The adcoms all know that most people will not be pursuing exactly the path that they’ve laid out in their MBA application. The point of the essay is not to pin you down; it’s to see what your best thinking is at this point in time. Once you start school, and are exposed to all these fabulous opportunities, and learn more about the industries and functions that you’ll be studying in class, then it’s highly likely you will discover a new more exciting direction to take yourself.
EssaySnark wants to issue you a caution – one you’re likely to forget between now and the time where it matters. But we’re just going to plant this seed, and maybe you’ll remember (like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad… oh, wait, sorry, wrong movie).
Many – perhaps even most – of you Brave Supplicants are quite earnest and sincere. You’re going about this process with all good intentions. You really truly are looking for a chance to change your life, and some of you really truly do want to have an impact on the world. It’s not just lip service to impress the adcom. There are quite a few of you who honestly and truly are striving to be better.
For you, going through this initial process of researching career paths and industries, and learning about possible opportunities, and what you might be qualified for coming out of a top MBA program, is all done in an effort to actually plan for the future. You approach the very challenging essay questions for schools like Yale and Stanford and Ross and Tuck with a great attitude: You go through the process of introspection and self-reflection that those questions required, you sort through your life and look at examples from your past, and you actually learn something about yourself.
You may even clarify priorities and values for the first time ever.
The process itself has some value.
Oftentimes, people will experience epiphanies and insights. They’ll learn something – not just about the world, but about THEMSELVES. It’s kind of a cool experience when it happens.
They’ll connect the dots, and perhaps they’ll realize not just that they want to go be a consultant because it sounds sexy and important and it will bring them a big fat paycheck, but they may also uncover a reason why they DID NOT like the job that they’re currently in. Maybe they pursued a specific path in life because that’s what everyone else was doing, and now that they’ve lived a little, they recognize that it’s not at all satisfying to the type of person that they are.
Sometimes, identifying what you DON’T want is the first step to figuring out what you do.
So you go through all of these exercises and steps (and if you’re an EssaySnark client on the Complete Essay Package, it may seem like an endless procession of them) and maybe while you’re knee-deep in them, you’re not perceiving huge amounts of value… but then over time, perhaps weeks later, or maybe when you’re in the shower or taking the dog for a walk or some other moment when you least expect it, there’s an “Aha!” and you realize that you’re a different person today. That you’ve evolved a bit.
Or maybe it comes when you are reading a report that your colleague has written, and you start correcting the writing in your head (“That sentence is an empty assertion; I need him to SHOW me how this is true” or “This is really wordy. I bet this could be cut down like in half.”).
You understand that the very process of applying to bschool brought value.
No, most people would never admit to this when they’re going through the grueling parts.
But one reason that the adcoms make you jump through these hoops is because it’s a proven method of letting you discover important answers for yourself. And then once you discover them, you can share them with a complete stranger: your admissions committee reader, evaluating your app.
So what is EssaySnark’s point today? What is it that we want you to remember, when you’re going through your bschool experience?
The point is this: That you discovered something about WHO YOU ARE in the process of writing these apps. You have learned something about yourself. You decided on a set of goals to pitch to the adcom FOR A REASON: because you believed in them. (Or at least, we hope you did! Usually the ones who pitch goals that are legit for them see the most success in this process.)
When you land at campus and start your MBA, you’re going to be bombarded with all sorts of competing ideas. You’re going to have recruiters trying to woo you with flashy presentations and claims of how awesome their company is. There will be pizza! And t-shirts! And other such tchotchkes!
And there will be FOMO, in fact, FOMO extraordinaire. FOMO as you have never experienced FOMO.
You will undoubtedly be awed and amazed by all the opportunities that your super smart friends are pursuing. Consulting? Finance? Starting a company? WOW!
It is at those moments that we hope you will remember.
We’re not suggesting that whatever career goal you came up with now, in your essays, during the process of applying is the final answer for you, that that’s what you definitely should do with your life.
But we are hoping to caution you against getting carried away, and being influenced.
There are many forces in the world that will try to take you off track. Just like the sirens who lured sailors to their deaths, the peer pressure (and sometimes parent pressure, or partner pressure) that comes along with pursuing the next opportunity can be great. When everyone around you seems to be going for bigger faster better more then sometimes a job like “just” marketing or “just” healthcare maybe can seem a little, well, small.
We want to tell you that it’s not small. Not if it’s the right step for YOU.
You may also experience significant stress if you’re trying for a bigger leap in your career and you don’t land the first job of the cycle. If all of your peers are wrapping up their searches and you still have not gotten the offer, it’s going to be challenging. This can also happen if you’re doing an off-the-beaten-path career switch, where the jobs for the thing you want to do aren’t coming to campus. If you are seeking something non-traditional, then it’s a greater burden on your own shoulders to track down the leads. Sometimes students feel cornered, or desperate, or they start to second-guess things, once they’re in the thick of it. They suddenly question their own prior decisions and motivations. Or they get lured by what seems to be a shinier object over there, forgetting that they already worked hard to identify the one they were already pursuing, and were doing so for a reason.
And then that’s a shame.
Don’t believe us? We’ve seen this play out in some not-so-great ways in many BSers who’ve gone before.
Or, in this video, a Stanford student admits to being swept up in a recruiting craze before coming to his senses:
Remember, getting into bschool is not a guarantee of a job. All you get from the admit is the opportunity to go spend a lot of time and money in a structured environment to (hopefully!) learn stuff and build new skills. There’s no plum new position automatically waiting for you on the other side. It’s up to you to make it happen.
The work that you’ve started in your introspection and analysis now, in discovering who you are and WHY you want to go do something different, will hopefully serve you well throughout the next adventure. But don’t get too distracted, or confused. Be sure to carve out time for yourself, and check in, to make sure you’re still on the course that you’ve set. That course may change direction, even quite radically, but you want to end up somewhere that’s BETTER and more EMPOWERING and more true to you than the trap you feel you’re in with your career to day.
You don’t want to wake up three years out of bschool and feel like you’re back where you started: In another rut, just like you were before you ever decided to go back to school. Be sure to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead – with clarity, and with attention to what matters to you.
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Or, still trying to figure out how to pitch the adcom on your goals in the first place? Our MBA Career Goals App Accelerator can help!