Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

We still think that asking MBA candidates about their goals is plainly absurd, because so many students change their goals while in school. Further, isn't an MBA supposed to be about career development and exploration? Well, regardless of how we feel, during a time when the economy is down and many firms are be cutting back on their MBA hiring, it is important that you ensure that (if a school asks via its essays or interview) you have a compelling story for where your MBA will take you. Two years ago, it might have been compelling for you to get that banking job. Are you really capable of making that transition today? There are certainly fewer jobs in the real estate world. Is this a likely next step for you during a prolonged real estate drought? VC and PE jobs are challenging to land during the best of times - are you able to compete with the elite during a downturn?

These are just a few examples of questions that you might honestly ask yourself. It is important to keep in mind that MBA Admissions Committees are not only examining your story to make sure that you add something unique to the class, but, this year, they will likely send any borderline cases to the career services offices to confirm that your goals are realistic and that you won't be difficult to place post-MBA (that you won't hinder the school's employment stats and thusly affect their rankings). So, pay special attention to your goal statements and ensure that you can credibly stand behind them and, as we have written in the past, even consider alternate goals.