Funny thing. We wrote a blahg post nearly 1.5 yrs ago on “readiness” (Part 1) — but then never wrote the Part 2. And now we can’t quite recall what we had in mind for that second part. (EDIT: We did write the Part 2… dunno why we thought we hadn’t… so apparently this post is Part 3 – BONUS!!)
But this issue is coming up again and again and it’s worth revisiting, regardless of whether this revisit is where we had originally intended to go.
Here’s the deal:
For most schools, you need to be explicit and clear and pretty detailed in your career goals. There are very very few exceptions to this (MIT being one of them).
The adcoms want to know why an MBA is important to your future career path; they want to know how you will put it to good use. They, uh, even ask you to write about it in an essay. And they ask about it again in the interview. It’s sorta important.
The reason for this post is this lame whiny objection we keep hearing from people:
“Everybody knows it’s a joke,” they say, “that nobody goes on and does what they say they’re going to do in their career goals essay. Why do I have to play this game with my essays if I know that this isn’t what I’m going to be doing later on?”
There are so many issues with this whinyness. Let’s start with the basics.
1. Actually, most schools DO expect you to go on and do what you say you’re going to do — or at least, something related to it. They are accepting you based on what you present in the essays, and it’s expected to, ahem, be THE TRUTH. (Novel concept for some of you, we know.) Yes, bschool is transformative, and yes, you will likely make adjustments and refinements to your plans as you learn new stuff during the process of earning the actual MBA degree itself. But DURING the MBA is not the time to begin figuring this stuff out. That’s just a little too late to make any sense. How can you sit here on this side of bschool saying that you need an MBA if you don’t even know what the heck you need it FOR?????
2. This is not a “game.” It’s an invitation for you to reflect and research and consider what your future will be like. Go read this.
3. If you don’t have a clue what you really want to do with your career, what right do you have in applying to bschool? There are a gazillion more highly motivated non-whiny other Brave Supplicants out there who do, in fact, have a plan for themselves. Why should YOU be one to get into a top bschool if you don’t even know why you want an MBA?? You represent a RISK to the adcom. You could potentially WASTE this precious resource of a high-caliber education if you don’t even have a plan for how to use it. Get off your high horse and get real.
4. On a specifically practical level, if you don’t know what you want to do with the MBA, then you will be at a SERIOUS disadvantage from Day 1. Do you realize that on-campus recruiting at many bschools starts mere WEEKS into your first semester? You have no time at all once school starts to cast about and hem and haw. You need to come into it with a PLAN. Recruiting for internships is competitive. You won’t even know what elective to choose in your first or second semesters if you don’t know what area you want to specialize in after school. You will NOT BE PREPARED for any career if you come into the game without a plan. Sheesh people. The schools ask this FOR A REASON!!!
5. Finally: It’s not your game, so you don’t get to set the rules. The adcom is going to evaluate you against all the other Brave Supplicants — ones who are willing, as you put it, to “play the game.” If you choose not to play, then you will not get in.
You come to EssaySnark for advice. Why then do you b1tch and m0an about the suggestions that we lay out for you?
If YOU were such an expert in bschool admissions, then YOU would be giving the advice, correct? (Or you’d be doing something even more fabulous, since you’d already have your MBA!!)
We know a thing or two about this admissions game. Why are you so effing resistant??
OK we’re just a little fed up today. Please everyone don’t push us like this. If you want to get into bschool — or more accurately, if you WANT ESSAYSNARK’S HELP IN GETTING INTO BSCHOOL — then yes, you gotta play the game suck it up and do the work that’s required. Do some research. Learn about your target industry/function/role. Figure out what the heck you want to do in the future. THEN you will have a half-a$$ed chance.
Right now, we’re not holding our breath for any of you Halfed-A$$ers.