“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
You were probably asked this question all of the time as a little kid. Thanks to your business school applications, you’ll have to answer it again. Only now you must envision where you’ll be in your career ten to twenty years out — after you’re armed with an MBA. You’ll also have to detail the path you intend to take to get there.
But how do you go about explaining your short- and long-term career goals if you’re not really sure what you want to be doing in the first place? Maybe you’re pursuing an MBA in hopes that the classes and people you’re exposed to will help that light bulb go on in your head.
Career Goals Can be Flexible
That’s perfectly fine, and you’re certainly not alone. Here’s a little secret: the adcom doesn’t expect you to know exactly what you want to be doing decades from now. And no one’s going to hold you to what you write in your essay. However, your answer to the career goals question is still important. If an applicant doesn’t appear to have given any serious thought to his or her own future, that could be a red flag.
If you already know how you’d like your career to progress, that’s wonderful. But if you aren’t sure about what you want to do, our advice is to spend some significant time thinking about what kind of career would make you happy. More importantly, consider whether or not your dream career is realistic based on your skills and past achievements (combined with what you’ll learn at business school).
If your goal is something general like “running a company,” you need to keep working. Vague responses such as “starting a firm,” “being a CEO” or “launching a nonprofit” won’t differentiate you from other applicants. Think about (and include in your essay!) exactly what kind of company you want to run/launch, WHY you want to do what you want to do, and how you’ll get there; those details are more likely to set you apart.
We’ll leave you with this bit of career-related inspiration:
SBC Client Testimonial
“I signed up for an all in package with SBC. From my initial conversation with my consultant, I knew I was working with someone who was going to speak their mind, hold me accountable, provide a personalized experience and allow me to put my best foot forward.
My consultant is organized, responsive, and thoughtful. The feedback I received on essays went beyond grammar and editing — my consultant truly took the time to help me craft a strong narrative and has an uncanny ability to take disjointed stories and help craft a strong cohesive essay.
It was clear that my consultant was knowledgeable about the admission process and knew how to take advantage of each competent (resume, data forms, short questions answers). After many many iterations, my materials looked drastically different from start to finish.
The SBC team exceeded my expectations. I can confidently say that without my consultant’s guidance and support, I wouldn’t be going to my dream school in the fall!”
– Admitted to both HBS and Stanford GSB Class of 2020
See more SBC client testimonials here!
Until next time,
The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting
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