Tag Archives: UC Berkeley Haas

Tuesday Tips: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA Essay Tips

The set of essays for admission to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business covers a variety of topics – from the personal to professional. In approaching these varied questions it will be important to remain …

The set of essays for admission to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business covers a variety of topics – from the personal to professional. In approaching these varied questions it will be important to remain focused on what you want to communicate to the admissions committee.

A clear understanding of your application strategy, particularly your career goals and strengths/weaknesses, is the key to putting together a cohesive application. While challenging, this is also an opportunity to demonstrate several different aspects of your personality to the admissions committee.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has successfully coached applicants to the Haas MBA program for over a decade, contact us to learn more about how we can help you set a winning application strategy.

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

Berkeley Haas leads this set of essay questions with a highly personal topic. It also sounds incredibly lofty, and may be intimidating if you wonder whether you have had a transformative experience in your life. One way to approach this is to think through transitions. Perhaps the transition from high school to college was meaningful for you.

Traveling for the first time outside your home country may have been another transition. Transitioning from University to the work place could have exposed you to new people and a new lifestyle. If none of those transitions lead to a topic for this essay you can delve into the smaller incidents in your life. A friendship, family experience or trip could have opened your eyes to something new and changed your approach.

Once you have selected a topic for this essay you will need to explain how you were transformed. What was your attitude like before the experience and what are you like now? Was the transformation internal or did you change how you approached other people? It’s likely you learned something from this transformation and explaining your lessons learned is always a strong finish to an MBA essay.

Essay 2
What is your most significant professional accomplishment? (200-300 word maximum)

This year Berkeley Haas asks for a professional accomplishment specifically. Though no timeframe is specified most similar MBA essays like to see an experience from your fairly recent professional past.

Your accomplishment can be big or small, but it should be significant to you. Explain what the accomplishment meant from a big picture perspective. Was it the first time you demonstrated a valued skill? Did you learn a key lesson about your industry or work? How have you used what you learned since?

While you have limited space, this is an opportunity to demonstrate what matters to you and to showcase one of your proudest moments. While you are asked only about the accomplishment, the best essays will use this limited space to demonstrate clearly what the accomplishment was (be specific!) as well as commenting upon the significance of the accomplishment.

Essay 3
What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions a., b., and c.
a. How is your background compelling to this company?
b. What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?
c. Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?
(500-600 word maximum for 3a, 3b, and 3c combined)

This is a fairly typical career goals essay that asks for both short- and long-term goals and the background that led you to this juncture in your career. The unique aspect of this question is the request for a specific company or organization you would prefer to work for. Thinking of a specific company or organization helps you to focus this essay. As the follow up questions request, you will need to tailor everything you discuss to this specific opportunity.

Researching your target company or organization will help you craft the strongest essay. Think of it like a job application and interview and take the time to discuss your desired role with friends and contacts who may have advice.

For the question about your background you don’t need to recite your resume here – rather highlight the key experiences that will be relevant in your future career. Think about the cover letter you would write to obtain your desired position at this company and tailor your approach accordingly.

Your company research will pay off in the second part of the question, “what is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?” This question really is aimed towards your future career identity, which will combine your current experience with your MBA. What will be unique about you after you graduate from Haas? For example, perhaps you have a creative marketing job now and will add the quantitative rigor of an MBA program to your skillset making you the perfect combination of creative and analytical for your future position.

Be specific about why the Haas School of Business is the right program to pursue your goals as well. As you consider past experiences and your future goals you will be able to see what you want to gain from the Haas experience to fill any gaps. If you have an advertising background and want to become a brand manager you’ll likely need classes in operations and finance to understand the analytical side of brand management.

Other goals will require specific skills gained from an MBA and your own unique background will inform how you take advantage of the Haas experience. Make sure you have determined exactly what courses make sense for your career goals and the programs and clubs that you will participate in to reach your personal and professional goals. Thorough school research will be invaluable in approaching this question.

Optional Essays
Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)

This question is entirely open ended, so you can either use it to explain anything you need to in your application, or add another aspect to your overall profile. If you need to explain something in your application like a low GPA or a recommender that is not your current supervisor, keep the explanation brief and factual. Focus on explanations, not excuses. If you felt that there are stories in your work, extracurricular, or personal profile that you did not have the opportunity to express in the prior essays, this is an opportunity to add that information.

If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)

If you have a strong quantitative background like an engineering or hard sciences degree, or you work in a quantitative field like finance, this may not be a necessary essay. Otherwise, you may want to take one or two examples to demonstrate that you have an analytical mind and can take a quantitative approach to problem solving and evaluating data. As the question specifically asks you not to focus on the grades on your transcript, use this space to describe projects at work, additional post-graduate coursework, or your plans to strengthen your quant skills before you enroll at Haas.

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Who Thinks Up Those MBA Essay Questions?

With so many elite schools either reducing the number of required essays in recent years, or getting really creative with their prompts—raise your hand if you remember Berkeley Haas‘s “If you could choose one song …

With so many elite schools either reducing the number of required essays in recent years, or getting really creative with their prompts—raise your hand if you remember Berkeley Haas‘s “If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?”—many applicants probably wonder just how the admissions team comes up with its MBA essay prompts each year.

BusinessWeek attempts to quench the curiosity of inquiring minds with its story on how MBA essay questions get written.

For example, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University asks applicants to share a list of “25 Random Things” about themselves,  so that candidates get away from the tendency to overly manufacture what they think AdCom wants to hear, says Liz Riley Hargrove, associate dean for admissions at the Duke MBA program.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first, but this creative exercise is certainly an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.

MIT Sloan School of Management meanwhile is throwing applicants for a loop this year by asking candidates to write an essay in the form of a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of themselves. While this is something applicants are often tempted to do, Rod Garcia, senior director of admissions at Sloan, says the idea clicked when admissions staff members had to write their own annual reviews.

For the second year, Kellogg School of Management asks applicants to record a video essay, where applicants get two questions that they may take 20 seconds to think over and one minute to answer. Kate Smith, assistant dean of Kellogg’s admissions and financial aid office, tells BusinessWeek that although participants are often nervous on video, this is “a skill that students are going to need to have in the globally complex landscape of business.”

You can learn more about where business schools find the inspiration to generate ever more interesting, illuminating glimpses into the real lives of MBA applicants by following the link above back to the original article.

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Haas School Unveils New Mobile Learning Platform

The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and EmpoweredU will roll out a new mobile learning platform tailored for the Berkeley MBA for Executives program. EmpoweredU’s mobile learning platform provides the tools, mobility, and ease …

The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and EmpoweredU will roll out a new mobile learning platform tailored for the Berkeley MBA for Executives program. EmpoweredU’s mobile learning platform provides the tools, mobility, and ease of the iPad for a mobile learning experience.

It also improves student-to-student communication and student-to-instructor communication, allows students to stay in touch with classmates between class sessions, and helps students juggle coursework with career and family commitments.

“Our executive MBA program will be the first degree program to experience the benefits of this mobile learning experience,” says Adam Berman, who heads the Haas School’s initiatives in learning technologies. “For senior professionals on the go, having this kind of technology means getting the most out of their MBA experience, using their time most efficiently, and deepening their ties to their classmates.”

The platform allows for streaming content via the Internet, course site creation, on-line lectures, assignment, test administering, grading, user publishing, live chat, peer-to-peer interaction, discussion forum, development of student portfolios, messaging, and news and web-content access.

This partnership is the result of a recently completed pilot program that allowed students in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program to test out the mobile education technology. Initially, these tools will be applied to the following courses: Finance; Leading People; Marketing; and Building Trust based on Relationship; plus an additional four courses per semester to be added later.

“EmpoweredU’s mobile first technology breaks students away from being tethered to a desktop with full-time internet access. We provide a mobile platform that students can use both in and out of WiFi zones,” says EmpoweredU CEO Steve Poizner.  “This kind of flexibility enhances productivity, allowing students to complete coursework anywhere, anytime, whether that be at lunch, at the beach, waiting in a parking lot, or picking up kids from soccer practice.”

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UC Berkeley Haas Debuts Innovation Lab

MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business can now take advantage of adaptable work spaces that better facilitate collaborative learning in the newly opened Innovation Lab. Made possible by a gift from alumnus …

MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business can now take advantage of adaptable work spaces that better facilitate collaborative learning in the newly opened Innovation Lab.

Made possible by a gift from alumnus Michael Gallagher, former Haas Board chairman and retired CEO of Playtex Products, the 2,700-square-foot  ILab was designed to provide additional room for more team-based and experiential learning—cornerstones of the Haas School’s curriculum.

Movable tables and chairs, as well as white-board partition walls, enable students in the ILab to break into small groups without disturbing others, which is much more difficult to do in the school’s traditional tiered classrooms.

The primary users of the ILab will be students taking classes in the school’s innovative leader curriculum, who also will be able to study and collaborate in the space on a drop-in basis when classes are not in session, the school explains.

“Teaching in the new iLab shows what education can be: active; collaborative; flexible; exciting,” says Adjunct Professor Nora Silver, director of the school’s Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership.

“As I taught Social Sector Solutions for Social Enterprises in the iLab last week, I was able to vary working with the whole class, consulting with the five teams working separately, and encouraging teams to move around and learn from one another. It was a wholly satisfying and exciting experience.”

To learn more about how UC Berkeley Haas professors are using this new, flexible learning environment, visit the Haas newsroom.

 

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Evaluate in Which Round to Submit Your B-School Application

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf This …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf

This post originally appeared on Stacy's "Strictly Business" MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

I field questions every admissions season from clients about when to submit business school applications. They ask if they have a better shot in round two rather than round one, or if it's even worth submitting in the final round.

Schools regularly address this question on admissions blogs, but seldom provide insight beyond the standard advice of applying whenever you can put forth the strongest application.

I polled several consultants on my team and while there may be no definitive answer, I believe you'll find their feedback informative.

Applying in round one: First-round applicants tend to be extremely well-prepared candidates who have known they want to go to business school for awhile. They have spent considerable effort preparing for the GMAT, cultivating extracurricular activities and seeking out leadership opportunities either at work or in volunteer settings.

Early applications show serious interest and planning. In this round, you may have the greatest statistical chance, since you're only being compared to the current candidate pool.

In fact, a former Chicago Booth School of Business admissions committee member says the committee accepted 65 percent of Booth's students during this round.

For applicants to second-tier schools, the top 20 to 40, applying in the first round conveys that the school is a top choice and could result in a scholarship, says a former committee member at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

Applying early also allows you to submit applications to other programs in later rounds if you're not admitted in round one. Programs with an early action or early decision round, such as the Tuck School of Business and Columbia Business School, value the commitment shown by applying ahead of the crowd.

An ex-Tuck admissions committee member shared reports that showed early action applications were up 30 percent this year. Since Tuck's class size is so small, earlier truly is your best shot.

Likewise, a consultant formerly with Columbia admissions says if you're committed to Columbia Business School, you should absolutely apply in the early decision round, as it's the only school with a binding decision. Columbia will also frequently offer applicants a spot in the January start if September is full.

In the end, there are more slots available in round one and more opportunities to be placed on the waitlist if that's the route the admissions committee decides to take, says a former Duke Fuqua School of Business admissions committee member.

On the other hand, a lot of strong applications come in during the first round, says one former Wharton School admissions staffer. According to an ex-Kellogg admissions committee member, you're more likely to be wait-listed for this round versus round two.

If you need to demonstrate your commitment to improving your quantitative profile by taking additional course work, or believe you can perform significantly better on the GMAT, you probably should wait for a later round.

Applying in round two: Second-round applicants have the advantage of visiting campus in the fall, which can help tremendously when it comes to drafting compelling essays and demonstrating that all-important fit with your target schools.

The general population tends to apply in this round, so it may be more favorable for candidates with less-than-perfect backgrounds, says the former Kellogg admissions committee representative. If you're accepted in this round, you'll have plenty of time to start preparing for this next phase of your life, from leaving a job to moving.

This is when most of the seats fill up, explains a former Wharton admissions committee member, so accepted candidates have a chance to participate in a welcome weekend and make a sound decision on a school. On the flip side, rejected applicants will have time to start strategizing their applications for the next year, notes one ex-Chicago Booth admissions member.

Round two receives the highest number of applications, which makes competition fierce as candidates are compared with the round two pool as well as the accepted candidates from first round. Your application may not stand out as much if you have a common profile, warns a former Wharton admissions committee member.

The increased volume may also mean longer processing times, and some schools might wait-list applicants they never had a chance to interview. Also, says an ex-Kellogg admissions committee, applicants are less likely to be wait-listed or get in off the waitlist.

Applying in round three: Round three is the trickiest time to apply, as almost all b-school seats have been filled and programs are waiting for stellar candidates who will help round out the class profile. While schools encourage students with a solid application to apply in the final round, they candidly admit it is uber-competitive and often counsel including an optional essay to explain why you've waited.

While it's better to submit a strong application in the final round than a weak one in round two, applying with a generic background is far less compelling at this point. It was almost impossible to find a consultant to endorse applying during this round.

One former admissions employee explains that people best suited for this round have a highly unique background that would truly add to the class. A former admissions committee member from the Haas School of Business says there were admission spots available at the end because by that time, the school knew who had already accepted offers elsewhere.

Aside from the potential drawbacks of having no choice but to interview on-campus and miss out on welcome weekends, our ex-Chicago Booth insider reveals that programs say this round is reserved for wait-listed candidates and the "superhuman," such as, for example, the Olympic gold medalist from Cameroon. Statistically speaking, one's chances are slim.

The bottom line: There are many outside factors that come into play when it comes to making admissions decisions. It can depend on who reads your file, their mood and what other applications they read that day, notes the former Haas representative.

Everything else being equal, I would always advise a client to apply as early as possible to any program, so long as you aren't sacrificing the quality of your application.

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UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA Essay Tips

Berkeley Haas admissions has been fairly consistent with prior years in this new set of essays for the 2013/2014 applicant. While many schools reduced the number of essay significantly this year, Haas has reduced only …

Berkeley Haas admissions has been fairly consistent with prior years in this new set of essays for the 2013/2014 applicant. While many schools reduced the number of essay significantly this year, Haas has reduced only slightly from five to four required essays. The set of essays for admission to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business covers a variety of topics – from the song that expresses you to your quantitative skills. In approaching these varied questions it will be important to remain focused on what you want to communicate to the admissions committee.

A clear understanding of your application strategy, particularly your career goals and strengths/weaknesses, will be key to put together a cohesive application. While challenging, this is also an opportunity to demonstrate several different aspects of your personality to the admissions committee. Remember when thinking about how to get into Berkeley, to not underestimate the importance of these essays in your application.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has successfully coached applicants to the Haas MBA program for over a decade, contact us to learn more about how we can help you set a winning application strategy.

Essay 1
If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 word maximum)

This sort of essay can be intimidating because it calls for creativity, and the topic is entirely open ended. When approaching a question like this, consider what your personal qualities are that may be interesting to the Haas MBA program, and then consider a song you like that can express that quality. Try to focus on personal, rather than professional, aspects. Whatever song you choose, make sure you have an emotional connection with that song and can relate it to your own personal experiences. For example, perhaps you have a favorite song from childhood that your parents played for you that reminds you of a core value that has guided your choices since.

Essay 2
What is your most significant accomplishment? (250 word maximum)

Your accomplishment can be big or small, but it should be significant to you. While you have limited space, this is an opportunity to demonstrate what matters to you and to showcase one of your proudest moments. While you are asked only about the accomplishment, the best essays will use this limited space to demonstrate clearly what the accomplishment was (be specific!) as well as commenting upon the significance of the accomplishment.

Essay 3
Describe a time in the last three years when you overcame a failure. What specific insight from this experience has shaped your development? (250 word maximum)

This question asks you to think about a time you failed, and a time you learned from that failure. This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate your maturity, flexibility and leadership qualities. Leaders are not people who are always successful, rather they are people who are willing to admit to failure and learn from difficulty.

As you recount your failure it will be crucial to demonstrate what you have learned as concretely as possible. As a thought experiment, try thinking about a recent triumph. Trace your life events backwards until you find a failure, and think about how that failure directly led to your success. For example, perhaps you took a job immediately after college that was not a good fit for you. You may have felt like the job was a failure, but instead of despairing you took the time to think about what you really wanted, and subsequently found a job that led you success in your career. Perhaps your story isn’t career oriented but showcases learning from extracurricular or volunteer involvement.

Essay 4
a. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How have your professional experiences prepared you to achieve these goals?
b. How will an MBA from Haas help you achieve these goals? (750 word maximum for 4a. and 4b.)

This is a fairly typical career goals essay that asks for both short- and long-term goals and the background that led you to this juncture in your career. Think about what you hope to achieve with your MBA and the career opportunities it will reveal for you. You don’t need to recite your resume here – rather highlight the key experiences that will be relevant in your future career.

Be specific about why the Haas School of Business is the right program to pursue your goals as well. As you consider past experiences and your future goals you will be able to see what you want to gain from the Haas experience to fill any gaps. If you have an advertising background and want to become a brand manager you’ll likely need classes in operations and finance to understand the analytical side of brand management. Other goals will require specific skills gained from an MBA and your own unique background will inform how you take advantage of the Haas experience. Make sure you have determined exactly what courses make sense for your career goals and the programs and clubs that you will participate in to reach your personal and professional goals. Thorough school research will be invaluable in approaching this question.

Optional Essays
Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)

This question is entirely open ended, so you can either use it to explain anything you need to in your application, or add another aspect to your overall profile. If you need to explain something in your application like a low GPA or a recommender that is not your current supervisor, keep the explanation brief and factual. Focus on explanations, not excuses. If you felt that there are stories in your work, extracurricular, or personal profile that you did not have the opportunity to express in the prior essays, this is an opportunity to add that information.

If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)

If you have a strong quantitative background like an engineering or hard sciences degree, or you work in a quantitative field like finance, this may not be a necessary essay. Otherwise, you may want to take one or two examples to demonstrate that you have an analytical mind and can take a quantitative approach to problem solving and evaluating data. As the question specifically asks you not to focus on the grades on your transcript, use this space to describe projects at work, additional post-graduate coursework, or your plans to strengthen your quant skills before you enroll at Haas.

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