Cultural Diversity Mba Essay Goals
MBA Application Essays: Diversity essays are an important aspect of application essays for business schools. They are intended to know the candidate's surroundings, values, beliefs which are not possible through other essays. The common questions in this group are:
1. How will you contribute to the diversity of the University/School?
2. Why you?
3. If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?
4. What is unique about your background and experience that you would bring to your classmates at MBS?
5. How will you contribute to your classes and to the AGSM community?
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Click here to know the MBA application essay questions of the Business Schools ranked 11–20.
Popularly known as diversity essays, these questions are an attempt to look into the applicant’s non-academic or social background. Diversity here does not only mean cultural, national, or racial diversity. Through the question, the Admission Committee (ADCOM) wants to understand how unique you are. What is the trait about you that is different from others in the course? How will you as a person contribute to the course? Is there something worth learning from you? MBA Application essay on Diversity is not just about race; here it is about geographic, socio-economic, cultural, religious, people with various disabilities. Read on to know how to write MBA application essays on diversity.
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Every MBA Application essay should have an apt title, to make the ADCOM or anyone for that matter to read on. While titles are glimpses of what’s to come, they should never be a gimmick. The reader should get more information when they read the whole essay and not feel tricked.
As the information about other applicants is not known, deciding why one is unique is a difficult task. Physical achievements know no bounds, it can be a big feat for someone to go down the Grand Canyon but then there might be someone else there who has visited the Challenger deep.
The uniqueness has to be about the person and their thoughts and the actions they have taken or the lessons they have learnt. It can be something as basic as philately, pottery, and origami or as big as participating in a Desert car rally. What is notable here is take-away of these activities. Teaching origami or chess to kids, or may be organising pottery workshops for old age home residents as a part of therapy and entertainment, counts towards diversity.
For that matter, a sports person, or someone who has learned a different language and experience the culture, or someone who plays in a band, anyone who has shown initiative in his life in however small a way matters.
Leadership, Focus, and Team spirit
Before writing an MBA application essay, it is important to remember that business schools aim to create future leaders and are, therefore, looking for people with team skills and leadership traits. You do not need to have performed exceptional feats to be able to write about your possible contribution to the school/university. So, in case, you have climbed Mount Everest, which would be very good but if you have led your school group on a treasure hunt successfully or unsuccessfully also works. The aspect to focus on here is to be able to showcase how and to what degree the situations or challenges you have been in have affected or changed you, the changes can be positive or negative, or both.
While being honest is good, we should be politically correct at the same time. In the present scenario, racial diversity is not as important as diversity of experience. In case, you decide to write about racial diversity, instead write about cultures, people, family, travel, social discomfort, maturation and introspection without the racial characteristics. The MBA application essay write-up should be more about the diversity observed and changes incorporated within the self. More than prejudices, the diversity essay should be showcasing your response to the situation you were in, what have you learnt from your experiences and more importantly how has it moulded your world view.
Similarly, views on LGBTQIA issues should be best avoided.
The diversity essay is about YOU, so instead of trying to impress the ADCOM with some great unachievable feat you have been planning, explain who you are, what are your life experiences, perspectives and background. Mention a story or episode from your life which has affected you.
There is a fine line between humour and offence. Keep the humour to a line or two. If you have doubts on the humour, remove it. Culturally, what is humour for one person might be offensive to someone else.
ADCOM members read through numerous MBA application essays and can smell a fake or doctored essay from a mile. They have already read about all the great feats done and planned. Rather than explaining why you are unique, concentrate on who you are, your upbringing, your culture, your environment etc. to naturally set you apart from the other applicants.
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Berkeley / Haas MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
Now that the Haas MBA essay topics have been announced for the 2017-2018 season, we wanted to offer our thoughts on how to approach each of these prompts for business school applicants targeting the UC Berkeley MBA Class of 2020.
The Haas admissions website notes that the adcom seeks “candidates from a broad range of industries, backgrounds, and cultures. Our distinctive culture is defined by four key principles – Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. We encourage you to reflect on your experiences, values, and passions so that you may craft thoughtful and authentic responses that demonstrate your fit with our program – culturally, academically, and professionally.”
Berkeley / Haas MBA Essay Question Analysis 2017-2018
Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.
Tell us a six-word story that reflects a memorable experience in your life-to-date. Elaborate on why it is meaningful to you. (250 words maximum)
Tip: A successful six-word story will pique the reader’s interest in the forthcoming explanation. Together, the story and explanation will share a specific and personal experience that helps the reader get to know you better, giving insight into your character, values, or how you would uniquely contribute to the Berkeley-Haas community. View sample six-word stories and video tips from the admissions committee.
Dispensing with their longstanding request for a representative song, Haas instead asks applicants for essentially a “snapshot” of a memorable experience. Given the structure of the response—six words followed by a short explanation—we suggest taking the following approach.
- Choose the story. This ideally needs to be something interesting that will be memorable to the admissions team. In an ideal world, the story will fit with your overall positioning as an MBA applicant seeking to attend Haas, too. You may start by making a list of your top 10 most memorable experiences, then reflecting on what each reflects about your character or values. Consider what you want the adcom to know about you the most.
- Draft the 250 words to explain why this was an important experience. This will also need to provide context for the six words you come up with. This is the place to establish the who, what, when and where for the six-word statement. Then, you should dig into why the experience mattered to you.
- Craft the six-word story, which could be considered a “headline.” The words have to offer enough of a sketch to really pique the interest of the reader, but some ambiguity can be a good thing (after all, you want to push the adcom to read the 250 words). It would be worth reviewing the adcom’s personal samples, as some convey an overall lesson or attitude drawn from the memorable experience, while others draw on more concrete imagery. You may even wish to send just the six words to a friend or colleague and ask them for their reaction—do the six words capture the mood of your experience? Is the person intrigued or confused? This may help you gauge how to tweak the headline.
Respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words maximum)
- Describe a significant obstacle you have encountered and how it has impacted you.
- Describe how you have cultivated a diverse and inclusive culture.
- Describe a leadership experience and how you made a positive and lasting impact.
Tip: Responses can draw from professional or personal experiences. Through your response, the admissions committee hopes to gain insight into your achievements, involvement, and leadership footprint.
This prompt presents applicants with a range of experiences they might discuss: a challenge that yielded a significant paradigm shift, a team building situation based on diversity, or action that led to long-term positive results. We recommend that applicants begin by reflecting on their honest answer to each of the three options. While you may naturally gravitate toward one of them, generating at least two potential topics for each and then evaluating strategically will help you hone in on your best option in light of our next piece of advice.
Once you’ve got your list of examples, we recommend that you cross-reference each with (you guessed it) the four Haas principles. The adcom has signaled that fit with the program’s values is very important to them, so this should take priority in your topic selection. That is, facing an obstacle that required Questioning the Status Quo or entailed Confidence without Attitude will be a better choice than touting an experience that isn’t a fit with any of the four Haas values. Select the experience that feels truest to you while also allowing you to demonstrate that you’re the kind of student Haas wants to admit.
After you’ve identified your topic, you’re in for another challenge: distilling all of the relevant context for your story and an account of your actions in just 250 words. Effective responses will provide the essential who, what, when, and where of the situation in just 1-2 sentences, establishing all of the relevant players and what was at stake for you (and other important stakeholders). You’ll then want to comment on your actions and the outcome with comparable brevity before moving into the why or how of your chosen prompt. Applicants should aim to spend at least one-third of the essay commenting on what the experience meant to them and/or how they have grown as a result. And, space permitting, it would be a nice touch to end with a remark about how this experience has positioned them to make an impact on the Haas community and/or their chosen post-MBA industry or sector.
- Briefly describe your immediate post-MBA career goals. (50 words maximum)
- How have prior experiences motivated and prepared you to pursue these goals? (250 words maximum)
Tip: You are encouraged to reflect on both what you want to do professionally after business school and why this path interests you.
This is a fairly standard career goals essay, requesting one’s post-MBA plans and how they are a culmination of one’s experiences and interests. Given the order of the prompts, applicants should open this essay by describing their plans upon graduating from Haas. Due to the short length, the response should be concise in covering the particular role and responsibilities you are interested in.
Regarding prior experiences, rather than offering a chronological account of each of one’s previous jobs here, it’s likely a better strategy to capture one’s “path to business school” by commenting more broadly on industry and functional experiences, and zeroing in on projects or interactions that sparked one’s interest in one’s post-MBA plans. Candidates should use their best judgment (with an eye to the word limit) here.
Either way, the discussion of one’s path up to this point should lead logically to your future plans. If space permits, applicants should give the adcom a sense of what they want to do and what they hope to accomplish with their careers in the long term. The adcom will be interested in hearing applicants explain the reason they’ve chosen this path, with a particular emphasis on the impact they hope to make on an organization, sector, or region.
Because Haas ends its essay section with the career goals essay, this response will be the culmination of one’s message to the adcom. Applicants may therefore wish to close their response by tying together the themes and Haas principles that they’ve introduced in their other responses, and end on a note of enthusiasm about the program.
Use this essay to share information that is not presented elsewhere in the application, for example:
- Explanation of employment gaps or academic aberrations
- Quantitative abilities
- For re-applicants, improvements to your candidacy
New applicants should exercise discretion when responding to this prompt, as providing an optional essay creates extra work for the admissions reader. This will be a good place to address extenuating circumstances that have influenced one’s academic or professional history, to address weaknesses in one’s application, or to explain an unusual choice of recommender. The wording of this question is open enough that applicants may also choose to discuss an element of their background that is not reflected in their other materials (including data forms and résumé), though they will need to demonstrate sound judgment in doing so – i.e. the nature of the content should be such that it makes a material difference to one’s application – and should summarize the information as concisely as possible.
Meanwhile, re-applicants should seize this opportunity to cover developments in their candidacy that have not been covered in the previous essays. This response should be fairly action-oriented, with a focus on describing the steps that one has taken to become a stronger applicant to Haas since being denied, as well as the results of these efforts in terms of new knowledge and strengthened skills. This also poses an opportunity to demonstrate an enhanced familiarity with and commitment to Haas’s MBA program.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Haas MBA essay topics. As you work on your Haas MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Haas School of Business offerings:
Posted in: Admissions Tips, Essay Tips & Advice, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays
Schools: Berkeley / Haas