Goals are not an afterthought in MBA admissions. They are front and center in the minds of many admissions directors. Put them front and center in your mind as you prepare to apply. Coming to MBA events with a clear goal will make you a much more appealing candidate to business schools
What’s An MBA Goal?
A strong, clear MBA goal should guide your admissions research and your choice of target schools. A goal is something you want to do (not just study), and for MBA admissions purposes it should relate to a specific industry. For some applicants, geography is also an important element in their goal. Your goal should be based on your experience, not television, not what your parents/significant other or friends think you should do, and not simply what will make you a lot of money.
I am not saying that you can’t change careers. You clearly can because roughly 50% of MBA students are career changers, and many estimates place that number much higher. But you need to have a realistic vision of your future based on skills and character traits you have developed and experience that you have had.
Defining Your MBA Goal
Clear, well-defined goals are as much a requirement of MBA admissions as GMAT, GPA, and work experience. Define your goal in terms of the function you want to perform and the industry in which you want to perform it.
To define your objectives for b-school:
1. Look inward: What do you enjoy and where do you excel?
2. Examine what you have done off the job and see if there are lessons in your non-professional life for your professional life.
3. Clarify and mine interests and past experiences.
Then look outward:
1. Examine professional paths that will take advantage of your strengths and give you more of what you find satisfying.
2. Research the schools to find those that support your professional goals and provide an educational environment where you can thrive.
Establish specific goals you want to achieve within a given program and a career direction for your post MBA years.
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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.