You know that you need to be specific with your career goals.
And you know that you need to tailor your pitch to each bschool separately.
Why not take that to the extreme and create a specific set of career goals for each bschool?
Alas, Brave Supplicant, this is a very bad idea.
If you are creating different goals for each school, that is clear evidence that you’re trying to game the system.
All the schools say that they want to know what you REALLY want to do (Stanford has even asked their career goals question exactly this way this year!).
If you have different goals for each school, then you clearly are not telling any of them what you REALLY will do.
You’re telling them what you think they want to hear.
“But what’s the problem with this, EssaySnark?” we hear you say. “Isn’t this a good strategy that will increase my chances of success? Since I’ll be making a custom pitch to every single adcom! How could this not work out?”
Besides the fact that it is inauthentic and false, the logistical or practical problem with this is it’s very tough to keep your story straight. OK, maybe you do a fabulous job of positioning each set of goals carefully for each set of essays. It’s possible that maybe you could pull this off, if you were meticulous. Of course, this means you have even LESS opportunity to reuse any of your material from school to school, since the pitch would be different for each one – thus, the positioning would need to be different, possibly even on what you emphasize and how you tell the same stories of leadership and impact from your past.
The bigger issue, though, earnest little Brave Supplicant, is that you are very likely to muff things up in an interview.
How will you keep your story straight when you’re speaking with the adcom or alumni at each of the schools?
Don’t you think there’s a chance that you’ll forget which one you’re talking to, and start to go down a different path than what you presented in your app to that school?
When you go into the interview, you are likely to be nervous. It’s easy to get flustered. It’s challenging enough to keep the story straight when it’s just one story!
But if you’ve got multiple variations of career goals floating out there, the risk is too great, it seems to us, that you confuse the facts or jumble the plans and end up shooting yourself in the foot in the all-important in-person presentation. (We’ve seen this happen with our clients during interview prep. It surely must happen in the real world too.)
We don’t like this as a strategy because it’s just insincere. We also think it’s foolish due to these risks. And the bottom line: There’s no need.
If your career goals are well-crafted, if they match up to what you’ve done in the past and are realistic based on what the school can help with… These are good goals. There’s no reason to get all fancy and try and change them up for each school you’re applying to. Trust yourself. Trust the process. Maybe we’re just idealists, but what we prefer to believe — and what we have seen over and over again — is that authenticity and integrity win the game.