Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this the right choice for you? (300 words)
Kudos, Ross, for providing a slight twist on the classic MBA goals essay question. Let’s be verbose for a second. On purpose. Same question, rephrased, all stretched-out-like:
“Michigan Ross is a place where individuals from different nations, different walks of life, different socio-economic strata, different cultural influences, different exposures, and different conditions (whether inspiring or depressing)… come together. Now, each of these individuals has a career goal of some kind. That career goal itself might be completely unique (‘I’m going to start a business that specializes in teleporting unwanted winged bugs to the Upside Down’). Or, that goal may be shared by many (‘I’m going to be a killer Strategic Management Consultant’). Either way, whether unique or shared, given that each individual’s background is necessarily distinct, each person’s goal will, therefore, end up somewhat different. We wanna peek into YOUR version of YOUR goal. And also, we want to know what compels you toward it.”
Think of it this way: As soon as you land at Ross, you meet four other classmates who all have the exact same 5-year plan as you do. Literally, on paper, it’s the exact… same… plan. Whatever your plan is (even if it’s to take over your family business), spend some time imagining this in the abstract.
Given all that BACKGROUND stuff (influences, nationality, peer groups, tastes, experiences, circumstances, all that jazz)… what makes YOUR version DISTINCT from those other four? Isolate whatever that is: your slant, the thing that makes your version better, or even just different… get it good and clear in your head… and now: Walk us through your short-term career goal, infusing it with THAT STUFF YOU JUST FIGURED OUT, such that we not only understand the goal very clearly, but also, your version of it.
We should walk away saying to ourselves: “That’s not only a well thought-out plan, but I’m particularly interested in THIS GUY’S VERSION of it.” You’re selling someone on a role, and if you do it correctly, you’re making it hard for someone to cast someone OTHER THAN YOU.
Let’s talk structure:
One Version (doesn’t have to go this way, exactly, but it can be a useful place to start)
Paragraph 1: I have a very cool and interesting background. I can capture it quickly with an anecdote, or simply just a few incredible descriptions, such that you quickly get a sense of where I come from, what my circumstances and influences were. Those things all led me to THIS long-term aspiration (ya herrrrd right, long-term). [75–100 words.]
Paragraph 2: Here’s a very detailed road map of what I plan to achieve (not hope to… PLAN to) in my first five years out of business school, step by step. Here are the reasons these steps matter, this is why they are necessary building blocks, and these are the reasons I expect to succeed at every turn because I understand what’s needed at every step, and have thought through a solid plan for every stage of it. [100-150]
Paragraph 3: I love this industry/environment/field/thing for these reasons. It’s the milieu that brings out the best of me, proven time and again here and here. If I’m going to succeed anywhere, it’s here, because I’m passionate about achieving THIS thing and/or to devote myself to THIS PROCESS for THIS REASON. And that’s why this is the right choice for me. [100-150]