Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63

Three Essential Keys To The Goals Essay

There are 3 essential ingredients to a successful MBA goals essay, arguably the most common and important essay in MBA applications. Your MBA goals essay must be:

  1. Focused
  2. Anecdotal
  3. Realistic

Let’s take a peek under the hood of each element:

Focused: Your short-term goal should include one function you would like to perform and one or two industries you would like to work in. You can also mention geographic location, if it is relevant. Your long-term MBA goal, usually your goal five to ten years after you earn your degree, can be fuzzier, but should progress organically from your intended studies in b-school and your short-term goal.

Anecdotal: Depending on the question asked, try to open with a brief, relevant story. An engaging anecdote, particularly at the essay’s beginning, draws your reader into your material, makes your goal more concrete and credible, and distinguishes you. It may also highlight a related achievement as well as strong, experiential reasons for your choosing this path to professional success.

Realistic: A realistic goal is achievable given:

  1. An MBA from this school. This program has to have the curriculum, career management services/recruiting connections, and extracurricular opportunities to help you achieve your objectives. If you are asked “Why this school?” show how these characteristics will help you realize your professional dreams. The fit between these school assets and your career goal builds a compelling case for your acceptance — and a winning answer to the question.
  2. Your past experience. Demonstrate that your past experience supports your ambitions. What transferable skills or knowledge, when combined with your MBA from this school, qualify you for the career you want? This is particularly important if you are making a major career change (industry and function) or if you want to go into a particularly clubby field, like private equity or venture capital.

Caution: Writing “I want to go into marketing, consulting, or investment banking…” screams “I haven’t a clue what I want to do.” Bad idea. Remember the F in FAR. Focus.

Go FAR in the MBA application process. Write a focused, anecdotal, realistic MBA goals essay. It will take you much closer to acceptance at your dream schools and your post-MBA goal.

By Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the soon-to released book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.

Our Series On Perfecting Your MBA Essays: