Round 1: 27 September 2018

Round 2: 10 January 2019

Round 3: 4 April 2019


Over the years, Berkeley Haas has utilized some of the most innovative essay questions for its MBA program. As Haas is focused on discovering unique and innovative leaders, its application demands that its applicants not only understand the programme, but also thoroughly understand themselves.

Because of its small class size, Haas is naturally a highly competitive MBA. If you’re looking to maximize your chances of entry, as many of our Berkeley candidates have, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Tell us a six-word story that reflects a memorable experience in your life-to-date. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to you. (300 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.

One essay that changes your life.

This might seem like a daunting task, but it will only become one if you begin with the six-word story. It’s important to start this process backward. This question requires you to identify a very personal experience, something that will make you stand out, among a sea of potential students, as a unique individual.

Once you’ve locked onto a topic, you need to bring the reader into it: make him or her feel invested. With just 300 words, try to avoid writing something that is too narrative-focused; instead, delve into how you personally connected with this experience. Always keep in mind that Haas is trying to understand who you are and what has shaped you.

After you’ve drafted the body of your essay, you will be able to more easily identify what the main themes are. Then you need to think like an advertiser. Write out a series of 6-word descriptions that could attract a reader to your tale. Ask yourself: if I ran across one of these titles online, would I click to read more?

Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goal, and discuss how it will put you on a path to a meaningful and rewarding career. (300 words maximum)

Haas appreciates candidates who have big dreams, but they also want to make sure that those dreams are sensible. By looking at how your post-MBA objective connects with your long-term goals, Berkeley can evaluate how well you’ve thought through every step of your career.

In order to make this essay impressive and logical, you have to carry out some research to understand what sort of career path you’re likely to take. Every job choice has to contribute logically to the next, building your character, skills and network to deliver an ever-increasing impact. Looking at the histories of individuals who have achieved long-term goals that match yours could help you better understand your own potential path.

Finally, you need to pay special attention to the essay’s mention of “a meaningful and rewarding career.” Haas is a school that wants individuals who are socially attuned. They want you to not just pursue raw success, but to also find something that helps you and those around you grow. Therefore, utilize a portion of this essay to highlight how your professional experiences will contribute to some aspect of society.

Optional Information #1We invite you to help us better understand the context of your opportunities and achievements:

The admissions team takes a holistic approach to application review and seeks to understand all aspects of a candidate’s character, qualifications, and experiences. We will consider achievements in the context of the opportunities available to a candidate. Some applicants may have faced hardships or unusual life circumstances, and we will consider the maturity, perseverance, and thoughtfulness with which they have responded to and/or overcome them.

1. What is the highest level of education completed by your parent(s) or guardian(s)?

•      Did not complete high school

•      High school diploma or equivalency (GED) Associate’s degree (junior college) or vocational degree/license

•      Bachelor’s degree (BA, BS)

•      Master’s degree (MA, MS)

•      Doctorate or professional degree (MD, JD, DDS)

2. What is the most recent occupation of your parent(s) or guardian(s)?

•      Unemployed

•      Homemaker

•      Laborer

•      Skilled worker

•      Professional

3. 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

4. What was the primary language spoken in your childhood home?

5. If you have you ever been responsible for providing significant and continuing financial or supervisory support for someone else, please indicate:

•      Child

•      Spouse

•      Sibling

•      Parent

•      Extended family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, cousin)

•      Other

6. 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)

Berkeley is a strong believer that diversity and/or adversity can create stronger profiles. While the first series of questions only establishes a preliminary glimpse into your history, the final question asks you to either develop one of the previous answers or to talk about something trying or unique in your life.

As you explore potential examples, you don’t need to worry about trying to overly justify their weight. Berkeley does not expect every candidate to have suffered through an objectively life-changing event. What they want to understand is what you believe has subjectively shaped your life.

Optional Information #2 – 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.

You should only use this essay to explain away any problems in your profile. That means that you should absolutely avoid trying to wrench in another essay type into this section. However, if you do have some issues with your candidacy, do not miss this opportunity to tell Haas what went wrong.

When explaining away an issue there are essentially two approaches: context and correction. If you had a particular problem—for instance, you had poor grades in the third year of your university studies—you can choose to focus on a content answer: perhaps you were taking care of a sick relative during that year. However, a better explanation might go beyond explaining the context of an issue by exposing how you permanently corrected for it. As a continuation of the previous example, you could mention that your grades substantially improved and continued to stay exceptionally high in all your future academic endeavors. Try to convince the admissions committee, if possible, that the issue firmly rests in the past.

Published On: October 24th, 2018 / Categories: Berkeley Haas, Essay, MBA / Tags: , , , /