Why MBA Essay is Most Important for MBA Admissions Why MBA? An inevitable question for all MBA aspirants. There are several reasons for which one would go for an MBA. In MBA admission essays and MBA admission interviews also this is a key question. You need to have a convincing and rock solid answer for this question. The generic causes for doing an MBA are Career progression in same industry or organization Change of career or industry To start your own business Sabbatical To expand your knowledge and vision You can have multiple reasons for your MBA from the above list. Further, you need prepare a list why you want an MBA. Take elements from the generic list above and add your own to prepare your own list. This will not only help you in writing your essays, but also during your MBA admission interview. Once the generic list is prepared, now time to develop concrete reasons for pursuing MBA. The next step is to analyze your short-term (5yrs) and long-term (5yrs above) goals with respect to the generic causes. While developing and analyzing your goals use the SMARTI framework. S-> Specific, M-> Measurable. A-> Attainable, R-> Relevant, T->Time bound and I->Informed. Specific: You goal need to be specific. Example: You are an analyst and you want to be a consultant or manager in your company. The role is specific. Many-a-times candidates just write, they want to progress in their career. Just mentioning a general progress will not help. You have to be as specific as possible. Here comes a question, if I don’t know exactly what I want to do after MBA? Then, at least for MBA admission purpose you have to discuss a goal and the skills and abilities you want to develop through MBA. Measurable: Certain things are not measurable such as success, happiness and sorrow. However, your stated goals should be measurable. Example: If you say, you want to be an M&A consultant, then it is easy to determine or find whether you have become an M&A consultant. Attainable: Remember MBA admission committees are looking for ambitious, yet realistic candidates for their MBA class. Example: You are a Marketing Manager at Pepsi and you say in next three years, I want to be the CEO of Pepsi. This is neither realistic nor attainable. Therefore, while developing your career goals do consider this element. Relevant: Your stated goals should be relevant to your past experience, skills and abilities. Example: A painter’s goal to be a Marketing manager at Pepsi will sound irrelevant. However, a painter’s goal to start her own art gallery will not only sound relevant but also ambitious. Time bound: Your state goals should be time bound. When you mention, you want to be an M&A consultant, you have to mention the time to achieve the goal. To sound attainable, you have to set a realistic time for achieving your goals. Informed: While framing your goals do a detailed research on your field of interest. Observe its trends and find out the opportunities and threats in that domain or industry. In your MBA admission essay, presenting some facts and figures about your industry will add great value to your application and will show that you are informed of your industry of interest. You have framed your short-term and long-term goals. Now you need to give a coherent structure to your answer. The past-future-present is the best sequence for the why MBA essay. First discuss your relevant work experiences, skills and abilities. Then discuss the future, that is your short-term and long- term goals using SMARTI framework. Now is the time to do the gap analysis. In gap analysis discuss what all skills you already possess from your past experiences and abilities and what all skills you need to develop. Once you are done with gap analysis, discuss what all gaps can be closed with MBA and how are you planning to close the other gaps such as professional certifications and continuous professional development. Remember to show the MBA as a key tool to achieve your goals. Further, never forget that MBA is a mean to achieve your goals not your goal. Many-a-time applicants make the mistake of discussing MBA as their goal. Additionally, in the why MBA essay includes two more questions: why MBA from this particular school and why MBA now? Therefore, while composing your answer do not forget to include answer for these two questions.