Haas School of Business Essay Questions and Tips

UC Berkeley Haas has a reputation for social responsibility and technology. It is a perfect school for entrepreneurial students interested in cleantech, healthcare, social ventures, and non-profits.

Essay 1

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

This essay asks about an activity that motivates you to be your best. Think of some activities that you like to engage in and then pick the most memorable activity that inspires you.

For example, if you are deeply involved in volunteer work, you may explain how you are successfully encouraging your community to reuse and reduce plastic to conserve the environment.

Essay 2

At Berkeley Haas, we are redefining leadership. We value different opinions and perspectives, recognizing that we always have more to learn about others’ lived experiences and histories. We encourage speaking up and listening, and courageously use our power to address barriers and drive change for positive impact.

Tell us how a Berkeley Haas MBA would enhance your leadership profile, incorporating specific examples. (300 words max) 

The first essay showcases your interests or passions, and the second essay focuses on professional accomplishments. Many of your professional experiences may be worthy of narration, but considering the word limit, it would be better to stick to one or two of your experiences.

Make a list of your professional achievements, and then select examples that align well with Haas’ principles. 

Optional Essays

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 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)

This short answer question requires an honest and straightforward approach. You can elaborate any of your above responses (1-5) in question 6, if you think some aspects of your personal or professional journey could be of relevance for admission. You could also use this space to discuss any hardship or unusual life circumstances to help the admission committee better understand 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 an explanation of employment gaps, academic aberrations, supplemental coursework, etc. You are encouraged to use bullet points where appropriate.