How to Answer What Are Your Career Goals Question in an MBA Interview

Watch this video carefully to prepare a feasible, meaningful, and structured response to the question pertaining to Career Goals post MBA. The approach discussed in this MBA Interview Preparation video will help you articulate what you have already written in your essays and leave a positive impression on your interviewer.

How to Answer What are Your Career Goals Question in an MBA Interview

The "What are the Your Career Goals?" question is one of the most important aspects of the MBA interview. By answering this question well, you will be able to display conviction in your plan for your post-MBA future and show your interviewer that you have given due consideration to what exactly you intend to achieve through your MBA education. It is absolutely vital that this aspect of your profile shine through, as it suggests that you are a mature professional who understands his/her own career and what direction you intend to take it in. This article will cover the common mistakes committed by most candidates, the correct approach, and the possible follow-up questions.

The Most Common Mistakes

The most basic mistake that most MBA candidates tend to make, in answering this question, is providing a generic answer. For example, many candidates answer that they intend to take up a managerial position in a multi-national firm; this answer does not help much, as it is a very common answer that does not tell the interviewer much about your specific plans. It is an equally poor approach to provide a wishy-washy answer; an answer along the lines of "A position that helps me realize my true potential" is a very emotional answer but is not very convincing. Another poor approach is mentioning unreasonable goals; if a candidate with only three-four years of experience states that they intend to pursue an AVP level position at a multi-national firm, that is an unrealistic goal and suggests a severe lack of foresight. Similarly, many candidates make the mistake of mentioning irrelevant goals that do not line up with their background or their management education. Ensuring sync between one's background, targeted management education, and plans for the future is the most important part of career planning; if your answer indicates that you have not bothered to plan out the future of your career properly, it will reflect very poorly on you.

The Correct Approach

The best way to formulate an answer to the career goals question is to suggest a clear profile and industry that you intend to pursue, immediately after the MBA, for example, "Technology Consultant in a prominent consulting firm". Your answer must also suggest that you have clear short and long-term goals that must also be synced. When mentioning your career goals, you should talk about the role you intend to take up, rather than the designation; rather than stating that you intend to "become a CEO", say that you intend to be a "Leader" who solves some real problem. You must indicate a real vision for your professional future; remember, business schools seek the leaders of tomorrow, and the best way to make a good impression in your MBA interview is to talk about a problem in your industry that you intend to solve. By suggesting that you will go on to be a worthy business leader, you will be able to convey that you will be a worthy alumnus to the school. Above all, be sure to maintain sync with your application essays; assume that your interviewer has thoroughly read the essays and do not contradict any information presented within them.

While explaining your career goals, it is vital to only state goals that reasonably achievable for you. While showing ambition can be lauded, the school will want to select candidates who are likely to achieve their goals; the school wants to be part of your success story, not your failure story. If your goals include a shift in careers, then you cannot simply state a desire for it; you must build a case for your career shift. Changing careers is a significant decision and, as is the case with all significant decisions, your career goals answer must show that you have given the matter due thought, conducted thorough research, and have a plan; this will indicate to the interviewer that you have the professional maturity needed to take on an MBA.

Finally, there is the matter of tone. Your answer to the career goals question must reflect conviction in and passion for your chosen goals. You must be confident that you have the right plan and are the right person for that plan. Remember, your goal in answering the career goals question in your MBA interview is to show that you have a good idea of how you will apply what you will learn through the MBA and unless you can project confidence in your plans, you will unable to do so.

The Possible Follow-Up Questions

There are a number of questions that your interviewer may follow up the "What are your career goals?" question with. We have prepared an exhaustive list of some of the most likely options; please go through it carefully.

- How does your background prepare you for your career goals?
- What skills do you wish to acquire through the MBA for achieving your career goals?
- What inner/deeper inspiration drives you for pursuing your desired career path?
- In your lifetime, what impact do you wish to leave on your functional area/ industry?
- What are a few key challenges faced by your prospective industry/functional area? What solutions do you propose?

If your answer reflects a desire to shift careers, expect a follow-up question along the lines of the following:

-What is your inspiration behind moving to a different role/industry at this point in your career?
-Why do you wish to undo all of your work so far?
- Why do you think that you are a good candidate for the desired role/industry?
- Why did you not shift into the desired role/industry earlier?

By following the steps laid out in this article, you will be able to formulate an effective answer to the "What are your career goals question?", for your MBA interview. For a more complete understanding of MBA interview preparation, please read the other articles, prepared by Experts' Global.

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