Tuesday Q&A: As an MBA Reapplicant, Can My Career Goal Change?

Question:

Can my career goal change as an MBA reapplicant? My long-term goal has changed since the last time I applied. Is this okay?

Answer:

So, first thing to be aware of here: the reapplication process is different in a number of ways. Some schools will have you do the same essays as everyone else. Others will have a specific reapplicant essay. But the goal of the reapplicant app, no matter what version of the app you’re doing, is to show PROGRESS. Why are you a better applicant than you were last year?

Adcoms WANT to see some change in your application—if they didn’t admit you before, why would they admit you now with the same old application material? You gotta dust that old thing off and give it a nice polishing. If you’re sending in the same essays, the same work experience with no growth, the same test scores…you’re gonna experience some major déjà vu come admissions decision time. So it’s great to reevaluate your app. Show how you have more to offer. Show that you have a higher GMAT score. More responsibility at work. So that when the adcom compares this year’s app and your app from last year, it’s clear how much more awesome you are.

Which means you must have thought it through pretty seriously, right? So if it changes drastically within a year, that could raise some adcom eyebrows. It could make you seem flaky, or seem as if you’re just writing what you think the adcom wants to see to get you accepted. No no no no. It’s got to be for REAL.

Still, it is TOTALLY fine—and, sometimes, a good thing—to change your long-term career goal, as long as you explain WHY, and explicitly.

So for example: if you’re a pharma management consultant, and your long-term goal last year was to start a hospital group in rural India, but now you want to start a healthcare consulting company, that’s totally okay…as long as you can show WHY and HOW you’ve come to that conclusion.

Work something like this into your app: “After much consideration, I have shifted my goals this year to YYY, because I believe it is better for reasons AAA BBB and CCC.” Show how the experiences you’ve had within the past year have led you to this decision. Show how you’ve learned. Be straightforward, be clear, and show it as an IMPROVEMENT. That’s how you’re gonna make the long-term career goal change work FOR you.

And how you’re gonna end up with a BETTER result this time around….

–Jon Frank

Episode 8 – The Importance of Rewriting Essays