Summertime is a great time to hone your favorite recipe on the grill. But it’s also a great time to hone your MBA goals. Soon your application will get grilled by the admissions committee . . .
So take some time this summer to focus on your future. Don’t let a poorly written goals essay stop you from getting into the school of your choice.
Here are three tips to writing an effective, convincing goals essay:
1. Connect the Dots: From Your Past to the Future
The best goals essays have a connection to your past and point to a believable future. Introduce your goals by briefly describing your experience in the field you want to enter post-MBA. This is especially important if you are a career switcher. For example, if you’re switching from accounting to luxury brand management, you better have some pretty strong evidence that you’re already well-situated in the industry. Mention recent contacts that you’ve made, associations you belong to, a side business you’ve started, or contract work that you’ve done.
Make sure these connections to your future are recent. College experience alone probably won’t cut it.
2. Be Specific
Nothing is more exasperating than reading an essay with vague goals. It’s guaranteed to make the admissions committee snooze. Be as specific as possible so you keep them interested, and even better, excited to find out more about you.
For your short-term goal, mention a specific job that you would like to have post-graduation. Explain why your past experience would make you qualified to enter into that field. Mention an innovation you plan to institute there. (Keep it strong, but small. You’ll want to have room to really impress with innovations you plan for your long-term goal.) Finally, explain what skills an MBA would provide you with that you do not already have that would help you succeed in this position.
For your long-term goal, get the admissions committee jumping out of their seats. Give them a goal that will interest them so much that they will want to help you get into their program. Start out with a brief overview of the industry or sector you plan to enter. How will it change over the next 10-15 years? Select a particular innovation to institute or trend to harness. Explain your plan. Finally, describe how taking two years right now to get an MBA will position you to become a leader, not only within a company, but within an industry.
3. Do Your Research
Get out and network. Talk both to people who have the career you want when you graduate and to people who have the career you want 10-15 years down the line. Ask them how they got that position and how their MBA helped them make an impact.
Also, ask these contacts how your background would be an asset to the field you want to enter. In your goals essay, you can refer to these conversations as supporting evidence to convince the admissions committee that you can and will achieve these goals. And that other successful people believe in your abilities too.
So have some fun this summer. But invest some time in really sharpening those goals. You’ll enjoy the payoff in your future!
By Michelle Stockman, who is happy to answer any of your questions about writing a compelling goals essay. Please feel free to leave them in comments to this post.