With more business school applicants and a longer, more complicated application process, many b-school admissions committees are crafting short answer questions that require a focused and succinct answer. Often, they want a simple, clear statement of your goal or goals, not the usual fluff that they read in longer application essays. This sample question from Columbia gets to the heart of the matter, Twitter-style.
Short Answer Question: What is your post-MBA professional goal? (200 characters maximum)
Columbia has conveniently provided a few sample answers as well. Here the aspects we believe you can analysis and reproduce in your own short answers.
“After my MBA I want to build my expertise in the energy sector and learn more about strategy and decision making by joining a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy and power companies.”
Our analysis: Notice that the "After my MBA" introductory phrase refers back to the question and puts the answer in the proper time frame. Adding a comma after MBA is a stylistic preference that is grammatical acceptable. The answer states the specific industry, type of company, and speciality of the company that the applicant wants to join post-MBA as well as what the applicant hopes to learn.
“After my MBA I hope to work in business development for a media company that is expanding its market share in Asia.”
Our analysis: Although this candidate is not sure what she wants to learn, she is specific about the role she will perform, type of company, goals of the company, and geographic region.
“My short term goal is to work with an investment firm that utilizes public private partnerships to invest in community development projects.”
Our analysis: The applicant uses a different, but just as effective transition to begin his response. His answer is specific, yet general: we know the type of company and company mission, but we don't know his role or the company's geographic region.
Your ideal answer will combine all the best elements from the above response, while be a reflection of your true goals.