Creating and conveying a career vision is an elemental part of your MBA application. It’s about portraying a clear picture of where you’ve been, where you are headed, and why an MBA is essential for getting you there. B-schools are looking for students who are poised to get the most value from their MBA experience by going on to great things in the future.
First, big plans suggest great things to come. Your ability to express a logical and motivating career vision signals your commitment to the journey, even if the destination changes en route. And admissions officers are aware your plans may evolve. After all, getting an MBA should be a life-changing experience; it will inevitably present new opportunities and possibilities.
Tip 4: Research your programs. B-schools may seem alike at a glance, but each one has a distinct culture and personality, not to mention a particular management development methodology. Research programs online, follow their student and Adcom blogs, talk to alumni and current students, and try to visit the campus if possible. A visit to your schools offers a direct experience of identity and cultural fit, as well as a sense of the community vibe. Sit in on a class to glean insight into the classroom setting, a feel for the pedagogical approach, the caliber of the professors, and a sampling of all the learning opportunities on offer. First hand experience can’t be underestimated; nothing else offers a stronger sense of what the program is about or what you can get out of the MBA academically, personally and professionally. As you compare schools, ask yourself: Can I see myself here? How can each school move me towards my future goals?
Tip 2: Forecast your future. What type of jobs do you wish to undertake post-MBA? Take time to explore and do your research. For example, in which sectors do you want to work? In which functional areas, and with what kinds of companies? Can you pinpoint your dream companies? Get as specific as you can by creating a list of your top 10. Imagine yourself in the future in one of these companies. Why are you motivated about working for L’Oreal? What is it about its brand, products, company culture and career opportunities that feels compelling to you? You may discover that some companies value an MBA more than others, and that companies in certain sectors (e.g. hospitality, travel, consumer goods) put a premium on more practical experience and ascending the company hierarchy. This part of the research process allows you to affirm that having an MBA will really to add value to your career goals.
For women who are pursuing their Master of Business Administration (MBA), this can be a very exciting time in their lives. They are setting themselves up for successful careers which will enable them to be independent and prosperous throughout their lives and into retirement.
Tip 9: Defend it with conviction. The scope of the career vision you can offer in writing will vary depending on the program—with some schools it can be very brief indeed. Yet all schools will ask about your career plans at the interview stage, which means being prepared to present and defend it. Interviewers will quickly sense whether your plans for the future are carefully considered, or whether they seems to have been cooked up for the purposes of the admissions process. It’s pointless to have a brilliant career plan on paper if you can’t bring it to life with conviction and confidence in a conversation about your future. Be ready to share your thought process for getting here, and how embarking on an MBA is essential to opening the door to the skills and opportunities that will help you achieve personal fulfillment and professional success.
Tip 5: Articulate a logical, inspiring vision. You must demonstrate there’s a logical flow to your plan—that an MBA will allow you to take an important step towards the future you want. Offer a path that makes sense to admissions committee members, given your professional and academic credentials, showing the transferable skills that you will bring to the next steps in your career development. Given what you will learn in business school, how can you best achieve your goals entering the job market and advancing in your field? You need to show, either as a career switcher or a career enhancer, that your strategy is viable. And also that now is the right time. Consider scaffolding your internship plans. If you’re a career changer, this could be an great opportunity to get a head start on building your network and gaining a deeper understanding about a new functional area or sector.
Remember, schools don’t measure you against one specific profile or ideal candidate. Adcom wants to get to know you, and committee members will be better equipped to champion your application in their discussions if you give them depth and substance to work with. Imagine someone advocating for you in a decision meeting; how they’ll talk about you depends on what you choose to share and how confidently you share it. That means doing the groundwork in your MBA application and allowing your potential, and your true self, to shine through your career vision.
The American Association of University Women offers scholarships to women who are working toward their MBA. Their goal is to empower women to be independent and obtain leadership in the business world. The funds awarded by the AAUW may be used for tuition fees and books as well as student transportation and child care. The winners of the scholarships are determined by quality of the application, the student’s academic background, and financial needs. To apply for your scholarship, go to .
For women who are pursuing an MBA in the field of business management or finance and reside in either Virginia or Iowa, AICP offers one of two scholarships. Those residing in the state of Iowa can receive a $500 scholarship, and those residing in Virginia can receive a $1,000 scholarship. The applicants must have at least a 2.75 GPA, and they will be required to submit an essay about their goals in pursuing a career in the field of actuarial business. For more information about these scholarships, go to .
I encourage you to use a process of elimination. Start by making a complete list of all the things that can help you achieve your short and long-term goals. Many MBA programs offer the same things (classes, internships, connections, consulting projects, etc.), so only by being specific in your goals can you connect with what the school offers.
For MBA essays tips on another type of MBA essay, see our previous blog . As the next step of this series, we’ll address essay questions related to self-reflection and how to handle open-ended questions.