Long-Term Goal Essay: Changes? Transitions? – Does it Matter?

Posted By SWatts on May 24, 2014 |

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Long-Term Goal Essay: Changes? Transitions? – Does it Matter?

One of the most common pieces of feedback I hear from admissions committees for rejecting applicants at top schools is that, when candidates apply on their own, they often fail to successfully voice a realistic long-term career goal or career transition.  The admissions committee did not believe the candidate could successfully make a “change” to achieve the long-term career goal they had put forth in their essays.

This relates back to a common question that I hear from applicants: Does it matter what you state in your long-term goal in the MBA application essays? They ask, “Isn’t it a little ridiculous that admissions committees expect me to know what I want to be doing in 15 years?”

Few people know the exact details of what they will be doing in 15 years. Regardless, your response to the long-term goal question can matter a great deal. When there appears to be a major disconnect between what you have been doing over the years in your career, and what you state you intend to do in your long-term goal, you can be introducing substantial risk into your application, reducing your odds for admission.

Many MBA applicants pursue an MBA to transition to a new industry. Yet there is a big difference between “transitioning” to a new type of role or industry—where there is some connection to what you have been doing professionally over the years—and making a complete change. For example, the person trying to go from a project manager role in an engineering division to the head of a retail clothing company will have a harder time in MBA admissions than a person trying to go from a project manager role in a technology manufacturing company to a top corporate executive of a technology company.

So use your words carefully when crafting your long-term goal. Take care to be realistic, carefully ambitious, and make sure your response will serve as an asset for you.