It’s Veterans Day and we want to make a quick shout-out to all those BSers from the Armed Forces that we’ve worked with, past and present. If you’re going to be transitioning from the military into bschool, we offer resources for you, including a free blahg membership and other goodies, plus military-specific content! Our Military MBA microsite has the details.
On to our regular post for the day… today about CAREER GOALS.
Some admissions reviewers don’t put much stake on actual career goals, because they know that students’ goals will change, perhaps dramatically, as they go through the process of earning their MBA.
One common issue we see is that applicants aim too high, given where they’re at today. Getting into bschool is not an exercise in trying to impress the adcom about how ambitious you are.
Another issue is waffling.
Sometimes BSers know that they don’t really know what they want to do, and so intentionally or not, their post-MBA goal has some indecision seeping through.
This can happen in the actual goal — “I might do X or I might do Y” where the goals themselves are quite different.
Or it can come through most often when the applicant simply hasn’t done enough research on their ideas.
Here’s some feedback we offered to a BSer who perhaps hadn’t done quite enough of that legwork yet:
We’re not getting enough precision here to let us truly understand what you’re aiming for. The level of the organization is actually really important, since that informs your admissions reader of what you feel you’re ready for. It’s totally true that you’re going to adjust things and refine your goals and figure things out as you go through the process of earning your MBA, but sitting here today, based on the knowledge you have of the industry and your understanding of your own skillset and background, you should be able to pitch the adcom on what you are going for. That’s not really coming through yet in a way that would satisfy some admissions readers.
It’s fine to have some wriggle-room on various aspects of a goals statement, but it can undermine the pitch significantly to have wriggle-room on this specific dimension because it connects to the whole “school fit” question. So, we suggest figuring out that part as a critical next step.
One exercise you can go through: Do a role-play with a friend where they mock-interview you for the exact job that you’re saying you’ll go for. Can you justify how that’s the right next step?
It’s important to be able to “own” the goal. The best career goals are ones where the applicant is clearly already qualified, and the MBA is an enabler or accelerator, but not the sole critical-path element to succeed. In other words, the education needs to be additive, but not the determinant for how the applicant will be qualified to land the stated S/T position.
If you can showcase how you’re qualified for the level you’re targeting, then the entire process will be easier because you’ll be able to provide the foundation to your admissions reviewer, and later to your interviewer, for how this is a sound strategy and what you’ve done to set yourself up for success – and then you can layer in the “why MBA” in a way that will be like the exact amount of perfectly blended spices that will add to the mix and make you exceptionally awesome for the future career path you’ve designed.
So. Career goals. At least as much art as science. They need to be achievable, based on where you sit today, yet you still want them to clearly designate how an MBA will be valuable in your pursuit of them.
Want specific input into the goals you’re planning to pitch? Our Career Goals App Accelerator offers that! Or keep reading the many posts here on the blahg on goals and how to put together the pitch, which in many apps, serves as the core around which everything else is built.