“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
(h/t to former Darden dean Bob Bruner for this from his commencement speech at UVA a few years back which we also discussed in the post, “Go where you will do your best work.”)
Getting into bschool takes longer than it perhaps needs to for many BSers, mostly because they’re not clear on where they want to go and why.
By “where they want to go” we don’t mean Harvard or Stanford or Wharton.
We mean, what are you trying to accomplish in life?
Yeah, that. All metaphysical ‘n sh!t.
Many people land on the idea of going to get an MBA because they feel like they’re at a dead end. They feel trapped. They don’t KNOW what to do with their life, so they decide to try for business school. They see it as a way out.
But if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re likely to end up someplace else (thank you, Yogi Berra).
The best thing you can do at the outset of your journey to MBA-land is to figure out why you want an MBA in the first place.
Not as in, “Because I hate my job and I need to do something different.”
But more like, “Because I am excited by THIS and I want to learn about THAT” — and recognize the steps required for you to get from where you are to there.
Bschool is an enabler. It’s a stepping stone. It’s not the goal in itself.
Those who require two rounds around the ferris wheel to get into business school are often the “shoot first aim later” types. The seat-of-your-pantsers who are winging it a bit. Who come in all guns a’blazing but maybe not quite sure where the bullets are headed.
A high GMAT score is not sufficient. It’s a requirement to apply but it does not guarantee you anything about how that application will turn out — and it definitely does not assure you of getting a job when you’re spit out the door later.
You need to know why you’re doing this.
Not all schools care about career goals as the most important part of an MBA pitch, but a lot of them do – and even for those that don’t use it as a primary point of assessment, it’ll still help YOU to figure out what YOU want to do and if an MBA is even the right tool to get there.
Taking some time to figure YOURSELF out, here at the outset of the process, when we’re at the early part of the season, can take you far in your journey.
Want some help with this? Our Career Goals App Accelerator will provide one-on-one feedback on your current thinking and plans for the MBA, through not one, but TWO rounds of review on your short and long term goals.