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The Tuesday Q&A: Career Changes and the MBA Application Essay

October 04, 2011 :: Admissionado Team


I believe most b-school applicants intend to land a different job (either in another industry or in another position, or both) after they get their MBA. But I’ve heard you say that adcoms don’t like career-switchers. So how do I deliver an essay that speaks my mind and is honest, and, at the same time, convinces the adcom?


It’s easy, dude.

Don’t talk about career changes in your essays for the adcom.

I know that doesn’t seem to make sense but stick with your past background. Speak your mind…as though you were going to stay along the lines of your current job. That is your best bet for sure.

Career changes make adcoms nervous. Why? Well, here’s the deal. Adcoms like people who prove they will be wildly successful one day. (Wildly successful people make b-schools look good. They also make a lot of money….and then donate that money back to the school that helped them get there. Yes, even business school is a business.) And for adcoms, someone who has experience in a field are much more likely to be successful than someone who doesn’t.

Think about it. If you were reading two applications and both people wanted to own their own hedge fund one day, but one applicant has worked at a hedge fund for 5 years and other has spent the past 5 years in consulting ….who do YOU think would have a better chance at achieving that long-term goal?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how badly to WANT to make that career change; the adcom is going to go for the sure thing. And that, my friend, is not the career switcher.

So…why bother? Why stick with the career-change story? Why take that risk? Just stick to what you know in your application and show those adcoms that you’re a sure thing.

Then, once you’ve got that MBA under your belt, you can switch careers as many times as you want.

It worked for me….

— Jon Frank

Got a question you want to ask Jon? Email!