INSEAD MBA Job Description 4 | Career Goals

Candidate’s First Draft

When this candidate began working with f(x)MBAConsulting he had already drafted a Goals & Why MBA? essay for another program. He approached f(x)MBAConsulting with the idea of using that same essay at INSEAD. Read it for yourself below. (Scroll down for the second and final drafts) This former client has consented to the publication of his/her MBA application material.

INSEAD MBA Job Description 4:

Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD

My fervor for numbers secured me a seat among X applicants at UNIVERSITY. Four years of rigor that followed equipped me with frameworks to analyze problems and engineer solutions. Technology and innovation gradually become my virtual room-mates and I embarked on the journey of creating ‘next-gen’ communication devices, before finding my love for the internet industry as a career path.

My first brush with internet businesses happened in COUNTRY as an ardent user of Netflix, Amazon and eBay. Inspired by Netflix, I soon realized the huge potential of online movie rentals in COUNTRY and returned to pioneer .COM COMPANY. Effectively managing the diverse group of X people I had chosen to nurture my dream, within a year I grew the business to $Xk revenues and X+ customers across X cities.

However, as .COM COMPANY’s success attracted attention, heavyweight corporations entered the market; further infusion of funds suffered and we had to eventually exit. Nonetheless, this invaluable experience, while showcasing my entrepreneurial strengths, also gave me insight into my limitations in areas like finance, marketing and strategic planning. Eager to learn about sustainable e-business models, I joined COMPANY #2, owner of COUNTRY’s leading ONLINE PORTAL. In addition to understanding the functioning of large internet companies, this stint also afforded me special insights into internet product development and consumer behavior. Besides impacting revenue and key performance matrices (as highlighted in my resume) my role at COMPANY #2 also grew significantly in terms of team management. Since my work entails interacting with, and getting buy-in, from senior management and cross-functional teams, my biggest learning at COMPANY #2 has been influencing people over whom I have no formal authority.

My career goal is to create a sustainable consumer internet business of my own, that uses technology to promote efficiency, and scale it to global levels. In order to be successful, I need superlative leadership and administrative skills with an excellent command over Consumer Psychology, Marketing and Strategy. I want to bring first-rate business skills into play in my second innings as a successful entrepreneur, therefore I see the SCHOOL MBA training and thence a position in Marketing with a technology driven global consumer business (like Amazon, eBay or Dell) as the crucial next steps for me in this journey. A deep theoretical framework developed through SCHOOL MBA’s top-notch business education coupled with practical exposure to marketing, customer acquisition and strategy formulation at a global scale would sharpen my business acumen and set the ground for my entrepreneurial ambitions.

I am drawn to SCHOOL for its pre-eminent reputation in X and general management education. The “NAME OF MAJOR” major at SCHOOL would allow me to obtain a 360-degree view of the factors that play a crucial role in customer satisfaction, business growth and profits. Courses like X with Professor X, Y with Professor Y and Z with Professor Z would enable me to construct marketing strategies tailored to consumer needs. I am also excited to work with Dr. D to learn e-business strategies and online consumer behavior for its direct relevance with my goals.

I am also drawn to SCHOOL for it emphasis on empowering students with a general management perspective, global outlook and collaborative leadership. The experiential learning through INITIATIVE and the ELECTIVE NAME electives at SCHOOL would develop the much needed worldview in me and help me transform into a global business leader.

I am eagerly looking forward to participate in SCHOOL’s dynamic student clubs particularly X and Y Clubs to mingle with my diverse classmates and create learning opportunities for everyone beyond the classroom. The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program at SCHOOL is of special significance to me – I hope to tap into the extensive network of the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities in the pursuit of my own entrepreneurial calling. Having emerged wiser from .COM COMPANY, a befitting culmination of all my experiences and SCHOOL MBA would be a successful venture of my own.

Candidate’s Second Draft

After a brainstorming session, the candidate made a first attempt at writing his thoughts down in a first draft specifically for INSEAD. As you can see at this stage, the basic ideas are there but the essay doesn’t flow very well. (Scroll down for our final draft)

INSEAD MBA Job Description 4:

Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD

My focus on web based commerce stems from my passion and fascination with the internet revolution which continues to change and challenge the way modern society communicates, interacts and perceives itself. The paradigm shift taking place in the realm of information dissemination could, I believe, be paralleled with that brought about by the introduction of the printing press in 1440. In my vision of the future I see myself playing a leadership role in the shaping of the internet revolution and evolution.

As a student at UNIVERSITY, I wanted to actively participate in the unfolding story of the internet, and this has remained my objective throughout my professional endeavors as a .com founder and product manager of online portals. My short to medium term goal is to complete my MBA and then return to e-business in a consulting role in order to gain a multi-faceted view of the industry before embarking on my long-term goal to start-up an international e-business company in the future. Specifically I would like to leverage my passion, internet expertise and business acumen to be a part of a high tech practice group at a reputed international consulting firm, helping companies define their strategy and road map.

I believe that success in life as well as in business really stems from the combination of three critical forces: the creative, the analytical and the social. I have always had a genuine desire to apply my creativity in a practical and useful way. Although the most evident example of this was my founding of .COM COMPANY, I have likewise been fulfilled in my endeavors to bring a fresh perspective to bear on issues like childhood poverty, in response to which I created the charity CHARITY NAME. During my engineering studies and through work experience I have sought to build a solid skill set and develop my analytical abilities. I believe that an INSEAD education would allow me to both share my strengths with my classmates but also to learn from practitioners, professors and the collective knowledge base contained within INSEAD’s student body. Finally, success is a result of the social. By social I mean the relationships we build with others and our awareness of the world we live in. INSEAD is a unique school in that it provides an individual with an excellent environment in which to confront oneself with other cultures through first-hand experience. Consequently people at INSEAD build long-lasting friendships and business relationships on an international scale.

A year at INSEAD is the opportunity to continue to develop myself along three dimensions, the creative, the analytical and the social. To achieve my goals of consulting for and eventually building an international / global e-business a global perspective coupled with the ability to work in culturally diverse teams is pivotal. Only INSEAD offers students the opportunity to mingle with peers from over 80 countries, and I am convinced that the INSEAD MBA experience is pivotal to becoming a well rounded leader.

Final Draft

This essay is spot on. The candidate is able to connect his PAST experiences to his FUTURE goals. He also demonstrates a clear understanding of what differentiates INSEAD from other schools and how he will benefit from an INSEAD MBA

INSEAD MBA Job Description 4:

Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD

In the future I see myself playing a leadership role shaping the internet revolution. With the long-term ambition to found my own global internet company, in the immediate-term I plan to leverage my passion, drive and business acumen to make an impact as a team member of a Technology Practice Group at a global consulting firm like Bain or BCG. I am especially interested in advising businesses on online strategies to reach consumers, reduce costs or expand their market share. Gaining practical exposure to international businesses through consulting would help me to reach my entrepreneurial goals later in my career.

I believe that success in life as well as business, is built three foundational pillars: the analytical, creative, and social.

Analyzing and solving complex business problems with INSEAD classmates from a diverse set of backgrounds, I hope to both share and grow in my ability to analyze business decisions from a multi-faceted point of view.

My genuine desire to apply my creativity is most evidenced through my founding of .COM COMPANY, but I have likewise endeavored to bring a fresh perspective to issues like childhood poverty, in response to which I created the charity CHARITY NAME. I believe that I will further develop my ability to generate creative solutions alongside practitioners, professors and the alumni in the INSEAD community.

Finally, success is a result of the relationships we build and our awareness of the world. I am excited at the unparalleled opportunity to mingle with people from 80+ nations at INSEAD. Working, studying, and socializing with INSEAD classmates who bring a unique perspective to the table, by virtue of their origin and experience, I will be challenged to think beyond my current horizon, cultivate trans-cultural leadership skills and build an international network of life-long friendships.

I faced challenges in discovering the right marketing techniques, correct price points and managing financial matters at .COM COMPANY, I also became aware of several gaps in my skill-set.  To grow professionally and achieve my career aspirations, I need first-rate business skills in the areas of sales, marketing and finance. INSEAD’s flexible curriculum appeals to my desire to build a portfolio of courses tailored to my needs and interests. eLab@INSEAD is of special interest to me as I endeavor to deeply understand value creation and competitive advantages in the digital economy.

I am convinced that INSEAD is an excellent fit for me and that a year within your community would mean the opportunity to continue to develop myself analytically, socially and culturally to achieve my goals of consulting and eventually building a global e-business.

The Candidate has basically written out his resume/CV in prose. This stuff should be pretty obvious from reading the resume/CV. Don’t waste precious space rehashing information.
The candidate makes an attempt to connect past experiences with future goals.
Good.
A common problem with MBA applicants is that they don’t know exactly what they want to do with their lives. This candidate seems to both know and not know. We aren’t sure if this is his short or long-term goal and even if we were, his statement is so all encompassing and that it sounds confused.

Don’t all businesses aim to be sustainable (in terms of P&L)? What consumer internet business doesn’t use technology (by definition)?

Going from being an entrepreneur at your own start-up to working in marketing in a corporate setting is a big leap both culturally and in terms of core skill-set.

Is this guy going to be able to thrive in a highly structured corporate environment? Would any of those companies offer him a marketing role in their US offices (which is what he wanted)? He’s a foreign-born engineer type that has no experience in marketing, has never lived in the US (and therefore isn’t familiar with the US Consumer) and finally, his English is not native – so he probably couldn’t be trusted to write a line of marketing copy.

What do you think? The Admissions Committee is thinking that even with the benefit of an MBA, his post-MBA career goal is not aligned with his past experience.

DING

A couple paragraphs ago he said he was looking for a post-MBA role in marketing. Now we get the feeling that what he really plans to do short-term is look for funding for his next start-up.

Admissions Committee is wondering:

Is this guy being straight with us?
DING

Now you are probably asking yourself:
‘How could this candidate not have seen the issues with his story before he submitted this essay to 5 top ten schools a year earlier (and was unceremoniously dinged at all five)?????’

Let me assure you that this candidate looked very good on paper. He had a high GMAT, a great GPA from an awesome university and solid work experience.

The reality is that it is hard to craft your story and at the same time cast an impartial and critical eye on your own handiwork.

I see this all the time. I can’t explain exactly why it happens, only that it does. In other words, it’s a known unknown.

Candidate demonstrates a bigger picture understanding of the internet industry and hints at what his place in it might be within that industry.
Notice how we remodeled his story?  In his original essay he saw himself first and foremost AS AN ENTREPRENEUR.

Now he has positioned himself as someone who is and wants to continue being a part of the INTERNET REVOLUTION.

How has and will he do that? Through various MEDIUMS: entrepreneurship is just one medium, product management was another and his post-MBA goal to work in consulting is yet another.

Now his story is starting to make sense.

This would have been more credible if he had actually named some practice groups/firms.
This is Amazing! In one sentence the Candidate has summed up in plain English what he wants to do professionally.
Here the Candidate justifies why Consulting is interesting to him and also how Consulting in the short-term is relevant to his long-term career goal. Genius!
He doesn’t come right out and say it, but by valuing these three skills the candidate is communicating something about himself to the Admissions Committee:

‘Hey look at me! I’m a well rounded guy – even though I’m an engineer type….I still value creativity and inter-personal skills. Since I value them, there is a pretty good chance I also possess them.’

Outcome:
After submitting lacklustre applications at 5 top ten schools the previous year there was only one school that he hadn’t applied to yet: INSEAD.

After working with f(x)MBAConsulting the candidate was interviewed and offered a place at INSEAD.

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However, as .COM COMPANY’s success attracted attention, heavyweight corporations entered the market; further infusion of funds suffered and we had to eventually exit. Nonetheless, this invaluable experience, while showcasing my entrepreneurial strengths, also gave me insight into my limitations in areas like finance, marketing and strategic planning. Eager to learn about sustainable e-business models, I joined COMPANY #2, owner of COUNTRY’s leading ONLINE PORTAL.[foot]The Candidate has basically written out his resume/CV in prose. This stuff should be pretty obvious from reading the resume/CV. Don’t waste precious space rehashing information.[/foot]

stint also afforded me special insights into internet product development and consumer behavior.[foot]The candidate makes an attempt to connect past experiences with future goals.
Good.
[/foot]

My career goal is to create a sustainable consumer internet business of my own, that uses technology to promote efficiency, and scale it to global levels.[foot]A common problem with MBA applicants is that they don’t know exactly what they want to do with their lives. This candidate seems to both know and not know. We aren’t sure if this is his short or long-term goal and even if we were, his statement is so all encompassing and that it sounds confused.

Don’t all businesses aim to be sustainable (in terms of P&L)? What consumer internet business doesn’t use technology (by definition)?[/foot]

a position in Marketing with a technology driven global consumer business (like Amazon, eBay or Dell)[foot]Going from being an entrepreneur at your own start-up to working in marketing in a corporate setting is a big leap both culturally and in terms of core skill-set.

Is this guy going to be able to thrive in a highly structured corporate environment? Would any of those companies offer him a marketing role in their US offices (which is what he wanted)? He’s a foreign-born engineer type that has no experience in marketing, has never lived in the US (and therefore isn’t familiar with the US Consumer) and finally, his English is not native – so he probably couldn’t be trusted to write a line of marketing copy.

What do you think? The Admissions Committee is thinking that even with the benefit of an MBA, his post-MBA career goal is not aligned with his past experience.

DING[/foot]

I hope to tap into the extensive network of the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities in the pursuit of my own entrepreneurial calling.[foot]A couple paragraphs ago he said he was looking for a post-MBA role in marketing. Now we get the feeling that what he really plans to do short-term is look for funding for his next start-up.

Admissions Committee is wondering:

Is this guy being straight with us?
DING[/foot]

Having emerged wiser from .COM COMPANY, a befitting culmination of all my experiences and SCHOOL MBA would be a successful venture of my own.[foot]Now you are probably asking yourself:
‘How could this candidate not have seen the issues with his story before he submitted this essay to 5 top ten schools a year earlier (and was unceremoniously dinged at all five)?????’

Let me assure you that this candidate looked very good on paper. He had a high GMAT, a great GPA from an awesome university and solid work experience.

The reality is that it is hard to craft your story and at the same time cast an impartial and critical eye on your own handiwork.

I see this all the time. I can’t explain exactly why it happens, only that it does. In other words, it’s a known unknown.[/foot]

leadership role in the shaping of the internet revolution and evolution.[foot]Candidate demonstrates a bigger picture understanding of the internet industry and hints at what his place in it might be within that industry.[/foot]

actively participate in the unfolding story of the internet, and this has remained my objective throughout my professional endeavors as a .com founder and product manager of online portals.[foot]Notice how we remodeled his story?  In his original essay he saw himself first and foremost AS AN ENTREPRENEUR.

Now he has positioned himself as someone who is and wants to continue being a part of the INTERNET REVOLUTION.

How has and will he do that? Through various MEDIUMS: entrepreneurship is just one medium, product management was another and his post-MBA goal to work in consulting is yet another.

Now his story is starting to make sense.[/foot]

part of a high tech practice group at a reputed international consulting firm,[foot]This would have been more credible if he had actually named some practice groups/firms.[/foot]

With the long-term ambition to found my own global internet company, in the immediate-term I plan to leverage my passion, drive and business acumen to make an impact as a team member of a Technology Practice Group at a global consulting firm like Bain or BCG.[foot]This is Amazing! In one sentence the Candidate has summed up in plain English what he wants to do professionally.[/foot]

I am especially interested in advising businesses on online strategies to reach consumers, reduce costs or expand their market share. Gaining practical exposure to international businesses through consulting would help me to reach my entrepreneurial goals later in my career.[foot]Here the Candidate justifies why Consulting is interesting to him and also how Consulting in the short-term is relevant to his long-term career goal. Genius![/foot]

the analytical, creative, and social.[foot]He doesn’t come right out and say it, but by valuing these three skills the candidate is communicating something about himself to the Admissions Committee:

‘Hey look at me! I’m a well rounded guy – even though I’m an engineer type….I still value creativity and inter-personal skills. Since I value them, there is a pretty good chance I also possess them.’[/foot]

I am convinced that INSEAD is an excellent fit for me and that a year within your community would mean the opportunity to continue to develop myself analytically, socially and culturally to achieve my goals of consulting and eventually building a global e-business.[foot]Outcome:
After submitting lacklustre applications at 5 top ten schools the previous year there was only one school that he hadn’t applied to yet: INSEAD.

After working with f(x)MBAConsulting the candidate was interviewed and offered a place at INSEAD.
[/foot]