Short- and long-term goals
Before you start drafting your MBA goals essays, work out three levels of goals: short-term, intermediate, and long-term. It helps to have this whole picture in your mind regardless of where you’ll “zoom in” for a particular essay. Short-term applies to the timeframe immediately post-MBA to about two years later; intermediate covers the time about two to five years post-MBA; and long-term applies to the time following that. Usually essays ask for short- and long-term goals, but you’ll need to know your intermediate goals as well to bridge the short and long term.
Short-term goals are the most specific, for obvious reasons – they’re closer in time and they’re also the direct link to the MBA program. As you describe successive steps, use less and less detail in each, because the further out you project, the less certain things are. Don’t go beyond what’s practical, e.g., describing in detail what you’ll be doing in twenty years. Adapt each phase to reality too. If your targeted industry (say, healthcare) is in great flux, that point should be reflected in your goals.
Responding to specific goals questions
Different sets of essay questions will emphasize different aspects of the goals; they’ll require different lengths and have different tones. Some are open, while others are focused and directed. The key is to “read” not just the words but the tone of the question. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a trend toward short, focused goals essay questions; there are fewer 1,000-word goals essays, fewer essays asking for your “vision.” Most want the facts, straight.
Read the question carefully, and emphasize in your essay what the question emphasizes (e.g., is there an equal focus on short-term and long-term or on just one or the other, or do they just mention post-MBA goal without specifying which?). In other words, be guided by the question. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring in other elements, but they should support your main points.
Often the question asks why you want an MBA or want to attend the particular program. Link these points directly to your goals. If you can weave in your school visit and/or interactions with students and alumni, great!
Do you need help identifying, defining, and writing about your goals? Work one-on-one with an expert admissions advisor who will help you clarify your goals and present them to the adcom so you get ACCEPTED. Learn more about MBA Admissions Services here.
“Why Write A Blog Post Series on Goals?” is excerpted from the Accepted guide, Why MBA? Click here to download the complete guide.Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• Best MBA Programs, a free guide to selecting the right one for you
• How to Clarify Your Goals for Your MBA – And Beyond
• 6 Tips for Creating Your Compelling MBA Goals Essay