In Paragraph Three, You Refer to Certain Experiences That Have Prepared You for a Career

In Paragraph Three, You Refer to Certain Experiences That Have Prepared You for a Career

Version: 2
Client Name: Jennifer / TargetSchool:ColumbiaUniversity
Essay Question:
What are your short-term and long-term career goals? How will the Columbia Business School MBA help you achieve these goals?
Essay Type: Future Goals / School Fit
Actual Word Count: 969 / Target Word Count: 1000
Second Submission of Essay with Editor’s Comments:
I have always been told to figure out what you like to do and then make a career out of it. Eight years ago, armed with this bit of philosophy, I set out to find out what I liked to do. [Comment 1][M1] Before entering college I realized that my interests lay in business. In college, my courses in business were the ones looked forward to the most, and my business projects and presentations were the most challenging and rewarding of all my undergraduate course work. So, it was easy for me to decide to pursue a career in business when I graduated from college, leading to a career as a defined contribution analyst.
Now, as I once again evaluate what I want my career to be, I am considering that advice again. What do I like to do? [Comment 2][M2] I enjoy solving problems in the areas of retirement services and defined contribution plans. Retirement planning is important to everyone, and it will only become more important as time goes on. In the next few years, after successfully earning my MBA at Columbia, I would like to seek a position as a defined contribution analyst in an international finance organization. Because of the excellent preparation Columbia will have provided me, I will immediately excel and climb up the corporate ladder. [Comment 3][M3]This is the best way that I can make an impact and grow as a professional at the same time.
Eventually, I would like to expand my client base overseas, starting with the Asia, where the foundation of the defined contribution is still very weak and unfounded. Certain experiences have prepared me well for this goal. [Comment 4][M4] I look forward to the opportunity to put my Chinese language skills to use, possibly by first serving as an analyst in Hong Kong or Shanghai. After gaining more experience in this market, I would like to my understanding of [Comment 5][M5] both the Chinese and American cultures to use by starting a practice that serves businesses that operate in both markets. As the Chinese economy grows and China grows in economic importance and sophistication, I expect that this will be come an even more attractive opportunity over time, and I will be perfectly positioned to take advantage of it.
With those plans in mind, I am confident that now is the right time for me to earn my MBA. As a defined contribution analyst with Anderson & Stevens and The Johnson Companies for the past two and a half years, I have developed a solid foundation in teamwork, analytical and problem solving skills. As a junior member of a small team, I am able to the contribute to the group in several ways including, managing and accurately completing multiple requests with short turnaround times, gathering and conveying information from client, collecting and calculating data, maintaining databases, and strengthening my own foundation of knowledge to be used as a resource. What I have found especially satisfying is using my analytical and quantitative skills to find solutions that not everyone else may be able to find.[Comment 6][M6]
Now that I have these hard skills in place, I would now like to work more on developing the management skills necessary to achieve my longer-term career goals. This includes all facets of running a business. By attending ColumbiaBusinessSchool, I will gain exposure to both theories and practices in the world’s financial centers. I will attain a deeper understanding of management concepts and be able to apply those concepts to real life situations on the job.[Comment 7][M7]
I have seen first-hand the difference between effective and ineffective managers. The managers who are most effective seem to have the proper balance of power and compassion. [Comment 8][M8]Their teams listen to them and carry out their directions, but not because they have to. They do it because they trust the leader and want to help the team succeed. I want to learn more about this balance at Columbia. Only in this way, will I be able to lead a team of people to realizing the goals of the firm.
Furthermore, an effective manager in the 21st century must be well-versed in international business. While I have gained some international exposure in my current role, I know that there is still a great deal more than I need to learn before I can achieve my dream of building a business in the Asia market. The programs and resources that Columbia offers in international business will help me to bolster my knowledge in this area. I would love to have the chance to participate in the Chazen Institute’s exchange program with a partner school, especially the ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong. Not only would I learn a lot by participating in this program, but I am also confident that I could teach my fellow students the things that I have learned in my previous Chinese studies. [Comment 9][M9]
Also, given the fact that I want to one day pursue a life of entrepreneurship, I am interested [Comment 10][M10] in Columbia’s emphasis on this area. While I do not plan on launching my new venture immediately after school, I would like to participate in the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization or compete with a team in a business plan competition. There are so many bright students attending Columbia from all over the globe, I am excited about exploring the idea of entrepreneurship with them.
My professional experiences thus far have enabled me to learn a great deal while reaching my aggressive professional goals. I know I will maintain the personal dedication and hard work necessary to achieve even greater goals in the next ten years. These diverse experiences have prepared me well to receive an education from Columbia. And, an MBA from Columbia will undoubtedly help me reach the goals that I have laid out for myself for the next ten years and beyond. [Comment 11][M11]

This version is much stronger! Great job! You have really improved the flow of the essay. You’ve also answered the essay question much more directly, and left out a lot of the extraneous material about your past experience.
I also like how you kept the “make a career out of doing what you like” theme and turned it into your essay’s introduction. It’s much more of an attention-grabber this way.
I just have a few remaining suggestions:
  • In paragraph two, your comment about climbing the corporate ladder seems odd. It sounds like you expect to immediately shoot up through the organization, which may seem unrealistic to the admissions committee. They may wonder if you understand what exactly you’ll get from a Columbia MBA or if you realize how much time and effort you will have to put into your new job. It also makes you sound maybe a little too ambitious. Consider revising it to something more like “Columbia will help me make a quick impact on my organization.”
  • In paragraph three, you refer to “certain experiences” that have prepared you for a career in Asia. What are these experiences? You can’t afford to go into too much detail, but I recommend spelling this out a little more specifically.
  • In paragraph five, you mention “all facets” of running a business. Here’s a good chance to get a little more specific to show exactly what you want to get out of a Columbia MBA.
  • The final paragraph is pretty similar to what you had before. While it’s not bad, you can probably improve it by adjusting it to bring back a few more of the ideas that you communicate earlier in the essay.

Content Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Parameters / Structure:
The flow of the essay is much stronger now. The only suggestion I have is to review paragraph six (that starts “I have seen first-hand the difference…”). It seems like a slightly odd transition from the previous paragraph. The idea that you communicate in this paragraph is good, but give it another look and think about how you can blend it in better with the previous paragraph.
Parameters / Structure Rating: 5 (out of 5)
You have done a good job of cleaning up the grammar and fixing typos. Just make sure to give it at least one more read-through, ideally after you’ve been able to put the essay down for a few days. That way you’ll be able to review it with a fresh pair of eyes.
There are two typos that I noticed:
  • Paragraph three: “After gaining more experience in this market, I would like to ____ my understanding of both the Chinese and American cultures to use by starting a practice that serves businesses that operate in both markets.” (You’re missing the word “put” in there.)
  • Paragraph eight: “Also, given the fact that I want to one day pursue a life of entrepreneurship, I am interest in Columbia’s emphasis on this area.”

Grammar Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Use of “Situation, Action, Result” format (if applicable):
As I mentioned last time, this is not really a SAR-type essay. So, no need to include it here, but be sure to use it in your other essays. And remember, be specific about your actions whenever you can!
Reflection on TargetSchool:
You’ve done a much better job of highlighting specifics that show why you are interested in Columbia. Your mention of the exchange program is a great fit with your overall story in this essay. Your mention of the entrepreneurship club seems like a little less of a perfect fit because you have fewer specifics to draw upon as evidence of the fit. If you can provide more specifics of how you would get involved and why (like you did with the exchange program), that would be even better. But, overall you did a good job here.
Reflection on Background:
It’s good that you called out your analytical/quantitative skills a little more in this version. You obviously don’t want to get too far from answering the essay question by including extraneous details, but if you can provide one or two specifics to provide evidence for your quantitative skills, that would be even better.
While your finance background is still fairly standard, I imagine that not many applicants from that field speak Chinese or have international entrepreneurial ambitions. In this essay you did a better job of highlighting these to bring out your uniqueness. Great job!
Rating Descriptions
Category / Rating / Description
Content / 4-5 / The essay adequately answers all elements of the essay and utilizes a fitting experience / example for the question at hand.
3 / The essay does not completely address the essay and / or the experience / example used is not compelling.
1-2 / The essay fails to adequately answer a critical portion of the essay and does not use a fitting experience / example for the question at hand.
Grammar / 4-5 / The essay has minimal grammar flaws, including syntax, sentence structure and use of idioms.
3 / The essay exhibits grammar flaws that should be addressed, but do not affect “readability”.
1-2 / The essay exhibits grammar flaws that detract from the essay and do affect “readability”.
Structure / 4-5 / The essay flows well, is concise and meets the word limit criterion.
3 / The essay surpasses the word limit by a noticeable margin and the essay would benefit from structural improvement.
1-2 / The essay is difficult to follow and the main points of the essay are difficult to extract.

[M1]Much better intro, in my opinion. This whole paragraph does a better job of summarizing your decisions that led to your first job.

[M2]Good. You’re starting to transition to why you want an MBA now.

[M3]See my comments in the evaluation form. Like in the first version, this sounds a little too much like you expect to immediately shoot up the organization simply because you have an MBA.

[M4]This is vague. You don’t have a lot of room to add too many words, but I would be interested to know what these “certain experiences” are.

[M5]I think you want to add the word “put” between “to” and “my”

[M6]This is great that you included this given your GMAT quant score. If you could even provide a very brief example, that would be better. Otherwise, see if you can illustrate your analytical skills in another essay or in your interview.

[M7]Here is the perfect place to include a little more detail about the specific details of Columbia’s program that appeal to you most. What classes or clubs do you think will give you this exposure? What does Columbia offer here that no other school can offer?

[M8]This is a good improvement over the “tyrant” part of the first version. My only feedback here is that there seems to be an abrupt transition from the last paragraph to this one.

[M9]Good job here. Your interest in the exchange program makes sense given your international experience and ambitions.

[M10]Small typo.

[M11]See my comment in the evaluation form about possibly improving on this last paragraph.