Why MBA? Why XYZ School?
Assess yourself on the following questions:
Where do I stand today?
Where do I want to be in the future?
What skills are required for getting there?
Do I possess these skills?
How can an MBA help me acquire these skills?
Now read through the two scenarios given below and see if you can relate to either of them.
A. Your career goals are a continuation of your career so far, and you would like to take on bigger responsibilities after your MBA. If this is your reason for pursuing an MBA, you have to guard against projecting lack of ambition. You also need to describe as to why you can’t learn the skills at work itself? The way around the situation is to analyze your job responsibilities in detail, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and after listing the skills you will need in your future positions, try to figure out the best way to acquire the missing competencies. There would be some skills that you are likely to gain only at work, while others would be best achieved through an MBA.
b. If you are aiming to switch careers, you need to convince the admissions committee that an MBA will help you make this change. Additional skills and experiences would also be needed. Specify for how long you have kept this goal in mind. Why do you think you are a good fit for your goals? What steps have you taken so far to prepare for the change?
In each case you will first need to show that you are aware of what it takes to achieve your goals. Then, try to describe how you will benefit from an MBA. You have maximum likelihood of profiting from the program if you enter it with specific and clear objectives in mind. List those objectives while answering the Why MBA? question.
Why XYZ School?
While describing 'Why MBA?' you should try and connect your reasons with something specific to the program offered by the school. A simpler case is when the school offers a specialization or a unique program that not many other good schools offer. A more complex case is when your interests lie in investment banking and almost all schools have matching curriculums. You then could look at other factors:
School's location - New York will offer you networking opportunities while studying...
Teaching methods - The case method will help you take over 400 real time business decisions in different functional areas...
Culture of the school - Students not only study in teams but are actually responsible for running several functions at school. You have excelled in team settings and would like to learn and contribute...
Don't go by the above standard answers; find one of your own by researching the school's website. When you connect your reasons seamlessly with your strengths, past experiences or future goals, the results can be amazing. A visit to the school or insights from a present student can be very useful too.
Chapter 1: Achievements
Chapter 2: Career goals and career progress
Chapter 3: Leadership and Teamwork
Chapter 4: Unique Applicant
Chapter 5: Weakness, Setback and Failure
Chapter 7: Miscellaneous issues