How to write a Career Progression Essay

Amongst the more common categories of questions asked as admission essays by universities abroad is the career progression essay. The word limit may vary from universities to university but it is easily one of the more famous essays. And also perhaps the worst attempted essays by students. While most of them simply turn their resumes into paragraph form, many treat this as a different version of their SOP. The best way is, however, to treat the essays as a bit of both.

Before we give you any tips on how to best attempt a career progression essay, it’s important that you understand what a career progression essay. 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 learnt on the way.

It is important to remember that unless asked, a career progression essay need not mention your goals. Usually, universities have a separate 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 progress till 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.

Here are a few questions asked by universities for Career Progression:

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.)

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 small 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.

Working as a Project Manager, I was constantly coordinating with other teams. Working across domains I realized that while my technical skill set was sound, my understanding of the functional domains still need a lot of work.

  • Present career progression as a progression of your personality rather than just job responsibilities.

Working onsite in the US was a great opportunity for me. Not only was I able to further improve my ability to adapt but also helped me improve my communication skills.


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