Haas essay examples can be a great starting point to find inspiration in writing your own MBA admissions essays for Berkeley Haas. The Haas School of Business at the University of Berkeley is one of the best MBA programs in the world and home to one of the best part-time MBA programs. Competition is fierce, so every part of your application needs to be stellar, including your Haas essays. In this blog, we’ll look at the Haas business school essay requirements, how to write a great Haas MBA essay and some Haas essay examples.

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How to Write an MBA Personal Statement for Haas School of Business Haas Essay Requirements Haas School of Business Essay Examples FAQs

How to Write an MBA Personal Statement for Haas School of Business

Haas uses your MBA admission essays to learn more about your candidacy and see how well you fit with the Haas School of Business Culture. Haas takes a holistic review of your application, so the admissions committee considers all the personal and professional experiences, achievements and opportunities you share in your application when deciding on admissions decisions. Haas also examines how you fit with the school’s core values, which are:

  • Question the Status Quo
  • Confidence Without Attitude
  • Students Always
  • Beyond Yourself

Berkeley Haas is at the top of MBA rankings, and the requirements for the Haas essays are specific. Your MBA personal statement is an opportunity to strengthen your application by standing out and diversifying yourself in a pool of competitive applicants, so acing the Haas essays is important. You should not be restating accomplishments from your MBA resume or relisting your best MBA extracurriculars for these essays. It’s important to dig deep, address the prompts head-on, and demonstrate maturity, personal growth and passion for your industry and career.

Wherever possible, demonstrate how you align with Haas’s 4 core values and how you will contribute as a student of the program. If you have unique career goals that will disrupt the status quo of your industry, talk about it in your essay. If you are eager to advance yourself in your chosen career field by studying the latest innovations in business, make this a focus in your essay.

The Haas admissions essays also have a very short word count limit, so every word counts!

If you’re not sure where to start with drafting your essay for Haas, you can look into an MBA essay writing service for feedback on your writing, or have an MBA admission consulting service review your application with you.

Haas Admissions Essay Requirements

MBA requirements often include admissions essays or an MBA personal statement. There are 2 required admissions essays for the Haas MBA program and 2 optional “essays” or supplemental information.

The required MBA essay topics center on Haas’s core values, and are deeply personal, self-reflective questions. The MBA essay questions for Haas are:

  1. What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)
  2. What kind of leader do you aspire to be, and why? (300 words max)

The format for these required essays is short essay, with an introduction, body paragraph and conclusion. They should be double-spaced and no longer than 300 words. The word limit is a bit more restrictive than most MBA programs, so it is absolutely crucial to revise your essay for maximum impact. You need to get straight to the point, address the prompt and cut out any unnecessary details. Writing an essay in under 300 words is tricky, but it can create an opportunity to stand out.

For the Haas MBA essays, your answer can be more personal, focus more on your professional accomplishments, or both. There is no guidance on the content of your essay, so it will be up to you to decide what experiences and accomplishments best answer the essay prompts. Take the time to reflect on the essay questions and take notes on which life experiences you have answer them best.

Here are some brainstorming questions you can ask yourself to get started for Haas essay #1:

Here are some brainstorming questions you can ask yourself to get started for Haas essay #2:

Once you’ve written down some answers to these questions in bullet or point form, try condensing your answer down into a single point or main idea. You won’t have a lot of room for details, so try to pick one answer for each essay. Once you have the central idea of your essay, draft an outline with an introduction paragraph, a body paragraph and a conclusion. Once you’ve written a draft, work on cutting it down to fit within the word count by eliminating unnecessary details or words. Aim for no more than 500 words in your first draft, so it is easier to cut down to a lean 300 words or less.

Want some tips for writing an MBA personal statement?

Haas Optional Essays

The Haas optional essays or supplemental essays are a little more vague, and do not have a strict word count limit or formatting requirements. You can certainly write a short essay, but you can also use bullet points to provide additional information in this section. The “optional essay” prompts for Haas are:

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

Use this section as an opportunity to add something to your application to help distinguish you from other applicants. For instance, in response to the first prompt you might submit an MBA diversity essay. The second prompt gives you an opening to explain gaps in your MBA resume or explain a low GPA in your MBA application. If you want to know how to apply to an MBA while unemployed, you can use this section to provide context around your unemployed status and how earning a Haas MBA will help your career.

While the optional essays can be an aid to your application in specific circumstances, they are not required to be filled out. Use this section strategically and focus on acing the required Haas essays first.

Haas School of Business Essay Examples

Below are some MBA personal statement examples for Haas School of Business. These are written in response to the Haas MBA required essay prompts:

Haas Essay Example #1

Prompt: What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words max)

Rock climbing has been my hobby for over a decade, and it is one of the things that has challenged me, fueled me and changed my perspective the most. Rock climbing requires focus, commitment, problem-solving and adaptability. It demands a great deal of physical strength, flexibility and endurance, as well as mental toughness and focus. To make an ascent, you need to be fully present in your body and mind, and 100% dialed into what you are doing every step of the climb.

Rock climbing is something that has made me hyper-aware of my own mental and physical state and the challenges I face on the wall, but it’s also something that has given me unparalleled rewards. Climbing gives you a sense of peace that is meditative. Your world shrinks to you and the rock wall in front of you. Every breath, every heartbeat and bit of effort counts towards your goal. When you reach the peak, there’s something fulfilling about standing up, exhaling and taking in the view at the top. Compared to the climb, which can take hours, not to mention the weeks or even months of preparation, the reward is a few minutes of drinking in the sights. But the reward of that view is worth it every single time.

That moment at the peak is something you would never be able to take in with your own eyes if you hadn’t put in the work and completed the climb. Even if you have to abandon your climb and try again, or find a new way up the wall, you can always come back and face the challenge. And I’ve found there’s nothing quite like knowing you finished something extraordinary and realized the reward at the end was actually small compared to the reward of the journey. (300 words).

Preparing for an interview at Haas School of Business? Here are the MBA interview question types you need to know

Haas Essay Example #2

Prompt: What kind of leader do you aspire to be, and why? (300 words max)

I aspire to be the kind of leader who doesn’t leave their team behind, who takes responsibility and leads by example. I believe this is the kind of leadership that is most effective and inspirational, and I am fortunate to know someone who embodies this kind of leadership to inspire me.

My friend, Tom Watson, owns his own business. He began as a startup founder, and over the years has grown his team from one to over 150 employees. Tom believes every victory the company has seen is a shared victory for the team. He makes it a point to regularly ask for input from his team members and listen to their points of view. He knows every birthday, the names of every employee’s kids, and he doesn’t miss an opportunity to offer constructive criticism or praise when needed. As a result, Tom’s team not only enjoys high morale, but a happier and more positive workplace. Whenever I visit Tom’s offices, I am blown away by the collaborative spirit at work. Despite some setbacks in Tom’s business, he and his team have managed to come through each one stronger than before.

I have often asked Tom for advice, and by far his favorite piece of advice on leadership is to care. He cares about his business, he cares about his team which makes the business possible. As someone who has worked on many different teams with leaders of different management styles, I can see that Tom’s leadership style does make a difference, both in the business, for the employees and for Tom himself. If my goal is to be the best leader I can be, I know it must start with being the kind of leader I’d want to follow. (290 words).


1. How do you write a Haas essay?

Your Haas MBA essay is written in short-essay format, in response to 2 prompts. The Haas essays should provide the admissions committee with some insight into who you are and what drives you in a personal and professional sense.

2. How long should the essay for Haas be?

The word count limit for Haas MBA is 300 words.

3. What are the 4 values of Berkeley Haas?

The four core values of Haas School of Business are: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always and Beyond Yourself.

4. How prestigious is Berkeley Haas?

The MBA program at Berkeley Haas is one of the top MBA programs in the US and the world. It ranks in the top 10 worldwide and the top 5 in the US among business schools.

5. Is the Haas MBA worth it?

Getting your MBA at Haas is definitely worth it. It is considered one of the best business schools in the world and is known for its quality education in business. 

6. How hard is it to get into Haas School of Business?

MBA acceptance rates in the US are competitive, and the Haas School of Business has one of the most competitive acceptance rates in the country. The school is considered very selective among business schools. 

7. What are the essay questions for Haas MBA?

The MBA essay questions for Haas School of Business are similar to MBA interview questions in that they are quite personal and require some serious thought and reflection. The first essay question asks what makes you feel most alive and why, and the second essay question asks what kind of leader you want to be. These can be examined from a personal point of view or a professional point of view. 

8. What does Haas MBA look for?

Haas Business School uses a holistic review of all its applicants. The admissions committee wants to see that you are a good fit for Haas and that the program can give you something no other program can. The admissions committee also wants to see that you demonstrate the school’s core values in your personal and professional life. If you’re not sure how to choose the right MBA program for you, research the school thoroughly first to see what opportunities it can provide you.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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