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What Makes Career Goals Risky vs Realistic?

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The MBA goals essay is an art form, somewhere between fantasy and business plan. You want to be ambitious, but believably so, never crossing the thin line that divides "ambitious" and "delusional." Many applicants at this point make the mistake of assuming that their goal will be closely examined by industry experts, and weighed based on how plausible it is. Not so.

The adcom is not actually interested in what you're going to be doing after graduation--they just need you to be doing something. You need to be seen as eminently employable within an industry that recruits at the school or through some other sure-bet avenue (e.g. family business). The key stats here from the admissions department's perspective are job placement rate (the percentage of graduates employed after X months) and alumni bankability (how much money you might donate after you graduate). You need to make the case that you're the applicant who will DEFINITELY be bringing in a huge salary after graduation (perhaps even enough to put your name on a building at some point in the future).

How to do that? Well, first recognize that unless you're in a core sub-field of finance or consulting, you almost certainly know WAY more about your industry than the adcom members. These folks are receiving applications from people in every conceivable industry, and many of them have been working in admissions for most of their life--they don't have nearly as much experience as you do. So you'll have to explain in simple terms how your goal connects to your past experience, and why they should be excited about it.

This is where the magic happens. "I want to work for the Asian Development Bank, supporting dam construction in Central Asia" sounds fine, but it's not enough to convince the adcom that you are a "low risk" proposition. But include some stats on the rapidly growing demand for power in the region, describe how your experience leading XYZ project in Kazakhstan has given you a unique insight on regional construction financing, and mention that you already have a deep network with the bank from your time at ABC Corp, and now we're getting somewhere...
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