Have definite goals: The admissions committee is looking for an organized career strategy that rests on solid self-understanding. They want to know why you have made the decisions you made, how they have brought you to this point in your life, and where you are going from here. Goals can include broader, non-career and personal or community aspirations – but your first priority is to establish a clear professional path.
The key to getting your admissions essays right is knowing what each question seeks – what the school expects from your response in each case, and what bonus information can legitimately be added. But schools each ask different questions. Or do they? They appear different but if you look closely they are just variations on a few classics and the most common of all is "Why an MBA?"
As you complete your outline and move into writing, revising, and editing your essay draft, you can begin to consider how your goals relate to your accomplishments and setbacks.
Perhaps you need a partner to help you find your voice. Fine. Ask a mentor or friend. If you cannot burden them throughout your entire application process, consider contacting a counselor, consultant, coach, or advisor. But be careful. We do not all work the same way. If you want editing, get that. If you are willing to work harder to build your writing and speaking skills, please get in touch.
My career vision is rooted in my environmentalism as an outdoorsman who enjoys fishing. Beyond providing economic benefits, I desire to enhance sustainable and environmentally friendly business models to our consumption-intensive world.
If you fully explore your career vision, you will learn more about your motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. Doing so makes you stronger you overall. You might even find ways to use some of your writing for other essays and interview responses.
c. Have a worthwhile future: Faced with applicants who have equivalent grades and GMATs, the admissions committee will promote those who are on a unique, interesting, worthwhile career mission. You may have to work hard to polish up whatever dullness or omissions lurk in your past, but your aspirations are safely ahead of you where no committee can verify them. So don’t hesitate to project yourself into valuable, distinctive roles.
b. Show first steps: The best don’t wait for acceptance of their b-school application before getting on with their dreams. You raise you stock immeasurably if you can show you have already taken steps towards the goal you claim to aspire to. Have you done the certifications you need for your career move? Do you have a plan for attracting investors to the business you hope to set up? Convince the committee that you will make it happen no matter what – even if you don’t get into their school, or any school.
Possibilities include a brief statement of your goals and your personal and professional background relevant to those goals. Another possibility includes economic or industry changes that enable your goals.
a. Dream and be real: You have to walk a fine line here. On the one hand you must think big. Whether you want to manage a billion dollars, or create new brain technology industries, or fix Africa – whatever it is, you should communicate high aspirations and a potential career worthy of an MBA graduate in 20 years time. On the other hand you must demonstrate career-path realism: your dreams will take a lifetime to mature, and even then they may not. You should sound like you understand how careers evolve in your field and the ways you might have to “do your time” (even if highly paid) before you become a true titan of your industry.
: The U.S. Institute of Peace offers this contest. First-place state winners receive a trip to Washington, D.C., and a $1,000 scholarship. National award winners receive $2,500 to $10,000. Essays are typically due in February.
: Write an essay on a U.S. elected official “who has chosen to do what is right, rather than what is expedient.” The winner gets $10,000, second place gets $1,000 and up to five finalists receive $500 each. The deadline is typically in early January each year.
The cornerstone to this essay is your “Short-Term Goal” because it guides what information you should include in your “Career Review” and highlights what you still lack to achieve your goals. Having a detailed short-term goal is also crucial to explain how this school best prepares you to achieve your goals.