Many MBA candidates struggle to define their long-term goals. Although your short-term goals should be relatively specific, your long-term goals can be broad and ambitious. Regardless of what your short- and long-term goals actually are, what is most important is presenting a clear “cause and effect” relationship between them. The MBA admissions committee will be confused by a long-term goal that lacks grounding. Still, you should not interpret this to mean that you need to choose one industry and state that you will stay in it for your entire career. You can present any career path that excites you—again, as long as you also demonstrate a logical path to achieving your goals.
For example, many candidates discuss having ambitions in the field of management consulting. Could an individual with such aspirations justify any of the following long-term goals?
A) Climbing the ladder and becoming a partner in a consulting firm
B) Launching a boutique consulting firm
C) Leaving consulting to manage a nonprofit
D) Leaving consulting to buy a failing manufacturing firm and forge a “turnaround”
E) Entering the management ranks of a major corporation
The answer is yes! This candidate could justify any of these long-term goals (and many others), as long as he/she connects them to experiences gained via his/her career as a consultant. With regard to your goals, you need not feel constrained—you just need to emphasize and illustrate that your goals are logical, achievable and ambitious.