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By Christine Mayer, Director of Admissions

As you know, the career goals you put in your application are binding for the rest of your life. You may never waver from them and will be expected to follow only them at Kellogg and beyond…

I’m obviously kidding! But we know articulating your career goals can be a source of stress in this process. Some of you may have specific long-term goals but be trying to figure immediate steps while others may have identified a next step or phase but are open to what the future holds beyond that. The good news is that both are acceptable, and we’re looking to understand you and where you want to go.

We ask you to reflect on your career goals because the job search process can start quickly, with companies coming on campus to woo and impress you just a few weeks into your first quarter. Because you will be exposed to new opportunities and companies you had never even considered, it’s important to do that reflection ahead of time so that you come in with a grounding of what’s important to you and where you think you want to go. This will help you make sense of all the opportunities in front of you and weed out the noise and confusion from the things that really matter to you. You can still change your mind and explore new paths, but you need to be grounded in a starting point or you’ll find yourself quickly overwhelmed and suffering from FOMO for things you aren’t even interested in!

As you consider your career goals, I have a few pieces of advice on how to identify them and how to share them with us:

  • Think about what you like most/least about your work or your company. Identifying things you enjoying doing is more likely to lead you to a compatible next step than trying to get away from things you don’t like.
  • Talk to people that do what you want to do. Leverage those in your company or your LinkedIn network and find out what they do every day. Does it sound like something you’d like? How did they get to where they are today? This may help you identify intermediate steps to your ultimate goal.
  • Tell us the truth! One pitfall we see is people telling us what they think we want to hear. This can be a problem in two ways. One is in the application review – when the goal you give us doesn’t really fit with where you’ve been or where you want to go, it can make it hard to understand your path and how the MBA will help you – it may actually raise more of a question mark around your goals. The other place this can cause an issue is after you’re admitted. We match resources to you based on what you tell us in the application, like connecting you with current students/alums who share a similar path. When applicants say one thing in the application but actually want a different path, it means we’re not connecting you with the most useful resources to help you with your decision.

So do some research to help you form your goals and discover how you plan to leverage your path and the Kellogg MBA to get where you want to go. The clearer it is to you, the clearer it will be to us, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success when you start at Kellogg!