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Describe your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (300 Words Max)
Career goals always remain a crucial part of any MBA program that you apply to. While schools mostly focus on your goals immediately after the MBA, ISB asks you to discuss your long term plans as well. Do note that there is a difference between ‘plans’ and ‘goals’ (which we will come back to in the later part of this analysis).
In the short term, business schools are keen to know what you want to achieve immediately after the MBA. Provide specific details about the industry, function etc. of your dream role post MBA. Do not get into designations. You may very well be made the CTO of a company with 5 employees – but is that what you want? It helps to keep your short term goals consistent with your past. The recruiter is going to value your experience till now, so do not leave it behind. The idea is to build on the experience and exposure you have gained till now. You may want to move to a different function or industry – that’s all right. Focus on the Transferable Skills! You certainly don’t want to do the same things after MBA that you were doing before MBA, but it’s your transferable skills that will equip you to perform in your new role. If you realize that the role/industry you want to get into is a bit too competitive, it may be a good idea to also present a Plan B. But what’s most important is that your Plan A and Plan B should both be consistent with your long term plans. All that you do in the next 4-5 years is not an end in itself, but is directed towards a larger purpose after all.
Moving on to the ‘long term plans’ part of the essay, any MBA candidate worth his salt, would want to become the CEO (of an MNC or of his own company). It cannot be your ‘Plan’! It’s like saying, “I plan to become the Captain of the Indian cricket team”. You can plan (and therefore put in good effort) to play good cricket, and that may (or may not) lead to you becoming the captain of the team. Even in the professional context, you may always ‘plan’ to achieve certain expertise, broad results or professional milestones that may lead to you gaining a CXO position.
But what remains to be answered is how long is long term - 10 years? 15 years? 25 years? Practically, you have no clue what will happen in 15 years from now – the industries, businesses, roles and market dynamics may all undergo a drastic shift. It is therefore ideal to define your long term plans to the foreseeable future – let’s say 8-10 years from now. It’s pretty possible to plan for this period. Your plans may very well evolve, but it’s important to begin with a base plan in the first place.
Schools are more concerned about your short term plans, so do not commit too much space to the long term part of your essay. A major part should also go into establishing your past experience in the context of your career goals. And finally, conclude well establishing the need for an MBA and why you think ISB fits in perfectly. Again, do not go overboard with ‘why ISB’, since you are not going to be selected just because you are able to list all the clubs and electives and faculty at ISB. The essay is more about you and how ISB remains an interesting choice in your scheme of things. Make it short and sweet.
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