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Remember that children’s book Are You My Mother? It’s about a baby bird who hatches when his mother is away, and he falls out of the nest. Throughout the book, he searches for his mother, approaching a dog, a plane, a cow, and even a steam shovel and asking them the titular question. (I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s safe to say he finds her by book’s end.)
I talk of this because while writing the goals essay I figured out that I hadn't really got an answer to what my goals are. Banker, consultant, entrepreneur, brander...hmm!! I figure the answer to the goals question is essential because it inadvertantly has made me begin to understand who I really am. I know I hate being employed. But if I become an entrepreneur what will be my product? I have no idea.
While I try to figure out what I want to do I wanted to ask how many of you are clear about your career goals? Are the goals you've stated in your essays what you really want to do? Or are you simply painting a rosy picture to the adcoms so that you can get in and then figure what you really wanna do once the program begins?
How did you come to do what you want to do? Is it what you studied, or did you just fall into it? Do you think, like me, that something else might be out there that challenges you just as much? Have any of you heard of people finding their career goals once they got back to school?
Last edited by montag on 29 Dec 2008, 04:38, edited 1 time in total.
I am pretty clear in my goals, although they have changed over time and I can't say with 100% certainty that they won't change at some point in the future. I came up with my goals based on really thinking about what I enjoy doing and what I don't enjoy doing, then talking to friends, colleagues, mentors - a wide range of people - about what career paths would provide me with the most things off my "enjoy" list, and would have as few things as possible from my "don't enjoy" list. These goals aren't directly related to what I studied in undergrad; if I knew then what I know now I would've chosen a different major. But at 17 I chose the major that matched my goals as I understood them then.
I think it's important that the goals you write about in your essay are authentic. If you're not actually passionate about the career you're writing about, that will come through in your essays and the adcom will notice. I think it's ok to be honest about your uncertainty about your career - to a point. Saying you're interested in related fields like MC or GM, or IB or IM are probably ok. Saying you're not sure whether it's MC/IB/non-profit/entrepreneurial probably less ok. My advice is if you're that uncertain what you want to do, figure that out before you apply. If you don't know what your future goals are, it'll be hard to make a convincing case that you need an MBA from X school to achieve them.
I feel like a lot of people go into grad school (B-school just like any other) with a vague notion of what they want to do (how many folks on this board dream of being a "banker"), but not a very specific plan. And that's okay. That's part of what you figure out at a professional school.
I know what field I want to work in (social entrepreneurship in international development) based on my professional experience in it. I said as much in my essays, and laid out a fairly specific idea of what I want to do. That plan might work out, or it might not. But whatever I do will be substantially similar.