If you are applying to an MBA program to pursue a career change, your application will carry an additional weight not shared by other applicants. You will have to show that you understand the new industry and/or role you’re targeting in practical terms. You will have to go beyond showing your real interest and make a rational case for your career goals. You will need to show that you comprehend your chosen field or job “from the inside.” Not accomplishing this objective will undercut the sincerity of your goals.
The goals essay or statement is where you show this understanding. You will need to describe how you plan to reach your goals, illustrating the steps you will take.
Here are 7 tips for using your goals essay to show that you know precisely what you are doing in changing careers.
1. Tell the story of your motivation and your growing understanding of your intended business or role.
This will make the change appear to be a natural progression in your professional development. Describe how your interest grew, specifying some of the more revealing aspects.
2. Show that you are cognizant of the day-to-day actuality of your chosen field/role.
While researching your new interest, you may have interviewed professionals in the field, taken classes or read publications about the industry. Use your essay to show your active pursuit of information to more readily understand the field and the awareness you gained.
3. Honestly focus on trials and impediments you expect to encounter as a newcomer to the field.
Explain how you plan to handle these difficulties. This will show additional knowledge of the field or job as well as your maturity, proving to the adcom that you are able to make the change.
4. Describe how your current job has enhanced your skills and helped you gain knowledge that you will be able to transfer to your new career.
Giving specific examples of skills or knowledge relevant to your new field shows both your preparation for the position and your understanding of its requirements.
5. Demonstrate how your “different” experience will allow you to make a unique contribution to your new role.
Outline these benefits, along with real-life examples.
6. Clarify something you wish to accomplish or contribute through your career, and the impact you want to have.
When you clearly state a vision for your goal, the adcoms will be excited about your vision of the future.
7. Use the “why this school” part of the essay effectively.
The things that you learn during your MBA will bridge the gap between where you are today and where you want to be in the future. Use this section to name things you will need to learn for your new career. This will underscore the fact that you understand the actuality and needs of that new career. Use specific points to show how this program will act as the bridge.
You may face unique obstacles in your MBA application as a career changer. Download our admissions guide, Why MBA, for help in identifying your MBA goals and organizing them in an essay that will get you accepted.