June 17, 2019

Darden School of Business MBA Short Essay 5

University of Virginia Darden

Darden Short Essay 5

What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why? (150 words)

Very straightforward. Always remember, the key here is that you’re not going to win anyone over with just a killer idea, or a killer goal. It has to be the combination of a killer goal and a convincing argument that YOU’RE GONNA SUCCEED AT IT…

Let’s take that one step further. If you can give off the vapor that you’re THE KIND OF GUY/GAL who will likely succeed at whatever your stated goal is… OR ANY OTHER GOAL SHOULD IT CHANGE ALONG THE WAY, now you’ve basically printed your ticket to a top b-school. THAT’S what they want to see. Why state it this way? Because it SHOULD affect the way you approach this kind of essay. It will force you to emphasize and flesh out CERTAIN details and relax your focus on others. (If you’re ever interested in seeing this for yourself, check out successful essays from top b-school admits. What you’ll notice is that there is confidence oozing off the page, always, and clear indications that these guys have success etched into their DNA.)

Okay, so, how do we do this in 150 words? Well, for starters, try to keep the MAIN focus on the short-term goal. That doesn’t mean you can’t ALLUDE to your long-term goal. In fact, we often find that the most effective way of selling your plan for your short-term goal is to place it within the CONTEXT of an overall vision. The point is not to DWELL on the LT piece here.

  1. Indicate the problem you want to solve, or the opportunity that intrigues you. Explain not just what the goal is, but also the “what’s the impact when you succeed at it” … in other words, the “who cares” factor. If you succeed, how will things change? Do this relatively quickly. [25 words]
  2. Now, studiously, rich with detail, take us through the steps, one by one, of how you’re going to GET. THIS. DONE. Starting POST-MBA, what comes next? How did you come up with that first step to begin with? Why is it important? What do you need to accomplish INSIDE that first step? And of course, what purpose does it serve within a “four-step” ST vision? (We just made up “four,” it can be any number.) Each step should logically lead to the next, and we should be convinced that you have thought through not just what the steps should be, but also how you will NAVIGATE those steps. For example, if you were to say “in order to have an impact on telecommunications, first I’ll get my MBA from Darden and then I’ll grab a post as CEO of a place like Google and then I’ll drop some major impact, yo!” …it may be true that the guy who travels that path can indeed make an impact, but… is it likely? If not, the plan itself is garbage. The PATH needs to make sense, AND your ability to travel it as well. [75-100 words]
  3. Quickly, like, really quickly, leave us with a sense of why this matters to you, not because we want to feel fuzzy about it, but because we want to see “skin in the game.” If you’re motivated by this thing, it’s going to suggest that you have the drive to succeed (even if your path changes) and that’s what we’re after. [25-50 words]
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