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How to improve believability of your post-MBA goals

When clients share their post-MBA goals, I first evaluate their resume, volunteering experience, motivation, and career progression. The combination of the evaluation factors almost always determines the feasibility of the goal.

The follow-up questions are primarily skewed towards understanding six factors:


1) Motivation for Post-MBA Goals


An MBA should not be the first attempt at upgrading your skills or experiencing cross-cultural learning opportunities. Most successful applicants demonstrate the initiative to gain additional experience by taking on projects that require them to come out of their comfort zone. Marketers and Finance professionals learning a new technology to complement their core skills is a typical but effective example. Technologists and consultants taking certification in Finance or Marketing courses to develop an in-depth understanding of Businesses and using the newly acquired knowledge in designing systems, software or campaigns are some of the other examples we have seen applicants leverage. Many, travel to client location, meet multiple stakeholders, develop the perspective on cultural and organizational challenges, integrate technology to overcome systemic inefficiency, and take the ‘extra’ effort to define the problem from multiple angles.  

When post-MBA goal is cited, with evidence of gaining cross-functional exposure and going the extra mile, the believability of the goals improves considerably. Anyone can cite ambitious or even outrageous post-MBA goals. It is not what you desire but what baby steps you have taken that would persuade the admission team that you have the work ethic and drive to achieve your goals.

2) Volunteering and Secondary Skill Development

Volunteering has become an integral part of admissions at the undergraduate and graduate level and for a good reason. Functional expertise and learning from books are essential but not the only criteria for achieving your post-MBA goals. Most of the skills for the future is heavily dependent on emotional intelligence. Without interacting with people from diverse cultures, hierarchy and motivation, understanding the ‘ground’ realities is an uphill task even with a complete understanding of management concepts. Since many of the MBA candidates would take on an advisory role, volunteering experience pre-MBA and during MBA is an essential part of recognizing the ‘human’ side of the problem.

Although top MBA programs are heavily concentrated in the US, the problems that affect the majority of the world population are not ‘first world’ in nature. Governments and non-profits are inefficient in tackling problems of such scale. The expertise of a professional, who has worked in a highly systemized and incentive-based environment could be effective in improving the efficiency of the non-profit’s operations. In addition to the altruistic nature of the engagement, social initiatives give MBA applicants, the exposure to adapt in a cross-cultural environment – a criterion quoted as the most vital part of excelling in an International Business.

3) Shadowing Projects and Sacrifice

Most applicants who seriously began contemplating an MBA had the ‘talk’ with the supervisor – the person up the hierarchy, on the ineffectiveness of persisting in the current role. Depending on the persuasion skills, the candidates take on roles that range from ‘shadowing’ a project to sacrificing seniority while joining as an ‘entry’ level professional in the new job function. Some realize that the Employer is not willing to take the big risk without the proof of an ‘MBA’. Others who work in the new job function finds out that there are skill gaps that no short courses can bridge.

Evidence of ‘Sacrifice’ is essential for career switchers to convey the message that they are willing to put in the hours for the internship opportunity and take full advantage of the curriculum’s customizability. A targeted list of electives mapping the post-MBA skills with the course curriculum is an exercise that applicants should perform to refine their goals.

4) Leadership = Bias Towards Action

Applicants with military background consistently outperform any other demographic in MBA application. The clearly defined command structure, respect of authority, focus on goals and mission, team above self, and integrity to remain unaltered by the politics of the organization, make military applicants a highly desired group. Finance and Consulting – two of the most common post-MBA functions require considerable sacrifice in personal time either in the form of travel or staying in the office till 2 am. Military personnel are used to such sacrifice on duty; while many attributes make them unique, the bias towards action is one ‘winning’ trait that gives them an edge over other candidates.

Post-MBA goals are often ambitious. Any plan to take on roles with considerable roadblocks require personalities that are not discouraged by setbacks. The experiences of persuading team members, motivating them after a setback, and demonstrable resilience are valued in MBA admissions.

5) Feasibility

What is the chance that a Marketing professional would successfully transition to investment banking?


Very low.

Historical data and trends should not discourage you from trying, but if a vast majority of applicants from your background have failed to transition into a role that you have defined as a post-MBA goal, it is time to pay closer attention to the statistics. Unfortunately, the mapping of pre-MBA to a post-MBA role is absent in the employment report. Networking with professionals from your background through LinkedIn, MBA Tours/Info Sessions and in your organization would expose you to the feasibility of the post-MBA goal.

A large percentage of MBA candidates change their goals after joining the program. It is essential to ask the Alumnus whether the role they choose is the one they mentioned in the essay.

Another quick way to measure the feasibility is to check the percentage of the previous class in the job function and industry. If both are in single-digit percentage, the chances to switch into the combination is low.

Example: For the latest Columbia MBA class, the percentage entering the Healthcare industry post-MBA is 2.8% and those who chose Marketing as a function is 8.1%. Marketing pharma products or medical devices as a post-MBA goal is not a feasible plan for a Columbia MBA graduate. Of course, there would be exceptions; mostly professionals who are going back to their employers. For career switchers, understanding the numbers is paramount for their application.

6) School Fit

The School’s fit is determined by the entry criteria, applicant’s work experience, culture and international factors (economy, competition – application volume and similar profile, immigration, and industry demand). Many applicants after numerous GMAT retake and falling short of the target school’s median score by over 30 points, begin to focus excessively on spinning the narrative. Although we recommend creating interesting narratives, understanding the lower limit of the entry criteria would help you reset the expectations.

For top 10 MBA programs, a GMAT 730+ score and GPA of 3.4 and above out of 4.0 is a winning combination. Unfortunately, a large percentage of applicants who have met the GMAT/GPA criteria are among the rejected applicants. Work experience becomes another critical piece of the puzzle. If the career progression is not clearly defined – associate to an analyst, associate to a project manager or similar jumps where you were among the top 20%, the admission team will seek reasons for your rejection. In start-ups where the organizational structure is flat, your contribution is mapped against the milestones the company has achieved.

International factors – the state of the economy, the application volume from international applicants and the subsequent competition from similar profiles, industry demand, and in some cases visa rules from a protectionist government can affect the admission team’s decision.

But the most important criterion in school fit is the culture. Some schools prefer all-rounders, some have a bent to accept entrepreneurial applicants with proven technological achievements while many don’t like Type A candidates.

Customizing your narrative according to the school’s culture is a strategy that would help the admission team look into your post-MBA goals seriously. Without the cultural and academic fit, your essays would barely receive the attention it deserves.


If you want us to evaluate your profile, help you define a believable post-MBA goal and customize it according to the school’s culture, subscribe to our Essay Review Service (Included – Free Resume Editing $499 + Winning MBA Essay Guide worth $99)



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Only 1 in 900 gains admission to Harvard MBA program. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the 899 rejected applicants.

ATTENTION is the secret ingredient. How will you get the attention of the essay reviewer?

You know why parables shared 1000 years ago are still shared among us?

Storytelling!

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F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay guide will teach you how to transform your essay to an epic life journey with trials and tribulations that will move the admission team.

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If you are stuck in the Writing process, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to silence the Analytic Mind and overcome mental blocks.

If you feel that the essays are not persuasive, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will teach you how to use the W-Pattern narrative, Contexts, Turning Points and "The Show Don't Tell Approach" to write a Winning MBA Essay.

If you don't have enough leadership experience, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to highlight non-obvious qualities like Trust, Focus, Listening Skills, Personal Responsibility, Humility, Self-Knowledge, and other secondary traits to prove your leadership.

If you don't know how to review your essays, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.

Pages: 756

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (318 Words)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood) (667 Words)

   Sample Harvard MBA Essay - Volunteering (Mental Health Awareness)  (776 Words)
+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

   Sample Goals Essay 1: Enterprise Technology to Consumer Marketing (496 Words)    
   Sample Goals Essay 2: Healthcare (Finance to Consulting) (499 Words)    
   Sample Goals Essay 3: FinTech (Product Manager to Strategy) (482 Words)    
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 1: Value from NYC (237 Words)    
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 2: Entrepreneur Mindset (Persistence/Creativity/Opportunity Seeking) (237 Words)    
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 3: Teamwork and Learning (242 Words)    
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #1 (Elon Musk) (250 Words)    
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #2 (Father) (244 Words)    
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #3 (Mother) (243 Words)    
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #4 (Math Teacher) (242 Words)    
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #5 (Co-Founder) (250 Words)    

+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)  (Consulting to Finance)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (482 Words) (VC to Consulting   
   (Healthcare))
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (497 Words) (Business Development to
   Finance (Non-Profit in Energy))

   Sample Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s value for the Wharton Community (388 Words)   
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Obesity Epidemic and Healthy Lifestyle at Wharton (399 Words)   

   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Energy Efficient Offices for Start-ups and value of Design Thinking in the Wharton Community (395
   Words)   

+ Stanford MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(400 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Career Switching (Finance to Green Energy Consulting) (389 Words)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Career Switching (Private Equity to Operations) (399 Words)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (740 Words)(Balance in Life)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (750 Words)(Vulnerability and Learning)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (748 Words)(Freedom and Commitment)

+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   

   Sample Goals Essay #1: Oil & Gas to Consulting (475 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #2: Social IMPACT to Marketing (Non-Profit) (472 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #3: Accounting to Entrepreneurship (Fashion)(495 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #4: Technology (Programming to Product Development) (493 Words)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #1 (492 Words)(Technologist - Father’s Restaurant Business and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #2 (639 Words) (Education - Teach for America and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #3 (496 Words)(Physician - Opioid Crisis and Healthcare Innovation)   

   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices in Life Essay #4 (500 Words) (FinTech and App Revolution - Disrupting the Food Supply Chain)
+ INSEAD MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)

   Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Marketing Lead) (499 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Consulting to Product Development) (492 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (398 Words) (Technology Consultant)
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (395 Words) (International Relations) (Negotiations)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (272 Words) (Hiking and Vlogging)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (298 Words) (Improv Acting)

+
Haas
MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
     Sample MBA Essay: Marketing   
     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
     Sample MBA Essay: Leadership   
     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
 

+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)      
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Business Development (Mobile Phone Start-Up)(485 Words)   

     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Consulting (447 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Technology (448 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Marketing (491 Words)
     Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Entrepreneurship (496 Words)
    Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: IMPACT Investing (495 Words)
    Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Oil & Gas to Clean Energy (Consulting) (464 Words)

+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band (96 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a hidden talent to do Impression (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through the prism of an Entrepreneurial failure (94 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Consulting for a Pharma Giant (Made a Difference) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Three-Level Sanitation Campaign (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Water Conservation Kit (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Losing client (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Misreading Market Conditions (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Strategic Planning vs. Tactical Dominance in Chess (97 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone(extra-curricular) (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone (Daily Science Show) (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Simplifying Operations for Manufacturing (extra-curricular) (90 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Leadership and Culture) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Technology Project and Last-minute change) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Making Business metrics relevant to a Creative team) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Timidity)(98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Laziness)(100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Pessimism) (96 Words)   
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Technology to Marketing)(299 Words)   

+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Consulting for Government (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Plan B (89 Words)   
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things   
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words) (Finance)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (494 Words) (Consulting)
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Networking and Job Offer at an Unlikely place)   
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Evolving Leadership Style (198 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (200 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words)
+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   
    Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)   

    Cover Letter Checklist   
    Sample Cover Letter – Technology to Consulting (284 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Healthcare Entrepreneurship (297 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Consulting to Technology (298 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Wealth Management to FinTech (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Manufacturing to Consulting (Retail) (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Strategy to Consulting (297 Words)   

+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)(NEW)  
   Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Marketing) (449 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Technology) (447 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Non-Profit) (441 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you? (Changing the Traditional Recruitment Formula)(443 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(Seniority-Based to Performance-based Culture)(444 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(From machine-centric to Human-centric customer support)(446 Words)
+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)   
    London as the Financial Hub   
    London as the Technology Hub   
    London as the Consulting Hub   
    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)   
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (489 Words)(Technology to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals (493 Words)(Hospitality to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (500 Words)(Government/Non-Profit to Technology)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (495 Words)(Medical Doctor to Investment Banking)

+ Sample Essays
+ The Art of Storytelling 
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths

+ How to write about your Weaknesses

Pages: 760
Sample Essays: 80+
Version: 2020 Entering Class


Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2020 Entering Class)




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