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What Are MBA Goals and Why Do They Matter?

November 01, 2021
businesswoman working on her MBA goals essay at coffee shop

MBA goals are the short-term and long-term goals you have for your career that an MBA degree will help you achieve. Most people first consider their MBA goals when they are applying for an MBA program and are asked to submit application essays that touch on these topics.

Most MBA committees are looking for candidates to share:

  • How how much they know about the specific MBA program and why it’s a good fit
  • How much they care about that specific program and why
  • What they want from their MBA experiences
  • How that specific MBA degree will help them facilitate their unique career goals
  • A thoughtful essay that will stand out from other submissions, not a copy-pasted response sent to multiple programs

How should you determine what your own goals are? What goals will MBA admissions committees find valuable? And what’s the best way to share these goals in an application essay that will help you gain admission to the top program of your choice?

While MBA application essay questions may vary—and students should read essay prompts carefully before answering them to make sure each question is fully addressed in their responses—understanding your goals is beneficial for all MBA applicants as it helps you prepare for:

  • A range of important admissions materials, including personal statements
  • Career planning
  • Professional interviews
  • Conversations with your current employer about career advancement opportunities

Read on to learn how to decide what your MBA goals are and how to best share these goals in a winning MBA goals essay.

A Helpful Exercise to Determine Your MBA Goals

The following exercise will help you gather your career goals for an honest, memorable, and impactful MBA goals application essay. Feel free to revisit this MBA goal-gathering exercise until you feel you have enough ideas to write your application essay.

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen to capture your thoughts as soon as they come to you.
  2. Think about your personal work strengths and jot them down. What do you excel at? What professional contributions have you made in your areas of excellence? What stellar work experiences do you have that relate to your unique strengths and skills?
  3. Next, consider what you would like to do for work in the future. Think about career activities that relate to your personal strengths and where you would like to make an impact in these activities. Freely ponder job titles, dream companies, institutions, and organizations you want to work for. Write about challenges you would like to overcome in your career. During this stage of hyper creativity, let your thoughts flow, and don’t hesitate to capture your short thought bursts. Of the items you’ve written down, which of these would you like to achieve in the next two to three years? These are your short-term career goals. Draw a circle around them. To find your long-term goals, consider which of your notes relate to where you would like to be in your career five to ten years from today. Draw a square around these notes.
  4. Now it's time to consider how an MBA would help you achieve your short-term goals and your long-term goals. On a new piece of paper, group your short time and long-term goals into two organized lists. Review both lists and refine them so only your strongest, most complete aspirations remain. Starting with your short-term goals, write down the ways an MBA would help you accomplish each of these goals and groups of goals. Try to be as specific and organized as you can in your answers. Now repeat this part of the exercise with your long-term goals.
  5. It’s time to review what you’ve written as you think about your MBA goals and how they relate to the specific program you’re applying to. Ask yourself how an online MBA would make a positive impact on your career. Consider the program’s learning environment, curriculum, faculty, and points of differentiation you should highlight throughout your essay.

Repeating this MBA goals exercise for every program you are considering applying allows you to see what differences you can anticipate in each program, including the experiences, outcomes, and impact on your career. Doing so will help you write a strong MBA goals essay for each program you apply to.

Expert Tips To Writing Your Best MBA Goals Essay

Once you’ve completed the MBA goal brainstorming exercise, you’re ready to start crafting your MBA goals essay.

Writing a clear, concise essay that properly summarizes your goals—and how obtaining an MBA from a particular program will help you reach these goals—is a must. Admissions teams are looking for students who will benefit from their programs and can express that in a compelling essay.

Here are some top tips for crafting a comprehensive goals essay that will appeal to any admissions committee.

  1. Stick to the essay word limit. Do not exceed the stated word limit when you write your essay. If there is no word limit listed in the application, write an essay that is between 750-1000 words. Keeping your essay short and to the point lets your audience know you’ve done the work to synthesize and edit your strongest goals and ideas for their consideration.
  2. Inc lude your short-term and long-term goals. Be sure to include both your short-term and long-term goals in your essay and be specific in both categories. Name industries, roles, technologies, skills, and outcomes you hope to be a part of with your new MBA. While your long-term career plans may be less detailed (because no one holds a crystal ball for the future), they should be no less ambitious than your short-term goals and relevant to you. If your short-term goals logically segue into your long-term goals, that’s an additional plus.
  3. Write why your MBA goals are important to you. Make sure your essay explains why your goals are important to you as an individual. Consider how your goals matter to you and your plans and why you—and you alone—can make a difference by achieving them with your new degree.
  4. Discuss why the program is your best fit. Why is the school you are applying to the best fit for you and your career aspirations? The admissions team will want to know the answer to this question. In your essay, be sure to provide details about the program, faculty, or curriculum that will impact your career plans. Avoid focusing solely on facts the admissions team already knows appeal to the majority of candidates including impressive school rankings, reputation, and/or league status. Refer to your exercise program research notes covering the most relevant facts about the program when completing this part of your essay.
  5. Share why an MBA degree is right for you. Ultimately, the admissions committee will be looking for your explanations why an MBA is the degree that will help you complete your career goals. With today’s bottomless number of advanced degrees and career opportunities, it’s especially important to note why an online master’s of business administration is the true key to your success. In your essay, shed light on your background—the work, education, and life experiences—that guided you to seek an MBA.
  6. Answer your program’s goals essay questions. Read the program’s essay question(s) thoroughly to ensure you answer what the admissions committee wants to know. While most programs will ask what your goals are and why an MBA would help you achieve them, some programs may ask for additional information to gain a different perspective of their prospects. Don’t miss this opportunity to prove you have considered your essay question entirely before answering it.

Your MBA Goals and an Online MBA Program: A Unique Advantage

With an online MBA program like CSUMB Responsible Business Online MBA, you have the unique opportunity to achieve your short-term goals while you gain the skills, knowledge, experience, and life-long network you’ll need to bring your long-term goals to fruition.

When applying to an accredited online MBA program, share how the flexibility of the online learning experience will help you continue an upward career trajectory to accomplish all of your MBA goals including learning responsible business practices. Today’s online degrees have numerous benefits to help students achieve their career dreams while they work towards their MBA.

Start Achieving Your MBA Goals Today

Create the short and long-term career success you want with the Responsible Business Online MBA from California State University, Monterey Bay. Keep advancing your career as you earn your MBA with our 100% online curriculum, focused on the increasing role and importance of responsible business.