In every B-School application, there is one common question about your career goals.
On Day 1, we did find out the many reasons why you might want to do an MBA. Both for you and the B-School, the most tangible of these reasons would be what you intend to do after your MBA. The success of a B-School program is also measured by how many candidates they had placed within 3 months of graduation. While there is definitely more to an MBA than just the recruitment aspect, it is no doubt that a lot of importance is given to the employment statistics.
Short-term career goals:
What do you hope to do immediately after the MBA?
For answering these, you need to be as specific as possible.
Think of a specific role in a domain (sector/industry) and in a particular location. Like a VP of Marketing in Company ABC in the healthcare space in the US. Or Senior Product Manager at FinTech Firm XYZ in Berlin.
And the B-School will strive to help you in getting this dream job. Hence it is no surprise that a Career Services person might offer advice and inputs on your application and have a say in you getting an admit.
Often, many do an MBA for the triple switch- function/role, sector and geography.
Long-term career goals:
Where do you want to be 5-10 years down the line? What is the big legacy you will leave behind? How would you have made your alma mater proud? Would you be the next world leader or the CEO of the biggest tech firm?
Big questions. B-Schools do expect a lot out of their students and alumni.
So how do I figure out my career goals?
While no one is going to hold a gun to your head and make sure you exactly achieve these very same goals you mentioned, you have to make sure that these are realistic, achievable and something in alignment with your past achievements. What will you be willing to do to achieve these goals? WHY are these your goals?
This is the hardest part. How do you present your goals so that they seem genuine and not contrived? Here are some steps.
- Thoroughly research your targeted role and domain. The best way for this is to schedule an informational interview with someone who is in this position in your dream company. Research on the hiring practices of the company.
- Spend time on understanding the employment statistics. Get an understanding of what all does the B-School offers to help you with the goals. Check out HEC Paris Employment Report here- they do a great job in showing function and sector changes.
- Read up more on how Career Services have been helping them. For example, Darden has the Pre-MBA &Year-long Career Skill Development & The Second Year coaching programs.
- Show commitment towards your targeted career goals by taking steps to know your targeted domain/sector/industry better. For example, take that Google Adwords course or a professional certification like the CFA which could make you more attractive to prospective employers.
- Follow the career paths of alumni and get first-hand information from current students to get more confidence in the B-School. If they did it, so can you.
- Follow the trends in your domain.
- Follow the trends in employment at the B-School. Some schools like IIM-B EPGP (now known as the MBA, one year full-time programme) have data right from 2010 in their EPGP Placement Statistics section.
Start your goal-setting today!