Many candidates pursuing an MBA aspire to change careers. While this is a valid goal, it is important that the career change fits with the candidate’s overall story.
When communicating your desired career change, consider these tips to ensure your application does not lose cohesion.
- Seek out volunteer options in your target industry. Volunteering in your future industry or function can be a great way to not only solidify your interest but also to show the reader that you have truly given this future career some serious thought and consideration. This will help add crucial cohesion and believability to your overall story. It is OK to think broadly as you consider related activities as long as you can draw a clear connection for the reader.
- Do your research. Know the role and industry that you aspire to join and understand the skills required for success. All too often we read vague goals statements making it clear that the candidate does not really know his or her future industry. Look up companies in the industry who are hiring and read the job descriptions. Talk to friends or former classmates who work in the space. Understand the industry’s career path. The more you know about your future industry, the more authentic your essay will sound as you begin to articulate your goals.
- Look for related projects in your current role. In some cases, this is easy to do. For instance, if you are a consultant seeking to transition to the technology space, ask to be staffed on a project in the industry. In other cases, you may have to be more creative. However, even experiences such as working on cross-functional projects or leading internal initiatives can expose you to related departments, so do not be afraid to think outside of the box.
- Make the career change personal. As you begin to explain your career aspirations, think about whether there is a personal connection you have with this career. Remember that the goal of your application is to explain who you are as a person and what makes you unique. Goals that demonstrate a personal fit can be a great way to do this. This is the type of one-on-one story telling we work on with our clients.
- Articulate passion. While this is something that I advise for all applicants, it is particularly important that career changers articulate passion for their target roles. Many of the above suggestions will allow candidates to show this passion. Other options for sharing this passion include informed discussions of innovations, trends, and potential in your target industry as well as sharing your insight and vision for leveraging this potential.
- Highlight shared skills between your current and future roles. It is important to show admissions committee members that you are set up to succeed. Even if you are not able to gain experience in your future industry, there are likely past experiences you can draw upon. Think about the most important criteria for success in your future role and point out how you have already demonstrated these skills.
Scott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and the Founder of Personal MBA Coach. As a boutique MBA admissions consulting and tutoring firm, we have been helping clients for over 10 years with a 96% success rate. Last year we helped applicants receive over $4.5M in fellowships. If you would like individual and personal support with any aspect of the MBA application process, find out more about Personal MBA Coach and our 5-star rating.