2023-2024 Berkeley Haas MBA Essay Analysis and Tips

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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 250 students admitted every year. The class of 2024 consists of 247 students with an average GMAT score of 729 and average work experience of 5.6 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 Berkeley Haas essay prompts for the 2024 intake and present their analysis to help you write essays that impress the Berkeley Haas MBA admissions committee.

Berkeley Haas MBA essays 2024 intake

Essay 1

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

Essay 2

How will an MBA help you achieve your short-term and long-term career goals? (300 words max)

Essay 3 (Video)

The Berkeley MBA program develops leaders who embody our four Defining Leadership Principles. Briefly introduce yourself to the admissions committee, explain which leadership principle resonates most with you, and tell us how you have exemplified the principle in your personal or professional life. (Not to exceed 2 minutes.)

Essay 4 (Short Answer)

Can you please describe any experience or exposure you have in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging whether through community organizations, personal, or in the workplace? (300 words max)

Optional Information

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.

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.

Supplemental Information

  • 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, 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
    • 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.
  • 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.)

Berkeley Haas MBA essay 2024 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.

Framework

  1. Start by introducing what truly excites you – whether it’s a sport, travel, or hobby that makes you come alive.
  2. Dive into why this passion ignites such a strong response, whether it’s the rush of adrenaline, a sense of purpose, or the joy of self-discovery.
  3. Conclude by summarizing your ongoing dedication to this pursuit, emphasizing the positive impact it has brought to your life.

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

How will an MBA help you achieve your short-term and long-term career goals? (300 words max)

Essay 2 Analysis

This question demands a comprehensive coverage of your short and long term goals within tight space constraints. It’s beneficial to review other essays, observing how they craft narratives despite word limits. By identifying common writing patterns, you can devise strategies for your own response. The essence of a successful essay for this question lies in preparedness, effort, and shaping a clearly defined outline.

How to write Essay 2

Focus on transitions

Establishing effective linkages between your short-term and long-term goals is crucial to create a flow of ideas and a coherent thought process in your MBA application.

When discussing your short-term goals, lay down a foundation that paves the way for your long-term aspirations.

View your short-term goals as integral stepping stones toward your future. Emphasize the significance of these short-term objectives as valuable experiences that are essential for achieving your long-term ambitions.

As you transition to your long-term goals, draw the connection by highlighting how your short-term achievements and skills will contribute directly to your larger vision.

Conclude your discussion on long-term goals by emphasizing the pivotal role that pursuing an MBA plays in your journey. 

Create markers

The standard MBA application question about your short-term and long-term goals, utmost clarity in your responses is essential. Not only due to word limits, but also for demonstrating your consideration, efficient articulation, and a well-defined trajectory. Include explicit markers in your answers, specifying your desired location, envisioned role, and areas of focus. Evade vagueness by providing clearly outlined information that leaves no room for ambiguity.

Framework

  1. Start by outlining your short-term goals, briefly introducing your current job role, and explaining the origins of these aspirations.
  2. Elaborate on the significance of your short-term goals as essential stepping stones and valuable life lessons that will equip you for the journey toward your long-term objectives.
  3. Transition to your long-term goals, providing a clear outline of their importance and the broader impact you aim to achieve through their realization.
  4. Conclude by discussing the benefits an MBA will bestow upon your pursuit of these goals, highlighting the  role it will play in your path toward achieving your long-term goals.

Essay 3 (Video)

The Berkeley MBA program develops leaders who embody our four Defining Leadership Principles. Briefly introduce yourself to the admissions committee, explain which leadership principle resonates most with you, and tell us how you have exemplified the principle in your personal or professional life. (Not to exceed 2 minutes.)

Video Essay Analysis

The video essay condenses to approximately 300 spoken words within a two-minute span.

To excel, conduct thorough research on the defining principles. Prioritize not only refining your delivery, eye contact, and presentation skills, but also crafting a concise outline of your content.

It’s advisable to script your essay instead of improvising or relying solely on keywords. This approach minimizes retakes caused by errors or subtle issues that may go unnoticed during impromptu delivery. Writing down your essay aids in time efficiency and ensures a polished performance.

How to create the Berkeley Haas MBA Video Essay

Embody the ‘defining principles’

Among the four defining principles, ‘Question the Status Quo,’ ‘Confidence Without Attitude,’ and ‘Beyond Yourself,’ your video essay provides an avenue to showcase your affinity for one of these principles. After identifying the principle that resonates with you, illustrate how you’ve embodied it by surmounting challenges or instigating a movement.

Pinpoint an event and outline the strategic steps you initiated to drive its progress. Uncover the intrinsic significance of both the chosen principle and the project, illuminating the underlying reasons for your commitment. For instance, if ‘Question the Status Quo’ strikes a chord, delve into why challenging established norms holds personal value.

Remain concise

The brief time allotted aims to assess your ability to deliver a compelling ‘elevator pitch.’

Your task is to convincingly present yourself as a strong candidate with well-organized thoughts and ideas. Opt for a focused approach, avoiding radical departures or excessive verbiage.

Eliminate filler words like ‘umm,’ ‘ohh,’ and ‘ahh’ that may crop up due to nerves. Rehearse diligently to refine your delivery. Prioritize information directly related to answering the question, omitting unnecessary details.

Essay 4

Can you please describe any experience or exposure you have in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging whether through community organizations, personal, or in the workplace? (300 words max)

Essay 4 Analysis

This question aims to uncover your abilities as a team member, specifically your ability to enhance team dynamics by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

It seeks insights into your approach to self-education on DEI, facilitating discussions, creating an inclusive space for all members, and devising strategies to embed DEI principles in your endeavors. These aspects offer insights not only into your personal identity but also into your teamwork capabilities.

When discussing your experiences, choose to highlight initiatives such as established policies, corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, or extensive philanthropic volunteering engagements. This aligns with the question’s exploration of your awareness of justice and belonging. To ensure cohesiveness, focus on activities that have been ongoing for several years and that you are genuinely passionate about. Construct a narrative that delves into your motivation, intentions, and future aspirations. Illustrate these points through anecdotes while ensuring you address the aforementioned aspects.

How to write Essay 4

Research thoroughly

Take the time to read about DEI and delve into common practices within workspaces. Create a list encompassing key ideas, words, and phrases associated with DEI. Building this database of knowledge empowers you to discuss the topic with greater precision, highlighting your familiarity with its nuances and mechanisms. This initiative demonstrates your dedication to going beyond the basics of DEI, showcasing a deeper level of involvement that enhances your resume.

Please read this article to gain a deeper understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Common DEI Practices

  • Equal pay
  • Representation and inclusion
  • Unconscious bias training
  • Affinity groups
  • Mentorship and sponsorship programs
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Diversity recruitment strategies
  • Inclusive leadership training
  • Employee resource groups
  • Accessibility and accommodations
  • Cultural competency workshops
  • Employee surveys and feedback mechanisms
  • Diverse interview panels
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Intersectionality awareness

Framework for Essay 4

  1. Start by highlighting the specific attributes of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) that resonate with you. Explain why integrating DEI principles is significant for both your personal and professional spheres.
  2. Detail the actions you’ve undertaken to advance DEI. Whether through organizing events, engaging in volunteering activities, or implementing strategies within your workplace, emphasize how you’ve actively pursued DEI goals.
  3. Conclude by briefly outlining your future intentions for sustaining and expanding these efforts across all aspects of your life. Highlight how you plan to carry forward your commitment to DEI in all your future endeavors.

Optional Questions

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.

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.

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