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Post-MBA Career Goal: Is It Important?

September 12 2017 By The MBA Exchange
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When deciding what to include or exclude in business school admissions essays, many MBA applicants wrestle with the question: “Should I present my post-MBA career goal?”

This is a difficult decision because many applicants don’t yet have a specific goal in mind, the goal is likely to change before or during b-school, and some essays don’t even ask about the goal. Furthermore, dodging this topic allows candidates to finish and submit their applications sooner.

However, from having advised nearly 5,000 applicants over three decades, The MBA Exchange knows why and how goal-setting is a critical element of the application process. That’s exactly why we help our clients formulate a career objective, even if just hypothetical, during our comprehensive consultations. And that’s why our array of service offerings include career guidance and support.

So, before you take the easy route by ignoring the post-MBA goal when preparing essays, consider why it’s so important to include this information. Articulating a clear, relevant and compelling post-MBA goal in your essays:

1. Provides the adcom with a window into your candidacy.
Sharing your professional dream reveals self-awareness, confidence and values in a way that no other element of the application can. So, help the adcoms start to understand and respect you by painting a verbal picture of your future plans.2. Explains your motivation for seeking an MBA education.
The opportunity to gain knowledge, expand perspective and build relationships is appealing to every b-school applicant. Who wouldn’t want those benefits? But there’s a fourth attraction that should be on that list: achieving a specific career goal that would otherwise be delayed or unattainable without an MBA.

3. Makes the case for why you’re pursuing this school.
Most MBA applicants apply to several schools in order to maximize the chances for admission. However, each school wants to believe that it is your top choice, the place where you’ll actually enroll if offered a seat at multiple schools. Convincing the adcom that you’re focused on their MBA program requires specifying by name which classes, clubs, events, etc. are most attractive to you. But unless you also identify a post-MBA goal, your list of offerings and resources will be viewed as random selections from the school’s website rather than a truly cohesive combination that you want and need.

4. Influences how your transcript, test score and resume are analyzed.
Your college grades, GMAT or GRE results, and job history reflect certain strengths and certain vulnerabilities. By providing a post-MBA goal in your essays, you can help the adcom see the relevance of your strengths and the irrelevance of your vulnerabilities in terms of your future plans. In the absence of a post-MBA goal, adcoms will have no choice but to evaluate your academic and professional profiles without guidance from you.

5. Differentiates you from other applicants with similar profiles.
No matter which college you attended, which industry employs you, or what specific jobs you’ve held, it’s almost certain that other MBA applicants have comparable credentials. However, by conveying your post-MBA career goal with specificity and passion, you can and will distinguish yourself in the eyes of admissions committees and encourage them to buy into your vision.

6. Anticipates being asked about your goals during the interview.
Even those business schools that don’t include goal-related questions in their required essays can inquire about your career plans during the subsequent interview. So, rather than hiding this information in a way that could convey uncertainty or lack of direction, you can seize the opportunity to present it in your essays and then elaborate when you meet in-person.

7. Confirms your rationale for investing in an MBA education.
The six reasons above focus on the perspective of the admissions committee. This seventh reason is more about you, the applicant. The cost of attending business school – in time, in dollars and in hard work – is huge. Before you make that massive investment, you’d be wise to consider how you’re going to put all of the benefits to work after graduation. Envisioning a post-MBA role and responsibilities that justify the cost, align with your values, and fulfill your highest potential will energize you to pursue and make the most of a top MBA education.

If you’re still uncertain about whether to include post-MBA career goals in your essays, or the best way to do so, we invite you to get a free, expert evaluation of your candidacy. Understanding how your past and present will be viewed by adcoms is a valuable first step towards framing your post-MBA future.