Finding it difficult to come up with your MBA application goals? Then you are not alone.

Most candidates we have worked with can clearly articulate why they want to do an MBA. Stagnant in their current roles, career progression, transition to different functions or companies and so on are some of the frequently cited reasons.

But when quizzed further on what they want to do after an MBA, many applicants have vague ideas about their future roles. Responses range from “I want to be in management” or “I would devise corporate strategies” to the now hot favourite “I’ll be a product manager”.

At first glance, all the above seem perfectly acceptable reasons for applying to top tier business schools. An MBA is meant to bolster your career trajectory after all. But what weakens the entire post MBA plot are the next two questions – Why do you want to be a [manager/corporate strategist/product manager]? and What is the connection between your work experience till date and your post MBA dream role?

The Why and What unfailingly stumps those who have not thought through their reasons for doing an MBA. Failure to show a logical connect between the career choices you’ve made so far and your future aspirations often proves to be the biggest stumbling block especially when writing essays on post MBA goals.

If you find yourself in a similar position, here are few things you could do –

First Things First

One of the things we recommend is to start with a SWOT GAP Analysis Matrix – there will be some information you’ll be able to readily plug in especially those related to your current profile. You’ll face challenges with completing the post MBA section which is where the subsequent steps come handy.

Research, Research, Research

There is no dearth of information available on most career choices. Blogs, company websites, and social media forums are excellent sources to understand more about the role(s) you’d like to take up. You’ll also learn not just about the role but also the skills required to transition to such roles.

Tap into your network

You may have friends or friends of friends who might be working in a role or a company you are keen to work with after MBA. Get in touch with such individuals through your network. Most people are glad to share information about their work, the opportunities and the challenges. This is the best way to get a first-hand account of what a typical day looks like in the life of a product manager or account manager or corporate strategist.

Avoid Paralysis by Analysis

Key is to gather as much information as possible. Ask lots of questions. However, avoid making this a lengthy process. Define a time limit by when you’d complete this exercise. And stick to it. It’s tempting to also form lots of opinions or sway with those of others. Curb the urge to do so. Instead wait until you have completed your research and spoken to few individuals. Put in the information about your post MBA role in the SWOT Gap Analysis matrix. Then start to analyze by weighing the pros and cons of choosing a particular career path. Bonus of following this approach is you’ll realize the gaps in your skills that you need to bridge to achieve your post MBA goals.

Bridging the ‘skills’ chasm

When you understand the skills you possess and the skills you need, you can look up the course curriculum and other programmes offered by the B-School of your choice. Let’s say if you want to understand the role of Analytics in Marketing then a course on ‘Marketing Analytics’ would be an apt one for you to consider. You’ll now be able to mention such courses in your essays, building the right context for why you’d like to take up a certain course, rather than merely listing courses or programmes that have no bearing on your future goals.

The steps outlined here will help you approach researching, analyzing and finally writing your goals in a structured way. Importantly, this will also help you understand how a certain business school and its resources would help you further your career ambitions.

We hope you find the tips and skills matrix template useful when crafting your MBA goals.

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