The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, accepted 17% of 2,858 applicants to its full-time MBA program in 2004. Nearly half of those accepted enrolled in the program.
On the eve of the school's first-round application deadline for fall 2006, Jett Pihakis (JPihakis), director of domestic admissions, and Peter Johnson (PeterJohnson), director of international admissions, fielded questions from BusinessWeek Online's Jack Dierdorff (BWJACK) and Francesca Di Meglio (FrancescaBW), as well as an audience of aspiring MBAs. Here's an edited transcript of the conversation:
smkt075: From your perspective, what is the single most important part of the admissions process, and why?
JPihakis: This is the most common question that we receive, and there simply is not a single answer. We do not weigh the different elements of the application. Rather, our application review process is extremely holistic. Every application is read from cover to cover by a minimum of two readers, sometimes three or four, before being discussed by the admissions committee.
kgollop: Considering other schools in the California area, what do you feel is Haas's greatest strength?
PeterJohnson: I think it is our innovative culture. Berkeley is all about creating new ideas.
p-1048210919: I went to school on the East Coast, and I have a preconceived notion that West Coast programs are geared to Asian business. Is that true?
PeterJohnson: Not necessarily. Haas has ties all over the world, and at least the B-school is not particularly focused on Asia.
JPihakis: It's difficult for us to make the comparison between East Coast and West Coast B-schools because that would require gross generalization. We haven't worked for an East Coast school, so the knowledge of it isn't there.
p-1048210874: What is considered the biggest strengths and weaknesses [of the program]?
JPihakis: It's different for different audiences. The biggest strengths of the program are the brand -- the Berkeley name is a name that opens doors all over the world. The community here is...
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