Aspiration Career Essay

The following essay was submitted to the Wharton MBA program by our client. The client was accepted to the program.

Upon graduation I wish to lead the fiber-optics product management team in one of the world’s largest optical communication companies (such as Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T), supervising a group of 5-10. Striving to promote myself within the organization, I wish to become the Vice President of Marketing in the fiber optics segment, supervising several dozens of employees.

My mid-term goal is to become the founder and CEO of an innovative fiber optics firm. I desire to position the company as a profitable, international and leading company in its industry, and aspire to establish a sustainable organization, creating workplaces for thousands of employees and turning an underdeveloped area into a flourishing industrial zone. Passave, an optical communication company, which was lately acquired for $300M, is a model for such a successful company.

After fulfilling this goal, I intend to follow the growing trend of successful executives who moved to the public service sector. My plan is to become a senior manager in the Prime Minister’s Office.

I chose my first full time position in the Optronics Division at the military because I knew it will introduce me to the diverse optical communication community in my country, equipping me with basic hands-on experience in the field. The first two years I worked as a Physicist and a System Engineer and then I was promoted to the position of Electro-Optical Projects Manager in the division’s headquarters. There I set the goals, supervised and directed 9 Project Mangers in optical projects performed by 7 different companies in the defense industry.

At that point I realized that for developing the managing tools required for a senior manager I’ll need to gain more experience in bigger organizations. Therefore, I persuaded the head of the R&D directorate to be reassigned to a classified Intelligence unit. My first mission as an Optical Engineer was to lead a group of 4 in building a module which was the heart of a $100M system. One year later I was appointed to a Team Leader where I commanded a team of 8. Two years later I was promoted to Project Leader.

I understood I lacked the financial and international experience of technological project management to lead a global optical communication company. I therefore became a Project Leader in a classified unit of the PMO. I supervised a team of 20, and managed all financial aspects of a $2M project (presented to the Minister of Defense), where I also had the marvelous opportunity to negotiate with highly ranked officials of three foreign governments.

While considering studying for a PhD, I worked as a part time an Internal Consultant of 5 Project Leaders. I then became an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) in Precede, an entrepreneurship and investment firm, in hope to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur. Working in Precede, I matured in my understanding. I realized I still lack some Finance, Marketing and General Management foundations, which an MBA will enable me to develop.

In light of my long term goal to become a founder and CEO of a technologically oriented company, I’ll need to gain the strongest possible general management skills. The finance and marketing foundations will compensate for my inexperience in these fields. The structured formal general management education I’ll acquire in Wharton will broaden my view and give me the tools to leverage my experience and create a successful company. I believe an MBA is the most structural way to learn how to build organizational values, culture and design organizational structure and hierarchy.

Moreover, most of my leadership experience was developed in governmental organizations, where a leader is defined in terms of his values, inter-personal skills and professionalism. However, looking into the future, I will need to lead in the private sector where leadership is also characterized by the talent to lead corporate players in global, competitive markets and an understanding of the cultural, economical and financial forces that drive the marketplace. Hence, I believe studying by the researchers of the Center of Leadership and Change Development like Prof. S. Kaplan who composed Framing the Future will help me build and lead a high performance optical communication firm.

My experience is mainly based on large and established organizations. Hence, learning from Prof. Dushnitsky on the various dimensions of new venture creation and growth in Entrepreneurship, will show me his perspective on the trail I wish to follow as a founder. Desiring to build a sustainable company, I am looking forward to taking Strategy and Competitive Advantage, where I hope to learn how to create and maintain such an advantage. Learning how to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and how to exploit them where “Creating Values” was contemplated, will lay a solid basis for achieving these goals by myself.

In a world which is growing ever flatter, I find international exposure and experience important for the global company I wish to found. The Multinational Management major courses, such as Global Strategic Management, and participation in the Global Immersion Program will prove valuable in helping me understand other cultures which will be important when penetrating new markets. This international exposure will improve my ability to establish contacts with other nations, hence supporting my longer term career goal of rejoining the PMO.

Wharton’s mindset and student body imply numerous benefits. The exciting opportunity to participate in school’s management would contribute to the fruitful interaction between students and faculty. I plan to take part in the leadership development activities and the various student clubs to create strong friendships. These connections, combined with the great global alumni community, can be especially relevant as an eco system for the company I plan to start and for recruiting its management backbone.

Interview Questions About Your Career Plans and Aspirations

When you’re interviewing for a new job, recruiters will generally try to figure out if the job will be a good fit given your projected career path. You may encounter questions about how a particular position fits in with your career plan. This kind of question will also help a recruiter see whether or not you plan to stay at the company long-term, or hope to move on quickly.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Career Aspirations

The interviewer may simply ask why you are interested in the job or why you want to work at the company to extract this information, or they might ask a direct question like "How does this job fit in with your career plan?" Other ways this question may be phrased include:  

Again, your interviewer's main goal with this question is to determine if you're a good fit — does this job make sense given your long-term career strategy? Will you stick around in the position for a reasonable amount of time? Are your ambitions reasonable, and in line with the company/industry? Develop your answer accordingly. 

Consider Why You Want the Job

Before the interview, think carefully about your career aspirations. Even if you do not have a specific career goal, you may have an industry you are interested in working in, or a set of skills you hope to develop. Then, reread the job listing, and think of ways in which the requirements and responsibilities of the job will prepare you for those goals. You will need to make a strong case for what appeals to you about the job for which you are interviewing, while also addressing your future aspirations.

Be careful how you frame your response if you are using this job as a stepping-stone to a higher level job within your career path. Make sure your time frame for occupying the initial job is sufficient to add value in that role. Generally, three to five years will make sense for most jobs.

What to Avoid

This type of question presents some potential pitfalls for candidates if they are not careful.

Avoid answers that place emphasis on salary, location, and even the company, since employers typically want a candidate who is well qualified for and motivated to pursue the job itself. Keep the focus on your career — now is not the time to share ambitions related to your family or personal life. 

Perhaps you're unsure of your precise career plans (this step-by-step guide to setting career goals can help!). That can make forming an answer challenging. If that's the case, focus on the skills you hope to use as part of your career. 

Examples of the Best Answers

  • I am looking for a way to transfer my writing, media relations, event planning skills, and public relations expertise to a position within healthcare. I am fascinated by the trends in healthcare and have a family background in medicine so the prospect of working for a hospital is very appealing to me. Ultimately, I have an interest in managing a communications operation at a hospital but I see that as a few years down the road after I have further honed my skills.
  • I have always loved sales and thrived on the excitement of landing new clients and competing with my peers. Your position is attractive since it would provide the opportunity for me to enhance relationships with current major clients while also pursuing new customers. I want to stay in sales for the foreseeable future. My goal will be to become one of the leading account managers on your staff, recognized as a product expert with a strong track record for satisfying customers.
  • As you can see from my background, I have spent the past three years since graduate school as an HR generalist. During this time, I have enjoyed my work in recruiting the most, so I am looking to specialize in the employment arena with a company like yours that has a large recruitment operation. Ultimately, maybe 3 - 5 years down the road, I would love to direct a recruiting operation at a major company, as long as I could keep my hands in some of the activities I enjoy, like interviewing candidates.

More Job Interview Questions and Answers

Interview Questions and Answers
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Questions for candidates for employment to ask the interviewer.

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