How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Berkeley Haas essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.
One look at the first application essay question for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley this year may make applicants think the program has finally embraced the less-is-more movement in essays that so many other top schools have been joining lately. And to be fair, the total number of words allowed for Berkeley Haas’s essays this season has gone down, but not by all that much—dropping from 1,000 to 806—so candidates still have a comparatively good amount of space in which to present a well-rounded impression of themselves to the school. Although the prompts have changed in wording, the kind of information the school wants to elicit seems largely the same. As always, you want your essays as a whole to encompass a range of stories and qualities that complement each other so as to provide an accurate representation of who you are today, the student you expect to be in business school, and the professional you will be for the rest of your career. What follows is our full Berkeley Haas essay analysis, featuring their updated essay questions… Read more
We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2014 application season. Here is their analysis for UC-Berkeley Haas.
The Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, offers you more opportunity to tell your story than most business schools do these days—its three short essays favor those whose candidacies include a variety of dimensions and accomplishments. Your job is to ensure that the reader is constantly learning about you as he/she reads on. Ask yourself, “Am I offering a new skill or a new experience in each essay?” If your answer is not “yes!” then you must go back to brainstorming to ensure you are providing a broad and compelling picture of yourself. If you want the admissions committee to stay interested, you must keep providing new information throughout your essays.
As absurd as this prompt may seem, you of course want to take it seriously. Rather than trying to identify what might be an impressive or interesting song in and of itself, stop, think about the various facets of your character and then back into your choice. Ask yourself what defines who you are and then work to find an appropriate song that reflects and reveals these elements—preferably one that you are sincerely connected to or that triggers a strong response in you. To add another level of creativity, consider different versions of the same song and the different singers who have performed or recorded it. (For example, the famed song “New York, New York” has been recorded by a number of artists over the years and in different languages—not that we are suggesting this song!) If the lyrics of a particular song seem to match well with your personality, you may also be able to identify a version of that song with a certain style, tempo or featured instrument, and these elements can further illustrate your personality. There is no “right” song in the eyes of the admissions committee. Your task is to find one that serves as an avenue for discussing your character and to clearly explain how and why it does so, using examples.
2. What is your most significant accomplishment? (250 word maximum)
Your most significant accomplishment can be from any sphere—professional, community, academic, personal. As mentioned in our introduction, be sure to represent different dimensions of your candidacy as you respond to these short-essay prompts. In other words, whichever aspect of your profile you choose to highlight here, it should be one that is not represented elsewhere in your application. (Note: you can tell two stories from the same “venue,” but they need to represent your skills/talents in different ways. Mentorship is a different skill than business development, for example, but both can occur in the workplace.) The key to this essay is choosing an experience that is simple but powerful—one that speaks for itself and draws the reader in, allowing him/her to draw a clear conclusion about your capabilities. Even with just 250 words, you can sufficiently recount a story that accomplishes this goal.