Even the allowance for the school’s short-answer question has grown from 50 characters to—oddly—51, after having been reduced steadily over the past several years (from 200 to 100 to 75 to 50).These increases constitute a pretty significant change and one that will probably come as a relief to applicants, who quickly learn just how challenging trying to say everything they want to in a short essay can be.(51 characters maximum) Examples of possible responses: “Work in business development for a media company.” “Join a strategy consulting firm.” “Launch a data-management start-up.” Reveal true goals, not what you think CBS wants.
What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them?
(100–750 words) Did you not just write about your career goals for CBS’s short-answer question?
So, we want to emphasize the advice we gave in our example.
Think about what you truly want to do with your career in the short term and state this directly.
(Do you have significant experience in the entertainment or sports industries already? ) First, reveal that a crucial and legitimate connection exists between where you have been in your career and where you want to go, so that you do not appear to be merely expressing an unfounded “want.” For this essay, you have to provide more detail than you did in your 51-character short answer and show that you fully understand what someone in your target field or position does. Our point is that you must demonstrate that you have given your career path significant consideration and have educated yourself as to what your post-MBA career entails, why you are (or will be) properly equipped to perform your desired role(s) within it, and how it is the right fit for you personally.
Too many applicants write basic statements like “I want to join a start-up.” But what kind of start-up? By showing that your long-term goals represent a well-founded yet aspirational progression from your short-term goals, you will communicate to the admissions committee that you have envisioned an ideal path for your career.
And do not misguidedly believe that admissions officers have a preference for specific professions or industries—they do not.
The rest of your application must then provide evidence that your stated goal aligns with your existing skills and profound interests, especially after being augmented by an MBA education.
Think carefully about what you need to learn to achieve your stated aspirations and then share which specific resources at CBS you believe will allow you to develop your skills and knowledge base to achieve them.