My Application

Hey everyone! I am sure many of you are out diligently working on those Haas apps right now. As a reminder, they are due on December 1 at 4pm. Make sure you get them in before then, or else they will NOT be considered. More info on Application and Selection for Haas Undergraduates.

As promised, I wanted to talk about my own application as a successful applicant of the Haas School of Business. As a reminder, it consists of 50% grades and coursework, 35% essays, and 15% resume.


My grades can be found be found on My Scores. In addition to those, they asked about fulfilling the foreign language requirement, and seven course breadth. These scores are much less important, but I was worried because my other courses that were much stronger did not really satisfy any requirement, so made a note to tell them to look at the rest of my transcript. It probably didn’t matter, but I wrote that anyway.

  • Major Pre-requisites: My Scores
  • Breadth Requirements: By the time I finished up the application, I had successfully completed Social breadth (Linguistics 5), and had Arts and Literature (German C109), Physical Sciences (ESPM 15) and Historical (Chinese 102) in progress. I mentioned my intent to fulfill Biological Science with MCB 61, and I didn’t fulfill AC, International, or Philosophy breadths at the time.
  • Foreign Language Requirement: I used my four years in French and Chinese 100XB to fulfill the requirement. Only one was necessary, but I wanted to show both.


There were two essays. The first was the typical question that went somewhere along the lines of “There are four defining principles. Which one do you identify most with, and why?”. The second was a choice between two, which went along the lines of “What song is playing on the radio now?” and “If you could press a redo button and change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would you change?” I chose to talk about “beyond yourself’ and pressing the redo button.

I was debating heavily between “students always” and “beyond myself”, and so I tried writing both. In the end, I talked too much about learning in the classroom, so I decided to write about going beyond myself. I talked about being confused as an out-of-state student, and how I wanted to give back and provide help to those who were confused as I was. I talked about my struggles, specific instances of how I was able to help, and how being a Haas student would further my growth and contribute to the Berkeley community.

For the second essay, I talked about a time when I struggled culturally when I interned in a Chinese company (Shanghai Academic Services Center). On my first day, I didn’t stand up when the CEO arrived in the office, as I was used to American business ways. In China, you stand up as a sign of respect when someone higher than you enters the room. I didn’t do that, and I felt terrible for the rest of the day. I spoke of what I learned, what I will do in that situation in the future, and my accomplishments despite this embarrassment. I talked about my interests in the international sphere, and tied it to my business interests in marketing and international marketing. (Although now much of my interests have shifted).


There are four components to the resume: volunteer and community service, employment, extracurricular activities, and awards. Notice how there isn’t a direct place that says “leadership”, even though everyone knows that this is a main factor. They are looking for signs of leadership, rather than just a title. Make sure to emphasize these.

They ask for the organization/company name, length of stay, your role, and what you did. I suggest breaking down the description of your role into bullet points, so that it’s easy to understand and pick the important components. For roles that have passed, I referred to them in the past tense, while those that were current, I talked about them in the current tense. I made sure all bullet points were parallel in structure. There is no word limit, but there is a max of four experiences for each category. I chose only experiences that would be helpful to my application, and only those I’ve done while in college.

  • Volunteer: None
  • Employment: I included Go Overseas, Shanghai Services Center, and Ineffable Music Group. More information is located in My Extracurriculars and Affiliations.
  • Extracurricular Activities: I included Perfect Fifth, BCEC, CalAsk, and BMC (now Marketing Community at Berkeley). Also located in My Extracurriculars.
  • Awards: I mentioned getting Honors 12-12.

I hope that was helpful! It’s okay if you leave a category blank; I did for volunteer experience. Make sure you start early! My grammar is horrible, so I talked to one of my close friends about the essays, and she helped me edit and revise them. In addition, I talked to one of my business organizations’ leaders, and she gave me direction and advise on how to go about answering the questions. I am very grateful to both; so I highly suggest asking a friend or leader to look at it for you.

Good luck! I will be happy to help you if you’d like.

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