Yesterday I spent the day at a leading strategy consulting firm giving a seminar on MBA admissions on behalf of MBA Admissions Advantage. My presentation was well-received, and I had a good time -- energizing and exhausting at the same time.
Thinking back on the day, I realized that in each of the four presentations I delivered, whether talking about applicant qualifications, choosing schools, the admissions perspective, or planning for the future, I ended up talking about the importance of goals. And in the afternoon when meeting individually with the consultants/future applicants, I was struck by the fact that none of them had clear goals for their MBA -- not even the ones who were definitely committed to applying this fall and were working hard on GMAT prep.
Clear, well-defined goals are as much a requirement of MBA admissions as GMAT, GPA, and work experience.
To define your goals:
- Look inward: What do you enjoy and where do you excel?
- Examine what you have done off the job and see if there are lessons in your non-professional life for your professional life.
- Clarify and mine interests and past experiences.
Then look outward:
- Examine professional paths that will take advantage of your strengths and give you more of what you find satisfying.
- Research the schools to find those that support your professional goals and provide an educational environment where you can thrive.
Establish specific goals you want to achieve within a given program and a career plan for your post MBA years.
Clearly I went into much greater depth during the hours that I spent presenting yesterday, but these few tips are critical. Most importantly realize this fundamental:
Goals are not an afterthought in MBA admissions. They are front and center in the minds of admissions readers. Put them front and center in your mind as you prepare to apply.