How Do You Answer The Long Term and Short Term Career Goals Question?

Updated: Sep 21

MBA applications essentially require applicants to discuss their plans for the career ahead. Defining clear short term and long term goals is very important for applicants today. This is so for the reason that employability is very important for the MBA schools. MBA interviews are conducted by either Faculty, Alumni, Admissions team or Career coaches - they understand career transitions and want to understand if the MBA applicants have thought carefully about their short term goals after MBA. A certified career coach our MBA admission consultant at GOALisB has compiled the following insights to share to address the dilemma that applicants face with their short term and long term career goals essay for MBA.

For example for a program like ISB PGP it is well known that consulting and product managers are the most offered career options post MBA. Most of the applicants irrespective of where they come from or what inherent capabilities they possess opt for their short term career goals as Consulting or Product Manager.

Is it wrong to have Consulting or Product Management as a short term career goal?

No, but when the short term and long term goals for MBA come up in the interview one must be thoroughly prepared to share their plans.

Short term goals for MBA students have gained strategic importance because the programs are very expensive, not being able to achieve a desired ROI post MBA is not expected. Therefore having clear and well though out short term goals for MBA students is critical to set the right expectations.

Some people believe "Fake it till you make it" - this might not work most of the times. Post COVID when the competition and challenges in every career option are so high, the short term and long term career goals essay for MBA is very valuable. Schedule a call with an MBA admission consultant at GOALisB for assistance on your MBA application.

In addition, the skill gaps post COVID have widened. The Adcom wants to know if you have done enough already to position yourself strongly for achieving the short term after MBA.

We have had applicants coming up with options of mentioning "Fund management" as short term goals for software engineer. Well, of course you study Finance during an MBA course, but is that enough to start a career in Fund Management? Probably pursuing a CFA could strengthen your chances of pursuing the desired short term goal after MBA.

How to write short term and long term career goals essay for MBA?

Absolutely avoid picking up other people's short term goals for your MBA essay. Research well. Talk to alumni, study the industry trends. Design your career ahead with full clarity before you embark upon writing your short term and long term goals essay for MBA.

Short and long term goals for MBA essay work differently. Long term goals can be slightly vague. The long term goals for all MBA students may not be as crystal clear as the short term goals. Vision is more important while evaluating long term goals for MBA students. Entrepreneurship, C-Suite roles, Global heads will give the admissions team a fair insight into where you are headed to in the long term.

However, the short term and the long term goals must connect. Obviously, one cannot be reasonably an entrepreneur in the short term and lead in a C Suite role in the long term. There should be a pragmatic path that the school expects their alumni to take up in the future. Disrupting the sector is acceptable but within the context.

What are some ways the schools ask the career goals question?

ISB Essay Question About Goals 2018

Enrolling in a Business School is an important career decision. Critically look at your career to date, the choices you have made, the key influences behind those choices, your goals for the future and how do you think ISB's PGP can help you in achieving your goals?

ISB Essay Question About Goals 2019

What will you be doing in 2025 and 2030? How will the ISB PGP program help you to achieve these goals?

ISB Essay Question About Goals 2020

What are your short term and long term career goals? How will the Post Graduate Program at ISB assist you in achieving your goals?

IVEY MBA application Goals Essay

What are your short-term career plans immediately post-MBA, and why is an Ivey MBA essential to those plans?

HEC MBA application Goals Essay

Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective?

NTU MBA application Goals Essay

Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your near term (3 - 5 years) future career objectives and how pursuing an MBA will help you achieve them.

Executive MBA from IIM Bangalore application Goals Essay

Provide an essay detailing your purpose in taking up this course of study at IIMB, including your future aims. The essay should be around 600 words and should be in simple and direct English and preferably typed in a readable format.

NUS MBA application Goals Essay

Tell us about your intermediate (3 years) post-MBA career goal, describing your industry, function and country of choice and a plan on how you would achieve this goal.

Schulich MBA application Goals Essay

How will the Schulich MBA degree help you achieve your short and long-term career goals?

UBC Sauder MBA application Goals Essay

Why do you think Sauder’s MBA program is a good fit for you? How do you plan to get the most out of your MBA journey and the cohort community?

Executive MBA from IIM Ahmedabad application Goals Essay

Why do you want to do an MBA during these uncertain times? How does that align with your future career goals? Please speculate on your five and ten-year post MBA career trajectory?

How do you actually evaluate your short term and long term goals?

Not everyone has clear career goals. In fact, most students can’t set career goals for themselves. However, if you hope to pursue an MBA, then it is expected that you have clear career goals. Perhaps breaking down the vision will help us set better goals for career and life.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at." ~ Bruce Lee.

As Bruce Lee stated, sometimes a goal just gets you started and gives you something to strive towards.

So, first, what do you want in your career? Where do you want to be in 5 years? Do you have a specific job role or position in mind? How much do you want to make? Answering these questions should give you some career goals, however, if you want to set effective goals, then you can stick to the SMART method of goal setting.

What should be the components of an ideal communication of your short term and long term goals?

S - Specific: You need to try to be precise about what you want to achieve, where and how. “Learn about marketing” is not really a specific goal but “Improve sales by 20% in next 6 months” could well be.

M - Measurable: You must be able to evaluate if you’ve made progress or not. Therefore, goals like “Improve social skills” are not useful because they cannot be assessed.

A - Attainable: The important part of goal setting is that the goal shouldn’t be out of reach but be enough of a challenge at the same time. Unrealistic goals will end up demotivating you whereas smaller goals (and wins) will keep you on track.

R - Relevant: Set up goals that you really want to achieve and which will end up taking you nearer your long-term goals. You may find that you’ve set a goal that you don’t really want to achieve.

T - Timing: Always have a time constraint upon your goals especially short-term goals. The deadline ought to motivate you to do your best in the time you’ve allotted. Goals without a start and end date are just dreams.

Some of your goals will have to be executed in the present and immediate future i.e. up to a year or so. These are your short-term goals. Each of these should add up in the larger picture of your career.

Long-term goals define the ideal course you would like your career to take. Some people can imagine five, ten or twenty years of how they would like their careers to go. The SMART methodology can serve one well here as well.

Short term goals build from a summary of what you did as an undergraduate. Enlist or rather walk them through all the important classes you took which stimulated your desire for an MBA education, such as a specific project for a class.

What more can you discuss in short term and long term goals essay for MBA?

Discuss the internships you have done discuss what the responsibilities were, and the outcomes. Work experience, especially if you had any kind of responsibility for testing, designing, or researching a product or apparatus.

You can also indicate here any part time or full time jobs taken up after graduation, succinctly describe the role: company, team, responsibilities, what you learned and how this shaped your decision to pursue an MBA.

  • What experiences and/or education have made you want to pursue this degree program?

  • Why do you want to pursue this field of study?

  • How have you been pursuing your education, social work, internships?

  • What specifically appeals to you about this program?

  • What do you contribute to a team?

  • What do you plan to do with the MBA education in the short term and the long run ?

  • Why should the MBA Admissions team evaluate you?

  • How do you think it might relate to the specialisation that you want to opt for?

You should clearly describe career decisions to date and your perception of your career goals. Business schools enrol future leaders. In an interview when you discuss your previous career progress and short term and long term future plans, it is an opportunity to decide if you have the leadership skills required to get there.

You need to discuss how you have grown so far in your career and on the same track define the path you are likely to take in future.

Start by thinking about all the professional decisions you’ve made till now, things that have motivated you so far. What are the skills you have gained so far and the plans for the future.

Applicants who are clear about their career goals make the most of MBA programs because they are able to focus on specific parts of the curriculum and prepare themselves to meet their career goals. Let's connect to discuss your profile for MBA in India or abroad.

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