How to get into Berkley Haas MBA Program?

Haas School of Business is the business school of one of the most popular Public universities of the US, the University of California, Berkeley.

The school has been home to some prestigious faculty like Adolph Miller and Wesley Clair Mitchell (the father of business cycle analysis). The faculty at Haas id filled with Nobel Laureates and other active member from various industry. This assures that Haas gets the best of both worlds, be it scholastic knowledge or the practical approach.

Haas is one of the few public schools in the US that enjoy elite status when it comes to business education. Other public schools that fall just a little below Haas are Kenan Flagler, McCombs, Kelley, and Foster.

With a 14.32% acceptance rate, Haas Business school isn’t far behind its private counterparts in the competition amongst the applicant pool.

To get into Haas is more intricate than just filling out the applications, answering essay questions and providing recommendations. To better understand this process, you must understand the types of programs that Haas offers, so you know exactly which one to apply to.

Types of MBA Program at Haas

Haas offers three types of MBA programs to cater to three different types of MBA aspirants.

For aspirants that wish to achieve a full-time MBA experience, have less professional experience or wish to switch career, Haas has the Full-time MBA Program.

For applicants that wish to earn an MBA while without keeping their professional careers on hold, Haas has the Evening and Weekend MBA.

The Executive MBA at Haas is meant to cater to high-level executives who wish to gain more skills for professional growth.

Here are the differentiating factors amongst the three types of MBA Programs at Haas.

Criteria Full-time MBA Evening & Weekend MBA Executive MBA
Duration 21 months 2.5-3 years 19 months
Class schedule Monday to Thursday Two evenings per week/ Saturday Thursday to Saturday Every three weeks
Approx. tuition $117,444- $119,478 $137,000 $190,550
Middle 80% range of work experience 2-10 years 5-11 years 8-22 years

Cost of attendance at Haas

Haas, even though a Public institution, has a high cost of attendance. The cost of attendance between residents of California and non-residents of the state varies by a mere $2,206, which is the difference in the school’s tuition.

Here’s a table to help you better understand how housing and tuition, along with other variable costs, will add up for the first year.

Expense Cost for California Resident Cost for California Non-Resident
Tuition and Fees $62,446 $64,652
Housing and Food $25,234 $25,234
Books and Supplies $620 $620
Transportation $3,110 $3,110
Health Insurance $5,240 $5,240
Personal Expenses $2,678 $2,678
Total Budget $99,328 $101,534

The application process for Haas Full-Time MBA Program

The application process of Haas is a typical business school application process. The form can be saved and accessed multiple times before you finally decide to submit your online application.

To submit the application, you are required to pay an application fee of $200.

An application fee waiver is available to a citizen or permanent resident of the US who is active in service at AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, or the US Military. A financial need-based application fee waiver is available to those who are covered under Estimated Family Contribution.

Application Step Requirement
Transcripts Transcripts from all graduate and undergraduate institutions must be submitted with the application.
Resume An updated current resume must be provided during the application. Preferably in PDF format.
GMAT/GRE Applicants are required to submit official scores from their GMAT or GRE exams to the following codes.
  • GMAT Institution Code: N2VPT47
  • GRE Institution Code: 0574
In case an applicant wishes to improve their score, they must submit the new score at least two weeks before the decision date for their round of submission.
Essays Berkeley Haas has four total essays out of which two are mandatory, and the other two are optional.

Mandatory essay 1: What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words maximum)

Mandatory essay 2: Tell us how a Berkeley Haas MBA would enhance your leadership profile, incorporating specific examples. (300 words max)

The optional essays are regarding various parts of your profile which might need any further information.
Letters of Recommendation On choosing the online form of letters of recommendation, your 2 recommenders will be given access to an online form. If you choose to send hard copies, you will be required to download a form, print it and mail it back to the school after completing it.
Interview Interviews at Berkeley Haas are on invitation basis only, and the applicant will be informed of the same by the admissions committee.
English Language Proficiency Tests If the primary official language of your country is not English, you must provide the scores of your IELTS or TOEFL tests to show English Proficiency. For Indian applicants, if your undergraduate education was in India, you have to submit either the IELTS or TOEFL tests.

Starting compensation after Haas’ Full-Time MBA Program

If you look at the Employment Report of Berkeley Haas’ MBA class of 2018 below, you will see numbers that pretty much resonate with the previous years.

The median salary for the Berkeley Haas MBA class of 2018 was $125,000, which might sound low compared to the schools it shares the top 10 business schools’ slots with. But it isn’t. Before I tell you why take a quick look at the compensation of the graduating class of 2018.

Industry Mean salary Mean sign-on bonus
Consulting $132,268 $20,007
CPG/Retail $119,344 $21,208
Energy $120,667 NA
Financial Services $125,583 $23,750
Health/Bio Tech/Pharma $114,600 $31,667
Manufacturing $121,429 NA
Media/Entertainment $136,667 NA
Nonprofit/Public Sector $109,125 NA
Real Estate $98,910 NA
Technology $132,784 $35,337
Transportation and Logistics Svcs $126,617 NA
Other $200,000 $10,000

While Haas is known to be one of the few public schools to rank in the top 10 slots on business school lists across the US, it provides compensations that seem to be closer to other public schools a little lower on the same lists.

However, looks can be deceiving. The employment report by Haas does not show a very important factor that when added makes the ROI that the school provides much higher. Haas, unlike Harvard and Wharton, does not reveal the ‘Other Promised Compensation’ that its students receive. A majority of Haas’ class receives bonds and stock options in other promised compensation and this information is left out of the employment reports.

Thus, this preview of what the school can offer in terms of post-MBA compensation is exactly that, a preview.

How to get into Berkley Haas MBA Program?

There are some things that all business school applications require. From showcasing various skills to extra-curricular activities, MBA applications can seem similar across the board for all business schools. however, every business school has its unique characteristics that change the focus of their applications.

While INSEAD focuses on a global mindset, Michigan Ross focuses on team-work. These various focuses also change the way an application should be approached.

Here is a detailed version of what Berkeley Haas’ admissions committee focuses on during MBA applications.

  1. Show your passion
  2. Berkeley Haas’ Stephanie Fujii told an online portal in a 2015 interview about how the class is brought together through their common goals and passion. She revealed that the new clubs, and how the class would interact with each other is assessed through the essays that applicants write.

    So, apart from the cultural fit, your essay is also analyzed to see how you would fit with the rest of the applicant pool and your potential classmates through your passion that comes forth from your essays.

    Another reason of mentioning your things and causes you are passionate about is that it shows your character. How driven are you? What motivates you? And can Haas provide you an environment to cultivate that motivation correctly?

    All these questions can only be answered once the admissions committee knows about the things that drive you other than your career.

  3. Don’t answer essay questions for the admissions committee
  4. Pay very close attention to this point.

    Your essays aren’t for the admissions committee to see how well you can re-invent yourself and fit into the Haas mold. They are strictly to know you as a candidate. Your essays shouldn’t be a compilation of things that you believe the admissions committee wants to hear.

    It should be a genuine and authentic account of how Haas can benefit you and your career as a community and an MBA Program. I know it is an over-used statement in MBA applications, but being vulnerable, and authentic is the way to go. Yes, you have to formulate your essays properly, making sure all the right accomplishments and experiences are highlighted. But you should also know when to own up to your flaws and talk about the lessons you learned from them.

    Because this is what your experience at Haas would be like. You’ll succeed in some endeavors and will have to learn from hit and trial in others. But, if your MBA application turns out as a saga of your accomplishments and portrays you as a god with no flaws or shortcomings, which is what MBA applicants believe business schools are looking for, Haas will be quick to move it to the reject pile.

  5. Research Haas day in and day out
  6. Researching Haas is not for the applications directly. It is mostly pre or post-application work.

    The pre-applications leg of your research should be about why Haas should be the school you apply to. Think of yourself as the customer. Ask all the questions you would ask if Haas was a tier 4 business school. When students apply to tier one schools, they have the mindset of ‘Am I good enough for the school?’ when you should really be asking, ‘Is Haas good enough for my goals?’.

    The pre-application process is all about knowing how the school can help you gain the growth that you wish to achieve in your personal and professional life. If you were to take admission to a not so well-known business school and pay huge tuition over that, you will ask every question that mankind has ever come up with to make sure you’re making the right decision. So, look at Haas in the same way.

    Once you have these answers down, your application will be smooth sailing. You will know exactly ‘Why Haas?’, or ‘How you fit into Haas’ culture?’.

    The post-application leg is a bit more complicated. Here, you need to answer why Haas should invest their time in you. This is when you need to start looking at Haas as the tier one business school it is. Now is the time to ask questions like ‘How can you add to Haas’ community and the MBA Program?’. For this, you will require to gain in-depth knowledge about the student experience at Haas.

    The school will even help you with this leg by providing student ambassadors who will answer your questions. Make sure you use this opportunity for what it's worth and ask any questions that you have remaining, however, make sure you don’t ask questions you can find answers to from a Google search.

    Since the student ambassadors are an extended part of the admissions team, the types of questions you ask them will also be looked at to see just how inquisitive you are about the school, and how extensive your own research has been.

  7. Be self-aware
  8. Admissions committee members of Haas have revealed, in certain interviews, that students who weren’t self-aware have lost out on their chance to get an admit to Haas even though they had exceptional profiles.

    An admissions committee member revealed that a student who had missed to mention a promotion they were soon going to receive. The student would have been accepted to the school even without the promotion as they had an exceptional profile, however, when the admissions committee learned about the lapse, they had no other option but to reject them.

    Thus, not being self-aware is considered a huge error when it comes to Haas’ application process.

  9. Commit to the culture
  10. The culture at Haas is a major factor in the admissions committee’s decision making. If a student isn’t a cultural fit, they will most probably end up being rejected by the school.

    The culture, however, is not limited to social engagement. Haas has a great focus on community and the idea of creating leaders that wish to impact the world in a socially and ethically responsible way. Thus, a real commitment to Haas’ culture comes through a lot of community involvement.

    To put it in easier terms, ‘being woke’ is almost a necessity to truly fit into the culture and community at Haas. The school doesn’t mind if you want to make a lot of money through its MBA degree, in fact, it wants you to do so, and it might sound cheesy but it wants you to have the mindset of doing so while ‘making the world a better place’.

    So, if you have any community experience in your application, make sure to utilize it for all its worth.