MBA Essay Writing Tip #11: Explaining Career Transitions

Frame yourself as confident and determined in what can often be a tricky situation to navigate in an MBA application essay.

Explaining Career Transition

Ever wonder how to write about a career transition?

LOADS of people do. It’s a tricky situation in real life, and that makes it even harder to write about. You’ll want to come off as confident and determined, not apologetic or insecure.

Take this example:
“Contemplating my GameSoft experience, I realized that my role dealt principally with management. I wanted to shift towards the business side to work for a gaming company with more room for product development. As a result, I now work for General Electric’s corporate aid and strategy division, which acts as an in-house consulting and financial advisory for the company. Although it is not in the gaming industry, I am learning about the complex decisions that a Fortune 500 company has to make, a crucial skill to possess when I formulate corporate strategies for the gaming company I work for in the future.”

Why doesn’t this work?
First, the link between Gamesoft and General Electric is a weak one at best. We fail to see a clear reason for her career switch, right? Because of this, the writer uses too many words, diluting the impact of her essay while also choosing an overly apologetic tone, which makes her seem lacking in confidence.

Instead, the writer needs to convince us that this career move was a well-thought step in her overall plan. The best way to achieve this is to be punchier, not mention the downside (it’s not in the gaming industry), and to showcase continuity between what she learned at her previous job and the skills she’s now acquiring.

This is what she came up with:
“While I learned management at Gamesoft, I wanted to focus on product development. Considering strategy-focused roles so I could get a taste for the complexity and intricacy of improving a company, I now work in General Electric’s corporate strategy division, an in-house consulting and financial advisory team. I am learning about capital allocation, operating expense reduction, and expansion strategies, all crucial decisions I’ll make when I lead the gaming company of the future.”

Why is this better?
First, she shows a clear and compelling reason for her career switch: she learned management at her first job but needed to learn new skills for her long-term goal. Then she highlighted those skills without ever mentioning the downside (she left the gaming industry). Finally, she used 25% fewer words, delivering punchier phrasing and a direct message that’s confident and compelling.

That’s a winning career-change essay if we’ve ever seen one!

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