Walter A. Haas School of Business
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How to Get Into Haas School of Business: Your Ultimate Guide

September 20, 2021
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Part 1. IntroductionPart 2. About Haas School of Business Part 3. Level of CompetitionPart 4. Complete Requirements and How to ApplyPart 5. Top Tips on How to Get Into Haas School of BusinessPart 6. FAQsPart 8. Conclusion

Introduction 

“The business school at UC Berkeley has a long and close association with the Haas family, who are relatives of Levi Strauss, the co-originator of the blue jean and founder of San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co.” - Berkeley Hass

Aside from its long-standing relationship with one of the world’s most recognizable retailers, the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is one of the most prestigious business schools in the country; US News & World Report ranked it as the 7th best business school in the nation.

Boasting over 110 years of teaching experience, Haas School of Business is known for developing fresh ideas and insights in all areas of business. Situated within the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Haas’ geographical position affords you opportunities to network with world-leading tech companies and obtain placements within them.

If you are choosing between Haas School of Business and other institutions, you may have many questions weighing on your mind. “What programs does Hass offer? What do I need to get into Haas? How do I make my application stand out?” This guide will answer all of your questions and more.

About Haas School of Business 

The philosophy of the Haas School of Business is imbued within its four Defining Leadership Principles:

  • Haas encourages innovation, taking intelligent risks, and championing bold ideas even when they challenge convention.
  • Confidence Without Attitude – Hass encourages a culture of collaboration through inclusion, humility, and trust that enables its students to make decisions based on evidence and analysis. 
  • Students Always – Hass supports curiosity; the curiosity to learn and diverse perspectives championed by its students are highly sought after.
  • Beyond Yourself – Putting the “collective good” above its own interests, Haas aims to create change in an ethical and responsible manner. 

The three MBA programs offered at Berkeley are distinct in terms of their duration, scope, and entry requirements; as its website reads, you’ll find an MBA experience that will accommodate your unique life goals “on a schedule that best fits your life.”

image of three MBA programs

Full-time MBA 

Offering “an unsurpassed education in management fundamentals and leadership skills, as well as in-depth exposure to the latest business trends and ideas,” the 21-month full-time MBA program is designed to nurture the skills of knowledgeable professionals.

The “rigorous and interdisciplinary” MBA curriculum is intended to educate “you in different ways of thinking and in multiple perspectives, and reinforces your growing knowledge with experiential learning opportunities.” After completing the twelve core courses, students can tailor a large proportion of their program to achieve their individual interests and aspirations.  

Evening & Weekend MBA 

The Evening & Weekend MBA at Haas school of business is designed to be flexible; “You have a job. You have career aspirations. Our Evening & Weekend MBA Program positions you to excel in both arenas by making it possible to earn your MBA while you continue to grow at work,” Haas’ website states.

You can choose between weekend or evening classes and, after completing your third semester, you can switch between the two to complete your chosen electives. The broad range of electives available “allows you to dive deeply into the subjects and experiences you need to take your career where you want to go.”

Arvind Ravishunkar, the Director of Digital and IoT Strategy at Radius Innovation & Development, notes that the part-time MBA program allowed him to “bridge the gap between the academic world and the real world” as he was able to apply what he learned in the classroom to the workplace. 

Executive MBA Program 

The Executive MBA Program “delivers a rigorous general management education” tailored to accomplished professionals’ needs and schedules. Classes are held once a month between Thursday and Saturday, offering executives the chance to pursue further education while managing their businesses.

Its curriculum is rooted in four pillars:

  • Leadership Through a series of core courses, electives present with Haas’ Leadership Communications immersion, you will develop the ability to “lead authentically... inspire others and execute at scale”.
  • Entrepreneurship The instruction you’ll receive during the Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Applied Innovation immersion weeks and various electives will teach you how to lead organizational innovation and frame problems. 
  • Strategy You’ll develop the ability to achieve large-scale goals and design long-term strategies through your immersion weeks and coursework. 
  • Finance Instruction delivered in the core Financial Accounting and Finance classes and experiences gained through various electives will allow you to “understand the bottom-line impact of strategic decisions.”


After completing the ten required courses, you will undertake five field immersions across the country. Although “these immersions take you off campus,” Haas maintains that “the experience is 100 percent Berkeley Haas: transformative and powered by our thought leadership and deep connections in the Bay Area and around the globe.”


Level of Competition and Class Profile

Unsurprisingly, each MBA program offered by Berkley Haas is exceptionally competitive and attracts a variety of academically gifted and experienced applicants.

Full-time MBA 

The average scores achieved and work experienced accrued by this year’s Full-time MBA cohort is shown below:

Graphic showing the number of enrolled students in the full-time MBA program at Haas School of Business.


Evening & Weekend MBA 

The median scores achieved, work experienced accrued, and highest degrees held by this year’s Evening & Weekend MBA cohort are as follows:


Graphic showing the number of enrolled students in the evening and weekend MBA program at Haas School of Business.


Haas School of Business Degrees Obtained


MBA Executive Program 

The median work experienced accrued, and highest degrees held, by this year’s MBA for Executives cohort are shown below:


Number of enrolled students in MBA executive program.
Haas School of Business Degrees Obtained


Complete Requirements and How to Apply

So, how do you apply, and what do you need to get in?

Every application starts with creating an online account, and each program requires candidates to pay a $200 application fee. While each program requires students to submit certain documents like their university transcripts and resume, there are slight variations.

Full-time MBA 

The application requirements for the Full-time MBA at Haas include:

  • University Transcripts
  • Resume
  • GMAT/ GRE Score Report
  • Two Professional Letters of Recommendation
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement (If applicable)

The MBA application also asks applicants to submit a series of required and optional essays. Examples of essay prompts you may encounter are as follows:

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

Required 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 max)

Optional EssayYou can choose from a list of questions that seek to understand “the context of your opportunities and achievement… [or] you may use this opportunity to expand on other hardships or unusual life circumstances that may help us understand the context of your opportunities, achievements, and impact.” (300 words maximum)

Finally, there is an ‘optional information’ section where you can “convey relevant information not addressed elsewhere in your application.”

If your application has been successful, you will be invited to an interview. Typically, these invitations are emailed to successful candidates four weeks after the application deadline. As Cindy Jennings Millette, Senior Associate Director of Full-time MBA Admissions, notes, students can select to be interviewed by an “alum off campus, or with a current student on campus.” Alternatively, you can choose to complete a pre-recorded interview.

Evening & Weekend MBA (Part-Time)

Although the application requirements for the Evening & Weekend MBA are similar to those of the Full-time MBA, there are a few noticeable differences:

  • University Transcripts
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement (If applicable)

Candidates must also submit either their GMAT, GRE, or Executive Assessment (EA) Score Report. The latter is a new exam option available to applicants with eight or more years of work experience. 

Only two essays are required for this application:

  • Essay 1 A person’s identity is shaped by many different aspects, including family, culture, personal interests, and surrounding environments. Please share a facet of your identity or story that is essential to who you are.” (300-word limit)
  • Essay 2The 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-word limit)

If successful in the application process, you will be required to complete a video interview. You’ll have “7 days from when you receive the interview invitation email to complete and submit your video interview,” so make sure your schedule is clear! For each question posed, you have between one and two minutes of response time.

Executive MBA Program 

Much like the Evening & Weekend MBA, the application requirements for the Executive MBA Program require applicants to submit the following information:

  • University Transcripts
  • Resume
  • GMAT, GRE, or EA Score Report
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement (If applicable)

Only two essays are required for this application. Potential prompts include the following:

  • Essay 1A person’s identity is shaped by many different aspects, including family, culture, personal interests, and surrounding environments. Please share a facet of your identity or story that is essential to who you are. (300-word limit)
  • Essay 2The 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-word limit)

If the admissions committee approves your application, you’ll be invited for a 30-minute interview which can be scheduled before or after your application is submitted. You will be interviewed by a member of the committee and, after they have gained a greater understanding of your career, background, and interests, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions.

a link to a guide on how to get into Haas


Top Tips on How to Get Into Haas School of Business

A well-crafted resume has the potential to set the course for the initial application review.”- Berkeley MBA Blog

The first thing admissions committees often review is your resume. Indeed, Morgan Bernstein, executive director of admissions for the Full-Time MBA Program, states that it’s often one of the first things they’ll look at to gain an initial impression of you.

Susan Petty, the Director of Admissions for the MBA for Executives Program, explains that she wants applicants to demonstrate the impact they have made at their company, as well as examples of leadership. So, writing a compelling and informative business school resume is essential for an excellent first impression.

MBA application essays – “off the wall for a reason.”

As noted above, some of the MBA application essay questions are unconventional. However, Petty remarks that the essays are an opportunity to show “a different dimension of yourself” that isn’t shown anywhere else in your application. Speak from the heart and encourage the committee to “think deeply about why you want your MBA,” Petty continues. Writing an engaging series of MBA essays can be an opportunity to let the admissions committee get to know you and what makes you tick. So, make sure that the essays reflect who you are, and you’ll be sure to succeed.

“What have you learned in your previous jobs that can help your colleagues in an MBA program?”

Jenny Clare, the Associate Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals, recommends that applicants find their “differentiating factor.” Ask yourself, how do your life and work experiences make you a unique candidate?

Take Sera Lee, MBA 19, as an example. Before studying at Hass, she worked in San Francisco as a bank examiner. After reflecting upon her experiences, her time as a bank manager was “one of her most valuable assets” and her differentiating factor.

Sera was then able to assess how to best position herself during the application process; emphasizing how she could transfer her knowledge in “classes like ethics, finance, or macroeconomics.” 

Andy, a US Army officer, turned successful Haas applicant, also stressed his differentiating factor during his application to the Full-time MBA program. Working closely with us, Andy was “encouraged… to stop trying to be the standard applicant with a finance or consulting background” – he was unique, and we wanted his application to reflect it.

In his application, “we helped him reframe his military background leading soldiers, making difficult decisions in life-or-death scenarios, and maintaining group morale in face of hardship as the perfect examples of his unique leadership capabilities and strengths.” So, present a compelling picture of yourself through reflecting upon your experiences within your application and interview.

Finally, if you are stuck with the application process at any point, please refer to Berkeley Haas’ application Bootcamp, which is designed to guide you through the process and give you a few hints along the way! If you need one-on-one attention, you should consider working with a consultant who can ensure your application is as competitive as possible.

FAQs

1 Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Deciding how and who to ask for a letter of recommendation for your MBA application is difficult. However, the Haas school of business recommends that both letters are ideally written by “a current direct supervisor, former direct supervisor,” or someone with whom you “have had significant professional interaction.” Essentially, Haas wants individuals that can attest to your professional accomplishments and personal qualities. 

2 How many applicants does the Full-time MBA Program receive each year? 

Haas school of business receives approximately 3,700 applications annually and, for the entering class, the acceptance rate was approximately 8.9%. 

3. Is there a minimum GMAT or GRE score requirement? 

Haas states that there is no minimum GMAT or GRE score. However, they are “especially interested in your performance on the quantitative section” as this provides a handy insight into your mathematical proficiency. You should aim to be amongst the average scores achieved by last year’s class profile, which you can find by viewing the class profile on Haas’ website.

4. Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

Much like the GMAT and GRE, there is no minimum GPA requirement. Haas does state that the standard GPA for consideration is a 3.0.

5. Can I apply to multiple programs in one application cycle? 

No. Although applications for each program are submitted and processed separately, Haas only allows applicants to apply to one program per admissions cycle.

6. Is it better to choose a specific interview format? 

Haas’ website states that “all interviews are reviewed equally.” Whether you decide to speak one-on-one with an alum off campus, or with a current student on campus, or choose to complete a pre-recorded interview, Haas will give equal consideration to all formats.

Conclusion 

Getting into Haas School of Business is no easy feat. Each MBA program on offer draws in successful, motivated, and high-achieving applicants from across the globe. While each program shares similarities in the application process, they have considerable differences.

While Full-Time MBA prospective students can complete up to three essays and an ‘optional information’ section to support their application, both the Evening & Weekend MBA and Executive MBA program only ask applicants to submit two essays. However, for the latter, applicants can take the EA instead of the GMAT and GRE, so be sure to check the specific requirements for each program.

Despite the program you choose, if you obtain good academic scores, acquire the appropriate work experience, and emphasize your differentiating factors during your application, you’ll position yourself for success.

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
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