As with the other essay tips we’ve presented, the most important advice is be yourself! Show your personality, values, and humor.
1) If you could have dinner with one individual in the past, present, or future, who would it be and why? (250 word maximum)
This is a good opportunity to articulate what is important to you. Think about what you care about, what you are curious about, how you would like to impact the world, what you want to learn. Don’t dedicate the whole essay to talking about that you want to meet. Make sure this essay is still about you. You can show what is important to you and reveal who you are through your answer.
2) Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250 word maximum)
With this question, show that you set goals and reach them and also reveal what is important to you. You could choose a professional event, community service experiences (the more recent the better), or even personal hardships you have overcome. Be sure to balance professional and personal examples across your collection of essays. Most importantly, set up the accomplishment succinctly and focus on WHY you view this event as an accomplishment.
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)
Again, pay attention to how many professional and personal examples you are providing across your essays. If you used a community service or personal examples for the accomplishment essay, then consider a professional example for this one. The Haas School of Business wants to hear what you thought and did in the face of a challenge. Don’t just say that your solution was innovation, explain why it was a different approach and how you got the idea to do that. In other words, SHOW instead of tell.
4) What steps have you taken to learn about the Haas School of Business and what factors have influenced your decision to apply? (250 word maximum)
This question requires some pre-writing preparation. If you don’t have time to visit the Haas School of Business, then try to find ways to speak with students or alums. Maybe there’s an information session in your area. You can search your undergraduate school database for Haas Business School alums and contact them via email to hear about their experiences. But don’t just list out what you did to learn about the Haas School of Business. Articulate how you were affected by what students or alums said or what you read. Relate your own value system to what the Haas Business School values. Reveal what is important to you and how you’ll find that at Haas.
1) Give us an example of a situation in which you displayed leadership. (500 word maximum)
The Haas School of Business has worded this so that you can think outside of the box, meaning you don’t need to write about work. Consider volunteer or even personal experiences that have required resilience, vision, creativity, and achievement. Think about when you have led a group of people and demonstrate your ability to motivate a group and make things happen. As with the other essays, set up the experience quickly (500 words is short) and focus on your actions and reflection (lessons learned).
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 the standard why MBA question. There are a few questions embedded in this question and you must hit on each of them and budget your words.
What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
Your career goals should in some way reflect what is important to you (this does not mean they are one and the same, but that there is some correlation). By specifically asking for your short-term and long-term plans, the Haas Business School wants to see concrete, specific goals. Show that you have a realistic but ambitious plan, and explain why your goals are meaningful to you. Be sure to lay out short term and long term plans.
How do your professional experiences relate to these goals? Note that they are asking specifically how your career background has informed your goals for the future. They do not want a list of your experiences or even a colorful description of these experiences. They want to you to reflect on how past experience connects to your future plans. You may have a fairly linear career path with obvious links between past and future plans. In which case, articulate what you have enjoyed and learned. Or you may be desiring a career change. In this case, explain what you have learned (stay positive) and your thought process to get to your current goals.
Why do you want an MBA from the Haas School of Business at this point in your career?
This is a combination of Why the Haas Business School and Why Now. As with every school, you must be specific about how Haas will help you achieve your goals – offer up classes, clubs, etc that will help you. They want to see that you are ready to hit the ground running, that you will take advantage of the Haas Business School and make a difference in their community. Do not neglect the Why Now aspect – explain what is motivating you to apply to school. This could be woven into how your past experiences have informed your goals. Maybe you want to move up in current career, change careers, etc. Or perhaps a personal experience has inspired you to delve into a different field. Or maybe you’ve gained the skills you wanted after college and now feel ready to reach for your dream. Just be sure to articulate your reasoning.