The ‘Career Progression’ essay is one of the most common essay questions asked by universities abroad. These essays are not restricted to MBA programmes as many universities ask for a career progression essay for MS programmes related to management courses, as well. The word limit may vary from university to university and course to course; you may also find different versions of the same question asked in a different way. Often students make the mistake of repeating their entire resume, in paragraph form, while others treat this as a different version of their Statement of Purpose (SOP). This thought is not entirely wrong because the best way to approach this essay is to treat the essay as a bit of both.
Before we give you any tips on how to best attempt a career progression essay, it is important that you understand what this essay entails. As the name suggests, a career progression essay is a statement that typically is a documentation of where you have reached in your career, how you progressed to that role, and what you learned on the way.
It is important to remember that unless asked, a career progression essay need not mention your goals. Usually, universities have a goals essay as a separate question. In such cases, repeating your goals in the career progression essay is repetitive and a strict no. Also, universities seldom ask you directly to state your career progression to date. These essays are often clubbed with your intended contribution to the universities or how you would be able to use the MBA program to achieve your goals.
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Career Progression Essay Prompts
- How, considering your career progress to date, does an MBA fit in with your future career goals? Please describe.
- Discuss how you will leverage both your professional and academic experiences thus far to achieve your post-MBA career goals (250 words)
- What is unique about your background and experience that you would bring to your classmates at MBS?
- Why is the master’s program a critical next step toward your short-and long-term career goals? (Please limit your answer to 500 words)
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Here are some quick tips to help you write a Career Progression essay:
- Depending on the word limit, try not to include every single step in your career in detail. Some of the intermediary or transition stages can be referred to as just that – a transition in the career. For example: After moving from TCS, I did a short one-year stint with IBM, in the same capacity, before moving to Infosys in a leadership role.
- Keep the focus on sharing what you learnt from every step rather than what the step was. For instance: Managing a team at Infosys helped me further improve my communications skills. As I handled constant reporting of 10 engineers working on the same project, I quickly assimilated the habit of constant reporting and feedback.
- Try to suggest the stages which helped you decide your career goals. Example: Working as a Project Manager, I was constantly coordinating with other teams. Collaborating across domains, I realized that while my technical skillset was sound, my understanding of the functional domains still needs a lot of work.
- Showcase career progression as a progression of your personality rather than just job responsibilities. Example: Working onsite in the US was a great opportunity for me. I was able to further improve my ability to adapt and it also helped me to improve my communication skills.
With these tips, you can surely attempt and write a captivating essay. Remember to write a rough draft first and accordingly edit it. All the best!
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