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How to present your career goals (in this economy)?

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How to present your career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2009, 11:36
I've seen that it's best to get specific, but with schools not wanting to take as many risks with (big) career changers (i.e. non-profit volunteer -> HF), should people tone down their career aspirations? In my case, I'm between staying in marketing or doing real estate development. Would me writing about RE be a liability to my application (mostly in lieu of today's economy) and/or would it be safer just to talk about wanting to go into brand mngmt or strategy?

Just looking for insights...

Also, is it better to write a career essay saying I'd like to do x or y function in z industry....

or

I'd like to do x function in y or z industry...
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Re: How to present you career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2009, 13:09
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Your real career goals shouldn't matter when applying. You should write about what your background lends itself to. If you've done non-profit your whole life with a soft major and want to switch to IB, chances are adcom won't accept you because you're a big risk. Basically you want to create the best marketing theme you can given your education/background/job/etc. Just be sure to sound enthusiastic if you're lying.

Then when/if you get into a school, you can decide what you want to recruit for. The adcom doesn't keep track to make sure you follow the goals you listed on your essays, once you get in you can do whatever you want. I would give a blanket recommendation to not write about any drastic career changes (i.e. feeding starving kids in africa to IB), adcom is probably risk averse in this economy and wants to make sure people they accept can get jobs and keep up their employment stats...
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Re: How to present you career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 04:05
mbafwi wrote:
Your real career goals shouldn't matter when applying. You should write about what your background lends itself to. If you've done non-profit your whole life with a soft major and want to switch to IB, chances are adcom won't accept you because you're a big risk. Basically you want to create the best marketing theme you can given your education/background/job/etc. Just be sure to sound enthusiastic if you're lying.

Then when/if you get into a school, you can decide what you want to recruit for. The adcom doesn't keep track to make sure you follow the goals you listed on your essays, once you get in you can do whatever you want. I would give a blanket recommendation to not write about any drastic career changes (i.e. feeding starving kids in africa to IB), adcom is probably risk averse in this economy and wants to make sure people they accept can get jobs and keep up their employment stats...


I completely disagree. I think the worst thing you can do in your application is write about what you think the adcom wants to hear. If you say you want to go into consulting just because you think it's a traditional MBA career path and so the adcom will be more likely to admit you, your essays will very likely not convey nearly the same passion for that goal as someone who truly wants to be a consultant. There's a very good chance this will make it seem to the adcom that you haven't given as much thought to why you want an MBA, and are just going through the motions.

My #1 piece of advice in your application is to be yourself, and let your essays and application show the adcom who you are as a unique individual. They read thousands of applications each year, so unless you can show that uniqueness you'll likely get lost in the shuffle.
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Re: How to present your career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 06:44
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I agree with Jerz. Lying to adcom is a bad idea. Remember, you have to interview at many of these schools as well, and it's much easier to argue your case if you're actually passionate about what you want to do. If you're in non-profit and want to go to IB, that's fine - just make a strong argument for why you're uniquely qualified to make that switch and why you'll be successful at it.

I think being as specific as you can in writing about your goals will also help. Instead of just saying you want to do consulting, say "I want to do consulting in x industry at companies like ABC, because of my background/interest/passion in Y." That indicates your interest, your level of research into your desired field, as well as your own understanding of how you, with your background, can break into that field.
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Re: How to present your career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 06:55
isa wrote:
I agree with Jerz. Lying to adcom is a bad idea. Remember, you have to interview at many of these schools as well, and it's much easier to argue your case if you're actually passionate about what you want to do. If you're in non-profit and want to go to IB, that's fine - just make a strong argument for why you're uniquely qualified to make that switch and why you'll be successful at it.

I think being as specific as you can in writing about your goals will also help. Instead of just saying you want to do consulting, say "I want to do consulting in x industry at companies like ABC, because of my background/interest/passion in Y." That indicates your interest, your level of research into your desired field, as well as your own understanding of how you, with your background, can break into that field.

+1...thanks


also, how have you all gone about contacting people in your desired industry to learn more (if you didn't have personal connections)? school alumni? student interest organizations? cold calls to companies you're interested in?
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Re: How to present your career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 07:09
2012dreams wrote:
also, how have you all gone about contacting people in your desired industry to learn more (if you didn't have personal connections)? school alumni? student interest organizations? cold calls to companies you're interested in?


I reached out to the career oriented clubs, did a lot of online research into the types of companies out there in my field. I also asked friends that had gone to bschool, or were in bschool, to connect me to any friends they had in my desired field, who wouldn't mind answering a few questions. I didn't do any cold calls.
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Re: How to present your career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 09:25
For your classes it will be a bit different. Right now at the front line it is "shut up about your career goals and tell me what you can do, now". For an application, they still want to see ambition and direction, and the school - much like yourself - hopes desperately for an economic turnaround by your graduation.
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Re: How to present your career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 14:12
I didn't say you should try to predict what the adcom wants to hear. I said write about a goal that your background lends itself to. Big difference there!

Basically I'm saying if you have done non-profit your whole life, chances are you have no relevant background for IB. So its dumb to put that as your goal, even if it is your goal. You're better off saying you want to stay in non-profit post-mba. If you are an engineer or technical person, consulting or GM is your best bet. If you are in finance, then IB or corp fin is a good goal. I would not be an idealist on your apps, the adcom doesn't care if you have a great heart and great sob story. They care that you know what you want to do, have relevant experience to get there, and just need an MBA to bridge the gap. Putting a drastic career change on your app without the right background is going to put you at risk of not even being interviewed. Its usually best to be realistic than idealistic.
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Re: How to present your career goals (in this economy)? [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2009, 15:08
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mbafwi wrote:
I didn't say you should try to predict what the adcom wants to hear. I said write about a goal that your background lends itself to. Big difference there!

Basically I'm saying if you have done non-profit your whole life, chances are you have no relevant background for IB. So its dumb to put that as your goal, even if it is your goal. You're better off saying you want to stay in non-profit post-mba. If you are an engineer or technical person, consulting or GM is your best bet. If you are in finance, then IB or corp fin is a good goal. I would not be an idealist on your apps, the adcom doesn't care if you have a great heart and great sob story. They care that you know what you want to do, have relevant experience to get there, and just need an MBA to bridge the gap. Putting a drastic career change on your app without the right background is going to put you at risk of not even being interviewed. Its usually best to be realistic than idealistic.




I am tired of reading this post that pretty much ridicules and insults another member's simple inquiry.

There is no basis, or general rule to shape one's story for bschool application that will guarantee one's success. There's no rule that says one has no relevant background for IB if he or she is from non-profit background. There is no rule that says that engineers and other applicants with technical background are best suited for consulting jobs. There is no basis for you to argue that adcoms don't care about one's heart or sob story.

At this very moment, many bschool admits from this past application year are taking career aptitude test that will help them find their interests, leadership traits, and potential career options as I write this post. (This is what we have been talking about pretty much last 2 weeks in the chatroom) If specific rules exist that says one can't shoot for this job because he or she comes from this background, then why do top bschools ask their admits to take this test as soon as possible? Why do they want to discuss the results in depth?

Although I applied to 7 bschools this past year, and spent countless hours on my applications, I can't say that I am an expert in this matter. There are way too many variables, and way too many circumstances to make definite rules on how to find success in bschool admission process. Nothing is guaranteed, and nothing is impossible.

My advice to any bschool applicant, is that you should just reflect your true-self in your application the best that you can. Choose the best way to communicate your goals, desires, and expectations in your essays. Don't assume anything, and don't get overconfident. Just give it your best.

BTW - I am locking this thread. 2012dreams, if you need help with your applications, PM me. I will help you however I can.
Re: How to present your career goals (in this economy)?   [#permalink] 01 Jul 2009, 15:08
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