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Haas Class of 2026 Essay Analysis

Haas released its 2023-24 application questions.

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

Essay 2: How will an MBA help you achieve your short-term and long-term career goals? (300 words max)

Essay 3: 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.)

Essay 4: 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? (150 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.

Optional Information #1

We invite you to help us better understand the context of your opportunities and achievements.

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.

2023/24 essay question analysis

Essay 1

Similar to Stanford’s essay 1, the key to making this a great essay is answering the “why” to whatever topic you choose. This will be hard given the tight word limit, so choose a topic that doesn’t require much explaining about what it is. If you cannot explain what makes you feel alive in 50 words or less, consider another topic. Also, be honest about what makes you feel alive, rather than choosing something that sounds "cool". Your authentic passion for what makes you come alive will be easier to convey if it is actually true!

When explaining why your activity makes you feel alive, bring the reader into your story by referencing the five senses; it will help your explanation be more memorable for the reader. Also try to weave in how the “why” helps you with other successes in your life. Has your activity helped you build key relationships you discuss elsewhere in your application? Given you the courage to start a business or negotiate for more responsibility at work? Something else?

Essay 2

Similar to what other schools like Wharton and Kellogg ask, this is a fairly straightforward question. The key here is to think about 2-3 experiences/resources that you will use in order to achieve your stated goal, and explain those links. It is better to discuss in greater depth a few reasons that an MBA (and Haas in particular) is right for you, rather than offering a laundry list of reasons.

Essay 3

While some may view the video format as intimidating, the good news is that your preparation for this will help you later on when it comes time to interview at your target schools. Any example you use to answer this prompt will likely represent an accomplishment you will speak/write about with other schools and in answering other questions.

A STAR framework will be helpful to keep your response within the two minute limit. Aim to articulate a result in 5-10 seconds (at most), leaving you maximum time to discuss your actions that led to the positive result. Also aim to use examples that differentiate you from other applicants. If your story is something that others have done, or you think others could have done in your situation, then you likely want to choose another example.

Essay 4

Similar to the advice we provided for Columbia's essay #2, while the tone of the question implies heavy emphasis on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, the types of examples that could be compelling in answering this prompt are fairly wide. Think of a time when you engaged an individual or group that was different than you, and drove yourself and others towards a positive result. Chances are that example would great to include in this section! Also keep in mind that inclusivity can mean more dimensions than just race/ethnicity, gender, gender orientation/identity, and other dimensions currently hot topics in the news. It can also mean being inclusive based on age, socioeconomic, background, disability (visible or hidden), mental health status, faith, and many other dimensions.

Optional essays

As with other schools, use this space to highlight important aspects of your application not mentioned elsewhere. For instance, if you have had to overcome especially difficult challenges when achieving the things you have (i.e. illness, divorce), this is a good place to discuss them.

2023/24 deadlines

Round 1: Application deadline: September 14, 2023; Decisions: December 7, 2023

Round 2: Application deadline: January 4, 2024; Decisions: March 21, 2024

Round 3: Application deadline: March 28, 2024; Decisions: May 2, 2024

Other application details

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