UC Berkeley Haas MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines [2020 – 2021]

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Berkeley Haas MBA essay tips and deadlines 2020-2021

Haas changed one of its required essay questions this year. 

A few things haven’t changed. While Haas has made it very clear that you need outstanding academics to get in, they will not compromise their values to maintain those stats. The Four Defining Leadership Principles are taken very seriously by Haas’ administration and admissions team. You need to show you share and live by those principles if you are to receive serious consideration at Haas. The Four Principles are:

  1. Question the Status Quo

  2. Confidence Without Attitude

  3. Students Always

  4. Beyond Yourself

Keep those principles very much at the forefront of your mind as you prepare your Haas application.

Haas is one of the few schools that doesn’t have an essay about goals. Don’t be surprised, however, if you are asked about your goals and how Haas will help you achieve them when invited to an interview.

Haas School of Business Application Essays

Be sure to visit the Haas website which provides excellent resources and advice.

Haas MBA essay #1

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

This question asks about something that “makes you feel alive when doing it.” Since most of us like to feel alive, we’ll return to that kind of activity again and again for the sense of vitality it gives us. This activity could be a hobby. It could be a responsibility tied to giving in a community service activity. It could be something to do with nature. Hiking, scuba diving, parachuting, gardening, or thousands of other activities could fit the bill. Perhaps it’s something that ties you to your tradition and belief system. The possibilities are endless.

However, while the options may be limitless, the word count is not: 300 words. A possible structure for this essay would be to start with a vivid description of the activity and then go into why it makes you feel “alive.” The why is probably going to be harder than describing the activity, but make sure you do it.

Try to connect to relevant elements of Haas’ Four Principles without parroting them mindlessly.

Haas MBA essay #2

The definition of successful leadership has evolved over the last decade and will continue to change. What do you need to develop to become a successful leader?  (300 words max)

How do you define “leadership” in this dynamic environment? What qualities do you need to develop further to be a successful leader as you define it? 

Can you give an example of a time when you succeeded in a leadership role by revealing some of the qualities required for leadership, as you define it? ? That example would serve as a great start to this essay. Then acknowledge what you need to develop and improve to become the kind of leader you really want to be. .If your example also reveals that you share Haas’ 4 principles you will further strengthen your case for admission.

Haas MBA 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)

Simply and honestly answer the short answer questions and then elaborate in #6 if relevant or use this essay to discuss hardships, disadvantages, or “unusual circumstances” that are the context for the rest of the application.

In providing that context, especially when talking about hardships overcome, provide enough information for the admissions committee to understand the hardship, but not so much that you end up writing a pity essay or you end up appearing somehow “damaged” or broken. Overcoming hardship can strengthen a person. That’s the kind of image you want to create if you choose to write on the topic. Yes, you may have experienced something difficult, maybe even tragic or terrible, but you have overcome this and are stronger as a result. The reader’s reaction? Admiration, not pity.

For an example, listen to Ida Valentine: Investment Banker, Inspirational Speaker, HBS 2021.

Haas MBA 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.)

For expert guidance with your Berkeley Haas MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Berkeley Haas’ MBA program and look forward to helping you too!

Source for questions: Berkeley Haas website

Berkeley Haas 2020 – 2021 MBA application deadlines  

 Application DeadlineDecision Notification
Round 1September 24, 2020December 17, 2020
Round 2January 14, 2021March 25, 2021
Round 3April 5, 2021May 13, 2021

Source: The deadline chart can be viewed inside Berkeley Haas’ online MBA application.

Stay on top of MBA deadlines with the MBA Admissions Calendar!

[Click here to add the calendar to your Google calendar; or here to add the calendar to another app.]

***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions, and deadlines.***

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid In Your MBA Application Essays - Download your free guide!
by Linda Abraham, Accepted Founder

By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted. Linda earned her bachelors and MBA at UCLA, and has been advising applicants since 1994 when she founded Accepted. Linda is the co-founder and first president of AIGAC. She has written or co-authored 13 e-books on the admissions process, and has been quoted by The Wall Street JournalU.S. NewsPoets & QuantsBloomberg BusinessweekCBS News, and others. Linda is the host of Admissions Straight Talk, a podcast for graduate school applicants. Want an admissions expert help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!

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This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.

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