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Career goals essay - how specific?

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Joined: 25 Jan 2011
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Schools: University of Texas - Austin (McCombs) - Class of 2014
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Career goals essay - how specific? [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2011, 07:05
I have a quick question in regards to how specific I need to be in the career goals essays.

To first give you some color, I have experience in a Big 4 accounting firm, and now am at a hedge fund doing accounting, financial reporting, operations, a little bit of everything - "wearing multiple hats". In addition, I am applying to Columbia, Chicago, Darden, UCLA, UT, and NYU

Post-MBA, I'd like to transition to Investment Banking, then afterwards, I'm not sure. Ideally, I'd like to continue in an investment bank to as high as a level I can. However, I'm also interested in exiting to corporate development, back to a hedge fund as part of the investment team (vs. middle/back office), or small/mid-market PE.

Essentially, I'm sure I want to do i-banking short-term, but long-term...not as clear. Even in the short-term, in Investment Banking, I'm not 100% sure what industry group I'd end up in, I am thinking of Financial Institutions as it's connected to my prior industry (but part of it is within my control, and I'm sure a lot more of where I end up in the bank is a function of the bank's needs).

How specific do my short-term goals have to be? Is "Investment Banking associate in corporate finance" sufficient? Or should I also say I want to target an industry, such as financial institutions. I'm afraid of being too ambiguous, at the same time, I want to communicate flexibility as the investment banking industry has, and will continue to change in the next few years.

And for long-term, do I need to drill down to one, or can I list the above as multiple options that I am interested in with a logical reason why they all tie together?

I understand many MBA's change tracks during their program, so I want to be honest and specific so that the committee understand I know what I want, without sounding TOO narrow (that is part of the reason I am doing an MBA).

Apologies in advance for the length or potential rambling. Most of all, thank you so much for your help! I've really enjoyed your website guides for specific school, the candid approach is most helpful!
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Re: Career goals essay - how specific? [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2011, 01:08
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A great question.
Simply put - you need to have a target, otherwise no one knows where you are aiming. There are a lot of arguments for getting specific in your goals - including showing passion, motivation and clarity. But the best argument by far is: so that the reader can clearly understand all the ideas you are presenting. Let's not confuse the complexities of reality, and the changing finance world with what you can write in a 300 word essay.

So my suggestion to you: Try to imagine the paths you have mentioned below in your mind. Think about what might happen what you might do, where they might take you. And then write about the one that you find most appealing.

Yeah, your life will for sure take you in a different direction, but remember that Columbus only discovered America because he was aiming for a new Route to the Indies. If he was just gonna "go for a ride in the ocean to see where the waves took him" I don;t know where we'd be living today
:)
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