Haas is a great option for those of you interested in learning about innovation within a general management program at a top university. It’s also well known for its diversity and small and collaborative student body. To top it all off, Berkeley is in one of the greatest cities in America! No, Haas is not paying me to say all this but I decided to write something when, talking to some of my new students, I realized that there are a number of people unfamiliar with the Haas MBA program. Some of my most impressive students have gone on to Haas over the last few years (and love it and have done well) and so I have a pretty good impression of the school.
Below, please find the deadlines and essay questions along with my comments in orange:
**The on-line application will be available mid-August, according to their website.**
Deadlines (before midnight Pacific time)
Round 1: October 20, 2009 (decision date: January 27, 2010)
Round 2: December 10, 2009 (decision date: March 17, 2010)
Round 3: February 2, 2010 (decision date: April 28, 2010)
Round 4: March 10, 2010 (decision date: May 19, 2010)
Fall 2010 Essay Questions
Listed below are the supplemental questions, short answer questions, required essays, and optional essays for the fall 2010 application.
Supplemental Questions: [ I will not provide any comments to the Supplemental Questions as they should be self-explanatory; brief answers and lists are fine here.]
- If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain; otherwise, enter N/A.
- 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.
- 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.
- Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
- Beyond the courses that appear on your academic transcripts, please discuss other ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities.
- 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.)
- What are you most passionate about? Why? (250 word maximum)
Haas wants to learn more about you through this question. There is no right or wrong response, and the answer could be something concrete like a hobby or it could be completely abstract, like a life philosophy or belief. Whatever you choose, it should be something that will allow the admissions committee to understand you better. I do have this piece of advice, though: choose something that will balance out the rest of your essays, and it is great if you have something personal to talk about. If you look at the rest of the essay question set, you’ll see that most of the questions ask about career-related experiences. I would avoid saying things like “I am most passionate about working hard” or “I am most passionate about my career”; you want to show that you have some balance in your life!
2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250 word maximum)
When choosing a topic for this question, be sure you don’t overlap with the innovation question below (#3) or the leadership question (Required Essay 1). You can select a non-work experience to discuss as well. For example, if you feel that your greatest accomplishment is overcoming a long-term illness or some other personal obstacle, you can certainly use that story for this essay.
3. At Haas, we value innovation and creativity. Describe a time when you created positive change in a group or an organization. (250 word maximum)
They changed this essay question slightly this year (in the past they asked for a creative problem-solving/solution example); the question seems a bit more open-ended now. Haas is a school that prides itself on innovation, and so likewise they are looking for applicants with the same mindset. What is an example of a time when you took initiative to introduce something new? They are looking for examples of new and creative solutions or ways of doing things. Try to think of a time when you changed something, created or invented something, thought of a new solution (etc.). Discuss how you thought of this and implemented it and briefly what the impact was.
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)
Quite frankly, a number of applicants apply to Haas with a personal preference for Stanford. The two schools share many similar qualities, including an innovation-based curriculum, small community, and location near Silicon Valley. Haas needs to be sure that you are sincere about your interest in their school, that you are not considering it simply as a safety net in case you don’t get accepted to Stanford! This is why you are asked here to write a separate essay simply discussing how you have researched their program and how you decided to apply. (Please note this is different from the goals essay in which you explain in more detail how you will use the resources at Haas.) Be sure to mention any campus visits, conversations with Haas students, alumni/ae, and/or staff, attendance at Haas events, etc. And be sure you sound sincere and specific.
- Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 word maximum)
This is a straightforward question in which you have to talk about a time when you took initiative to create a positive impact. The best example should be a recent experience from work, although the most important thing is to look at the rest of your essay set to see what examples you have already used. Make sure that whatever example you use that you show balance and sufficient professional leadership experience.
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 word maximum)
This is also a straightforward question asking about your goals, how your experiences have led you to your goals, and how you believe you will use the resources at Haas to help you reach those goals. Since Haas has a relatively unique curriculum and philosophy, make sure that you convey well the fit between their program and your professional and academic goals.
- (Optional) 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)
This is a very open-ended question and you may write another essay here. Look at the rest of your essay set; if there is another compelling story which you have not had a chance to tell, please use this space to write it. If you feel the regular essays already represent you fully, then don’t feel obligated to write this optional essay. It is better to leave it blank than to write another essay that doesn’t add significant value to your candidacy.
Reapplicants: Please read the specific instructions on Haas’ website regarding materials to update.