We see this from time to time and while we have cautioned against it elsewhere on the blahg, it doesn’t hurt to mention it again. This advice was buried in this post for older MBA candidates and it also is related to some advice we offered up in this Duke essay critique post but the essence of it is this:
Even if you feel this is true, you cannot tell the adcoms that the reason you need an MBA is because your career is stalled and you’re at a dead-end job.
First of all: That is not a reason for them to accept you!
Sure that’s a personal reason for why you want to go to bschool but it’s not one that’s going to be very appealing to a complete stranger weighing your app.
Secondly: It’s saying that you’ve done a poor job of planning things!
If you’re currently stuck at work – bored, out of options, unable to advance – then that reflects on YOU! Poorly, at that! (Yes, we’re using a lot of exclamation points today! We feel strongly about this!)
Plus it’s like you’re holding the adcom hostage: “If you don’t accept me then I will have nowhere to go! I will be destitute and poor, out on the streets! Because I have no way to advance in my life today!”
How annoying is that!
It also implies that you’re not doing anything about your situation. Those who are stuck in their job either go get a new job, or change the dynamics of the one that they’re in. If you can’t advance because you don’t have the skills, then expand your skills. (Yes we know that you think that’s what bschool is for, but you can be doing it on a more limited basis even today without being in a formal educational program.) If you ask for responsibilities, and you’ve shown that you deserve more, they will be given to you. OK maybe not every single one – but if you ask repeatedly and you’re constantly turned away, then either find somewhere to work where you’re valued, or take it as a chance for self-examination. Maybe you could be doing better with the job that you have?
If you prove yourself to be valuable, and a key contributor, then opportunities will open for you. That’s how this world works. If you’re saying you cannot advance to any further position in your career, that it’s impossible, there’s no where to go, then the only way that would be true is if YOU’RE THE BOSS ALREADY.
Do you see the problems with this?
We never advocate any type of go-negative tone in the essays. It just isn’t the right place to be coming from. And we especially never see value in complaining about your circumstances to your adcom reader.
Because that’s essentially what you’re doing with this. “Waa waa waa, I’m stuck, I need you to rescue me.”
No thank you!
Some of your app strategy is about marketing. You’re positioning yourself to the positive based on what you say. You’re able to craft the reader’s impressions by how you lay out your answers. By talking about how you want to school in order to pursue something new, you’re automatically putting yourself into a more productive place. It’s a lot more fun to come at the essays from a “glass is half full” position than the opposite – both for you, in getting excited about articulating your ideas, and also for your reader when they open your app.