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Writing about your short-term and long-term career goals in MBA Admission Essays

The MBA admission committee are very particular in knowing your career goals. Therefore, this is an important element in the application process. They map your career goals and the school’s curriculum. They look for strong reasons for how the school can support your goals. Never write doing MBA is your short-term goal. Remember that MBA is a mean to achieve your goals. The description of your career goal is a cardinal factor of you getting selected or rejected, by the panel.

The best way to frame your goals is to use the SMARTI framework.

Specific: In your MBA admission essay be specific about your long-term and short-term goals. Stating your goal precisely makes you win half the battle and make the reader believe you know what you want.

Example1:

Do: Post-MBA, I plan to be a Merger and Acquisition consultant in a top consulting firm such as Accenture, Bain or Deloitte.

Don’t: Post-MBA I wish to be in a senior role in a reputed consulting firm.

Example2:

Do: In long-term I want to start a boutique consulting firm focused on marketing services for FMCG clients in developing countries.

Don’t: My long-term goal is to start a consulting firm.

Be as specific as possible. Do not worry. You can always change and choose a more befitting and promising role during MBA or post-MBA. However, for the MBA application you have to be specific. Show the reader that you are focused and you know what you want to be and how the MBA will help you. 

Measureable:  Your stated goals should be measurable. In the Example-1 above, the do one is not only specific but also measurable. It is easy to measure whether one has become an M&A consultant.

Attainable: Discuss your goals, which are achievable in the duration you are talking. In short-term goals do not say that you want to be the CEO of a multinational company. So be rational and discuss goals, which are practically attainable in the term you are discussing.

Relevant: Your carrier goals should be as relevant as possible to your previous work experience and professional abilities. If you are a painter, you can say I wish to open an art gallery. This will sound relevant. However, if you say I want to be an investment banker; it will not help your candidature.  Another example: An Asset Manager`s goal to "Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2:00pm." may be specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound, however, lacks relevance. Therefore, while discussing your career goals ensure relevance of your stated goals.

Time bound: Do not forget to mention the time in which you plan to achieve your goals. Suppose, you want to start your own enterprise. Only mentioning the same won’t suffice, you have to set a time frame, say 5yrs. Then you have to discuss how you are going to utilize this time to develop skills, abilities and arrange finance to start your enterprise.

Informed: You should be aware of the trends, opportunities and  future career prospect in your chosen industry. Few facts and figures related to your industry can add great value to your MBA application.

Treat this MBA admission essay as a platform where you can portray all that you have dreamt of as your future. Communicate your career goals as an overall story of your dedication and commitment clearly justifying how the MBA program would make sense for you to achieve your goals. Take utmost care to be specific about your career goals, do not get into providing a broad spectrum. Do not discuss a career path in your application that you can’t speak intelligently about. Your career goals should make sense in the context of your application story and should be compelling about answering the question of why you want an MBA to pursue that career path. You should also be able to discuss how your career goals will have an impact on an industry, individuals, or society in general. Further, there should be a logical connection or cause-effect relation between your short-term and long-term goals. Never lose rationality. This is a statement of purpose, not a statement of dream. 

Describing your career goal precisely (SMARTI framework) wins half the battle. However, remember that you need to write your post-MBA career goals in the context of pursuing MBA. After delineating your career goals, you need to discuss how that particluar MBA program can support your career goals. While addressing the benefits of the program, it is important to demonstrate that you have done a thorough research to find out the unique attributes of the program and how they align with and help you achieve your future professional aspirations. The admission committee wants to know your reason of pursuing the MBA program. Your essay should focus on the ways you think you can fill the gaps of your knowledge by pursuing the MBA program. Discuss the skills you possess and describe how you think this program will help you to enhance your skills. Your essay should not give a negative impression to the reader about you lack managerial/leadership skills, rather you need to make the reader understand that you possess the desired skills and you want to improve them further to realize your career goals.

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