Dream Job

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As part of applying to study an MSc or MBA programme at Imperial College Business School, you will answer a series of career planning questions and upload your CV.

When reviewing an application, we consider all aspects, including professional experience (if any) and career planning; so, your careers questions answers and CV will highlight whether you have thought about how an MSc or MBA will support you in achieving your future career aspirations.

This post aims to provide you with details of five things you can do to strengthen the career planning and experience sections of your MSc or MBA application.

1. Plan your career by doing research and thinking about possible roles

In the application, you will be asked to identify the sector you are interested in and your ideal employer, role and country. Therefore, we strongly recommend thoroughly researching your career goals by looking at job specifications for potential roles and employers you may want to work for after completing your MSc or MBA. Such research will also help you to grasp a better understanding of the sector in which you want to work and ensure it’s an area you are really interested in! 

As well as researching potential roles, you should also ensure you have a clear understanding of the programme you are applying to. We recommend you do this to ensure your career plan aligns to your chosen programme; a strong applicant will have a career aspiration which aligns to the content of the programme they are applying to.

We also consider it especially important for candidates to be focused on their career path early on in our application process because many employers open for applications to their graduate roles before our MSc programmes have even begun. We, therefore, want our students to be in the best possible place, early on, to have the option to be considered for the roles these companies offer.

2. Answer the career planning section in detail

For this section of the application form, we ask you to think about your future career and ask you three questions.

  • How your chosen programme at the Business School will help you reach your career goal?
  • What barriers you may need to overcome to reach this goal?
  • What skills you will need to develop in order to prepare for this career?

We advise being as specific as possible in your answers, to demonstrate the research you have done into your chosen career and highlight to us how studying with us will help you obtain your target role. We also recommend the use of examples in your answers, we want to see how your chosen programme specifically will prepare you for your next career steps, and exactly what skills you identify as being important in your target role.

We strongly advise you don’t write one-line answers with no examples. We also recommend you don’t write about previous academic results or skills, as you should use this section to illuminate your more unique skills; we can read about your academic results elsewhere in your application, so you don’t need to repeat yourself here.

We appreciate that not everyone will be aiming to join a large multinational company and that some applicants may wish to work for a family business or small/medium-sized organisations. If you are planning to set up your own business you will need to outline what expertise, product, or service your business will deliver. You will also be expected to demonstrate a coherent understanding of the targeted market, as well as existing market competitors. 

3. Give clear durations of the length(s) of your work experience and internships

Include specific dates, highlighting the exact duration of any internships or work experience you have completed. To ensure there is enough space on your CV to include relevant information, we also recommend only including work experience or extracurricular activities if less than three years old, or if relevant.

4. Use a clear CV format 

We recommend using a template, which will make your CV clear and doesn’t contain too much text. You can download a CV template here or find a template online – there are lots of guides readily available. Use your CV to highlight any international study on your CV in the education section, and extracurricular experiences, as well as academic and professional experience.

Your CV should be ideally one side of A4 in length (at the very most two pages maximum) as this will help to keep your CV clear and easily readable. Keeping your CV shorter in length will also ensure you to include only the most important and relevant information.

5. Highlight the responsibilities you’ve had in internships and work experience

Following on from using a clear CV format, we also recommend ensuring that your CV has a  clear description of duties. The strongest applicants will typically exhibit a clear description of duties which involve more complex tasks or responsibility – if you can illuminate the impact you have made or where you went beyond the norm then this is highly recommended. The strongest applicants will typically also have work experience which is highly relevant or transferrable to their target role – perhaps even with their target employer! 

We hope you have found this post useful and we look forward to reading your career planning answers and seeing your CVs!

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Holly Cavana

About Holly Cavanna

MSc Admissions Manager - Specialised Masters'

You can find the author's full profile, including publications, at their Meet me at the Masters' open day