworded this essay since last year, although it essentially remains the same. One subtle but importance difference: The addition of “There are many ways to learn about our program,” almost says to us, “Please skip past the obvious ones like our web site and brochures… Show us some real effort, please.” Our stance on essays like this is always the same: You’d better have better reasons for applying than “Because it’s a top-ten program!” The Haas admissions team seeks evidence that you’ve really done your homework on the school.

Required Essays:

  1. Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 words)

    This question has remained the same for the past several years. Haas hits on it directly: The admissions office wants you to show how you are a leader. This should give you a clear idea of how important this trait is to the Haas admissions office when evaluating applicants. You don’t need to have a big job title or have a team of ten people reporting to you. Think about any time when you showed leadership — maybe by overcoming an obstacle, or by helping a colleague or was struggling — regardless of your role or the circumstances.

  2. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? How will an MBA from Berkeley help you achieve these specific career goals? (1000 words)

    This question also carries over from last year. Note that last year Haas added the “post-MBA” part to the question, suggesting that some applicant had perhaps been speaking in terms that were too “big picture.” Pretty standard question here: Where do you see yourself in a few years (and beyond that), and why do you need an MBA to get there? Specifically, why do you need a Haas MBA to get there? Even though you will answer another “Why Haas”-type question, clearly it’s very important to the school that you answer this question.

For more news and advice on getting into Haas and other top business schools, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

UC Berkeley (Haas) Application Deadlines for 2010-2011

The Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley has published its application deadlines for the 2010-2011 admissions season. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:

Haas Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 13, 2010
Round 2: December 2, 2010
Round 3: January 20, 2011
Round 4: March 16, 2011

Like many other top business schools, Haas has moved its Round 1 deadline a bit earlier this year (by one week). However, unlike some other top schools, Haas won’t send your decision until mid-January, so you will have to have most of your Round 2 applications in order before you hear back from Haas. Most of the school’s other admissions deadlines also moved forward by a week or two, with the exception of the Round 4 deadline, which is actually about a week later than it was last year.

Note that Haas is fairly unique in that it actually has four rounds of admissions. You can use this to your advantage — this schedule gives you the option of applying at an “off-peak” time, such as early December, when you’re probably not yet cramming on a lot of other applications. Aiming for Round 1 and Round 2 is still your best bet, although we expect that Haas gets many more Round 3 applicants than most other schools do.

For more news and advice on getting into Haas and other top business schools, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

UC Berkeley (Haas) MBA Admissions Essays for 2009-2010

Recently we posted the Haas School of Business’ application deadlines for 2009-2010. The school’s admissions essays for the coming year are also now online. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:

Haas Application Essays

(Note that we present these essays in a different order than what you will see on the Haas web site.)

Required Essays:

  1. Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 words)

    (This question carries over from last year. Note how directly Haas hits on leadership with this question. This should give you a clear idea of how important this trait is to the Haas admissions committee. You don’t need to have a big job title or have a team of ten people reporting to you. Think about any time when you showed leadership — maybe by overcoming an obstacle, or by helping a colleague or was struggling — regardless of your role or the circumstances.)

  2. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? How will an MBA from Berkeley help you achieve these specific career goals? (1000 words)

    (This question carries over from last year, with the addition of “post-MBA” to the question. This is the fairly typical MBA essay question: Where do you see yourself in a few years (and beyond that), and why do you need an MBA to get there? Specifically, why do you need a Haas MBA to get there?)

Short answer:

  1. What are you most passionate about? Why? (250 words)

    (This question is new this year. It reminds us a little bit of Stanford’s “What matters most to you, and why?” question. The key here is to write about something that you really care about. A good litmus test is this: How knowledgeable are you about the subject? Many applicants will be tempted to go bold and say something like “Fighting hunger is what I’m most passionate about,” because they feel like that’s just what one is supposed to say here, but then can’t back it up with facts… and passion. MBA admissions officers will see right through this, so you need to discuss your true passions!)

  2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250 words)

    (This question carries over from last year. All things being equal, a story from your professional life will serve you best, but don’t feel that your significant accomplishment MUST be from the workplace.)

  3. At Haas, we value innovation and creativity. Describe a time when you created positive change in a group or an organization. (250 words)

    (This question also carries over from last year, although it’s worded a bit differently to take the emphasis off of an “innovative solution” you created and instead emphasize the impact you had on those around you. We consider this type of impact to be one of the real signs of leadership, so it’s not surprising that Haas asks for it in this essay. Ask yourself: What real, tangible impact did your solution have?)

  4. What steps have you taken to learn about the Berkeley MBA program, and what factors have influenced your decision to apply? (250 words)

    (This one also carries over from last year. Regular readers of this blog know how we feel… You’d better have better reasons for applying than “Because it’s a top-ten program!” The Haas admissions team seeks evidence that you’ve really done your homework on the school, and that you understand what about Haas makes it a great fit for you.)

Supplemental questions:

  1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain; otherwise, enter N/A.
  2. List in order of importance all community & professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, dates of involvement, offices held, & average number of hours spent per month.
  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.
  4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
  5. Beyond the courses that appear on your academic transcripts, please discuss other ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities.
  6. 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.)
    (Note the comment following that last question. If you have a black mark in your past, don’t try to hide it. Better to address it directly, explain what you learned and how you’ve changed, and move on.)

For more advice on applying to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, you can visit Veritas Prep’s Haas information page, and be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Deadlines for 2009-2010

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business recently released its admissions deadlines for the 2009-2010 admissions season. Haas has not yet released its new admissions essays, although you can review the Haas site to see last year’s essays and get a feel for what the school looks for in its applicants. Our comments follow in italics:

Haas Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 20, 2009
Round 2: December 10, 2009
Round 3: February 2, 2010
Round 4: March 10, 2010

(Haas has always managed its deadlines a little differently than other top schools, keeping four main application rounds. Like other top programs, Haas has moved up its Round 1 deadline this year by a couple of weeks, although its deadline falls in late October, rather than earlier in the month. However, note that Round 2 deadline on December 10 — that gives you a nice opportunity to pace yourself if you want to apply to Haas along with a handful schools that have Round 1 deadlines in October. However, if Haas is your first choice, we still recommend applying in Round 1 if you can.)

To plan your application strategy for Haas, visit the Veritas Prep UC Berkeley (Haas) information page. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

The Day the LSAT Died?

On November 7, the American Bar Association Journal posted an entry about a very interesting study being conducted at the UC-Berkeley School of Law. According to the ABA post, the study is being conducted by “researchers” and has unearthed tests that measure legal skills such as negotiation and problem solving (in addition to the rather ridiculous “skill” of stress management). The biggest news of all? Berkeley’s law school dean, Christopher Edley has announced that two professors have validated the test and is now pushing to take the study to a national level. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is taking a look and plans to help fund the research. Amazing!

Setting aside whether the LSAT is a valid test, or whether any test can (or should) assess “lawyering skills” (rather than the skills that would project well for law school success, which I don’t have to remind anyone, is a staging ground for more than just lawyers), it seems impossible that LSAC would ever throw its support behind any test other than its prized LSAT.

It is commendable that Edley and the good people at Berkeley are striving for a better test and the fairest possible assessment process, and I suppose that November 7 could go down as the day that the LSAT died, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

In the meantime, if you’re applying to law school, take a look at Veritas Prep’s law school application tips.

UC Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2008-2009

The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley has just released its application deadlines and admissions essays for the 2008-2009 season. Note that as of 7/16/08 Haas still notes on its web site that these are subject to change for the 2008-2009 application season. Our comments are in italics:

Haas Application Deadlines

Round 1: November 4, 2008
Round 2: December 9, 2008
Round 3: January 30, 2009
Round 4: March 11, 2009

(These are virtually identical to last year’s deadlines.)

Haas Admissions Essays

(Note that we have presented these in a different order than what you will see on the Haas web site.)

Required Essays:

  1. Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 word maximum)
  2. What are your short-term and long-term career goals? How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? Why do you want an MBA from Berkeley at this point in your career? (1000 word maximum)

Short Answer:

  1. If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be, and how would you do it differently? (250 word maximum)
  2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250 word maximum)
  3. At Haas, we value innovation and creativity. Describe an innovative solution you have created to address a specific challenge. (250 word maximum)
  4. What steps have you taken to learn about the Berkeley MBA program, and what factors have influenced your decision to apply? (250 word maximum)

Supplemental Questions:

(These are meant to accompany — and explain parts of — your Haas application data sheet, so we won’t dive into too much detail here.)

  1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain; otherwise, enter N/A.
  2. List in order of importance all community & professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, dates of involvement, offices held, & average number of hours spent per month.
  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.
  4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
  5. Please identify the course(s) you have taken or intend to take to demonstrate quantitative proficiency. Provide the course name, date, grade if any, and institution at which the course was or will be taken. If you wish, you may discuss other ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities.
  6. 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.)

(Note their comment in that last question. If you have a blemish in your past, don’t try to hide it. Better to address it directly, explain what you learned and how you’ve changed, and move on.)

Optional Essays:

  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)
  2. If you wish to be considered for the Haas Achievement Award (for individuals who have achieved success in spite of significant economic, educational, health-related and/or other obstacles), please use this space to address the obstacles you have overcome. (750 word maximum)

(The Haas application features a bunch of short questions that clearly hit on all of the attributes that they most look for in applicants — especially leadership, innovation, and maturity. Interestingly, there aren’t many changes from last year. The “What would you change about your life?” question is the biggest change vs. what was in last year’s application. This question provides for a better opportunity to demonstrate introspection than last year’s “Who would you invite to dinner?” question. The key with all of these, especially the Short Answer questions, is to answer the question asked! They hit on some big subject areas, so don’t waste any of your 250 words with each.)

For more advice on applying to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, visit our Haas information page.