Anyone who is applying to Haas knows it’s a daunting experience with a very low admit rate. For Fall 2016, only about 5.7% of all 1918 applicants got through.
More than almost any other UC major, Business Administration at Berkeley puts huge emphasis on the essays, with 35% of admissions criteria based on what you write. Haas looks not only at what you say, but how you say it. Unlike general admissions, the Haas admissions office will definitely critique writing style, as well as how emphatically and engagingly you convey your message.
The Haas Supplemental
The Haas Supplemental is an additional packet of forms that unveils online in early January. All Haas applicants must complete this supplemental by January 31. One of the leading causes of disqualification is not completing the supplemental, or completing it without the crucial pizzazz.
The Supplemental includes: (1) an essay, (2) a detailed resume, and (3) academic course update. Within this trifecta, the essay is one of the most crucial pieces. To be admitted to Haas you need an extremely powerful and persuasive supplemental essay.
In order to make your supplemental essay as strong as possible, be sure to include at least one of the Haas Four Defining Principles. These principles are the key to Haas culture.
The 4 Defining Principles are:
Question the Status Quo
Question the Status Quo means to always be open to new ways of doing things. Don’t just blandly accept the current state of things as the final word. Haas will want to see how you stretch yourself in order to see the world in new ways. Nothing is ever set in stone.
Confidence without Attitude
This principle was included after a company executive mentioned that he liked Haas job applicants because they exhibited confidence without attitude. It’s fairly self-explanatory. Haas does not want a blowhard or someone who feels they are entitled.
Bad leaders are the ones who graduate from wherever they graduated from and assume they know it all. What they were taught at that given moment (in other words, what was current then), is good enough now. Haas believes an excellent leader is always in learning mode. Things change and a leader needs to embrace flexibility, with a strong incentive to keep growing.
This involves stewardship and giving back, both within your community and globally.
I cannot stress enough that Haas wants to see these defining principles in your content. Admissions will want to see how you used a principle in relation to leadership, passion and ethics. So tell a story. Do not just list a bunch of stuff you did or why you feel you are a Student Always in a leadership setting. Relate a small slice of life situation that shows how you exhibited the traits of a Student Always, so the reader get inside the event.
By the way, if you are a military veteran, be sure to address your service in the essays — for instance teamwork, leadership, skills, and any lessons learned.
Haas Supplemental Prompts
UPDATE: January 11: The 2017 Supplemental prompt was released. It is:
Many people believe “honesty is the best policy.” But is it always? Describe a situation during your college experience where you had to decide whether or not to be honest. Explain your decision and outcome.
Here are samples from previous years:
Prompt 2016: Describe how you envision your two years in the Haas Undergraduate Program. What impact do you hope to have on your peers?
Prompt Option A 2015: For Berkeley-Haas, there are four principles that, taken together, sharply define us relative to other business schools. As you reflect on these principles (Confidence without Attitude, Question the Status Quo, Students Always, Beyond Yourself) which one do you identify most with? Why?
Prompt Option B 2015: As you reflect on your life and your beliefs, what phrase or quote best describes you? Explain this phrase or quote and why it represents you so well.
You will get an email notice when the Supplemental is up, and as usual, I offer guidance with the Haas Supplemental Essay. Good luck to all applicants!