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MBA Puzzle

Short-Term Long-Term MBA Career Goals

As a Top MBA Admissions consultant, I have worked with a lot of applicants in the past 11 years. While I have learned a lot from the Indian Applicants keen on applying to Top Global programs, the horrifying reality is that most of the MBA consulting applicants do not know why do they need an MBA. Even though their current reality has a STATE of Chaos, they are not ready to think through the path they want to take in the future and want to jump just by blindly following Top MBA Rankings.

One thing I really want from the Top MBA Applicant community from India- You have to understand that an MBA is not the end but a means to an end. If you do not know what you want from a business school, there is no reason to spend 1 to 1.5 Crores on a Global Top MBA program. If you do not know “How will an MBA help you achieve your goals?” and yet are pursuing this very aggressively, you need to really introspect what is driving you. You will spend months on writing perfect MBA applications, will rigorously hunt the BEST MBA CONSULTANTS IN INDIA or even the world, spend a lot of money in MBA Consulting Fees, convince your bosses to help you with recommendation letters that will prove that you possess qualities of both Superman and Batman. However, if you are not certain of the NEED for an MBA, the hunger and greed to research and network will not come from within. Top MBA Applicants from India do not need training from me on “How to buy a car?” as they will know how to research, what questions to ask, and how to make the final buying decision for a car worth 10 to 15 lakhs (USD 15,000 to 25,000). However, we in India go blank while shopping for business schools. The US News MBA rankings or Business Week MBA rankings are just a representation of various parameters that are better in some schools than the other but are not an absolute measure to assess the ability of a school to make a real difference in your career.

If you fail to crack a TOP MBA program because of the short-term long-term career goals essay, it isn’t because you are not worth it


It is primarily because you are not keen on looking deeper, and are too occupied with the current chaos of life.

Before you Google How to get into Harvard Business School, you should ask yourself- where is it that I am headed in life, and if I have that future starting for me tomorrow morning without the Harvard MBA, why will I fail to be successful in that future if I did not have a Harvard MBA. Your goals essays do not have to recreate the MBA placement statistics for the business schools, or you do not have to tell Harvard Business School’s admissions committee members that the school will help you in networking, and relocation or campus placements. These factors are taken for granted.

Let us use an Interesting analogy. Think about it this way- If you want to marry the girl of your dreams, and the father of the future bride asks “Why do you want to marry my Daughter?” – You won’t normally tell him that it is because you are keen on becoming a father and that it is expected from Homo Sapiens that they will engage into a marital relationship with the opposite gender, and commit to one person for the rest of their lives.

When you work on the MBA Applications, almost all of the Top Global MBA Programs will ask you to share “How will an MBA Program help you achieve your Short term or Long-term goals?” A lot of you have similar confusions on how to construct your short term and long-term goals and you end up picking random industries and functions. This essay on career goals and aspirations has been by far the most challenging MBA essay for the majority of the MBA Admissions consulting applicants.

stairs question mark goal decision

Why do you need Short-term long-term MBA Career goals clarity? Seriously? Why do you think it is needed?

Let us take an example of a Goals question statement posted by Tuck MBA Program (Dartmouth College). For the beginners, Tuck is one of the Ivy League MBA Programs not in the M7 bracket of the US Top 10 MBA Programs. The other two Ivy League Programs not in M7 Super Elite List are Yale MBA Program and Cornell’s Johnson School of Management.

Coming back to Tuck’s Short-Term Long-Term MBA Goals essays. Look at the following essay topics that Tuck had as a part of the MBA Applications process

Share your short-term goals. (50 words)
Share your long-term goals. (50 words)
How did you arrive at these goals? (75 words)
How will Tuck help you achieve these goals? (75 words)

If you look at the overall construction of the essay topics above, you will realize that question number 2, 3 and 4 are an offshoot of question 1. If you do not understand your Short-Term MBA goals, there is no way you will be able to address “How did you arrive at these goals?” or will have no idea “How will Tuck help you achieve these goals?” The main idea is to really tell the business schools that you are really committed to transforming your existing career, your capabilities, and that you have been confronting a lot of handicaps at work that has inspired you to go out, and shop for MBA Programs. Your seriousness will also play an important role when you start shortlisting the MBA Programs as a part of the MBA Applications process.

Some of you are planning to change industries or functions and many of you want to change both post MBA. It is not about throwing random job functions at a business school. It will be hard for an admissions committee member to buy your story, and help you turnaround your career if you are not able to showcase “How did you arrive at these goals?”

If I were you, this is what I would do:

I will construct an equation of employability

Past + MBA = Short Term + Long Term Career Goals

Your PAST:

Existing Repository of the skill sets in a narrative: In your past experiences, give them an understanding of your current repository of the skill sets, and the learning curve. Working in the supply chain in the manufacturing industry, you may have gained some amazing skill sets that your future employer would value.

An AHA Moment: What have been your AHA moments that prompted you towards your short-term ambitions. An AHA moment is not the same as witnessing a falling apple. But an AHA moment is continuous exposure to a state of gap.

Current HANDICAP: What is your current HANDICAP? Whatever you create as your short-term goal, why can you not do it from the coming Monday? If you were exploring answers to “How to crack Harvard Business school?”, did you even consider what is it that you are missing and how will an MBA help you get that? What is Handicap? What are some of the skill sets that are keeping you from starting in the new positions?

SKILLS FROM AN MBA PROGRAM + THE CURRENT HANDICAP: If you combine these two, you will eventually be able to create a set of skills that you plan to gain from an MBA program.

If your skill set was a puzzle with a missing piece, would MBA be that missing piece? Would it fit?

puzzle pieces missing skill

If you are from the manufacturing industry and have worked in the Supply chain, I will not recommend using marketing as your long-term goal. IF you have not spent a single day in a marketing related function or have not taken any actions to further support your claims that you want to be a marketer, it is very difficult for the MBA Admissions committee at your target TOP MBA Program to be convinced that you will be able to use the resources at their program to cause this significant career change. If you have never experienced working in a marketing function, you may not want to do that in 7 years from now. You may like something else or you might even pursue management consulting as a full-time career post MBA. One never knows as you have not been exposed to many industries and functions yet. So, it is advisable to construct a story that further ties with your short-term career goals.

You might want to pick a couple of your target employers, and download the 10K reports, and identify some of the top leaders in that firm. Map out their career progression of 15 years, and see how they have progressed. You want to construct a story that is in terms with the reality of the job markets.

Please keep these in mind while constructing your stories throughout the MBA Applications process.

I hope this helps.


Jatin Bhandari

PythaGURUS MBA Consulting

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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