"Exactly What Are Goals?” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Why MBA? To download the entire free special report, click here.
“I want to move from the buy side to the sell side.”
“I want to shift from technology consulting to investment banking.”
An engineer once really said to me, “I want to go into either finance or consulting.” Not goals.
A goal isn’t something you want, it’s something you do, something you want to achieve, an impact you want to have, and the process of getting there. Therefore, it needs to be specific. Start with two key components:
A third key component for many people is geography, if it is integral to the goal (e.g., developing solar energy in northern Africa).
Then add the “do” part – what the work will actually consist of, and what you hope to accomplish.
Here are some examples that incorporate the above elements:
• I plan to return to operations but work at a higher, decision making level, such as Senior Operations Manager in an East Asian semiconductor firm or a related industry. In this role I would, for example, oversee $XXX operations, a global high-tech supply chain, and manage a diverse range of technical and business professionals.
• Currently I’m a BPR consultant; I plan to shift to strategy consulting at a top global firm such as Bain or McKinsey, ideally focusing on clients in the pharma/biomedical space, and help them setup operations in Eastern Europe.
To wrap up this section, I’ll add a couple of cautions about this phase of the process, developing core goals:
1. Your short-term goals are naturally a stepping stone, and hence people often focus solely on what they will learn, understand; experience they will gain; people they will meet. Short-term goals should also include the elements noted above – what you want to do and accomplish, contribute.
2. Ensure that your goals really require the MBA education. Of course any learning is helpful for almost any endeavor; but the adcoms want to see that you really need the resources they offer, which they view as precious and not to be squandered. (And they’re right!)
By Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with Accepted.com.
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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.