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Elizabeth A. Davis

5 Tips for Defining Career Goals in Your Application

by Elizabeth Davis Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Wisconsin MBA application asks you some big questions that require a good amount of self-reflection and contemplation to actually answer. You will be asked to articulate your narrative- mainly why you’re interested in an MBA and how this plays into your long-term goals- throughout the admissions process. Your essay, recommendations, interviews, and other interactions with the admissions committee will all provide opportunities for you to share your story.

How can you make sure that you have a cohesive story throughout your application? The first step is to thoughtfully define your career aspirations. All the other pieces of your application can then be used to support your story and reasons for applying to business school.

Here are my top five tips:                                                    

  1. Don’t rush. Creating a career vision and identifying goals takes time and energy. Giving yourself ample time to think through your interests and evaluate your past experiences is an essential piece of the MBA journey. Additionally, this will be a value-add to your application.
  2. Identify your values. Pinpoint what is important in your next job. Do you want autonomy? Are you looking to collaborate with others in your company? Are you looking to have a more creative role moving forward? Do you want more leisure time to spend with your friends and family? Identifying your core work values is important not only for the admissions process, but also for the internship search process you’ll undertake as a student in our program.  
  3. Become an expert. Through identifying your values and reflecting on your past work experiences you should begin to have an understanding of what you’re interested in. Now it’s time to dive into the research process and become an expert in your areas of interest. What are current trends in industry? Who are some current industry leaders you think are successful and why? Being able to have thoughtful conversations and with admissions team members will be impressive during the application process.
  4. Get feedback from people in the jobs you want. There’s no better way to test drive a career interest than by speaking with the people who are in the jobs you want. Set up informational interviews with alumni from your undergraduate institution and learn how they got to the place they currently are. You could also reach out to human resources representatives at the companies your most interested in working for to learn more about what they look for in new hires.
  5. Make S.M.A.R.T goals. After you’ve done the research and determined what your career goals are, it’s time to clearly define what they are and how you’ll achieve them. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T, or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Through creating these objectives and thinking about how an MBA can fit in your long-term plan, you’ll have a greater opportunity to speak about your career aspirations in a results oriented way.

The Wisconsin MBA Admissions team doesn’t expect you to have the next five, ten, or fifteen years of your life meticulously planned out, however we do want to understand what your motivations are for choosing to go back to school. If you have questions about the application process, I would encourage you to attend our next Online Chat scheduled for October 13, 2015. We will be talking more about the specialized focus of the Wisconsin MBA, however all questions are welcome.