Why do you want an MBA? (Harvard)

What do you want to do—REALLY—and why Stanford? (Stanford)

Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (Tuck)

Why are you pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life? Define your short and long term career goals post MBA. What is it about Chicago Booth that is going to help you reach your goals? (Booth)

Most common question asked in virtually all B-School applications. This question generally asks you to present your reasons (mostly too familiar) for an MBA. The question usually consists of a few distinct parts:

  1. Your past (e.g. How has your career progressed to date? What has motivated you thus far?)
  2. Your future (How do you envision your career progressing? What are your short term and long term goals for the future?),
  3. All of them expect you to relate the information to your present desire to attain an M.B.A.

Since this is usually the first question asked, this essay will be the first one the admission officers see when they get your file. It is similar to the moment in an interview when you shake the interviewer’s hand. So, you need to be confident, direct, and smile (on paper. At your room won’t help much).

Why Why MBA?

But why does the MBA admission committee ask this question in the first place. Don’t they know that most of us mortals decide our careers only once are in the boiler room environment of an MBA program? The admissions committee uses this question to ascertain your motivation, maturity, and focus. While undergraduate application essays are understandably fuzzy about career choices and goals, graduate essays should, in contrast, be crystal clear. Giving a vague response to this question is akin to having a weak handshake with the interviewer, spilling the coffee on his 1000$ silk tie and pretending it was the last candidate who actually did all of that.

Structure Yourself Well

You must accomplish a lot in this essay, so pay special attention to structure. You can tackle the question by dividing your answer into three separate pieces. The first can be about your past professional experience. The second can discuss your future career goals. The third can be about MBA and the school’s particular program. At each step, demonstrate why and how these experiences, goals, or attributes motivate you to get your M.B.A.

Can I aim for the moon? And for the stars too? May be a little bit of comets also?

Limiting yourself to one career goal is best, if it is general. If you have a couple of different jobs in mind, that is all right, too, however, your reasons for them should be easily inferred or specifically stated. If you are truly unsure of what your goals are (and we cannot talk you out of applying) you are not thinking hard enough. Take help. Pick up the phone, call that friend at McKinsey, skype the lady-friend at NUS or talk to your father about what will make you happy in life. You will definitely be astonished with what people may (or may not) know about you.

Research your bride well

Articulating why the particular program makes sense for you given your unique professional and personal goals is imperative. Although certain schools, such as HBS, are an exception. To do this well, you must spend the necessary time in introspection and also research the school. Don’t rely much on Google and the University website. Talk to the admission committee, alumni and current students. They are willing to help, if you have specific questions. When you understand the school’s program and positioning, use what you have uncovered only if you can apply it to yourself. Do not write what you think they want to hear. Admissions officers can spot this kind of insincerity from a mile away. The truer you are to your real motivations and desires, the better your essay will be.

All the best.


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