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How to Answer Columbia MBA Long-Term Goal Essay (2017-18)

 “What, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job?”

The long-term post-MBA goal is phrased interestingly. See how the admission team has used the word ‘imagination’. They would like to see what you have anticipated for your future.

What role and responsibilities would fulfill your career and personal goals, 10 years after graduation, when you are probably closing in on or crossed 40?

How to frame Columbia long-term Post-MBA Goals


1) Choose your bigger picture


The bigger picture need not be related to non-profit or Entrepreneurship, but if your pre-MBA experience have evidence of strong connection with startups or demonstrated participation in community engagements, don’t hesitate to mention them.

The most commonly cited long-term goal is in Entrepreneurship for a very good reason. More than half of the alumni from top MBA programs including Columbia are associated with Entrepreneurship in some form (investing or founding). It makes logical sense to mention Entrepreneurship as a long-term goal.

2) Cite potential IMPACT

Ten years is a long time frame for guessing if you would follow the same career path that you have anticipated. When I started F1GMAT in 2009, I was a Software Engineer eager to join an MBA program focused on Entrepreneurship.

I found great pleasure in offering consulting for a friend who was starting her apparel Business. Soon I realized that it was not just start-ups. I genuinely enjoyed offering consulting solution in any industry. The whole process of defining problems, understanding the strengths & weakness of the business/applicant, and developing a feasible/marketable solution works for applicants too.

F1GMAT and my consulting career was an accident. I would be the first to admit.

But when you are applying for Columbia Full-time MBA program, you don’t have the luxury to casually mention potential career paths. There should be some connection to what you are offering right now in skills and the future career path. Maybe it is an amalgamation of your pre-MBA and post-MBA skills, but you have to define it. The truth is that many of you would fall into careers that you have never anticipated, but essays are tools to measure your thought process.

Clarity is valued more than creativity.

Clarity defines ambition.


If you want to see how investment decisions are made, watch any start-up investor meet. The clarity with which Founders and CEOs mention the roadmap brings in millions in funding. The probability of the market not reacting or changing in the near future is zero. Still, investors appreciate a Founder with a clear plan. They want to know that the money is invested in someone with a ‘vision’. The admission team too need that assurance that they are investing their brand on someone who has the potential to change an industry or achieve goals in the top 1%.

GM defined a 20-year plan for developing electric cars, when Uber and Lyft disrupted the market, and forced them to reconsider the production volume. Competitors and market condition defines Businesses.

Your application is also not in isolation. Competitors with similar profile are phrasing the long-term goal. Some are going into the nitty gritty of the future while others are staying away from predicting the future, but choosing to spin the narrative on their strengths.

3) Predict the Future and map your long-term goal

What most of your competitors won’t do is define the change in industry, 5 years down the line. 10 years is too far away, but 5 years is a reasonable timeframe to predict. Once you define the likely change in job profile, it becomes easier to match your skills.

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Find out how to predict the future and map your long-term goal (Consulting & Finance) with F1GMAT's Columbia MBA Essay Guide

4) Start with your Strengths

Predicting the future is a risky Business, but I can guarantee that your essay will stand out. Most applicants use a bottom-up approach where they evaluate their strengths, by citing pre-MBA experience, hobbies, extra-curricular, and potential value from the MBA program to predict a long-term goal.

Pre-MBA Experience + Hobbies & Extracurricular + Value from MBA --> Long-term Goal

Value from MBA --> Short-term goal

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If you are not comfortable predicting the trends in your industry, start with your strengths. We have also shown how to map your strengths to Columbia MBA in our Essay Guide.

Columbia MBA Essay Guide

Columbia MBA Essay Guide 2017-18
F1GMAT's Columbia MBA Essay Guide will show you:

How to create the 51-character post-MBA professional goal using Facebook’s mission statement as a starting point

How to use the 5 Step Process to write about Post-MBA Career Goals


How to write about long-term career goals

How to Quote New York's Economy and match it with your post-MBA career path


How to write about Immersion Seminars and Master Class


How to use Internship and Full-time Jobs data for your Essay


How to write about your Hobbies in a personal way

Download F1GMAT's Columbia MBA Essay Guide 2017-18

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