Admissions at Haas
What Haas Is Looking For
Cultural fit. Haas stresses its “leading through innovation” mantra in students and looks for key characteristics in applicants to show cultural fit. With such a small class, Haas often has one of the lowest acceptance rates of any business school worldwide so it can select candidates who strongly fit with its tight-knit program. Showcasing this fit requires extra care and thought in an application (see the extensive slate of essay questions below), but also creates a unique opportunity to express meaningful ways in which Berkeley-Haas matches your own philosophy and style. For instance, part of the “innovation” element is that Haas prides itself—much in the way that NYU Stern does—on being a place where careers can be furthered, but also launched or reset. Not all top business schools in the recent economic climate have been as openly encouraging to career changers, yet Berkeley-Haas stresses this openness.
Commitment to deep involvement. Extracurricular involvement and leadership are two other key elements of the Haas admission criteria. Similar to Wharton, Haas fosters a high level of involvement in its students and expects applicants to have been previously involved in their communities. This applies to on-campus leadership in college as well as a desire to “make the world a better place.”
Traditional criteria. Beyond these elements, Berkeley-Haas looks for a lot of the usual angles in the admissions process, including academic ability (particularly analytical and quantitative skills), strong letters of recommendation, and an interview indicative of fit. On top of the “on-paper” evaluation, some weight is given to applicants who demonstrate determination and resilience. Not only that, but persuading the admissions committee that Berkeley-Haas is indeed a top pick for the applicant can be a deciding factor and should be conveyed convincingly.