Last week, we discussed observing limits with your resume. This week, we take a similar approach with your essays, namely your goals essay. Many schools ask you to discuss your career progress first in their classic goals essay. For example, Kellogg, asks you to…
Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing an MBA. (600 word limit)
Other schools don’t even ask you for any professional context, for example, Columbia requests…
What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (Recommended 750 word limit)
Many candidates will seize on these broad open ended questions to discuss their career histories in depth, offering far more than mere context for their goals. Such candidates worry that they will miss a crucial opportunity to present their professional accomplishments and will therefore write a complete career history. For a program like Kellogg, some candidates will mistakenly use four or five hundred of the six hundred available words for their career section. While this approach may seem “brief” to the applicant, you will be writing too much at the expense of other crucial aspects of your candidacy.
In such cases, your reasons for needing your MBA and your need to attend this particular school will remain undeveloped if your career progress “hogs” the essay. Your career progress is unquestionably important, but you still need to restrain yourself and balance the different sections of your essay. It is crucial that you develop your goals and your reasons for targeting a particular school, so that you connect with your target, rather than miss it entirely.
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