The key to a successful MBA goals essay – or really a successful MBA application in general – is understanding how an MBA will help you achieve your dreams. You need to ask yourself: What do you want to do post-MBA? Where do you want to do it? And what is the best way for me to get from point A to point B? If you can answer these questions in a compelling, convincing manner, then you can consider yourself one step closer to acceptance at your top choice school. On the other hand, failure to define your goals will show that you don't really understand why you are pursuing an MBA; you probably won't contribute much to a top b-school class (or at least, that's what the adcom readers will say) and so you won't stand a chance at acceptance.
Often applicants assume that their MBA goal can be general, that it can point in a vague direction, like, "I want to pursue a career in consulting or investment banking" or "I want a leadership role with vast responsibilities that will enable me to grow." The adcoms will see right through a statement like that. They'll immediately peg you as a person who is drifting, not someone who has truly thought about why he or she needs an MBA.
To determine your post-MBA goal, you need to think about your desired function, industry, and location, or FIL. The admissions readers want to know that you've done your homework. That you've thought long and hard about what you see yourself doing immediately following b-school as well as further down the road (in terms of function and industry), as well as where you plan on doing it. While the where aspect is not always essential, it is important if you are seeking an international position or a specific position in a location-specific industry (like on Wall Street or in Washington, D.C., for example). And the adcom understands greater fuzziness about long-term direction.
Discussing your FIL in your MBA goals essay will add depth to the overall picture of who you are as an MBA candidate and as an individual. Plus, the thorough introspection will offer you greater insight into choosing the programs that will be most appropriate in helping you achieve those milestones.
For more tips on creating the best MBA goals essay, please see Accepted's MBA Goals A-Z!
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com, the premier admissions consultancy and essay editing company that has helped applicants around the world gain admissions to over 450+ top schools since 1994. Linda is also the author of the newly-released book MBA Admission for Smarties.