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How to answer the 'Why MBA' question?

Posted: February 6th, 2019, 5:21 pm
by MBACrystalBall
Question on Quora:
How do you answer the 'Why MBA' question?
My response:

This question doesn't have a 'right' answer, but there are plenty of 'wrong' answers that can kill your chances.

- - WHY MBA: What NOT to say - -

Informally, most MBA applicants will reveal that a higher salary is what they really want.

Some want a bigger brand name on their CV.

Others might confess that they are sick and tired of their current roles. Some hate their industry. Some dislike their boss.

They are hoping an MBA will help them escape from their current problems.

These may all be legit reasons for the big 'Why MBA' question, but they can't be the 'drivers'.

If your 'Why MBA' rationale starts and stops at any of these reasons, it's more likely to be interpreted as being superficial triggers.

Gone are the days when you could just focus on cracking the entrance exam and put your post-MBA career plans on the backburner for the next 2 years.

Most applicants who get interview calls have high GMAT scores and impressive profiles to begin with. Think about the additional insights you can share with the interviewer that'll help you knock out the competition and get in.

WHY MBA: Reasons that you can include in your response

There are many factors that you can highlight - the most impactful being an objective short-term post-MBA goal.

Go one step beyond the MBA degree and think about what you will do with that degree after graduation.

Some popular and acceptable reasons revolve around the following:
  • A change of industry / role / geography
  • Picking up new skills that would be relevant for those new jobs
  • Finding business partners (for a business idea that you already have in mind)
  • Building a strong network that can help you many years after you have graduated
Having the right reasons isn't enough. The big challenge is that most candidates will be tongue-tied when it comes to articulating their 'Why MBA' reasons even if they have all the answers in their head.

So make sure you choose the right words and practise your response before D-day.