(Believe it or not, these are all actual reasons some people choose to earn the degree.) Kenan-Flagler, like all top programs, wants engaged, driven, and focused individuals who are ready to be an active part of its MBA experience and to do big things with the knowledge and skills they acquire from it.Although the school does not ask you to lay out your background and explain how you reached this choice, providing some basic context for your goal is a good idea (just be succinct!Consider elements of your personality that you feel are particularly revelatory of who you are as an individual (e.g., values, hobbies, skills) as well as significant instances from your past that illustrate something about you or influenced the person you are today (e.g., accomplishments, excursions, milestones). A narrative approach should allow you to present the situation in a compelling way—from inspiration to outcome—while conveying the emotions you experienced as you navigated it.
With career goals essays, candidates often feel they must be totally unequivocal in their stated aspirations, but with the second part of this essay prompt, Kenan-Flagler is giving applicants room to speculate on and discuss other options.
The admissions committee knows that sometimes the best-laid plans do not play out as expected or may even yield unintended results, and the school wants to know not only that you are prepared to switch gears and recommit to a different path, if necessary, but also that you are fully capable of doing so.
Kenan-Flagler’s career-related essay question focuses strictly on applicants’ initial post-MBA job.
Business schools know only too well that students regularly change their long-term professional plans after being exposed through the MBA experience to new people, information, and options and after learning new skills and ways of looking at the world and themselves.
Note that the question is not asking about a time when you acted as an inclusive leader but rather about a time when you saw someone doing the opposite and were affected by it in a way that has subsequently influenced your beliefs about how a leader should act.
You will obviously need to describe the situation you witnessed, of course, but try to minimize how much time and detail you devote to this portion of the essay, and do not dedicate space to blaming the person or group doing the marginalizing.Ideally, Kenan-Flagler offers one or more particular resources or experiences that you believe are vital to you in achieving your goals and are not available elsewhere.When you include this information in your essay, do not simply provide a list but explain how you will engage with these elements of the MBA program and what you expect to gain from them.The key is to show that your alternate goal is just as connected to your skills, interests, and ambitions as your original plan and does not come “out of left field,” so to speak.For example, you would probably have a difficult time convincing the admissions committee that your short-term goal is to work in technology consulting while your alternate goal would be to work in human resources, because these industries, for the most part, require entirely different skills and personalities.Make sure to spend the majority of your mere 250-word allotment on your emotional reaction to the incident and the leadership ideas it then inspired and/or altered.Optional Essay: Is there any additional information not presented elsewhere in your application that you would like the admissions committee to consider?Given that reality, asking about candidates’ long-term goals can in some ways be a waste of time, if an admissions committee is not simply doing so to see evidence that the applicant has put serious thought into their plan for attending business school.With the first part of this prompt, Kenan-Flagler wants to know that you have thoroughly considered this next step in your career and are pursuing an MBA for very clear, specific reasons—not because you feel you are supposed to or because you are following in a parent’s footsteps, and because you do not know what else to do at this juncture in your life!Visit campus, sit in on a class, and connect with students and alumni.Identify clubs, events, courses, initiatives, and other opportunities that speak to who you are as an individual and to who you want to be by the time you graduate and going forward in your career.