Tobias Nemet shares insights in the MBA application process
"Where do you see yourself in five years from now?" may seem a trite question—but it has a purpose, and answering it is essential when you are contemplating studying for an MBA degree. Your career vision is not only something you will most certainly be asked about during your interview but also something you should discuss in your letter of motivation.
Be specific in your essay
In the process of preparing your MBA application, you should, thus, carefully think about where you would like to take your career. Be realistic and as specific as possible: simply stating that you aim to "advance to a higher position" is far too vague and will get you nowhere. The key question to consider is what benefits, other than a prestigious MBA degree, you can get from the program you are applying for and how this will help you reach your career goals. You should also refer explicitly to the program content to show that you have familiarized yourself with the curriculum.
It may well be that, at the time of your application, you do not yet know exactly what you would like your career to be like after your MBA, or do not want to limit yourself to one option. In either case, refrain from writing things like "The program will certainly help me become clear on my career ambitions"—but be honest nonetheless. Program managers and academic directors are highly experienced and can easily tell during the interview whether you have not made up your mind because you are still evaluating your options, or whether you have no career vision whatsoever. I am sure you can think of two or three career paths that you are interested in and that you might be able to pursue thanks to the MBA. During your interview or in your letter of motivation, outline one or two possible career scenarios in greater detail to demonstrate you have given this issue some thought.
Be honest about yourself
A clear career vision is not only helpful when it comes to applying for an MBA program. Setting yourself goals and working towards achieving them will also allow you to benefit from your classes, your lecturers and your peers in a completely different way.