Connected at the Hip: MBA Goals and School Choice

Posted by TheMBATour on 29 June 2011 / 0 Comments

Typically, when you are knee-deep in the MBA application process, all you can think about is submitting those applications on time, or getting a good score on your GMAT. And when you are not thinking about deadlines and percentiles, you are trying to decide what city you want to live in or how to schedule that interview.

The problem with this picture: You’re missing a critical step. You’re focusing on means before you determine the end goal. The end isn’t getting into b-school; it’s what you want to do after b-school.

Admissions committee members often say that students focus so much on where they have been—whom they worked for, where they went to school, what kind of community service they did—they forget to explain where they are going.

You should first define an “MBA goal” that will help you select the right target school given that goal and their qualifications.

Now you might ask, “What kind of goal are we talking about here?” Your goal should include the industry you want to work in and the function you want to perform. Your goal should not blindly reflect relatives’ or societal expectations or even the belief that profession X will make you the most money, unless making money is your primary value. It should flow from previous experiences you’ve enjoyed.

Does this mean that you cannot choose a field that you have little or no experience in? Of course not—more than half of MBA students are changing careers. Yet they must make sure their new choice connects to their previous skills and experiences, and they must be prepared to show schools and future employers transferable skills and knowledge.

Clarifying your goal and determining how to communicate it takes time and introspection. Neither one happens overnight. For help with both, turn to’s webinar on The Art of a Gripping MBA Goals Essay.

Once you have defined your “ends,” now turn to the means. In that regard Linda Abraham, founder of, advises, “Once you have your goals, evaluate which schools are best equipped to help you achieve them. The MBA Tour events are one way to perform that research. You can learn about different programs and meet with school representatives.”

Before you begin applying, make sure that getting an MBA is not simply a goal in itself, but rather a means towards a specific end and that the schools receiving your applications are the best ones for you. helps MBA and EMBA applicants present themselves at their best. Visit to find experienced MBA admissions advising; expert editing services; informative ebooks, free articles and tips; email courses; b-school zones; sample application essays; online chats with MBA admissions directors and the MBA Interview Feedback Database.

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