Berkeley Haas Essay and Recommendation Questions – 2014-2015 Intake

Essay Questions:

For Fall 2015

Required Essays

At Berkeley-Haas, our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles — Question the Status Quo; Confidence Without Attitude; Students Always; and Beyond yourself. We seek candidates from a broad range of cultures, backgrounds, and industries who demonstrate a strong cultural fit with our program and defining principles. Please use the following essays as an opportunity to reflect on and share with us the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are.

  1. Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world. How did this transform you? (400-500 word maximum)
  2. What is your most significant professional accomplishment? (200-300 word maximum)
  3. What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions a., b., and c.
    a. How is your background compelling to this company?
    b. What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?
    c. Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?
    (500-600 word maximum for 3a, 3b, and 3c combined)

Optional Essays

  1. (Optional) Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500 word maximum)
  2. (Optional) If not clearly evident, please discuss ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities, or plan to strengthen quantitative abilities. You do not need to list courses that appear on your transcript. (250 word maximum)

Supplemental Information (for the applicant)

  1. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain. If not applicable, enter N/A.
  2. List in order of importance all community and professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Include the following information for each organization or activity using the format below:
    1. Name of organization or activity
    2. Nature of organization or activity
    3. Size of organization
    4. Dates of involvement
    5. Offices held
    6. Average number of hours spent per month
  3. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.
  4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
  5. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended, or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.)


Recommendation Questions

1. Describe your relationship to the applicant. Are you, or have you been, the applicant’s direct supervisor? If not, what is the

nature of your relationship? How long have you known the applicant and how frequent is/was your interaction with him/her?

2. How does the applicant’s performance compare with that of his or her peers?

3. What are the applicant’s two greatest strengths? What are the applicant’s two greatest areas (in need) of improvement? Please cite specific examples.

4. How does the applicant overcome negative outcomes? Please cite specific examples.

5. In the Berkeley MBA program, we develop leaders who embody our distinctive culture’s four key principles

[] one of which is “confidence without attitude” or “confidence with humility”.

Please comment on how the applicant reflects this Berkeley-Haas value.

Please give us your appraisal of the applicant in terms of the traits listed below. Compare the applicant with others whom you know have applied to business school or with individuals who are being groomed for leadership positions within your organization.

It should be extremely rare for any candidate to receive “truly exceptional” in all areas, and unusual for a candidate to receive either “superior” or “truly exceptional” in all areas.


  • Self-confidence
  • Communication skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Maturity
  • Respect for different viewpoints
  • Empathy
  • Ability to influence without authority
  • Ability to accept constructive feedback
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Analytical Ability
  • Quantitative Ability
  • Ability to question the status quo
  • Initiative
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Personal integrity / ethics