I want to share a quick formula to guide you in answering almost any essay question. It’s an approach commonly used in interviews, so you might have heard of it already. It’s called STAR – Situation – Task – Action – Result.
Today, I’m going to apply this technique to a goals question, which you will definitely encounter somewhere in your application. Let’s break it down.
First, Situation. What are you doing now and what gives rise to your interest in business school? Do you want to manage a staff? Enhance your credibility? Switch careers entirely? Maybe you just want to obtain the skills needed to start a business or enhance your credibility from the viewpoint of a VC firm or angel fund.
Next, Task. What do you need to get done? In order to manage a staff, you might need more leadership skills and a deeper understanding of change management, motivation, negotiation. To switch careers, you might need general business skills that enhance the value you’ll bring to the new employer taking a chance on you. A lot of entrepreneurs feel they’ve maximized their current skills and want to shorten the learning curve before taking their business to the next level.
Then, Action. How is business school the answer for you? More specifically, how is THIS business school the answer? Meaning, how will this school be the ideal forum for you to achieve your goals aka carry out your tasks? Think of the answer to this as an inverted pyramid, because you want to start with where you’ll be several years out now with your MBA and all this experience. Then you dial it back through the 5-year to the 3-year and finally back to how business school kicked it all off.
The reason for this approach is to get the listener on board with your vision (long-term goal) and your practical plan to get there (short-term goal) so they can appreciate the rationale you’ve given for their school. If you jump right in with info about school strengths and offerings, it just sounds like you’re regurgitating the website. (Which, of course, you’ve researched well and good.)
Last, but not least, Result. How will an MBA catapult you on to a new career trajectory? How will you be adding more value at your current company, or where you want to work after graduating? Is there some unmet need that you will fulfill? If there is some socially beneficial aspect to the work you plan to do, mention that.
There you have it. Situation, Task, Action, Result. This is a great formula for almost every essay question, because it gives the reader all the information they need to visualize your story unfold. And when adcom is able to do that, the impact of your application, and its success, is greatly enhanced.
How Do I Write an MBA Goals Essay?
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