My clients often ask me how specific they should be when they talk about their career goals and my advice is that you should be as specific as possible, but also realistic and honest.

Most top schools (excluding MIT and Darden) ask about your career goals for multiple reasons.

First, they want to see what career you envision for yourself, and to make sure that you have spent sinificant time thinking about it and researching it. I’ve seen clients come to me saying they want to do Private Equity, Corporate Finance or Invement Banking without even knowing what these jobs are like.

Further, Admissions committees at schools such as Wharton, NYU, Chicago or Columbia want to make sure that you are telling the true story about yourself, and not that you want to do Finance / Banking / Consulting / Real Estate just becuase it matches the focus of the school or represents a big part of their graudates’ placement. 

On the other side, I’ve seen a client who applied to NYU last year and told that she wants to go into the movies business, as her consultant figured it would make sense – she likes arts and it is a unique story that could be in line with NYU’s location and focus on Media. When she had to talk about her career goals during the interview, everything fell apart.

In addition, some people are afraid of sharing their true career goals because they are not 100% sure about them or might seem like too much of a strectch. This would be the place to spend more time thinking on why you are pursing these goals and coming up with a story that you believe in and can present in a strong solid way. There are more reasons for the pretty standard career goal MBA loves to ask – to show your vision, your passions and more.

Still not sure how to approach the MBA career goals essay and what would make sense, in terms of your background, education and personalities? Send me your resume and/or questions to .