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MBA Admission Essays: Haas School of Business

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

Haas School of Business tasks its MBA applicants with three MBA admission essays; one focusing on a transformative experience, one essay focusing on a professional accomplishment, and one focusing on post-MBA ambitions.

Essay 1: Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world. How did this transform you? (400-500 words)

This question is testing your self-awareness. Can you articulate how something has shaped your life? Are you aware of what your biggest influences are?

You could take this question in two broad directions: recounting an experience that fundamentally changed your attitude or values in living your life, or recounting an experience that opened your eyes to something in the world around you.

Either way, make sure that your example follows a transformation narrative, explaining how you felt before the experience, what happened, what you learned, and how it changed you.

MBA Admission Essays

Haas’ other two MBA admission essays focus mostly on your professional record and ambitions, so I would use this essay to reveal a bit more about your personal background.

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Consider your childhood experiences, travels, challenges, family relationships and friendships for inspiration. And don’t be afraid to be a bit vulnerable. The MBA admissions board is eager to know about your most meaningful experiences- let them in.

Essay 2: What is your most significant professional accomplishment? (200-300 words)

You will need to do a lot of soul-searching to come up with an example that is truly representative of your leadership and character. Make sure that you can point to a specific and significant challenge, and that your impact did not merely increase your own rewards, but helped others as well.

Begin by illustrating the challenges that led up to your accomplishment. What difficulties did you face? What problems were you trying to solve? Then, specifically and clearly describe your accomplishment.

Provide concrete images, and where possible, use statistics to drive your point home. Then, close the essay by reflecting on the impact of your accomplishment. How did your achievement generate positive change? How did it impact others? What did you learn? How will you apply those lessons in the future, especially in business school?

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Essay 3: What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions: (500-600 words)

  • How is your background compelling to this company?
  • What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?
  • Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?This is a classic career question, made more specific (and more challenging) by the requirement that you name a specific company or organization. Your choice of company or organization should balance realism with ambition. You should show upward movement, instead of simply staying within your same role, or a similar position. If you are a career changer, you must illustrate how your current skillset will be an asset to the organization you name. If you are planning to return to your pre-MBA employer, you must point to additional responsibilities and roles you hope to take on.
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Haas has provided you with a pretty clear outline- follow their suggestion and answer each sub-question in the order they are given. Emphasize how your unique combination of experiences and roles will suit you to the path you have chosen.

Finally, name specific resources at Haas that will help you gain the additional skills you need to move into your next company. Avoid broad generalizations about the MBA- such as “the extraordinary network available” and the “fundamental business concepts” you will learn.

Every student is seeking those things. You must show what networking contacts you will need, or which business concepts you most want to learn. Take the broad advantages of MBA programs and tailor them to your own goals, to show a perfect fit.

For more information, visit Berkeley Haas’ website.

Deadlines: Round 1- October 1; Round 2- January 7; Round 3- March 11