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UC Berkeley Haas MBA essays 2019-2020 – Analysis and tips

UC Berkeley Haas School of  Business has completely revamped its MBA application for the 2019-2020 application season. Instead of the 4 essay questions earlier (3 required and 1 optional), this year the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business application consists of 2 required essays as well as a series of optional short answer questions.  You are going to find the following types of essays in your UC Berkeley Haas MBA application:

  • Two required essays focused on your passion and leadership skills
  • A series of supplemental questions (optional) that are targeted towards your background, life circumstances, jobs, and academics
  • And, one optional essay towards the end to help you convey additional information

UC Berkeley MBA Essays Analysis and Tips

In this article, we are going to analyze the UC Berkeley HAAS MBA essays, and provide you helpful tips on how to create an effective MBA application

Here is an outline of this article:

 

UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay #1

Haas MBA Essay 1

“What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why?” (Word limit: 300)

Through this essay, the admission committee is looking to understand the influences that have shaped your decisions, and what motivates you. The admission committee goes through over 2000 applications every year, and the essays help them in selecting candidates who will add value to the MBA classroom as well as be successful in their post-MBA career goals. 

Here are some tips for you on how to answer this UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay question:

 

e-GMAT tips for UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay #1

e-gmat tips for essay #1

Think beyond academics

The main motive behind this essay question is to convey what you are passionate about. The admission committee at UC Berkeley wants to make sure that besides having excellent academics and professional career, you can also be a valuable addition to their community.

You can talk about the community work that you have been extensively involved in, or, you can write about a sport that has always been a significant part of your life. There are no right or wrong responses to this essay question. But it shouldn’t look like you have written about something just for the sake of the essay. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and how it makes you feel while you are involved in it.

Support your response with examples/anecdotes

The UC Berkeley Haas admission committee has to go through a large number of applications to fill their relatively small MBA class. Your answers to the UC Berkeley Haas MBA essays have a sleek chance of being unique. A lot of applicants may come up with essay responses similar to you, may it be some kind of community work, sports, arts, etc. To make a strong point for yourself, you need to support your response with an anecdote that demonstrates your involvement in whatever it is you are writing about.

Examples from your life can help you connect with your reader. The examples will help the admission committee imagine the kind of contribution they can expect from you at the UC Berkeley Haas community.

‘Why’ is as important as ‘What’

It’s great that you could think of something that ignites passion in you when you are doing it, and you could also demonstrate examples from your life about them. But your response won’t have the expected influence on your reader unless you can justify why you feel the fire while doing whatever it is.

The ‘why’ part of this MBA essay can help you reveal your inborn talents and skills. Does the community work you do make you feel more at peace? Do you play the sport because you feel the immense adrenaline rush while playing it? Are you good at managing teams to accomplish complex tasks for the community work? There has to be something that drives you to be so passionate about it. You need to figure out what motivates you and the driving force behind your actions.

 

Sample UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay #1

sample essay #1

Here is an example of essay #1 from the UC Berkeley Haas MBA application.

Note: This sample is brief in nature and is just meant to give you an idea of how to develop an essay for your own application.

“What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why?” (Word limit: 300)

“I believe traveling is something that makes me feel the most alive. I have travelled to four Asian countries in the last four years. My first stint with traveling started when I was eighteen. Even when I lived in a small town in the suburbs of Odisha, India, I believed the world has far more to offer to me than I can imagine. I would spend my leisure hours reading books written by solo travellers and watching travel video blogs.

During my under-graduation, I started taking up freelance writing jobs. Also, I worked part-time at Subway to gather some funds for my travel. I did not want to burden my parents with my passion and took the matter in my own hands. With the little money I could save, I would travel to the nearby states in India. I have been to 18 Indian States. I would use my skills in written English to take up volunteer work to reduce my expenses.

In 2014, when I was in a distant village in Himachal Pradesh called Mana, I was helping an NGO called Save the Children. The NGO helps spread awareness on how one can have a better future through education. I taught primary level English language to the village kids. Since it was new for them, they would quickly get bored. I came up with an idea to reward them with a game of frisbee if they could stick with me through the lesson. It worked, and the kids loved the game. From the next day onwards, the kids came for the lessons in full attendance. I was there for 12 days, and I believe those were some of the best days of my life.

Just recently, I was going through Save the Children’s Facebook page, and I found out that the game of frisbee has become a routine for the kids in the village. I am glad I could make a little difference in the world. Right now, I have goose-bumps while I write this essay.”

 

UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay #2

Haas MBA essay #2

At Berkeley Haas, we are redefining leadership. We value different opinions and perspectives, recognizing that we always have more to learn about others’ lived experiences and histories. We encourage speaking up and listening, and courageously use our power to address barriers and drive change for positive impact.

Tell us how a Berkeley Haas MBA would enhance your leadership profile, incorporating specific examples.” (Word limit – 300)

The first UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay was directed towards one aspect of your character, passion. The second required UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay shifts the focus towards another important aspect of your personality and leadership skills. This essay gives you a chance to highlight how have you used the leadership quality in you to make an impact in any situation. If you analyze the second part of the essay prompt carefully, you will notice that UC Berkeley Haas is on a lookout for students who are aware of the social issues. If you have ever actively worked towards breaking barriers in the society or have been vocal about prevalent social issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, conservation of natural resources, equal rights for all races, etc., your application is in for a brownie point.

Let’s further analyze this essay topic along with some tips from e-GMAT on how to impress the admission committee through this essay:

 

e-GMAT tips for UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay #2

e-GMAt tips for Haas MBA essay 2

Let your leadership skills take the front row seat

power to address barriers and drive change for positive impact.’ This line of the essay prompt speaks volumes about what the admission committee is trying to seek from your response. You may have used your leadership skills to lead your team through complex situations at your job, or you may have been the voice of the less-confident ones outside work. Think of the times when your leadership characteristics were at the display, and how you would want to take them further with the help of the opportunities UC Berkeley Haas MBA has to offer. Reflect on your abilities and strength and highlight how you are going to use the resources during your MBA at Berkeley Haas to hone them further.

Highlight your career-goals

This essay question is closely related to your short-term and long-term career goals. Think about how you want your shape up your career, and how are you going to use your leadership virtue to get there. Berkeley has a lot of resources to offer to you to hone your leadership skills. Research on the clubs, alumni groups, and networks that can be of great use to you to improve your abilities. You can sight examples and highlight the leadership roles within the clubs or groups that you are excited about.

Sample UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay #2

Sample Haas MBA essay #2

Here is an example of essay #2 from the Berkeley Haas MBA application.

Note: This sample is brief in nature and is just meant to give you an idea of how to develop an essay for your own application.

Tell us how a Berkeley Haas MBA would enhance your leadership profile, incorporating specific examples.” (Word limit – 300)

After working for 5 years in an MNC as a Supply manager, I decided to quit and pursue a start-up to improve the efficiency in the transportation management section of the Supply chain industry. I started with a small team of five to develop an integrated software that could make the complete transportation and warehouse management system more automated than current systems. After a couple of months, one of my colleagues from my previous job, Samuel, decided to join me in my quest. I could not pay him the salary he received from our former employer, but he assured me that he is joining because he believed in my idea.

A couple of months into the job, I found out that Samuel was not as motivated towards our goal as everyone else in the team. He was a little too laid back and had to be constantly pushed to complete projects in time. He would do the minimum necessary and was not willing to put any extra effort.

I had a tough decision at hand to either fire him and loose a talented and experienced employee, who could be a great resource for our company, or try to push and bring out the best in him. I went with the latter option. To encourage him to work mutually towards our goal, I enhanced our company’s bonus program. I made it a point in front of the whole team that as soon as the company started making some revenue, they would be the first ones to benefit from it.

The strategy worked. Not only did Samuel start to put in the extra effort, but the other employees also upped their game too. The product was ready in the next six months, and it was through Samuel’s network that we got a chance to showcase our product in front of a crowd of SCM experts in a supply chain conference held at New Delhi, India.

I believe, with the opportunities at UC Berkeley Haas, I would be able to hone my leadership skills further to be able to manage larger teams. I have a dream that my idea for the automated transportation management system reaches a larger supply chain network. And, with international exposure through the UC Berkeley Haas network combined with my polished leadership skills through its MBA program, I can work towards achieving this dream more efficiently.”

 

UC Berkeley Haas MBA optional essays

Haas MBA optional essays

Besides the two required essays, the UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay section has a series of optional essay-type questions that you may choose to answer. The optional essays can help you convey a broader picture of your character, experiences, opportunity, and backgrounds. Have a look at the optional essays asked in the UC Berkeley Haas MBA application:

  • If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.

 

  • List, in order of importance, up to five significant community and professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Include the following information for each using the format below:
    • Name of organization or activity
    • Nature of organization or activity
    • Size of organization
    • Dates of involvement
    • Offices Held
    • The average number of hours spent per month

If not applicable, enter N/A.

 

  • List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree. If not applicable, enter N/A.

 

  • If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended, or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission).

 

  • This section should only be used to convey relevant information not addressed elsewhere in your application. This may include an explanation of employment gaps, academic aberrations, supplemental coursework, etc. You are encouraged to use bullet points where appropriate.

 

You can look at these essay questions through two perspectives. First, you can either answer only those questions that suit your circumstances, such as if you have not provided a letter of recommendation with your UC Berkeley Haas MBA application, or you were ever placed on probation or were suspended due to disciplinary reasons. Or, you can choose to answer the questions to give the admission committee a better understanding of your backgrounds, such as an achievement that you could not convey through any other part of your application or details about the part-time jobs you have held during your school or college years.

 

Common mistakes to avoid in your UC Berkeley Haas MBA optional essays

Common mistakes to avoid in Haas MBA optional essays

Answering optional questions irrelevant to your situation

While you may want to give deeper insights about your background to the admission committee through your optional essays, you must avoid attempting the optional essay questions that are irrelevant to your situation. For example, if you were not extensively involved in any part-time job or were involved in one for a very short period, you should refrain from attempting the optional essay question related to a part-time job. Because it is anyway not going to add any value to your application.

Repeating your accomplishments

The optional essay question towards the end of the UC Berkeley Haas MBA essay section is an opportunity for you to convey something qualitative about you that could not be done through other parts of your application. However, if you repeat any experience or achievements that have already been highlighted through your letter of recommendation, or any other essay, it may backfire on your part. The admission committee has to go through more than 2000 applications in a single phase. It may ridicule them go through the same content over again.

 

That was all about different types of UC Berkeley Haas MBA essays.

Here are a bunch of other articles related to UC Berkeley Haas MBA that can be helpful to you:

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