Backgrounds & Goals
SOM 310 Statement of Background and Goals (Essay)
What is a Statement of Background and Goals?
Along with grade point averages, graduate test scores (e.g. GMAT, LSAT),
activities, and accomplishments, a prospective employer or graduate
school may require you to write an essay about your background and
goals. They are looking for factors that have influenced or shaped your
career and/or research decisions. They will read your essay to determine
whether you "fit" in their organization or program, based largely on the
professional image you portray (the "story" you tell about yourself).
When you write such an essay, you want to think about what details will
help convey a professional image; also think about what you should leave
out (while remaining honest and sincere).
Other opportunities to write statements of background and goals may occur
during your yearly review on the job, or in professional career
development workshops. You may also be asked to provide a brief "bio"
(biography) for an article you wrote for publication, a project you
managed, a proposal you are spearheading -- or, you may be asked to sum
up your background and goals before or after a professional speech you
are giving at a conference, or a briefing you lead for upper management
in your company.
In each of these instances, your audience changes, and your specific
purpose may change, and thus your content will change -- even as you
overall purpose is still to tell about your background and objectives in
- Write a one-page essay about your background and goals.
- Choose either a graduate admissions committee or a prospective
employer as your audience.Your ultimate purpose is to be
accepted or hired.Concentrate on establishing a professional
image of yourself, but present yourself honestly.
- This is not a resume or cover letter, but an essay. You need
write so that the reader(s) can follow a personal thread that ties
your background to your goals. You want the reader(s) to
Write a brief biography that includes information about your
background and goals for:
- your SOM instructor
- your new date's parents
- your career counselor
Tips For Proceeding:
- Take some time in class to brainstorm ideas: think about your
educational background, work history, extra-curricular activities,
sports, family, personal interests and values, professional/career goals,
research interests, and/or some significant feature/event of your life.
- Analyze and profile your intended audience.
- Think carefully about your purpose and aim.
- Prioritize the information you have decided to include.
- Draft quickly: do not stop to edit the first time, but rather go back
when you're through to revise,edit, and proofread.
- Review your draft and proofread.
- Revise your essay after peer-editing. Make substantial changes
based on re-thinking your audience, purpose, and content.
- Edit and proofread.
- Gathering material for writing.
- Assessing the needs of a specific audience.
- Determining purpose and organizing content.
- Learning the process of writing from a rough draft stage through
revisions, editing,proof-reading, and re-thinking your
- Re-writing a cohesive, polished response in order to "get your
foot in the door."