Nail Your Important Career Goals Essay
At a high level, every MBA candidate’s goal is the same - to advance their career. Some MBA graduates may seek to advance in the same role, while others switch fields, geography, or industry. Some begin their entrepreneurial journeys.
One of the Admissions Committee’s objectives is to identify candidates who have a good understanding of what they intend to do after business school, and how an MBA from their school will help you get there.
Enter the important MBA Career Goals essay. This is what this essay prompt looks like at some of the world’s top business schools:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters)
Through your résumé and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)
1Y applicants: Please discuss your post-MBA career goal, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg 1Y opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)
Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? (300 words; Required)
How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250-word minimum)
Each question may be phrased slightly differently, but the end goal is always the same: to understand your ambitions, and how the school can advance them.
How to write the Career Goals essay
A career goals essay demands a clear structure. A great essay structure is the classic ‘Story - Goals - School’ format.
Your most powerful tool of communicating your passion is storytelling. So, begin with a story that demonstrates your ambition. Perhaps a project you enjoyed, a time when you had a significant impact, or a lesson that you learned. This is where you can give context to your goals and root them in past experiences.
For example: “Working as a product manager in my current role, I was given the unusual responsibility of re-organising our department after a leader left. I spent time on each desk, understanding the workflow and pain points for each team. I realized that I love organizational restructuring.”
Your story should naturally lead to your post-MBA goals. Clearly outline these goals, dividing these into your immediate short-term and long-term goals post-MBA.
Your immediate post-MBA goal should be realistic. Candidates usually switch 1 or 2 of the following after their MBA: Role, Industry, and Geography. For example, you could pivot from HR in Europe to HR in the US would be reasonable. But changing all 3 is challenging, and schools will be concerned that you won’t be able to achieve the pivot.
It also should be ambitious. Business schools like to see ambition, and an unusual goal will help you to stand out as a candidate. If your goal boosts their statistics (high post-MBA salary), or adds to their brand recognition (start-up founders), the Admissions Committee definitely wants to read more.
Finally, it must be relevant. The admissions committee wants to see that your target role will leverage the knowledge and skills you’ll gain from your MBA. Some ’typical’ post-MBA roles are consultant, product manager, or investment banking associate, because these roles use the skills that an MBA is designed to teach. This includes communication skills, hard skills such as strategy/finance, and leadership skills.
Example of short-term goal: “Immediately after the MBA, I aim to transition to McKinsey’s RTS (Reset, Transform, Sustain) unit, where I’ll reorganize entire businesses.”
Your long-term goal should be a sensible evolution from your immediate goal, for example: transitioning from strategy consulting at a for-profit into a non-profit. Or you might set up an entrepreneurial venture in your current field. This should be an ambitious goal which you will be qualified to accomplish in 10 years time.
Business schools look for candidates who view the MBA as a milestone in their journey, not as a destination. Discuss how you want to create an impact and achieve your professional purpose. Showing previous involvement in this area will add credibility.
Example of a long-term goal: “I plan to use the organizational change skills I learn during the MBA and at McKinsey to join a non-profit, to help them restructure”
Finally, establish the connection between the lessons you’ve learnt in your journey and how these experiences have inspired or prepared you for your future.
Now, explain how an MBA from the business school will help you achieve your goals, and how you plan to use your time at business school. You might want to mention:
Academics: You can refer to the coursework, teaching methodology, electives, specializations, research centers and professors.
Extracurriculars: Discuss the clubs, societies, and communities you want to contribute to outside of class. You can also mention a particular club you want to start or a community you want to join. Since business school is all about developing well-rounded leaders, show them that you’ll take up a leadership role in this club or community.
Geography: If relevant, write about how the school’s location plays into your future goals. Just make sure your essay doesn’t sound like you’re just using the school to get a visa, particularly if you’re targeting the US.
Post-MBA career opportunities: Business schools regularly publish data about the post-MBA career roles, organizations, industries, geographies, salaries, and careers of their graduates. That’s because a career jump is a crucial reason to pursue an MBA. Ideally, your goals should be consistent with the recruitment opportunities the school provides. Check their employment report for more details.
For more guidance on how to write a great MBA application essay, head over to our blog post on 15 MBA essay writing tips.
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At SWC, we help determined applicants get admitted to top MBA programs. So if you need help writing your essays, book a chat now.