So many business schools are asking applicants about their career goals post MBA. Some schools, like Berkeley’s Haas School of Business even ask applicants to name a specific company and title to which they aspire. Some applicants can answer easily because they have a dream job in mind. For those with less specific goals, however, this question can be a nightmare. If you are struggling with this question, this post is for you.

Should I tell them I have no clue?

Unfortunately, honesty may not be the best policy. If you simply tell business schools that you don’t have a clue, they aren’t going to like it. From their perspective, if you don’t know where you’re heading, why would you spend over $100,000 to get an MBA? If your career goals are unclear how will you choose Haas or Columbia or Wharton as the perfect school for you?

A better way to address this question is by discussing what you’ve learned from your career so far. What do you like to do? Are you skilled at managing people? at innovation? at bringing governments and communities together?

If you’re  still not sure, use a process of elimination. Look at the employment list for Tuck or Kellogg to familiarize yourself with the sort of jobs that MBA students pursue after graduation. Remove those you are definitely not interested in. Once you’ve done that, you can try to find a common theme among the jobs you do find attractive.

Harvard Business School & MIT: We don’t want to hear about your career goals

Some schools, like MIT, won’t even ask you about your career goals in their essay questions. They know that, while a few students are avidly following a single career path, most  are likely to change their minds and ideas as they learn more about relevant industries and careers during their MBA experience.

Need more help tackling the career essay or getting ready to talk about your career in your MBA interview? Drop me a note at


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