Berkeley Haas MBA Essay 2023 – Analysis and Tips



Berkeley Haas has been at the vanguard of addressing inclusivity in business schools and beyond, seeking to foster a community that reflects genuine plurality in every sense of the word. 

As a result, Haas seeks individuals who display self- and situational awareness, which is an encouragement to be both introspective and genuine in your writings – and a requirement to conduct research that goes beyond a website review.

Berkeley Haas has one of the smallest classes among top-tier MBA programs with around 300 students admitted every year. The class of 2023 consisted of 291 students with an average GMAT score of 726 and average work experience of 5.5 years

Getting into such a highly selective MBA program requires you to ace every component of your application particularly the essay section.

Berkeley Haas MBA essay analysis and tips

In this article, we’ll look at the Berekely Haas essay prompts for the 2023 intake and present their analysis to help you write essays that impress the Berkeley Haas MBA admissions committee.

Berkeley Haas MBA essays 2023

Essay 1

What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)

Essay 2

What kind of leader do you aspire to be and why? (300 words max)

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.

Optional Information #1

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

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 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)

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.

Berkeley Haas MBA essay 2023 analysis

Essay 1

What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)

The admissions committee wants to know how your decisions have been affected by outside factors and what drives you. The committee that decides who gets into the MBA program looks at more than 2,000 applications every year. The essays help them choose people who will be good in the classroom and will be able to reach their career goals after they get their MBA.

Here are some tips on answering this UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay question.

Go Beyond your job and grades

Your response to this essay question should demonstrate your level of enthusiasm for the topic at hand. The admissions committee at UC Berkeley wants to make sure that you can be a valued member of their community in addition to having good academics and a professional job.

You can write about a sport that has always played a key role in your life, or you can discuss your broad involvement in community activities. 

This essay question has no right or wrong answer. The essay should not, however, appear as if you have written on something merely because you were assigned to do so. Make it clear how much you enjoy the activity and how it makes you feel when you are a part of it.

Use anecdotes to back up your claims.

To fill a relatively small MBA class, the UC Berkeley Haas admissions committee must go through a large number of applications. 

Your essays for the UC Berkeley Haas MBA program will have a good chance of being one of a kind if you follow these simple guidelines. Many applicants, whether they’re involved in community service, sports, the arts, or something else, may submit essays that sound a lot like yours. 

Anecdotes that indicate your personal engagement in the topic you’re writing about are essential if you want to build a compelling argument for yourself.

Using examples from your own experience might help you establish a personal connection with your audience. You can use these examples to demonstrate to the admissions committee your potential value to the UC Berkeley Haas community.

Think of ‘Why’ over ‘What’

Your ability to recall and share personal examples from your own experiences while performing an activity that piques your interest is commendable. In order for your reaction to have the desired effect on the reader, you must be able to explain why you are experiencing the burning sensation while performing whatever action you have chosen.

This MBA essay’s ‘why’ section might assist you in revealing your innate abilities and qualities. Undertake you feel better at ease because of the work you do in the community? Do you participate in this sport because it gives you such a rush of adrenaline? Do you have the ability to lead a team of people to complete challenging community service projects? Something must compel you to care so much about it. You must identify the source of your inspiration and the impetus for your actions.

Do you want to impress the Berkeley Haas Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Essay 2

Your capability to lead others is key to this Berkeley MBA essay, as well as your insight into your own leadership qualities and the desire to develop these capabilities further. Individual and external factors must be balanced in order to answer this question, which can be considered as a “why MBA” inquiry with a focus on vision and adaptability.

Here, a powerful introduction might be made by defining your leadership skills and then providing particular examples of how you’ve proven them. Once you’ve addressed the “why” of the assignment, you can move on to discussing the areas in which you believe you can do better. 

In order to be a good leader, you need to think about the impact you want to make in the industry or on your coworkers. A good opportunity to show how your leadership skills will help you achieve your career goals is here.

Your essay can then focus on developing the leadership abilities you’ll need during a Haas MBA program. To be considered for admission to the Haas MBA program, candidates must exhibit a thorough understanding of the program’s goals and objectives, as well as an awareness of how their leadership potential and community involvement match with those goals. Attending informational workshops or talking to former students can be beneficial in this regard.

Optional Question 1

Please bear in mind that this MBA essay is entirely optional, so there is no need to feel pressured into making a big deal out of something little in order to add extra content to your application. Spend some time thinking about it, and then explain to the admissions committee how the events brought up in their questions or in other scenarios impacted you.

Haas is interested in uncovering the less obvious variables that have had a greater impact on the lives, opportunities, decisions, and character of candidates. 

Overall, Haas is aiming to acquire a better grasp of the background from which a candidate has evolved, both professionally and personally. 

This includes both the candidate’s past experiences and their current ones. 

In case you go ahead and answer these optional questions, remember that these questions encourage you to reflect on your mindset and the extent to which you are able to bounce back from challenges. 

The most important part of this essay is that you rapidly set the context, and then you expand on how you dealt with the circumstance, as well as how much you matured as a result of it.

It is essential to keep in mind that you should steer clear of engaging in a “blame game” and instead concentrate on determining the factors that led to your actions. 

The most crucial thing for you to do is to give an explanation (or account) for your actions and briefly comment on the reasons why the scenario was challenging for you. After all, overcoming adversity to achieve one’s goals is an essential component of resilience.

Do you want to impress the Berkeley Haas Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Optional Essay 2

You should think carefully about how to answer this question because writing an essay that isn’t required gives the person reading the applications more work to do. 

This is a good place to talk about special circumstances that have affected your academic or professional background, to talk about weaknesses in your application, or explain why you chose an unusual recommender. 

The wording of this question is broad enough that you may also choose to talk about a part of your background that isn’t shown in other application components.

However, you will need to show good judgment in doing so, which means that the information should be of a kind that makes a real difference to your application, and you should sum up the information as briefly as possible.

Supplemental Information

In the UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay section, in addition to the two required essays, there are a number of essay-type questions that you can choose to answer or not. 

The supplemental essays can help you show more about who you are, what you’ve done, and where you come from. Check out the UC Berkeley Haas MBA application’s optional essay questions:

  • If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.
  • 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
    • The average number of hours spent per month

If not applicable, enter N/A.

  • 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 not applicable, enter N/A.
  • 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 applicable, enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission).

These essay questions can be looked at from two different points of view. First, you can either answer all of the questions or only the ones that apply to you.

For example, if you haven’t sent a letter of recommendation with your UC Berkeley Haas MBA application or if you’ve ever been put on probation or suspended for disciplinary reasons, you can answer only those questions. 

Or, you can choose to answer the questions to help the admissions committee learn more about you. For example, you could talk about an accomplishment that you couldn’t discuss anywhere else in your application or the part-time jobs you had in high school or college.

Let us help you get into Berkeley Haas

We will help you write essays that portray your unique strengths and experiences in the most favorable light so that your application shines above the rest. We have helped hundreds of students get into top US business schools. Let us help you too.

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