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Do you know your career path before going into b-school?

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Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 21:15
Just out of curiosity - generally, are most people 'set' on the career path/direction they want to take before they apply or matriculate at b-school? I've always wondered about this... just because right now I don't have a strong idea of what I want to do after b-school (I haven't applied yet and won't be applying for another year or two). Wasn't sure if doing the MBA is a good way for people to figure out where their professional interests lie, and where their career paths could go.

Do people generally have it all figured out before going to b-school, or do they wait and evaluate their career directions while in b-school or even after b-school, depending on their courses, recruitment opportunities, student networking connections, etc? Is it a good idea to have it all figured out beforehand?
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 22:53
Generally speaking, applicants fall into 3 categories and they are:
-those who know exactly what they want post-MBA
-those who may know what they want but keeping their options open
-those who don't know what they want but act like they know what they want on the application

There's nothing wrong in either of the categories, BUT (with exclamation marks) it's absolutely essential to display an act of knowing while you apply. Adcoms need to know your career trajectory, even if it's make believe (well...as long as it's a legit MBA type of job). If you realize one common thing in all 3 types is that they all showcase at least some sort of a goal in their application. This also directly translates to the applicants actively researching what the job entails because in order for you to relate to a certain job in your application and your interview, you will certainly need to have a level of understanding of what it entails. So generally speaking, yes, applicants do know what they want but even adcoms themselves know that most likely there will be a majority of people who will 'switch' their career to a different one said in their application. But even knowing this, adcoms still need to see that you know at least one job that you're interested in going after.
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 04 Jul 2011, 03:14
kdub09 wrote:
Just out of curiosity - generally, are most people 'set' on the career path/direction they want to take before they apply or matriculate at b-school? I've always wondered about this... just because right now I don't have a strong idea of what I want to do after b-school (I haven't applied yet and won't be applying for another year or two). Wasn't sure if doing the MBA is a good way for people to figure out where their professional interests lie, and where their career paths could go.

Do people generally have it all figured out before going to b-school, or do they wait and evaluate their career directions while in b-school or even after b-school, depending on their courses, recruitment opportunities, student networking connections, etc? Is it a good idea to have it all figured out beforehand?



I read few successful essays where people wrote - I would like to try this, or this or this after MBA. This is actually ok. I agree with the post above.
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 01:53
bakfed wrote:
Generally speaking, applicants fall into 3 categories and they are:
Adcoms need to know your career trajectory, even if it's make believe (well...as long as it's a legit MBA type of job).



Sort of agree. It is important is that you have a very clear goal for your life but that doesn't have to be a standard MBA career path. You goals essay should be specific and realistic. Being vague is an application killer as is setting yourself up for failure. For example, this is bad: As the CEO of a fortune 100 company I will use the power of business to solve social problems.

Your not going to be CEO right out of school, and what social problems? All of them?

Better would be something like: In my post MBA career as a brand manager for a larger FMCG company, I will use what I have learned in business school to maximize value throughout the supply chain, ensuring that my suppliers receive a fair price for their products will allow me to ensure that my product will be able to provide long term wealth for all stakeholders and quality to the end consumer.

Okay so I just made that up so it's not great but it illustrates what I'm getting at.

Secondly, you have to be absolutely clear about why an MBA is crucial for you to have success in your goals. This is at least as important as the first point if not more so. Adcoms want to be very clear on why you want to get an MBA and why from their school specifically.
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 02:26
Well, in some cases it's essential to at least have an idea of where an MBA fits in your career path even if you don't know what exactly it's going to be. I just finished applying to the HBS 2+2 Program and one of the questions I had to answer was: "Why MBA?"

Kinda hard to answer this question without having an idea. And I'm a rising senior in college, which makes it all the more harder to articulate what I wanted to say.
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 02:41
whiplash2411 wrote:
Well, in some cases it's essential to at least have an idea of where an MBA fits in your career path even if you don't know what exactly it's going to be. I just finished applying to the HBS 2+2 Program and one of the questions I had to answer was: "Why MBA?"

Kinda hard to answer this question without having an idea. And I'm a rising senior in college, which makes it all the more harder to articulate what I wanted to say.



Why MBA?

It is constant process of thinking. Anyway you know that you want to be in business - private or corporate, online or direct sales etc. MBA will help you to clarify where you will fit best.

However if you are kinda hesitating btw stated above - at least your experience should support your effort in any of above examples.
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 17:57
I'm applying in HBS 2+2 Round 1 & don't have a very concrete idea about how to write this essay. Can someone please suggest me where can I get a few well written sample career essays from which I can get an idea?

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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 18:34
this is sandy's advice on the question I had read from one of his posts


AS TO WHY MBA--THAT CAN ONLY BE ANSWERED W. A GOAL STATEMENT--YOU NEED TO SKETCH OUT WHAT YOUR GOALS ARE, OR HOW YOUR CURRENT PASSIONS LEAD TO GOALS AND HOW MBA FITS IN.

THEY DO NOT, PER SE, WANT A LOT OF WHY HBS B.S. BUT THEY WILL NOT PUNISH YOU FOR IT.

YOU DO NEED TO FORMULATE SOME GOAL VISON FOR WHICH AN MBA IS 1. TYPICAL, 2. HELPFUL.
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2011, 00:30
Personally, my essay was structured with an introduction to what my passion was about, what I had worked towards already, and where the MBA will help bridge the gap between what I have and what I need to have to become successful in my ambitions.

I think that Sandy's idea is great in this context:

1. What do you want to do with your life? (Tech Entrepreneurship? Start your own company? And so on)
2. What will the MBA give you in order to make you more successful in realizing these dreams?

That'll kinda give you a rough idea how to structure stuff. You have time though, so don't worry too much yet :)
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Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school? [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2011, 01:18
In life, when you have things 'all figured out', chances are you will get something hurled at you out of left field. So even the best laid plans can and often do come undone. So merely having plans is no guarantee for their actual execution. In the present and now, this effectively puts you back in the same position as someone who has no concrete plans.

The only kind of plan you need while going through the admissions process is something you believe in for the moment and can sell to the admissions committees.

I am with Alex Chu on this question. IMO this dude always offers great insight...
profile-eval-and-extra-curricular-advice-116327.html

"In short, adcoms aren't looking for people who know *exactly* what they want to do - that's a bit of a misconception. The thing is, most people don't know exactly what they want to do. But the "career goals narrative" is just that -- narrative. They know that you're open minded, but they want to know that you can at least put together a narrative of *one* possible path you'd like to pursue. It beats "I have no idea" which doesn't tell them anything."
Re: Do you know your career path before going into b-school?   [#permalink] 07 Jul 2011, 01:18
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