MBA Application Goals Essay – Ego Massage for Business Schools?

MBA Goals QuestionA recent study When Intentions Go Public - Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap? by Peter M. Gollwitzer,Paschal Sheeran,Verena Michalski,and Andrea E. Seifert shows that revealing your goals in public might hamper your chances to achieve them, especially if it is personal and professional development goals.

Business Schools over the years have made it mandatory to answer some form of goals essay. Business Schools would prefer to include students who have a clear goal rather than some creative hippie who might derail from the preordained career path. However, the reality is a little different.

Post-MBA Goal - Switching Industries

If you have read our earlier analysis of 2012 Alumni Perspectives GMAC report, you would have realized why Switching industries as a post-MBA goal does not work out for most MBAs, either due to competitiveness of the market, economy, lower attrition rate and plain old theory of supply and demand.

New Passion during MBA

No matter how extensive the research have been for applicants before writing an MBA Application, the real experiences, peer influences and professor’s guidance might change career paths for students during the course.

We had the good fortune to discuss with several MBA Applicants about their post-MBA goals. After initial talks about increase in salary and the standard consulting and finance path, applicants often open up to us about the real reason.


Most applicants have either reached the peak with the current career path or find the current job function and industry, extremely monotonous. They want to know what MBA can offer, and let the environment influence them in taking their career forward. It’s a conscious choice.

Several well-intended and ambitious candidates we talked to have received admission to top Business Schools with a strong story, not knowing what to expect. They had a good cover but the real post-MBA goals are unknown to them.

In a know it all MBA world, a certain level of ambiguity about the career path will not hurt the candidates. Exposure to core courses might ignite their passion for a specialization that might be totally unexpected. Let it be!


It would be a better choice if AdCom create essays that evaluate the applicant’s leadership skills, emotional intelligence and communication skills more than their short-term goals.

Goals essays are in a way of asking, “Sell our MBA program” - an ego massage for the Business School.

Anyone who have researched about the MBA program with the help of good essay reviewers can write a Goals essay but does it serve the purpose?


When Intentions Go Public - Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?

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