SAMPLE - OPTIONAL ESSAY
PROFILE OF THE APPLICANT
- Graduation in Computer Science from University of Madras in 2001
- Job in Tata Consultancy Services, India 2001 - 2007
- Job in Tata Consultancy Services, USA 2007 - 2009
Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 word limit)
BAD EXAMPLE OF APPROACHING THIS PROMPT
I had to resign from my job to take care of my parents after a family tragedy. I was at that time in North Carolina working for TCS, BOA and my parents were in India. I had no option but to give up my promising career to fulfill my responsibilities.
The applicant begins her essay with the information about her resignation from a job assignment in the US due to a family tragedy ,but she doesn't provide any details about the tragedy. This fails to create an impression on the Admissions Committee. Also, her verbiage reflects her regret about her decision. This results in self-pity, which is obviously not what the Admissions Committee is looking for in MBA aspirants.
GOOD EXAMPLE OF APPROACHING THIS PROMPT
In May 2009, my parents met with a tragic accident when they were travelling along with both my grandmothers. I lost both my grandmothers in the accident, and my parents were also admitted to the hospital in a very critical stage.
Note how the applicant uses this essay question to share a personal story that marked a turning point in her career.
At that time, I was in North Carolina working for Tata Consultancy Services, Bank of America, and my parents were in India. I was the only person who could take care of them. So I requested my employers for a leave of six months so I could help my parents recover. Unfortunately, my employers were unable to grant the leave because of the economy and client pressure.
Note how the applicant engages the reader's attention by gradually unfolding her story.
I was in a quandary, as I was also up for a promotion to the Assistant Project Manager's role. One voice in me said, 'You can't denounce everything when bright career opportunities await you.' Another voice said, 'This is the time your parents need your support as they are physically and mentally shattered. Will you be able to forgive yourself if you choose your career to parents?' So I had to choose between my responsibilities at work and my obligations as a daughter.
The applicant's story of a family tragedy and the resulting dilemma holds the reader's interest who is now curious to know about her decision at this critical juncture in life.
Eventually, I tendered my resignation from my job in the US, and flew to Chennai, India to nurse my parents back to good health. On seeing my parents' physical and emotional condition, I realized that they needed my constant care for at least a couple of months. Therefore, I decided to stop applying for jobs for an year and stayed home.
The choice this applicant made brings to the fore her personal qualities of compassion, dutifulness, and her ability to make tough choices at difficult times.
When I noticed a marked improvement in my parents' condition, I started utilizing my spare time at home in building my business as distributor. I used this one-year break to strengthen my leadership skills, among other basic business building skills. In Jan 2011, I started working part-time with a US based aptitude training institute, and I plan to join Talent Sprint as an ITTA in Mar 2011.
Note how the applicant utilized this time of acute family crisis to build her varied skills while fulfilling her family obligations simultaneously. Her ability to turn her misfortune into an opportunity sets her apart from other candidates.
This whole experience helped in fortifying my emotional intelligence and also improved my thought process in thinking beyond what is obvious and in creating suitable alternatives with extremely limited resources.
The applicant's concluding sentence leaves a final impression on the Admissions Committee about her composed mental attitude in dealing with a personal crisis and her extraordinary ability to use that period in honing her professional skills.
When you are asked to provide additional information, take this as an opportunity to present a story/ anecdote of your life that brings out your best personal and/ or professional traits. For example, in the above essay, the applicant's story of her personal tragedy brings out her ability to maintain composure at times of crisis, her conscientiousness about her duties toward her parents, and above all, her extraordinary power of turning her misfortune into opportunities.