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Berkeley Haas MBA Sample Essays

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Berkeley Haas Application Essays for 2023-24

  • Required Essay 1: What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)
  • Required Essay 2: How will an MBA help you achieve your short-term and long-term career goals? (300 words max)
  • Required Essay 3 – Video: The Berkeley MBA program develops leaders who embody our four Defining Leadership Principles. Briefly introduce yourself to the admissions committee, explain which leadership principle resonates most with you, and tell us how you have exemplified the principle in your personal or professional life. (Not to exceed 2 minutes.)
  • Required Essay 4 – Short Answer: Can you please describe any experience or exposure you have in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging whether through community organizations, personal, or in the workplace? (300 words max)
  • Optional Essays: The admissions team takes a holistic approach to application review and seeks to understand all aspects of a candidate’s character, qualifications, and experiences. We will consider achievements in the context of the opportunities available to a candidate. Some applicants may have faced hardships or unusual life circumstances, and we will consider the maturity, perseverance, and thoughtfulness with which they have responded to and/or overcome them.

Berkeley Haas Winning Sample Essay – 1

Berkeley Haas MBA Essay 1: Describe a facet of your identity, background, or story that is essential to who you are. (350-word limit)

I grew up in a small town, belonging to a conservative joint family. My family runs a small business with 20 employees, specializing in Indian traditional wear for women known as Maharashtrian Saree. Joining the business after completing a bachelor’s was the norm in the family for several generations and both elder brothers followed the same. No one was motivated to pursue education beyond the bachelor’s degree, let alone go for a master’s in a different country. 

As a child, I was good in academics, I would stand first in class every year. I was the first one from my family to travel to the nearest city to take part in science projects and the first one to play volleyball at the state level competitively. As I grew up, one thing was clear to me that I won’t be the person to fit in the “tradition” mold of the family business and be happy with the completion of undergraduate education. As I was finishing school, I had big dreams and wanted to challenge myself to do something different in life.

Our family business was slowing down, it made me think that I should break the barrier and continue my education to be the first one to get a job from family. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle to pursue higher studies with no guidance. It was a slow start, but one opportunity changed my career path when my project was selected for a state-level inter-college competition, where a research scientist mentored me.

He made me realize that there is a world with a lot of opportunities beyond my small village and given my academic interest and excellence, I should pursue a master’s in the United States. I am thankful to my brother, who inspired and motivated me to continue my studies in the USA. It wasn’t easy, it’s these hurdles that define the facet of my identity today. Being the first person to study abroad from the entire village is the background and the story that keeps pushing me to set even higher examples.

Berkeley Haas MBA Essay 2: At Berkeley Haas, we believe that bringing together students with diverse backgrounds, mindsets, and life experiences fosters new and creative thinking. Welcoming these different ways of thinking is the heart of inclusion. Tell us about how you will contribute to our diverse and inclusive community. (250-word limit)

“The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you”

I believe, my journey so far is very well captured in these quotes. With every success comes a new set of challenges, finding success in the country of dreams was just the beginning of the second set of challenges in my life story. 

I landed in the US with huge expectations and financial debt. To manage my living, I took a dishwashing job in a cafe. I could not dare to tell about this job to my family, it would have broken my dad emotionally and brought shame to my family in our village. But this job taught me some of the hardest lessons and humbled me to the core. It’s these learnings that form an important part of my life experiences.

When I landed a job at Intel, it was a dream come true for me and my family. One thing which has accelerated my career from being an individual contributor to leading several global projects is a business mindset that I have inherited from my family. International and cross-cultural experiences across Europe have taught me the importance of understanding a different perspective and culture.

This is the breadth of diversity that I bring – “from humbling exp as a dishwasher to traveling the world, and leading projects in Europe and Asia” and I believe not only I can add value to the class but also raise the bar for hard work and success at Haas.

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Berkeley Haas Winning Sample Essay – 2

Berkeley Haas MBA Essay 1: What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why?

A successful essay will share a specific and personal experience that helps the reader get to know you better, giving insight into your character, values, or how you would uniquely contribute to the Berkeley-Haas community. (300 words maximum)

Singing has been my passion and a lifelong hobby, it rekindles the energy in me and makes me feel alive. I was drawn towards music at the tender age of 8, I started proper training in Indian classical music and playing a classical musical instrument ’Tabla’. I was so passionate about music that I went onto acquire a 4-year diploma in singing and a 3-year diploma in playing the Tabla. 

I have won multiple awards for singing, regularly performed in Bands and stage shows. Currently, I am the lead singer of our band ‘Dhwani’. We regularly practice over the weekends and hold bi-weekly performances at the co-working spaces, corporate offshore, and live music bars. 

We donate all funds raised from our performance to an NGO -Kartavya which is dedicated to providing education for underprivileged children. I along with my band members also providing free music lessons to the kids coming to NGOs for education. we have also set up a small one-room music library for the kids who want to practice playing the instruments but could not afford to buy them. The idea of giving back to society, while doing something which I cherish fills me with enthusiasm and deepens my connection with music.

After music my second love is pets and I am actively involved in Pet rehabilitation and rescue programs. My maternal grandfather was a dog breeder and this is where I developed my affection for pets. In my current city, I have actively involved myself in animal welfare and rescue operations. As field volunteers, we collect and provide safe shelter to injured animals, check the health and vaccination status of stray animals. I believe in the happy coexistence of animals and humans, and the company of pets is very destressing and enjoyable for me.

Berkeley Haas MBA Essay 2: The definition of successful leadership has evolved over the last decade and will continue to change. What do you need to develop to become a successful leader? (300 words maximum)

I have 7+ years of experience in the energy industry. I had a comfortable engineering team lead job at TechnipFMC, but earlier this year my ex-manager proposed that I join her startup – ThinkNotch.

Working at TechnipFMC, I had gained leadership and team management skills; where I  mentored more than 40 engineers. Over the years I also improved my communication and project execution skills while dealing with clients from leading energy companies such as Shell, Exxon, and British Petroleum.

At ThinkNotch, my ex-manager (founder) wanted me to take ownership of the engineering project team and help build it from the ground-up. It seemed exciting to learn and grow into a senior leadership role and hence I decided to join. I had a great start leading a team of 8 and delivering projects for the client. But a few months in COVID-19 Pandemic hit and business started drying up. 

Being a member of the start-up’s senior leadership, my founder requested all hands on deck to bring in business to keep us afloat. This is where I started discovering some gaps in my skills as a business leader role. I realized that although I was good at engineering project execution, I lacked the skill in strategic thinking and business development areas. I realized that as I grow higher in my career, the job scope of engineering is very limited and I should expand my skillsets and be able to tackle any crisis as a business leader. 

That is why now, I believe that I need to learn about the fundamentals of a business, enhance my business management skills. This is where an MBA fits in perfectly and I strongly believe that with the education gained at Berkeley-Haas, in addition to my rich technical experience, I will be able to become a better leader and achieve my dreams.

Berkeley Haas MBA Essay 3: Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goals (150 words maximum)

I have 7 years of extensive experience in the energy sector as a product engineer and an engineering team lead. Post-MBA, I want to transition into a product manager role in a leading energy company.

During my 7 years of experience, I have worked for TechnipFMC in the Oil and gas sector and later with a startup “ThinkNotch” on cutting-edge energy technology products. I have hands-on experience working in the Norwegian Arctic region and have done energy research projects in Germany. I have led engineering teams to successfully deliver projects for leading energy companies like Shell, ExxonMobile, and British Petroleum. 

This international exposure and client management experience had allowed me to develop my core skill sets of problem-solving, team leadership, and client management. Now I want to broaden my horizons and enhance my business acumen via an MBA from Haas to transition into a business-facing product manager role.

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