We see numerous business school applicants each year who know that they need and want an MBA, but aren’t entirely sure what career path to choose. They simply want to explore their options while in business school, maybe do an internship, and then see what “door” opens as they approach graduation. One of the great things about business school is the ability to explore and discover educational and career directions of which you are unfamiliar. However, admissions committees expect their candidates to have a clear vision for what they want to achieve. We recommend discovering your “career story” before starting your application.
For the application process, it is very important that you convey to the admissions committee that you know what you want to do professionally and how the MBA will help lead you to that goal. You also need to describe your career goals with enough specificity that gives the reader a sense of experience – that you have been out in the workforce long enough to know what it is you want to do. We often tell clients to make sure you can answer what industry, what function/ role, and what platform or specialization you will focus. It is not strong enough to simply say you would like to go into consulting, for example. A better goal is much more specific, like “I would like to be in the automotive industry, working as a turn-round strategy consultant, who will focus on operational efficiency improvements”.
If you are not able to provide this level of detail then we always encourage applicants to figure it out. Do your research and some introspection. Figure out what interests you or find a career path that fits with the work you’ve been currently doing. Get creative – you can shadow an executive in your field of interest or conduct informational interviews. Whichever research method you choose – you need to figure out a logical career path – one that is convincing, fits with your current work experience, and has enough detail to impress.