Why MBA?

Time and again, in all B-school applications, whether in India or abroad, this question has been asked and is probably given the utmost important in a candidate's selection. More often than not, this question is asked directly in the application; but at times, you may be asked to relate your past experience with your post MBA plans, or probably you may be asked for a reason to go for an MBA at this stage of your career. So there are multiple approaches to the question but the focus should not be lost. Without doubt, this is the most important essay in your application. So I wanted to share with you everything I can understand that goes around this question, ie, the purpose, the importance, the expectation from the applicant in response, etc.

As I said, "Why MBA?" forms the most essential part of your application. It includes essential information about whether you're qualified, whether you're prepared, and where you're headed. The other essays include details about these fundamental points, but if a lack of focus is sensed, even other strong answers might not be able to strengthen the candidature.

Every candidate must retrospect on the following points and try to include them in the essay so as to let the admission committee know you very well just by going through your essays. Your objective should be to leave no stone unturned to help the AdCom know you as a candidate through your essays. Interview should only be a formality.

1. Your long-term and short-term goals.
2. Your relevant past experience.
3. An assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Skills required to achieve your goals.
5. How will an MBA help you acquire these skills?
6. And why this particular MBA program?

When you know your long term and short term career goals, you just need to convince how and MBA will be a tool to help you achieve those goals. You need to be convinced yourself that those skills/platform that an MBA qualification or a particular B-school can provide you with, cannot be acquired at the work place. And your goals post MBA should be inline with your past experience until and unless you are going for an MBA to make a career shift.

For eg, an engineer working in a product manufacturing firm might have good sales skills, but might not be able to move to Product sales because of lack of qualification. So he might pursue an MBA with an ambition of moving to Product Sales as his background as an engineer would help him understand the product’s technical details ultimately making him more confident in a sales deal.

Self-awareness is a more difficult thing than it sounds. Knowing your strengths is easy. But you should know how you can build on those strengths. You should be aware how these strengths can make you a unique candidate. You must be cultivating a hobby for which you take time out of your schedule.

When it comes to weaknesses, people become confused. Come on, having a weakness does not reduce your candidature. Rather not having a weakness makes you less human. Self-awareness is strength and if you have it you are aware of your weaknesses. Knowing your weakness is not enough, you should know, rather should be working on improving on it. That makes you unique. Just be aware, that a weakness should not be so severe that it hampers your chances of getting in. After all, for what are you making this much effort.

Now when you have jotted down the story of your experience, become aware of your strengths, your skills, it’s time to connect the dots. You just have to relate your work experience, coupled with your strengths and skills to be acquired at the B-school, used as a tool, to your post MBA goals. You got the answer.

Apart from this, there are many more important points which you will come across during an application, like diversity, why this school, etc. I will wrote more about that later. You and I have a lot of homework to do.

8 comments:

Abhishek Jain said...

Boss,
I have applied for ISB this yr and I have not answered a single question out of them in essays. I got a call and now I am waiting for these questions to be asked in the interview. I don't think these questions can be answered in essays untill and unless asked specifically.

1. Your long-term and short-term goals.
2. Your relevant past experience.
3. An assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Skills required to achieve your goals.
5. How will an MBA help you acquire these skills?
6. And why this particular MBA program?

No offence,
Jainy

Eswar said...

Thanks for proving useful information.
Its always good to have everything planned before going to interview.

Greedy Santa said...

I must ask Abhishek, if these were not the things that you mentioned in your essay, what did you mention in the essay that gave you a position in the interview?

-Regards
Sourabh

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