Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals?
My short-term goal is to excel in a “product management” or “new product development” responsibility area of a global financial services corporation. Such a role will help me develop an in-depth understanding of consumers’ needs and commercialize innovative financial products/services on an international scale. A larger corporation would also bring in the opportunity of managing complex operations and enhancing team-building skills by working with professionals from varied functional and cultural backgrounds.
The accomplishment of my near-term objectives will further facilitate my long term goal (in five years) – which is to identify and provide innovative products/services in the field of consumer finance in India. I thus plan to establish and operate a full service financial services firm that will offer a range of services suited to the emerging Indian market.
An M.B.A program at this stage in my career forms the first step towards actualization of my career objectives. While my undergraduate B.B.A degree did equip me well for the objectives at that stage, a global M.B.A from The Tuck School of Business will enable understanding at a higher level of enterprise complexity and at a cross-functional level. More specifically, during the M.B.A program finance is taught through lectures that cultivate “intuition”. Such an approach will help me gain sound fundamentals and also develop well-trained entrepreneurial instincts in my chosen field.
With a sales and customer relations background, knowledge in marketing will help me proceed further beyond “deal-making” and “follow-ups” towards identifying and assessing market opportunities, product positioning, media planning and marketing communications. The case study method of teaching in marketing and other subjects will help me gain deeper insights and assess both strategic and tactical issues. I also hope to equip myself with advanced analytical tools and techniques that will foster managerial efficiency. Graduate education in management will thus help me develop a structured approach towards refining ideas and developing fail-proof implementation plans.
Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you?
The M.B.A program at the Tuck School of Business suits my educational objectives from a range of perspectives. The program’s emphasis on leadership makes it a great opportunity to prepare myself for the managing responsibilities in a people-driven financial services industry. The school’s industry centric approach is evident from the multitude of guest speakers – the theme being embedded deep into every course. The Tuck Global Consultancy is yet another medium for quickly applying concepts learnt during the program. The program electives in, often, cutting-edge areas of Marketing (database marketing), Finance (Corporate and private equity finance) and New Ventures – in fact create a concern of choice and time constraints of quality interaction with world-renowned faculty, consultants and industry-leaders.
The Tuck School of Business ranks among the premier, truly global business schools with multiple levels of student diversity and excellence. It thus provides the platform to interact with “The Best of The Best” and grow through a range of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for a parallel combination of functional and leadership development. The emphasis of fostering win-win situations among students marks a philosophy of long term gain for all those involved. Last but not the least, the School’s distinguished alumni base brings in networking opportunities that could help me find a mentor and also the right venue for growth. It is thus my destination of choice for pursuing an M.B.A program.
Many MBA application essay sets include a career goals essay question in one form or another, questions like:
- Chicago Booth: “What are your short-term and long-term career goals?”
- Wharton: “What are your professional objectives?”
- Kellogg: “Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing an MBA.”
- Stanford GSB: “What do you want to do—REALLY?”
In this article, we examine the different elements that comprise an effective career goals essay and provide excerpts from a sample essay to illustrate lessons that you can apply when writing your own career goals statement. We would never want to want to suggest that there is only one structure that works when writing your career goals essay. Rather, the example and lessons are to help you to develop an approach to writing the essay and to evaluate whether or not your drafts are achieving the desired effect.
Lesson 1: Articulate your career goals clearly and directly in the introductory paragraph.
One effective way to begin an MBA career goals essay is to begin with a clear summary of short-term and long-term career goals. The sample essay was written by a private equity analyst who intends to work in private equity in the former Soviet Union after graduation. He opens his essay as follows:
Directly out of business school, I want to move to Moscow to work for a leading private equity group, such as Baring Vostok. Long-term, my goal is to start my own fund in the former Soviet Union, ideally based in Kiev, where I was born and where most of my extended family still lives.
Lesson 2: Summarize the connection between your career history and career goals.
You want to establish that your career goals are realistic by explaining how your career so far has prepared you for the future roles you plan to pursue. When possible specify relevant skills and experiences that have prepared you for your future professional objectives. The key is to be brief, especially if you have not been asked explicitly about your career progress.
In the example essay, our applicant emphasizes his private equity experience:
Although I was honored to be offered a 3rd year analyst position at Deutsche Bank, I decided to join Astrix partners, a private equity fund with $2 billion in assets. At Astrix, I have excelled by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of target companies and by building effective, trusting relationships with the management teams of our portfolio companies.
Lesson 3: Explain your motivations and why these career goals matter to you.
MBA programs were founded on the belief that business leaders can and do play a powerful role in contributing to the prosperity of society. Consequently, MBA programs are looking for future leaders who have a strong desire to make a positive impact in the world. Schools also want to know that the career goals are meaningful to you.
Later in his goals essay, our case study candidate reveals his motivations and sense of purpose:
We moved from Kiev to the U.S. when I was eight, but I have managed to maintain strong ties to my native country. On frequent trips to the former Soviet Union, I have seen first hand that there is a tremendous need for the kind of investment fund I envision starting.
Lesson 4: Summarize your career action plan.
Another important building block of an effective career goals statement is your career action plan – it includes the jobs and organizations you plan to work for along the way toward your long-term career goal. For each job on your path, explain briefly how the position and role will move you a step closer to your long-term aspirations in terms of things like additional skills, essential experiences, and a stronger network.
In his career action plan, our example candidate emphasizes his plan to work for an established fund in the part of the world in which he intends to start his private fund:
By working for a firm in Moscow like Baring Vostok for five to seven years, I will gain regional private equity experience and key business relationships in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (“CIS”).
Lesson 5: Share your career vision.
Ending the essay with a career vision statement can be powerful. Admissions officers at top business schools welcome grand ambitions, some even expect them. The statement should describe your vision for fulfilling what you believe to be the underlying purpose of your career.
In the later stages of his career, the writer of the example essay explains that he want to spur economic growth in the former Soviet Union both as an investor and eventually an economic advisor to the government:
Eventually, I want to serve as an economic advisor to the Ukrainian government. New energy and optimism not to mention capital are critically needed in the former Soviet Union. I want to be an investor who provides all three.
Sharing your excitement about your future career path with admissions officers via your MBA application essays is an important step toward earning an acceptance letter from a top MBA program. The coherence and clarity of your career goals essay can serve as an elegant proof of your desire to be a leader of consequence once you finish your MBA studies.
The lessons we’ve shared in this article can help you to ask yourself the right questions at the outlining phase and afterwards to gauge of the quality of the essay you write to answer those questions. Ultimately, the goal of your career goals essay is to convince admissions officers that you are a candidate who will use your MBA education to make a positive difference in the world. If you succeed, you will almost certainly increase your chances of being accepted by one of the top business schools.