Taming the Berkeley MBA application

By Susan Petty

It can feel overwhelming to face a b-school application. But, armed with a few tips on what adcoms are really looking for (and why), you’ll see that it’s not so daunting.

The most important thing to know is that when we evaluate applications, we review each part—but we consider each piece as part of a larger whole: You. We’re looking to see who you are and the value you would add to the classroom.

With that in mind, here are 5 things to know about the application process for our two part-time MBA programs: the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program and Berkeley-Haas Evening & Weekend MBA Program:

1. Underscore your impact at work.

We want to make sure that you have strong, credible, and diverse work experience that will add value to the classroom. So, be sure that in the employment section of your application you highlight key accomplishments and ways you’ve made an impact at work.

Clearly laying out your work progression provides further evidence that you’ve been successful in your career, and we'll also look to your letters of recommendation to evaluate your work success.

2. Consider your life experiences.

We’ll assess your personal qualities through your essays and interview, and this is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself, especially if your job title or industry may not do so. Your life experiences can reveal more about your perspective and your leadership potential.

3. Be authentic.

In every piece of your application, try to be as honest and genuine as possible. This will not only help you differentiate yourself from other applicants, but will help us get to know you better. Don't tell us what you think we want to hear, because...well, that's not actually what we want to hear. 

4. Show how you fit with Berkeley Haas culture.

We strengthen our unique Berkeley Haas culture by making sure that staff, faculty, and students value and embody it. So, take a look at our Defining Principles, make sure they resonate with you, and make sure this gets across in your essays, your interview, and your interactions with the admissions office.

5. Assess (and shore up as needed) your quantitative strength.

Our part-time MBA programs are rigorous, and we want to make sure that you’ll be able to succeed academically. To get a sense of this, we’ll evaluate your academic performance, including your undergrad and graduate performance, your GMAT or GRE test scores, and other coursework you’ve pursued (to a lesser degree). Getting a jump on assessment tests will give you time to strengthen your scores as needed.

For more application tips, check out our guide to crafting your best MBA application. You can also find out exactly what goes into a business school application by reviewing application requirements for these programs.

Application Requirements: MBA for Executives Program


Application Requirements: Evening & Weekend MBA Program



Posted on August 6, 2015
Themes: Applying
Susan Petty
Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.