Haas School of Business short answer essays are both an opportunity and a challenge. At 250 words, they make it challenging to communicate the range of your personal qualities and skills, yet the questions provide the opportunity for variety in what you communicate. Because of the brevity, you will want to be extremely specific and concise with your examples.
The last two essays, on leadership and career goals, offer more space to express yourself while demonstrating the emphasis the program places on well articulated career goals and leadership qualities.
The numerous essays required for the Haas Business School application allow you to be strategic in the topics you choose. Because your career goals essay is last, you will introduce your values and personal qualities first. Choose your examples carefully to show your breadth of experience and interests, both professionally and outside of work.
1. If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be, and how would you do it differently? (250 word maximum)
This question has elements of the standard “mistake” essay, which requires the applicant to describe and reflect on a misstep. As in a mistake essay, you will want to describe the event you would like to change, and reflect on why and how you would change it. This question also invites further introspection, and allows you to discuss a turning point in your life. There is an opportunity here to show a moment when you matured, changed your perspective, or decided to take a specific path in life.
2. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250 word maximum)
This is a great opportunity to showcase an impressive accomplishment in your life, preferably one with a team or leadership component. You have very little space to describe the accomplishment, and will still want to describe your thought process and results, which will require discipline. The question does not limit you to professional accomplishments, and you have the opportunity to choose a significant accomplishment from an outside activity that is meaningful to you.
3. At the Haas School of Business, we value innovation and creativity. Describe an innovative solution you have created to address a specific challenge. (250 word maximum)
This question both addresses your “fit” with Haas (do you value innovation and creativity?) and allows the adcom to see how you work and think. Describe the challenge you needed to address very briefly, and then discuss the innovative solution. Your thought process throughout should be illustrated, and you may need to explain why your solution was considered innovative by yourself and/or others. If an innovative or creative idea doesn’t come immediately to mind, think about a time when you have approached a challenge differently from others, even if the situation itself does not immediately seem innovative.
4. What steps have you taken to learn about the Haas School of Business program, and what factors have influenced your decision to apply? (250 word maximum)
This is a straightforward inquiry into your interest in and fit with the Haas School of Business program. Because some applicants use Haas as a backup to Stanford or other programs, you will want to be thorough and specific in demonstrating your knowledge of the program. Going beyond basic research by visiting campus, speaking with students and alumni or even reading informal blogs can show your level of interest in the program. It is also important to describe the impact of your encounters with the Haas community on your decision to apply.
1. Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 word maximum)
Leadership is an important quality to all MBA programs, and the length of this essay compared to the short answers highlights its importance to Haas. When choosing an example, a professional situation is ideal, although you will want to consider whether you have made a greater leadership impact in a volunteer situation. Leadership can be demonstrated in many ways, and you did not have to be the official leaders in the situation. Think of a time when you influenced a group of people, when others followed your lead, and when you made a solid impact. Describe the details of the situation, along with your thoughts and actions. Focus on the lessons learned as well, to show that leadership is an ongoing part of your life.
2. What are your short-term and long-term career goals? How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? Why do you want an MBA from Berkeley at this point in your career? (1000 word maximum)
This is a standard career goals essay that most MBA programs require. In this essay, it will be important to describe your short-term and long-term goals, and also provide professional context for the goals in your past experience. Your MBA from Berkeley should fit in as a natural bridge between your past and future in this essay. Your short-term goals should be specific and realistic as a new MBA graduate. Your long-term goals will lead from the short-term goals and MBA, and will reveal what you value in life and your career. The long-term goals can be a bit more visionary, but should still be specific and considered.
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