Almost all of the top-tier business schools will want you to state your Post-MBA career goals (both in the short-term and in the long-term) as well as how their particular program will help you to attain them. Many times, however, I have seen candidates not putting enough thought into their Post-MBA goals and how their prior experiences have prepared them to achieve them. This results in Post-MBA goals that are unclear and/or too broad, which can hurt a candidate’s chances of admission.
So what constitutes strong Post-MBA career goals? In short, strong Post-MBA goals are specific, credible, and achievable.
Candidates are often hesitant to be specific in their Post-MBA goals since they are unsure of what they really want to do after business school, and therefore, are concerned about being “locked into” what they write about. Be rest assured that once you are in business school, you can change your goals! However, for business school application purposes, you should be able to state Post-MBA goals that you plan to follow at that point in time and that you are excited about pursuing.
Specific Post-MBA goals will stand out a lot more than those that are too broad. For example, instead of saying that you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare (which is very broad), it’s better to say that you want to lead strategy at a medical device company (which is easier to visualize and is much more tangible).
Post-MBA goals should also be credible, which means that they should build upon what you have done in the past. Significant career switches can often come across as unattainable, mainly because you may not have the prior experience in order to achieve it. For instance, if you are working in investment banking with a focus on retail companies and want to switch to the field of healthcare after graduating from business school, that will be a tough sell to Admissions Committees. However, if you want to work in corporate development within a retail company, that will be much more believable given your prior finance experience working with retail companies as an investment banker.
Admissions Committees want to see that you “have what it takes” to accomplish your goals. A lot of this boils down to the qualities that you currently possess and that you displayed in the past in order to succeed in your prior endeavors. Admissions Committees assess your past achievements (both professional and extracurricular) as indicators of your success in the future, including your ability to achieve your Post-MBA career goals. Therefore, it is very important to demonstrate your qualities throughout the application (resume, essays, recommendation letters, and data forms).
As you think about crafting Post-MBA goals that are specific, credible, and achievable, also think about what is motivating you to pursue them. Your Post-MBA goals are an extremely important part of the business school application – if we can help you to formulate them, please reach out!
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.