Berkeley MBA: Complete Guide to Admissions

Berkeley Haas MBA Class Profile

First and foremost, what are University of California Berkeley MBA students like? Answering this question can help you figure out if you have what it takes to join them, and how to get into the Berkeley MBA. It can also help you figure out if the program itself is one you want to attend. The kinds of peers you’ll work with is a huge part of your educational experience.

So, a good look at the Berkeley MBA class profile can tell you a lot! Below is a summary of the Haas MBA class of 2023 (demographics, years of work experience, test scores, and more):

Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2023, by the Numbers

Acceptance rate23.3%
GMAT scores726 (average)
690-760 (middle 80% range)
GRE scores161 (Verbal average)
162 (Quant average)
155-168 (middle 80% range for both Quant and Verbal)
GPA3.67 (average)
3.34-3.93 (middle 80%)
Work experience5.5 years (average)
3.8-8 years (middle 80%)
Underrepresented minorities23%
International students37%
46 countries
First generation college students16%

Most of the numbers above come from The Haas School of Business’s own class profile web page. I also got the Berkeley Master of Business Administration acceptance rate from U.S. News and World Report. Both of those are great places to go for even more info on the students who get accepted into the Berkeley MBA program. The Haas class profile page in particular has a wealth of extra detail on demographics, and on the academic and professional fields that the students come from!


How to Get Into the Berkeley MBA Program: Admissions Requirements

So, beyond having a satisfactory GPA, work experience, test scores, and so on, what else do you need to do to get into the Berkeley MBA Program? At the risk of stating the obvious, the biggest step you can take to get into Berkeley Haas is to apply. Below, we’ll look at the application process for Berkeley’s full-time MBA program (all info comes from Berkeley Haas’s own application website).

The “How to Get Into Berkeley MBA Program” Application Checklist

How hard is it to get into the Berkeley MBA? This checklist should give you a much better sense of that!

  • Register for and complete the Berkeley Haas online application form.
  • Submit transcripts form all past and current university attendance, bachelor’s degree or graduate.
  • Send Berkeley a resume.
  • Take the GRE or GMAT and submit your scores.
  • Complete two required admissions essays and up to two additional optional ones.
  • Find two recommenders and have them send Haas letters of recommendation.
    • The Haas School of Business prefers that at least one letter be from a current employer.
    • For details on submitting letters of recommendation, see this web page.
  • Give an interview
    • Only candidates who are already being strongly considered for acceptance will be invited to interview.
    • If you receive an interview invite, you are very likely to be accepted as long as you pass the interview.
    • Be optimistic and be prepared! Take advantage of the Berkeley MBA program’s official interview advice.
  • Pay the $200 application fee, or possibly get a fee waiver.
    • Fee waivers are potentially available to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and DACA recipients who are currently in Americorps, Peace Corps, or the U.S. military; others who demonstrate financial need may also be eligible for a waiver.
  • Proof of English proficiency for applicants from countries where English is not the primary official language.

Is your GMAT score good enough to apply?

GMAT deserves special focus as you ponder how to get into Berkeley MBA studies. Why? Students are more likely to submit GMAT scores than GRE scores when applying for MBA programs. You’re also reading this on the Magoosh GMAT blog. So– you guessed it– it’s time to take an extra close look at the “GMAT” dimension of applying to the Berkeley MBA program. (If you’re considering taking the GRE instead, check out Chris’s GMAT vs. GRE article. If you decide the GRE is right for you, Magoosh offers GRE prep as well!)

The table below can help you see what different Berkeley GMAT score levels mean, in terms of your chances of getting in.

Berkeley MBA GMAT Scores

The safe zone: 740-800Scoring on the low end of this range puts you comfortably higher than the average of 726, which is where you want to be. Of course, this is assuming that your work experience, GPA, resume and recommendations are also in line with the Haas averages. Don’t forget that your numbers alone won’t be enough to get you in. Your story, your values and your future goals also need to be a good fit.
The “in the running zone”: 700-740Scoring in this range definitely still gives you a solid chance with adcom, but other aspects of your application (work experience, GPA, resume, recommendations, essays) will need to be very impressive and/or diverse.
The “pretty please?” zone: 650-700If you score in this range, your application is likely going to face some serious extra scrutiny, particularly if you fall on the low end. Your uniqueness factor has to be at least at 9 out of 10 to be considered, particularly if you fall below the average, even more so if you fall outside of the middle 80% range.
The RARE exception zone: 600-650There are going to be very very few exceptions in this range, but not many at all. You need to be a real superstar and your uniqueness factor has to be an 11 out of 10 to be accepted if you fall in this range.

Application Requirements for Berkeley’s Other MBA Programs

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the application standards I just discussed are specifically for the Berkeley Haas full-time MBA program. Application requirements vary for some of the other programs offered by Berkeley Haas, and are found on their respective program application web pages. For instance, you can go here for weekend/part-time MBA application info, or to this page for the Haas executive MBA application checklist.

So what does the Haas School of business offer, both in terms of other programs, and in terms of academics within their main full time MBA program? We’ll get to that next!

Berkeley MBA Program Info

As I just mentioned, the Berkeley full-time MBA is just one of several degree paths offered by the Haas School of Business. With that in mind, the full-time MBA is arguably Haas’s biggest draw. It’s also probably the reason you clicked on this article. So we’ll focus on the academics for this main option first, and then discuss other offerings.

Berkeley Haas MBA Academics and Curriculum (Full-Time)

The Berkeley Haas MBA is built around 14 core courses. These core courses are taken in the first year of study. However, they aren’t the only classes offered in that initial year. First-year students take the required core classes exclusively in the fall, but take two electives alongside their core courses in the Spring. For full details on this core-focused first-year path, see the Haas MBA curriculum page. Core courses focus on the basics of common fields of business, such as financial services, marketing, business communication, and so on.

Many of the electives experiential learning, and are labelled as Applied Innovation in the Haas MBA course catalog. Over 20 different Applied Innovation courses are available. You can see a detailed list (with descriptions!) here. In terms of what you’ll be doing in these courses, activities include consulting, research, management, and more!

Still other electives focus on global learning, designed to help students prepare for leadership in international business. You can see the Berkeley MBA’s international electives on the school website.

Best of all, Berkeley lets MBA candidates customize their electives very flexibly. In fact, if you go to Berkeley for your MBA, you’ll even have the option to create your own electives, if you like.

Other Berkeley MBAs

Berkeley offers two main alternatives to the full-time MBA: an part-time evening and weekend MBA program (EWMBA), and an Executive MBA (EMBA).

The EWMBA, is, as you might expect, designed to give full-time working professionals the flexibility they need to earn an MBA. And this particular Berkeley Haas MBA just got more flexible! With the EWMBA flex option, students can now take their courses remotely. You’ll still have to attend a small handful of on-campus events, but otherwise, this option allows you to study from anywhere in the world.

The EMBA is similar in many respects to the standard full-time MBA. It has many of the same instructors and some similar coursework. However, this Executive MBA is designed– as you’d expect– for students whoa re already executives at their workplaces. As such, the program, while full-time, makes special effort to give full-time executive students the flexibility they need to keep working while they learn. And of course, some aspects of the academics are also unique to the EMBA, tailored to its especially experienced students.

Last but certainly not least, Haas offers dual-degree MBAs. Ambitious students can earn a JD/MBA, an MBA paired with a Master of Public Health, and an MBA/Masters in Engineering combo. To learn more, see the Concurrent Degrees page on the Haas website.

Non-MBA Programs

So, we’ve just looked at MBA degrees that are paired with non MBAs in a double-major. Now would be a good time to mention that the Berkeley Haas School of Business also offers a two degrees that aren’t MBAs at all. If you are considering MBA alternatives but still want to go to B-School, these two options may appeal to you. There’s Haas’s Masters of Financial Engineering, which focuses on the science of instruments and analytics within the finance industry. And for those especially interested in the academics and research side of the business world, Berkeley offers a business PhD.

Is UC Berkeley a good choice for your MBA?

What is the Berkeley MBA known for, in terms of excellence? Well, the Berkeley Haas School of Business is unique among business schools in many ways. Here are a few unique factors to consider when weighing Berkeley’s value as an MBA option.

Diversity in the Berkeley MBA Program

One thing I’d like to call special attention to is their efforts to focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (as outlined in this link).

These efforts could post particularly unique admissions and study options for underrepresented minorities. If you are from an underrepresented group, you may have noticed that in spite of Berkeley’s stated DEI goals, underrepresented groups remain underrepresented. (See the Class Profile table near the beginning of this post.) But while that could be seen as a deterrent for underrepresented applicants, it also could be seen as an opportunity.

Cara Skikne, a B-school admissions expert from Studyportals and BusinessBecause, gives this advice if you feel underrepresented in a school’s current Class Profile diversity statistics:

Don’t self-select out. Don’t let your concept of what a typical MBA student should look like, hold you back. Business schools are obsessed with diversity and with getting perspectives from different life experiences and backgrounds. Bring those perspectives into your application.Be authentic rather than telling admissions officers what you think they want to hear.

Reach out to people. You might not personally know someone who has attended a particular school, but alumni are usually happy to chat about their experiences.

Be sure to check out Cara’s full article on the best business schools for diversity.

Research Initiatives

It’s also worth noting that the Haas School has an impressively wide range of research initiatives and facilities. And they are known for their accomplished faculty, including a number of Nobel laureates.

Employment Outcomes for Haas Graduates

But one of the biggest factors as you choose an MBA is, of course, how the degree will help your career. The big question here: what are the employment outcomes for Berkeley MBA graduates?

Here are a few numbers for the post-degree careers of alumni from the class of 2020:

  • Average annual salary: $139,423
  • Average sign-on bonus: $31,330
  • Received a sign-on bonus: 73.4%
  • Received a job offer within three months of graduation: 89.5%
  • Accepted a job offer within three months of graduation: 87.3%

That’s just a quick snapshot though. You can find out more on the Berkeley Haas Employment Report website. You can also read a very detailed Berkeley MBA class of 2020 employment outcomes report in PDF.

How much does a Berkeley MBA cost?

They say cash is king, and it’s certainly a top consideration as you do a cost-benefit analysis of an MBA form the Haas School of Business. To see those costs, go to the Berkeley MBA’s tuition and fees page. There, they break down the cost of tuition, other fees, and personal costs (room, board, etc…) in great detail!

What if Berkeley doesn’t seem right for you?

If you’ve read all of this and still aren’t sure Berkeley is the B-school you’re looking for, Magoosh has you covered. This article is just one in our collection of resources for choosing your best MBA program. To see our guide to the top 25 schools– with links to additional individual school guides– check out Magoosh’s Top MBA Programs Index.

Ready to get an awesome GMAT score? Start here.

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS and MA from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Early in his career, he worked for Disney Consumer Relations, later moving on to become a business banker at Wells Fargo. Once David discovered his passion for education, he started teaching K-12 ESL in South Korea. He soon branched out into adult learning, teaching undergraduate and MBA-level communication and writing classes at American universities. During this time, David also taught business communication to employees at Hyundai, Cargill, and Nestle, and trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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    Derrick is a Test Prep Expert at Magoosh. You can reach out to him for all your GMAT needs, especially questions regarding: How to mentally prepare for the GMAT, How to create an Error Log, and Tips for how to Dominate the Quant section. Outside of GMAT Prep, Derrick is a 6th Grade math teacher in Harlem, NY. His family has called Harlem home for over 60 years, coming up from The Carolinas during the Great Migrations. Derrick earned a B.A, in Economics from Morehouse College and, prior to his career in education, was a client manager at Goldman Sachs. This fall, he is proud to be starting his my MBA journey at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Hit up Derrick on Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, or Youtube (Alexis & Derrick). STAY SHARP!

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