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Essay Tips on Career Goals

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Harvard - Essay Tips on Career Goals - Ameerkhatri.com - MBA Blog - MBA career essay tips - career goals

Almost every MBA application has a career goals essay, yet many candidates struggle with this question. They know they want an MBA. But they haven’t defined their goals or how earning an MBA degree will help.

Self-awareness about your strengths and interests will help you refine what you want.

Your past experiences have likely informed your post-MBA career goals. Share details in your essays about why you are interested in your specific career goal.

Think about explaining the rationale for your decisions throughout the essay.

Focus only on the situations that helped you realize what you really want to do. Or, helped you to build skills that have become important to your goals. Sometimes, reflecting on low points in your career makes it easier to see which job functions you either loved or hated. Talk to colleagues and alumni who have MBAs in your field to see what your career path options are.

Choose realistic yet aspirational career goals.

Your post-MBA career goal should be achievable and show the need for the degree. Come up with a clear, cohesive vision of your career goals, and tie it all together with your background and accomplishments. This is a great first step in a successful application strategy.

Before you start drafting your MBA goals essays, work out three levels of goals: short-term, intermediate, and long-term.

It helps to have this whole picture in your mind regardless of where you’ll “zoom in” for a particular essay. Usually, essays ask for short- and long-term career goals, but you’ll need to know your intermediate goals as well to bridge the short and long-term.

Short-term career goals are the most specific, for obvious reasons:  

They’re closer in time and they’re also the direct link to the MBA program. As you describe successive steps, use less and less detail in each, because the further out you project, the less certain things are. Don’t go beyond what’s practical, e.g., describing in detail what you’ll be doing in twenty years. Adapt each phase to reality too. If your targeted industry (say, healthcare) is in great flux, that point should be reflected in your goals.

Responding to specific goals questions:

Read the question carefully and emphasize in your essay what the question emphasizes (e.g., is there an equal focus on short-term and long-term or on just one or the other, or do they just mention post-MBA career goal without specifying which?). In other words, be guided by the question. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring in other elements, but they should support your main points.

Often the question asks why you want an MBA or want to attend the particular program. Link these points directly to your goals. If you can weave in your school visit and/or interactions with students and alumni, great!

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