I want to give you a quick formula to answer almost any essay question.
It’s a very common approach to answering interview questions, you might have heard of it, it’s called STAR – Situation – Task – Action – Result.
Today I’m going to apply this to a goals question, which is definitely going to be somewhere on your application.
First, situation. What are you doing now, and what gives rise to your interest in business school? Do you want to manage a staff? Switch careers? Move up the ladder? Enhance your credibility? Or maybe just obtain the skills you need to start a business.
Task. What do you need to get done? Here are some examples.
- If you want to manage a staff, maybe you need more leadership skills, and a deeper understanding of change management, motivation, negotiation.
- If you want to switch careers, you might need general business skills to enhance the value you will bring to a new employer who might be taking a chance on you.
- Enhance your credibility. I see this more and more when it comes to executive MBA candidates. Look like a good investment from the standpoint of a VC firm or an Angel fun? Perceived and being a well-run company.
- Obtaining business skills. Some self-taught businesspeople feel they have maximized the skills they have and want to shorten the learning curve before taking their business to the next level, entering new markets, etc.
Action. How is business school the answer for you? Or how is THIS business school the answer? Meaning, how will this specific school be the ideal forum for you to achieve your goals (carry out your tasks.)
Describe everything you will do in business school to obtain these skills. This would include classes, but so much more. You want to make reference to the specific opportunities of the program where you are applying. I recommend Clear Admit guides, attending admissions events online and in-person, and spending time with alumni to pull together a convincing argument that this school has what you need.
Result. How will an MBA catapult you on to a new career trajectory? How will you be adding more value at your current company, or where you want to work after graduating? Is there some unmet need that you will fulfill? If there is some socially beneficial aspect to the work you plan to do, mention that.
So there it is, situation, task, action result. This is a great formula for almost every essay question, because it gives the reader all the information to visualize your story unfold. And when the adcom can visualize the story unfold, it will significantly enhance the impact, and the success, of your application.