The Four Guiding Principles of Berkeley-Haas

How To Get Into UC-Berkeley’s

Haas School of Business

Learn How  

It’s a new year for MBA admissions and there are new Haas essays! This time, you have fewer words (only 800) than last year to tell your story.

The first thing you have to remember is be neat and tidy. More importantly though is your need to demonstrate how you embrace the four defining principles of Haas: Question the Status Quo, Confidence without Attitude, Student Always and Beyond Yourself.

Berkeley-Haas focuses on developing innovative and responsible leaders who find new ways to solve problems. The application is all about showing that this is you.

As one of the smaller business schools, with ~250 students per class, Haas wants to know how you fit within this very close-knit, collaborative and student-driven culture. Be authentic and write about who you are and not who you think Haas wants you to be. Find a comfortable spot with the beverage of your choice and think about why you want an MBA? Why now? And Why Haas? Use the essays to help paint your unique answer to these questions.

Essay #1
Tell us a six-word story that reflects a memorable experience in your life-to-date. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to you. (250 words)


What’s the title of your life?

First, before you worry about the six-word limit, consider your story itself and then think what the title would be. Perhaps there is a moment of which you are proud, a failure that taught you something important or a story that provides insight into your personality or what drives you.

Recognize just how meaningful a title can be. You know For Whom the Bell Tolls has some reckoning in it; The Old Man and the Sea is an adventure; and, A Farwell To Arms, has something to do with war and the end of things. [Not to be too Hemingway-focused, but he wrote some great Haas-approved titles.]

So what is the title to your life? That’s what Haas wants to see.

Essay #2
Respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words maximum)
• Describe a significant obstacle you have encountered and how it has impacted you.
• Describe how you have cultivated a diverse and inclusive culture.
• Describe a leadership experience and how you made a positive and lasting impact.


How will you engage with others? Will you play nicely with your peers?

Berkeley-Haas prides itself on the close interaction and collaboration of its small class. Teamwork and diversity are ever-present at Berkeley-Haas. Use this Haas essay to exemplify how you approach working with other people. Talk about how you will collaborate with other members of your cohort, show your inclusive approach to problem solving or demonstrates your leadership style and ability to create positive change.

It’s okay to show failure and how you grew. After all, an MBA is meant to be a transformational experience and Haas wants students who are open to learning with and from their classmates.

Essay #3
1. Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goals. (50 words maximum)
2. How have prior experiences motivated and prepared you to pursue these goals? (250 words maximum)


What are you going to do? Why do you want to do it? What makes you think you CAN do it?

Start by articulating what you want to do immediately after Haas. Be clear and concise so all who read it will understand your goal in the same. Try your answer out on a few colleagues or friends and ask them if the goal makes sense for you.

Next, show that you understand how to achieve your goal. Share a balance of experiences that logically lead up to a Berkeley-Haas MBA as the next step towards reaching your aspiration. Think about what skills you bring to your cohort.

Also, what interactions have helped you determine Berkeley-Haas is the best place for you to achieve your goals. Have you talked with students or alumni? Visited campus? Met admissions staff at a local event? While it is not specifically asked, differentiate yourself by articulating your unique connections to a Berkeley-Haas MBA.

As you write your responses, reflect on how your experiences to date connect with the defining principles of Berkeley-Haas and your authentic self. In this way, you will show how you fit it into this smart, tight, supportive Haas community.

About Stratus

Stratus Admissions Counseling is a full service admissions counseling firm distinguished by its team based, multi-step process ensuring each application is crafted for optimum impact. Our MBA counseling team has a representative from virtually every top 20 MBA program, enabling us to provide school-specific guidance.


Sign up for a FREE consultation with a business school admissions specialist.

At Stratus, we know your time is valuable. You may be asking “why should I spend 30 minutes of my time speaking to an expert strategist?” The answer is this: we make it all about YOU. Your goals. Your profile. Your experience. This is an opportunity for us to explore your background and start to help you cultivate a plan of action for your future.

Use the form below to sign up today and a Stratus Admissions Specialist will contact you right away.

Leave a Reply