By Ana Claire Mancia, Haas School of Business Class of 2019
This article is intended to provide advice regarding how to approach the Haas undergraduate admissions process, and simply regards what mentality to hold. There is no formula for Haas admission or secret to getting accepted. While acceptance is never guaranteed, this advice is meant to assist students in understanding the frame of mind that is useful when applying.
What is business?
You could give me the UGBA 10 textbook definition, that business is making profits from selling goods or services. However, business goes far beyond that definition. Before you apply to Haas, it is important to have a clear understanding of what business truly means to you. It has different meanings for each person, and your interpretation should be unique. It should be reflective of your interests and accomplishments.
Business, at its core, is about taking risks. The greatest business leaders of our time would not be there, if they hadn’t taken a risk. Business means not being afraid of the unknown, and abandoning your fear of failure. The entire Haas application process teaches you the first lesson about business; taking risks. You have to take 7 prerequisite classes just to apply, and you’re not even guaranteed admission. That means 7 difficult, extra classes you must endure and it is most certainly a risk. You must be willing and ready to take this risk in your life. You may be completely blind to it – but by participating in this 2-year-long application process, you are learning the first lesson about business.
A defining pillar of Haas is to “question the status quo”. In order to challenge the world around you, you must take risks. Haas seeks students who view the world as malleable and who can confront the status quo around them. Learn to be comfortable with failure, and figure out how you can change the atmosphere surrounding you. How will you be a leader and advocate for the things that matter to you?
My second lesson is to be different. You do not need to join business clubs or have internships in order to be a strong candidate. In fact, my advice is to pursue anything you are passionate about. Find what makes you unique, and continue building it. Your passion does not need to be business related. It’s harder to get accepted if you are very similar to your peers, so distinguish yourself as much as possible. Haas looks for people who can bring diversity of thought to the table. Success is NOT the regurgitation of what everyone else is doing. Haas prefers people who are different -- people who have decided to create their own path. If your application is exactly like your peers’, how are you going to stand out? Remember that there is immense value in being an independent person.
My third lesson is that business is all about seeing problems, and turning them into opportunities. Entrepreneurs are people who recognize problems and figure out how to sustainably and effectively solve that problem. They are not like normal people, because instead of seeing problems as something “bad”, they view them as incredible, great opportunities. Try to apply this theory in your own life, and see where you can transform problems into solutions.
Lastly, remember that success is never linear. Success is not the same for every person. Success may not be what you thought it was originally. Your definition of success is always changing. I know plenty of people who lived and breathed pre-Haas their freshman year…and by sophomore year realized they didn’t even want it in the first place. They didn’t end up applying, because they were happier somewhere else. Haas is not everything, and Haas is not for everyone. Be true to yourself and understand what you want.
For more comprehensive advice regarding the Haas undergraduate admissions process, please check out: https://advicefromahaasmajor.wordpress.com/