This post is part of the Class of 2018 Start Your Engines! series.
This past season we helped a BSer with an app to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This is a Top 50 school and while it’s marginally selective, it’s not typically the type of program that we say you need help with your essays on. If you are diligent in your use of resources around here (namely, this blahg where we’ve got literally thousands of posts to help you figure out how to write your essays) and you have a decent profile and a good head on your shoulders, you should have no problem breaking into a school like this. We don’t like taking people’s money unnecessarily. But this was an international applicant with some glitches in the profile and they wanted to make sure that they were dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s and leaving nothing to chance.
(Why do we so frequently end up saying “Dotting their Ts and crossing their I’s”? The ‘Snark brain is cross-wired!)
That was a long-winded way to introduce our topic today, which is to tell you that the U of Illinois has a great career goals essay question .
Here’s what they asked in the 2014-’15 admissions season (not sure if they’ll be changing it for 2015 or not):
Full Essay #1 (Personal Statement) – Please upload your personal statement that answers the following questions, 1 through 4, in one essay. Take time to reflect and consider the direction you want to take your professional career. Remember to write a cohesive essay, complete with a thesis statement, supporting paragraphs, and a comprehensive conclusion. (maximum of 750 words, double-spaced)
- What are your short- and long-term goals?
- Please briefly discuss your career history to date. What capabilities have you gained through your professional experience?
- What skills or knowledge will an MBA education give you that you currently lack, but that you need to realize your goals?
- What specific electives, programs, extracurricular activities, etc. at the College of Business will prepare you to realize your goals?
Remember, that’s last year’s question.
Two little bits of advice, Brave Supplicants:
1. If you’re thinking about applying to bschool this year, then we strongly encourage you to go through the exercise of literally answering each of those 4 questions for yourself. The last one is obviously specific to whichever program you’re targeting; adapt it accordingly.
2. If your school has a career goals or “Why MBA?” type question this year – regardless of how it’s asked – the template provided through this U of Illinois prompt will serve you well in structuring your answer.
Most of you will read this and nod sagely to yourself, thinking, “Yeah I should do that” and then click off the EssaySnark site and go get a latte and forget about this advice completely.
We will predict that we will get gobs of career goals essays from gobs of Brave Supplicants as the season unfolds, and many (most? all?) of them will be insufficient and lacking in at least one of these key dimensions.
If you do some of the hard work of figuring out what your essays will look like NOW, it will save you untold agony in essay-revision h3ll in the coming weeks and months.
We’re sitting here very early in the season – a time when you have, uh, TIME.
No it’s not too early to get started. Spreading the burden of thinking out over a longer expanse of time will be to your benefit (and, hopefully, to ours, in later getting some better-quality essays submitted for review! That’s always a major bonus!).
Goals are important, BSer. You can’t BS your way through them! This U of Illinois MBA essay can guide you to some more effective answers for many schools. If you want more help with developing your career goals in a way that will make sense in your MBA applications – with direct, one-on-one feedback from EssaySnark included – check out our Career Goals App Accelerator. It’s a great way to get started!
Oh and while we’re talking about Urbana-Champaign: Their application fee is a very reasonable $70; $90 if you’re an international candidate. Some schools are like $250 or so now (it was $265 at Wharton last season). But $90? Now THAT is applicant-friendly.
Are you just joining us? Planning on applying for your MBA this year? Our “>”Start Your Engines” series can help you out.