The Key Ingredient To A Strong Application
One of the most important steps for MBA applicants in the admissions process? Defining your career goals.
Experts say clearly evaluating your goals can not only assist you in deciding which MBA program to pursue, but also help lay a strong foundation for your application itself. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered a few ways applicants can go about defining their career goals in order to set themselves up for success.
KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
The first step to defining your career goals is to do some self-exploration. Blackman suggests looking at your extracurriculars from a big picture perspective.
“Is there a theme?” Blackman writes. “Do you have a passion for sports or music that you would like to incorporate into a career?”
Once you’ve highlighted a theme in your extracurriculars, focus on your career accomplishments and try to see if they align.
“What has been most exciting in your current career?” Blackman writes. “Are you excited about every consumer products company you have consulted for in your management consulting job? Do you enjoy discussing the quarterly results with the finance team? What functions seem most appealing to you?”
It’s important to take the time to ask yourself these questions prior to starting your application. Exploring your past and defining your goals early on will help build a solid foundation for everything to come.
“Passion for your career choice will come through as you tell your story in the essays, discussions with recommenders, and interviews,” Blackman writes. “That’s why it’s worth articulating your dreams to yourself in advance.”
HOW DOES AN MBA FIT IN?
Once you’ve established clear career goals for yourself, you’ll want to see how an MBA aligns. More specifically, you’ll want to understand which B-school is right for you.
“Specific industries are clear feeders for MBA programs, while other industries may require more research,” Blackman writes. “Many MBA programs list typical companies that recruit at the school. So it’s worth investigating the industries that seem to value an MBA.”
Ultimately, the process of defining your goals and aligning them with an MBA will help you build a strong, compelling story.
“Strong stories are simple, cohesive and clear,” Penny Zhou, a professional development coach and Wharton MBA, writes. “They give the illusion that the applicant has been meticulously working on their career goals for a long time and that an MBA is the most logical next step to achieving those goals.”