The Berkeley Haas MBA

Rankings | Class Profile | Employment Report | Sample Essays | Interview Questions

Berkeley Haas Introduction


The insiders joke that Berkeley’s Haas School is the business school for hippies. Truth is, that’s never been true, but it’s a nearly quaint way to refer to one of the hardest schools in the world to get into. If you’re interested in tech, entrepreneurship and innovation, Haas is one of the best schools in the world for an MBA.

The highly selective program, which enrolls a small class of 240 full-time MBAs each fall, is anchored by 12 required courses that promote a general-management perspective and that provide a framework for the more function-specific courses that follow. The first year of the program is divided into four quarters. The core curriculum is rooted in business fundamentals — including marketing, finance, and accounting.

Two years ago, however, the school put through significant curriculum changes to focus more on innovative leadership. In the overhaul, a pair of existing core courses, Leading People and Leadership Communications, had been restructured to offer additional leadership skills, such as the ability to influence others. And then a new and highly innovative course called “Problem Finding, Problem Solving” was added to the core to address what the school considers “underlying skill sets that are missing in a typical MBA education.” All of these various pieces fall under something dubbed Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD), the connective theme that runs through the entire MBA curriculum to ensure that every student develops the skills required of innovative leaders.

Good Things

  • Almost 40% of the batch is placement in the Tech industry.
  • When it comes to job functions highest placements are in marketing followed by general management.
  • General management usually means project or product management sort of roles. So overlapping the above 2 data point, Haas is a real good opportunity for someone looking to product management in tech industry.
  • Salaries for tech industry are accordingly high in line with Bay area salaries. Surprisingly its even more than the Financial services salaries.
  • Consulting is only at 20% not the most favoured role or industry in Haas and that is expected for a college in California and proximity to bay area.
  • Avg. Gmat score of 725 is very high and for Indians it will mean and avg. of 740 -750.
  • Haas receives more than 4000 applications for 280 odd seats that speaks for the competition to get in and hence the high GMAT avg.

This to consider

Financial times
The Economist
US News ranking

Berkeley Haas MBA Application Essays for 2019-20


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

Required 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. (300 words max)

  • Round 1: 26 September 2019
  • Round 2: 09 January 2020
  • Round 3: 02 April 2020
  • Decision 1: 12 Dec 2019
  • Decision 2: 26 March 2020
  • Decision 3: 07 May 2020

Berkeley Haas MBA Sample Essays


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

There is a moment when a roller coaster has finally clanked its way to the top of the hill and is about to be dropped (but hasn’t yet). It’s the moment of in-betweens. You’re in-between stillness and motion. In-between terror and joy. It’s the moment you most dread and yet it’s also the moment you stood in line two hours for. It’s the moment in which I feel most alive.

It all started in high school when my best friend at the time – the friend who entered my life when I was in “maximum insecurity mode” and whose boisterous support taught me confidence in myself – dragged me on to a coaster. At first, I was terrified and refused to go – I was too scared of the drops, the uncertainty.  She described what she loved about it – that it’s scary if you think of it as “falling”, but it’s exhilarating if you think of it as “flying”. I vowed to be brave, felt the safety harness lower, and tried to see the ride from her perspective: “This is flying. This is flying…OH MY GOSH, THIS REALLY IS FLYING!!!”

Since then…Continue Readng Here

Haas Essay 2: What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How have your professional experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? How will an MBA from Haas help you achieve these goals? (750 words maximum)

Leading international PR efforts for Viapay (Brazil’s PayPal), I’ve been managing the rollout of a new product called “express payment” from Brazil to the Argentine market. In this project, I’ve advised the product team to adjust the offerings to better suit the local needs. I created Viapay’s social media strategy, advised on marketing campaigns and led the creation of an online user tutorial. My leadership in this effort paid off as payment volume in the region increased by 300%.

My first go-to-market experience ignited my passion for product marketing which not only taught me how to think…Continue Reading Here

Berkeley Haas MBA Interview Questions


First, at your Berkeley Haas MBA interview, be prepared to demonstrate deep understanding of Haas Defining Principles (HDP)

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

Also be prepared to share examples of how you have demonstrated HDP in professional and personal life.

Second, be prepared to connect your long-term goal to Haas professors, programs, people. In other words, customize your “Why Haas?” answer to fit your career plans. Show that you know Haas programs deeply and can explain why and how Haas best prepares you to change the world.

Third, be ready to prove, with logic and passion, why you would choose Berkeley over other options. Haas usually loses to Stanford GSB and alumni interviewers are sensitive to applicants applying to other, higher ranked schools. Have some criteria by which Berkeley beats other schools. For instance, a former consultant client who wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare industry mentioned that he wanted to pursue a Health Management Certificate at the Haas School of Business. Stanford, by contrast, does not offer such a certificate…Continue Reading Here

Berkeley Haas Application Essay Tips

The Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley is a highly selective school with a small class to fill. Above all, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Namely, showing fit with the culture and program of the Haas MBA class is key. Berkeley Haas has changed the required essays a bit this season. In particular, they’re more leadership focused, yet still give you the space to be creative. School research will be important. Note that the Haas MBA admissions committee has a series of videos and tips posted on the website that can help you prepare

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

Haas MBA admissions has asked creative and open-ended questions for many years. This essay is a new version of that style of essay. First, brainstorm your favorite activities that are the most engaging to you. Think about what you lose time pursuing, or find completely absorbing. A hobby, sport or an artistic pursuit could work here. Another idea is an activity at work that absorbs you or you find fascinating. Ideally, your activity reveals something personal about you. It should go beyond your resume and recommendations. After you have identified a meaningful activity, then you need to describe why. The “why” is more important than the “what.” The “why” reveals something about your natural talents and skills. For example, maybe you enjoy research projects. You like to solve problems at work, and to have the freedom to pursue the question wherever it takes you. Do you enjoy research because it allows you to be creative to solve problems? Delve into your own motivations and see what is really driving your talents. Being specific about why you do what you do will help you with all of your essays.

Required 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. (300 words max)

This essay specifically asks for examples. The admissions committee knows that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. They want to see when you have shown leadership in the past. Specific examples also extend to showing what you know about Haas and demonstrating the specifics that will enhance your leadership profile.Specifically, note that Haas defines leadership in a way that is both inclusive and bold. Think about the times in your work and life that show these qualities. When have you stood up for something you believe in? For example, have you ever used your voice to express an opinion where it was not necessarily safe or welcome? That is a demonstration of bravery.In particular, Haas wants to see that you have stood up for others. Consider describing a time when you have listened to other voices on your team and changed your point of view, or included a diverse viewpoint.Leadership profile directly relates to your long-term goals. As a result, it will be useful to describe those goals here. Haas values people who have a passion for their pursuits. What drives you to pursue your long-term career goals? How are your goals meaningful to you? Perhaps you will be able to impact the lives of others, lead change, or drive innovation. Your motivations are important to explore and describe to the admissions committee.Finally, consider how Haas will help you enhance your leadership skills and style. Research specific classes, professors, clubs and activities that you think will help hone your skills and improve your career opportunities.

Optional Information #1

Berkeley Haas seeks diversity across many dimensions

Berkeley Haas is committed to understanding applicants completely. By seeking deeper background into your family and your life circumstances, your accomplishments can be contextualized. Questions 1-5 are self-explanatory and should be answered honestly.In Question 6 you have the choice to either elaborate on your life circumstances as described in Questions 1-5, or to discuss a new piece of information about hardships or life circumstances. This new information can help the admissions committee understand your background more completely.For example, you might come from a highly educated family and your parents are professionals, but you moved to another country for college or a job. You might have felt challenged while speaking a second language and trying to acclimate to a new culture. Or maybe your parents are fully employed now, but there was a period of unemployment in your family. During that period you learned how to thrive in a different way than you had expected.It’s possible that, while not personally expected to care for an ailing family member, nonetheless a family illness impacted your life. You might have changed course because of circumstances. Think about the areas of your life that asked the most of your resilience and ability to overcome. How have you used those experiences to continue to achieve and impact those around you?

Optional Information #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. By the way, there is a specific place to indicate that you won’t have a recommendation from your current supervisor in the supplemental information section, so you do not need to explain that here in the optional essay. Haas recommends using this space to address any information you could not adequately cover elsewhere, specifically suggesting that any employment gaps or academic issues should be covered here. Of course, candidates with a strong quantitative background like an engineering or hard sciences degree, or with work background in a quantitative field like finance, don’t need to further explain quantitative skills. Otherwise, you can use one or two examples to demonstrate that you have an analytical mind. Use examples to show you take a quantitative approach to problem solving and evaluating data. Alternatively, if you have taken any supplemental coursework to improve your quantitative profile, this is the place to describe and explain that coursework.A short gap between school and a secured job is not necessary to explain. However, an unexplained gap of several months between two jobs should be addressed. If your resume has significant employment gaps you should describe what you did between jobs in this space. Ideally you can point to additional education, training, volunteering or traveling that you engaged in while unemployed. Finally, reapplicants can describe hard improvements to your candidacy such as an improved GMAT score, new grades from quantitative classes, or a promotion. Other improvements might include refined career goals and additional leadership responsibilities at work or within a volunteer activity.

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