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Best way to start your essay

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Director
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05 Nov 2009, 16:22
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Hi All,

I was reading Paul B 's book this week and found out that one of the DoN'ts in his book is that:

Don't start your goal essay with "My short term goal is ...." Be creative.

Obviously the essays in his books are god written but as a Joe ... whats a good start?

Can you start your essay with "My short term goal is ...." or is this something that we should avoid _No Matter What_?

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Re: Best way to start you essay [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2009, 16:45
rao_1857 wrote:
Hi All,

I was reading Paul B 's book this week and found out that one of the DoN'ts in his book is that:

Don't start your goal essay with "My short term goal is ...." Be creative.

Obviously the essays in his books are god written but as a Joe ... whats a good start?

Can you start your essay with "My short term goal is ...." or is this something that we should avoid _No Matter What_?

I would not start my essay with "My short term goal is..." I think even if you were to state it, you can probably state it in a different form such as, "I believe that an MBA from XXX would lead to an opportunity in YYY field, working on ZZZ position." still sounds better than "My short term goal is"

But then again, I am an engineer what do I know about things that aren't numbers or greek letters.
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05 Nov 2009, 16:55
I started my goals essays with that phrase...

I don't see what's wrong with it. One of the books I'm reading on apps says this is completely fine and even encouraged for easier reading. For one of my essays I even put title sections (i.e. Short-Term Goals, Long-Term Goals, etc.). Why beat around the bush with some flowery crap? In my opinion the goals essay should be the most professional and I was very direct and matter-of-fact in those essays. They need to know what you are going to do after MBA so they can assess your grasp of realistic goals. The school needs to pad its stats and employment reports. At least that's how I view it.

I showcased my storytelling and more casual side in the other essays.

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05 Nov 2009, 17:05
How I structured mine is talking about my professional interests, why they were my interests, and then how those interests related to my long-term goals. Then I talked about my short term goals and how they were going to help me obtain my long term goals.

I have found it's easier, and makes for a better essay (for me at least) if you give the big picture and then talk about the journey to get there.

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Director
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05 Nov 2009, 17:45
topher wrote:
I started my goals essays with that phrase...

I don't see what's wrong with it. One of the books I'm reading on apps says this is completely fine and even encouraged for easier reading. For one of my essays I even put title sections (i.e. Short-Term Goals, Long-Term Goals, etc.). Why beat around the bush with some flowery crap? In my opinion the goals essay should be the most professional and I was very direct and matter-of-fact in those essays. They need to know what you are going to do after MBA so they can assess your grasp of realistic goals. The school needs to pad its stats and employment reports. At least that's how I view it.

I showcased my storytelling and more casual side in the other essays.

This is exactly what I think... the adcom will be reading 100s of essays. I dont want to keep her wondering what my goals are. i would like to answer the question right away and then talk about it and explain the cause.

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05 Nov 2009, 17:52
it depends on your writing style. i started my essays off by giving some professional background, tied my professional need for an MBA with my personal reasons for pursuing this degree, which tied into what my short term goal is, how my short term goal leverages past experiences (previous WE and MBA learnings) and how this would launch me into my long term goal.

it's still an "X led to Y which will lead to Z" type essay, but it doesn't start as abrupt as just saying - here's goal one, here's goal two, this is how the MBA fits in between (not that this format is any less effective).
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Director
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05 Nov 2009, 22:40
In my case my career goal is related to IT consultancy. I started my essay by saying how I fell in love with computers as a teenager, detailed my education which is mostly in computers and jobs which was all progressing towards my career goal.

Whatever it may be, but make sure to explain what you have already been doing to achieve your short-term goal. This may include specifying some certifications, job changes, education etc.
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05 Nov 2009, 23:38
bigoyal wrote:
In my case my career goal is related to IT consultancy. I started my essay by saying how I fell in love with computers as a teenager, detailed my education which is mostly in computers and jobs which was all progressing towards my career goal.

Whatever it may be, but make sure to explain what you have already been doing to achieve your short-term goal. This may include specifying some certifications, job changes, education etc.

my essays took this form somewhat as well. make your essays very personal. this is the first chance that the adcom will get to see your true personality. if you make it very mundane, then the adcom will in turn assume that you are equally as mundane, and may opt to reject you without an interview. i definitely agree with the other posters - don't start out "this is my short term goal"... that may warrant your essay being scrapped. don't go overboard either, however, with the intention of standing out. for example, making your whole essay into sounding like a stephen king novel is probably not the best approach either.

edit - also, the best way to start your essay would be not with a typo like the one in the title of this thread
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Re: Best way to start you essay [#permalink]

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06 Nov 2009, 01:42
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rao_1857 wrote:
topher wrote:
I started my goals essays with that phrase...

I don't see what's wrong with it. One of the books I'm reading on apps says this is completely fine and even encouraged for easier reading. For one of my essays I even put title sections (i.e. Short-Term Goals, Long-Term Goals, etc.). Why beat around the bush with some flowery crap? In my opinion the goals essay should be the most professional and I was very direct and matter-of-fact in those essays. They need to know what you are going to do after MBA so they can assess your grasp of realistic goals. The school needs to pad its stats and employment reports. At least that's how I view it.

I showcased my storytelling and more casual side in the other essays.

This is exactly what I think... the adcom will be reading 100s of essays. I dont want to keep her wondering what my goals are. i would like to answer the question right away and then talk about it and explain the cause.

To each his own.

I don't fancy starting with "my short term goal is zzz"; for me, it should be intriguing, and should be surrounded by some mystery. If that's not done, the reader tends to lose interest - you start expecting what's next - which should not be the case.

Besides, I know many of them will be crisp and up to the point in their essays, but then "what separates you from the others"? I'd tie my essays with my professional experiences in conjunction with my personal life.

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Re: Best way to start you essay [#permalink]

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06 Nov 2009, 06:14
Certainly to each his own but I find it a bit robotic to start an essay with "My short term goal is..."

Even one or two sentences before can give it a little persoonality. I think someone gave an example of computers earlier but something to the effect of, "I can always remember the faces of my guests the first time I served them dinner. It made me very happy. The joy I saw made me want to own a chain of Chili's."

Yes, that is awful but it gives a little bit more life than, "My short term goal is to own a chain of Chili's."

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Senior Manager
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06 Nov 2009, 10:11
Well let me add some more to my strategy. I didn't start it off with "my short term goal is..." for my primary goals essay. I started off telling my background and what I've accomplished so far and ended my first paragraph with how I haven't been able to achieve my goals/dreams. Then in the second paragraph, I went on to describe my short-term goals possibly using the phrase "my short-term goals are" or something to that effect.

However, for another school, the mere phrasing of the question was VERY direct and simple. Describe in 250 words your short-term goals. Can I really start that off with a story? No. I started that one off with "My short-term goals upon immediately graduating from XYZ MBA program entail..."

I guess it depends on the school and the question. Some goals essays require multiple pages (1000+ words), in which case I would definitely use the strategy of describing your past experiences first. But even in these instances I made sure to show why an MBA from that particular school fit in with my past experiences and goals.

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06 Nov 2009, 11:16
thanks guys ... excellent input!!!

After taking into consideration all the invaulable inputs this is what my outline looks like:

para 1: <personal start>
para 2: <education>
para3: <prof and non prof experience>
para5: <goal>
para6: <how exp fit into goal>
para7: <why MBA>

Putting my goal somewhere on the middle of essay and using it to glue my history with 'why mba' and 'why school xyz'. I think i should be able to use this templet - the work limit is ~1000.

I hope my goals wont get embeded in the essay and the reader wont get mad thinking that this idiot is not answering the question as to what the goals are.

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06 Nov 2009, 12:39
Generally speaking, I think you've decided on the right outline. I got into several of the top schools, and essentially used your outline with some minor differences, but to each their own. Generally speaking, I feel that it's critical to tie your previous experiences into why an MBA. Previous experiences can also begin to suggest why your long term, or even short term, goals are import. Illustration of these details makes for a more compelling, believable essay. Blatantly starting with "my short term career goals are" provides no insight for why you're interested in these goals and makes connecting them to the school you're applying to much more difficult. I don't think that there's anything wrong with being blunt about your goals...in a few of my essays I led off with the above material (like in your outline) and when I got to the short/long term goals, I explicitly stated them. My only point, your outline worked very well for me...meaning it's not a broken design.

Good luck!

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07 Nov 2009, 03:24
The outline you mentioned looks pretty good to me. I had used to similar outline, but in my case word limit was 300 words, so I just had 4 paragraphs.
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07 Nov 2009, 06:43
I have a question I don't know how detailed or how general my answer should be on one of the 4 essay questions I need to answer for my application.

The question is as follows: What are your future career plans?

Now, I don't know exactly how far "into the future" I should discuss, or my specific job title, so on and so forth... any ideas or help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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08 Nov 2009, 08:38
fluidian wrote:
Generally speaking, I think you've decided on the right outline. I got into several of the top schools, and essentially used your outline with some minor differences, but to each their own. Generally speaking, I feel that it's critical to tie your previous experiences into why an MBA. Previous experiences can also begin to suggest why your long term, or even short term, goals are import. Illustration of these details makes for a more compelling, believable essay. Blatantly starting with "my short term career goals are" provides no insight for why you're interested in these goals and makes connecting them to the school you're applying to much more difficult. I don't think that there's anything wrong with being blunt about your goals...in a few of my essays I led off with the above material (like in your outline) and when I got to the short/long term goals, I explicitly stated them. My only point, your outline worked very well for me...meaning it's not a broken design.

Good luck!

Thanks Fluidian. I hope this outline works this time as well

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08 Nov 2009, 08:39
Thanks Guys!!!

thnaks for sharing your invaluable inputs!!!

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Re: Best way to start you essay [#permalink]

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08 Nov 2009, 22:43
I have a question I don't know how detailed or how general my answer should be on one of the 4 essay questions I need to answer for my application.

The question is as follows: What are your future career plans?

Now, I don't know exactly how far "into the future" I should discuss, or my specific job title, so on and so forth... any ideas or help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

I think one should mention these:
1. Immediate goals after the b-school. Make sure that you are very very specific. Specify the industry, role, and give some example companies as well. For example, if you say consultancy, then be specific what kind of consultancy you want to do, which industries etc.
2. Long-term goal. Its little tricky to say long-term is how many years. I feel it should be where you see yourself after around 15 yrs from now.
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09 Nov 2009, 09:12
Thanks bigoyal, that does help. The area I'm looking to get into is Sport Management, so there are several areas to talk about where I'd like to be or do.

About the long-term goals, would I talk about where I'd like to be no matter how "upper level" I could be in said company or industry?

For instance, Director of Marketing and Promotions for XXXX Team or College. And then elaborate?

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09 Nov 2009, 22:31
Thanks bigoyal, that does help. The area I'm looking to get into is Sport Management, so there are several areas to talk about where I'd like to be or do.

About the long-term goals, would I talk about where I'd like to be no matter how "upper level" I could be in said company or industry?

For instance, Director of Marketing and Promotions for XXXX Team or College. And then elaborate?

I think so, actually I've done the same thing in my essays. But I'll put a disclaimer that I'm a current applicant and still waiting for the results.
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