Scott Edinburgh
May 26, 2023

Berkeley Haas MBA Essays: 2023-2024

Berkeley Haas City View

Berkeley Haas has officially announced its essay questions for the 2023-2024 application cycle. If you are looking for an MBA program with a small class size and close-knit community, Berkeley Haas may be a great choice for you.

With around 300 students enrolled in each entering class, Berkeley Haas is one of the smallest top full-time MBA programs.

This past application cycle, Berkeley Haas admitted applicants with an average GMAT score of 729 and an average undergrad GPA of 3.64. The class of 2024 has an average of 5.6 years of pre-MBA work experience. Records also note that 46% of students identify as female and 41% of students have international citizenship.

In a statement introducing the 2023-2024 Berkeley Haas Application, Berkeley Haas shared the following:

Our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. We encourage you to reflect on your experiences, values, and passions so that you may craft thoughtful and authentic responses that demonstrate your alignment with our principles.

Below, please find Personal MBA Coach’s advice on how to tackle the Haas MBA essays.


Personal MBA Coach’s Tips on Mastering the Berkeley Haas 2023-2024 MBA Essays and Application:

Berkeley MBA Essay 1: What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)

With this short essay, get right to the point. This is a chance to talk about your true passions and what really drives you. For some applicants, this may be their job (but tread cautiously here). If your job is what truly drives you, be sure that you have a strong reason and can illustrate passion as you write. Extracurricular work also could fit well but be sure it is an area where you have emerged as a leader and/or have added substantial value. Be succinct and speak from the heart.

Be sure to include both the “what” and the “why.” While this is not the time to brag about accomplishments, an ideal answer will show something you have done to set yourself apart.

Berkeley MBA Essay 2: How will an MBA help you achieve your short-term and long-term career goals? (300 words max)

Berkeley Haas has changed its second essay this year, adding a classic “goals” essay. (Find out more about the most common MBA essay types and how to address them here.)

With only 300 words and directions to include both short-term and long-term goals along with how a Haas MBA will help, there is a lot to cover with limited space!

Often with a goals essay, we recommend that applicants cover their past successes before sharing their goals. However, with such a short essay, there is very little space to do so here! This means you need to set the context for your goals succinctly.

Next, you should share both your short-term and long-term goals, specifically. For more on how to develop compelling goals, check out this blog and video.

Finally, let the Haas admissions committee know why you need an MBA (and specifically a Haas MBA) to achieve these goals. To answer this question, think about your skills gaps — both technical and leadership — and what offerings at Haas will help you to address these gaps. Take the time to research Berkeley Haas’s offerings. Personal MBA Coach suggests being specific in detailing the opportunities you plan to take advantage of on campus and carefully articulate how each will position you to achieve your career aspirations.

Berkeley MBA Video Essay: 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.)

As is increasingly common, this year Berkeley Haas added a video component to its MBA application. For many years, Berkeley Haas has pressed candidates to define successful leadership. Instead of asking about leadership in an essay, Berkeley Haas has incorporated this leadership prompt into its video.

At 2 minutes, this video is longer than many other MBA videos. However, candidates have a lot to cover. In addition to introducing themselves, candidates should reflect on Haas’s four leadership principles and pick just one.

These four principles are:

  1. Question the Status Quo
  2. Confidence Without Attitude
  3. Students Always
  4. Beyond Yourself

Personal MBA Coach recommends that candidates consider the qualities they believe that successful leaders embody and why they believe these traits are important as they select a principle from this list.

Next, think about how you personally have begun to demonstrate this principle, including a few short examples.

As Personal MBA Coach generally advises, you should not include a laundry list. Instead pick a limited number of stories that you can easily explain from your personal and professional life.

As with all videos, we recommend that you write out bullets and not a full script so that your style appears more natural. Keep in mind that one of the key objectives of a video essay is to evaluate how you will contribute in class and how you will perform in a job interview.

Finally, the Berkeley Haas application includes one required short essay:

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? (150 words max)

With this short essay, Berkeley Haas becomes the second top MBA program to include a required DEI essay in its 2023-2024 MBA application. For some applicants, this will be easy to answer. However, if an example does not come to mind easily here, remember that it is ok to think of diversity broadly.

Berkeley Haas also has two optional essays, the first following a series of questions.

Optional Essay 1: We invite you to help us better understand the context of your opportunities and achievements.

Many applicants will not answer this question. Personal MBA Coach recommends that applicants use optional essays sparingly. If your answers to these questions are not unique, there is a good chance you should skip this essay.

Optional Essay 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.

For this second Haas optional essay, answer only if you have specific or extenuating circumstances to explain. Read more on our approach to optional essays here.

Looking for help developing a compelling Berkeley Haas MBA application? Schedule a consultation today to find out how Personal MBA Coach can help and learn why we are the home of the most positively reviewed MBA Admissions Consultant.

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