Your career goals essay is a pitch, right? You’re asking the adcom to choose you among all these competitors, to believe in you and invest a scarce resource in your future.
Why not study how an elevator pitch is put together? There are obvious corollaries. You’re looking to stand out from the crowd with a compelling offer. You want someone to “invest” in you (i.e., the adcom, by offering you a seat in their incoming class). It has to make sense, and entice the audience to action.
We heard a captivating segment on This American Life, one of NPR’s most entertaining programs, discussing the MIT business plan competition (from this segment, it sounds like the bplan comp is university-wide, not restricted to Sloan MBAs — still relevant though). You can listen to the stream for free; it’s Act One which starts about 9 minutes into the broadcast. (And you’ll probably want to keep listening for Act Two — it’s pretty darn funny.)
You’ll also want to practice your elevator pitch career goals statement so that you can deliver it concisely when asked about your future plans. This will definitely come up in your interviews, and you should have it at hand before heading out to an info session, MBA fair, or school visit. You need to be able to intelligently discuss your reasons for getting an MBA, and it should roll off your tongue effortlessly, in a compact and cohesive little sound byte. Having practice putting together your career goals pitch is a nice bit of preparation for constructing a real elevator pitch after bschool, when you’re looking for capital to launch your great idea onto the marketplace.