How to strengthen your MBA application: a step-by-step guide

By Jenny Clare

Choosing to get your MBA is a big decision. Applying to an MBA program takes a lot of planning and self-reflection, but the benefits of a business degree make the process worthwhile.

This year we’ve put extra focus on giving you the tools you need to submit your best application. We hope these resources will help demystify the MBA admissions process.

We’ve provided tailored resource portals for both our full-time and part-time MBA programs. These guides are filled with tips and advice for studying for the standardized exams, asking for letters of recommendation, writing the application essays, crafting your resume, and more.

Choosing the right MBA program

Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and get your MBA, the next step is to consider which program is the best fit for you. Think about whether you want to continue working or take some time off to focus solely on earning your business degree.

Many top MBA programs offer both full-time and part-time options. Here at Berkeley Haas, we offer these three main degree programs:

Compare Berkeley MBA programs

Once you’ve decided which type of schedule suits you best, you’ll need to consider other factors of the program like location, culture, and class size. After narrowing down your list of dream schools, you’ll be ready for the step that many consider the biggest hurdle: submitting your MBA application.

Demystifying the MBA application

While there are many fears of applying to an MBA program and the process can take a significant chunk of time, it’s not as daunting as you may think. Once you’re clear on the reasons why you want an MBA and what you could contribute to your MBA class, the application process isn’t so bad.

Whether you’re considering a full-time MBA program or a part-time MBA program, here at Berkeley Haas we’ve put together extra resources to help guide you through the application process.

Full-time MBA application guide

Full-time MBA applicants have access to Application Bootcamp, an eight-step guide to preparing and submitting their MBA applications.

Get Started: Full-time MBA Application Bootcamp

The bootcamp program has all of our full-time MBA application resources at your fingertips in one accessible spot. Each bootcamp step includes:

  • FAQs: Answers to the five most commonly asked questions we get about each portion of the application
  • Suggested Tools & Resources: Tons of brainstorming worksheets and templates to use while thinking through each portion of your application
  • Advice from MBA Students: Advice from former Berkeley Haas MBAs who have been right where you’re at
  • Tips from the Admissions Committee: Reassuring tips from those who understand what makes an MBA application stand out best

The guide goes super in-depth about the essays—a common obstacle for many applicants. While it was designed to be completed one step at a time, feel free to take it at your own pace and reference the sections you need the most help with if that’s more your style.

Part-time MBA application guide

Evening & Weekend MBA applicants can utilize Application Toolkit: a six-step, self-paced guide geared towards helping busy professionals complete their MBA application.

Get Started: Evening & Weekend MBA Application Toolkit

This toolkit breaks the part-time MBA application down into 6 manageable steps. Each application step includes:

  • Brainstorm Exercises: Questions to help you understand your motivations for business school and organize your thoughts
  • Application Requirements: Instructions and prerequisites provided upfront and simple
  • Advice & Tips: Resources to help you make informed decisions on your application and tailor your approach
  • Checklist: Action items and next steps to keep you aware of all tasks

Application topics are designed to fit your regular work schedule and feature suggested time limits to keep you on track. You are welcome to follow this guide in its entirety or customize steps based on where you feel you need the most help — it's up to you!

Posted on September 1, 2020
Themes: Applying
Jenny Clare
Jenny is Senior Associate Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She hopes these blog posts provide you with useful insights into the Berkeley MBA experience and answer questions you may have about the MBA in general.