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University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business (Haas) MBA Essay Topic Analysis

Haas School of Business – University of California, Berkeley

Haas School of Business is one of 14 schools and colleges at the University of California, Berkeley and is located on the eastern side of Berkeley’s campus.  In addition to its full-time MBA program, Haas offers an Executive MBA program and an Evening and Weekend MBA program.  Haas’s MBA curriculum is centered on Berkeley Innovative Leader Development, an approach to business education that emphasizes experiential learning and problem-solving in order to help students become innovative leaders.  Haas also helps students shape their education by offering students the chance to design courses in conjunction with a faculty member.

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Haas employs 86 tenure-track faculty members.  These scholars and practitioners help lead Haas’s more than 10 research institutes and centers, and participate in seven multidisciplinary programs, which cover topics ranging from business innovation to nonprofit and public leadership.  The Program in Corporate Innovation, for example, enables faculty to publish articles, create teach­ing materials and lead research projects on “open innovation,” a more dispersed industry innovation model.


Professors at Haas make use of a variety of teaching methods, including case studies, seminars, simulations, group projects and guest speakers.  Haas places an emphasis on hands-on learning, with certain courses providing students the opportunity to gain consulting experience by working in Silicon Valley firms.

Haas operates on a two-semester schedule, with MBA classes running from late August through early December and from mid-January through May; commencement takes place shortly thereafter.  For first-year students, each semester is further divided into two quarters.  Within the academic year, all students have short breaks for Thanksgiving and other holidays, as well as a one-month break between the fall and spring semesters.

During the first year, Haas students are required to take 12 core courses which account for roughly half of the 51 semester units needed to graduate.  The core covers foundational business principles in accounting, finance, economics, marketing, operations, strategy, leadership, decision-making and management.  Each of the required courses places an emphasis on team learning, with students working in small groups on projects and assignments.  A core course may be waived if a student passes a waiver examination, and these are available for seven of the 12 core courses.  These examinations are akin to the course’s final examination and are given the week before the start of each semester.  All students must also fulfill an experiential learning, or “applied innovation” requirement by completing at least one of over a dozen programs.  These include working in small teams on projects for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, as well as developing socially responsible strategies for large corporations.

MBA students may begin taking elective courses in the spring semester of their first year.  Haas provides a broad range of elective courses from which to choose, and students may even design their own courses together with members of the faculty.  The school offers specialties in seven areas of general management fundamentals, namely accounting, business and public policy, economic analysis and public policy, finance, management of organizations, marketing, and operations and information technology management.  Haas also provides students with 11 Areas of Emphasis, which are high-level recommendations of courses, extracurricular activities and summer internships that students can follow to prepare for entry into related careers.

Other MBA Degree Options

In addition to the 21-month full-time MBA program, Haas offers a four-year JD/MBA program with either UC Berkeley’s School of Law or UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.  Also available are an MBA/MPH program with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and an MBA/MA program in Global Studies with various UC Berkeley Schools.  Part-time options include an evening and weekend MBA program.

Areas of Emphasis at Haas

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Strategy/Consulting
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Energy and Clean Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global Management
  • Health Management
  • Social Sector Leadership
  • Real Estate
  • Technology

Degree Options at Haas

Full-time MBA

Concurrent Degrees



MBA for Executives

Evening & Weekend MBA

Applied Innovation  Courses

  • [email protected]
  • Social Sector Solutions
  • International Business Development
  • Cleantech to Market
  • Strategic and Sustainable Business Solutions
  • Design Thinking for Business Solutions to Create Social Impact
  • Design, Evaluate and Scale Development Technologies
  • People Development
  • Real Estate Investment Analysis
  • Hedge Fund Strategies
  • The Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund
  • Design and Development of Web-Based Products and Services
  • Lean Launchpad
  • Social Lean Launchpad
  • The Startup Lab
  • Applied Data Analytics

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Clubs, Conferences & Competitions

Haas offers its students many opportunities for extracurricular involvement, including nearly 50 student organizations to choose from, with a wide array of professional, athletic and cultural groups on hand. Many MBA students become involved in Challenge for Charity events such as competitions, shows and auctions geared at raising money for the Special Olympics and other charitable organizations. In addition, a large portion of MBA students volunteer their time to the [email protected] program, where they act as mentors for underprivileged high school students.

Approximately 10 conferences are regularly hosted by Haas faculty and students. These comprise both industry- and affiliation-related events, such as the Business in Healthcare Conference and Women in Leadership Conference. Haas also sponsors the Education Leadership Case Competition, the UC Berkeley Startup Competition and the Global Social Venture Competition.

Campus Spaces

Designed by architect Charles Moore, Haas’s campus is comprised of three buildings—one each for classrooms, student services and faculty—linked together that face a main courtyard. Among the school’s facilities are a career center, a high-tech computer lab, a café and an economics and business library.

While most Haas students choose to live off campus, a fair number of students take advantage of Haas’s on-campus housing options. These include university residence halls as well as several apartment complexes devoted to housing UC Berkeley graduate students. The university also provides a housing service called Cal Rentals, through which students can receive counseling about their housing options. Students who wish to live off campus can refer to Cal Rentals for a listing of off-campus rental opportunities.

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Career Services

The Haas Career Management Group provides extensive support for MBA students by hosting on-campus interviews, corporate presentations and electronic job postings through CareerNet.  The Career Management Group also offers students informal ways to meet employers year-round through career panels, alumni mixers, industry firm nights, job fairs and corporate visits.  In addition, individual career advisors are available to aid students in developing their job search skills and tackling the recruiting process.  Full-time recruiting for second-year students takes places in the fall and spring semesters, and internship recruiting for first-year students occurs in the spring.

Career Statistics

The mean base annual salary of 2017 Haas graduates was $125,573, with an average signing bonus of about $27,926.  Twenty-six percent of the Class of 2017 went on to work in consulting positions, with marketing as the second most popular function at nearly 19%.  Meanwhile, 16% of Haas’s 2017 graduates accepted positions in finance, nearly 12% opted for business development/strategy roles, and nearly 7% of students entered operations.

Thirty-seven percent of students in the Class of 2017 found jobs in the technology industry after graduating.  This is not surprising given that the top recruiters in 2017 included technology firms such as Google, Genentech, and Microsoft.  The next most chosen industry was consulting, at 26% of the class, and 12% of students accepted positions in financial services.  Nearly 8% of students entered the retail industry and another 8% went into pharma/biotech/healthcare.  The remainder of the class secured employment in nonprofits and real estate.

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The Class Profile

Admission to Haas is competitive, with the school receiving 4,132 applications and enrolling 282 students in 2017.  First-year Haas students scored between 640 and 780 on the GMAT, and the average GMAT score for the class was 725.  The average undergraduate GPA for the group was 3.71, with the middle 80% having no lower than a 3.07 GPA.

While 57% of the Class of 2019 studied business, economics or engineering as undergraduates, just over a quarter of the class majored in the social sciences and humanities, and about 6% majored in the natural sciences.  The median age of first-year students at the time of matriculation was 28, and the group had a median of five years of work experience.  Thirty-nine percent of first-year MBA candidates are international, with the group representing 42 countries, and women make up 40% of the Class of 2019.  Finally, 29% of first-year students identify as members of a U.S. minority group, which comprises students of African American, Hispanic American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Island­er, Asian American and East Indian/Pakistani heritage.

Application Procedures

Applicants can elect to apply to Haas during one of three admissions rounds, which usually occur in September, January and April.  Haas requires applicants to submit their completed online application along with a résumé, essays, GMAT and TOEFL or IELTS scores from students who received degrees from countries whose official language is not English, transcripts from all collegiate and post-collegiate academic institutions attended, and two professional letters of recommendation. Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis and are required for admission to the MBA program.

Application Requirements

  • Online application
  • $200 application fee
  • Current resume (submitted online)
  • Admissions essays
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • University transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE score report
  • English language proficiency
  • Interview

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The tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year is $61,050 for California residents and $61,506 for non-residents. However, Haas estimates that with additional expenses such as living expenses and textbooks, students will pay up to $96,142 as residents or $96,598 as non-residents in that time. Haas offers both merit- and need-based scholarships to help students with the program’s cost. While some merit-based scholarships are awarded to applicants at the time of admission, others require the completion of separate applications. Both two-year and one-year scholarships are available, and Haas requires that the recipients of two-year grants maintain at least a 3.0 GPA throughout business school. Students also have an array of loan options at their disposal, including federal loan offerings for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. In addition, students can apply for lines of credit with the Eli Lilly Credit Union; these credit lines do not require credit history or a U.S. cosigner, which is particularly useful for international students.

Cost of Attendance

Tuition & Fees

  • CA Resident $61,050
  • Non-Resident $61,506

Health Insurance $4,746
Housing & Food $24,160
Books & Supplies $598
Transportation $3,002
Personal Expenses $2,586

CA Resident $96,142
Non-Resident $96,598

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Class Size282

Essay Topic Analysis

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Mailing Address:
Full-Time MBA Admissions
Haas School of Business University of California, Berkeley
430 Student Services Building #1902
Berkeley, CA 94720-1902
Phone: 510-642-1405
Fax: 510-643-6659
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @BerkeleyHaas

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