Diego, my parents fled their native Cuba to escape Communism and the repression of Fidel Castro's regime. They spoke barely a word of English and started their new life in America with little more than the clothes on their backs.
There were no provisions in the 1960s in area schools for Spanish-speaking children, so my early years in the educational system were difficult.
Eventually, though, my academic progress enabled me to take the California Proficiency Exam and score sufficiently well that 1 was able to skip my senior year of high school and proceed instead to my first year of college.
Now I have become one of the state's youngest real estate brokers and, working 30 to 40 hours a week for the past two years, I have successfully built a trust fund large enough to subsidize my law school education and to allow me to spend all of my time during those three years concentrating on my studies. Up to now, my efforts in business have detracted from my performance in college; in law school, however, 1 am confident my grades will more accurately reflect my abilities.
During my childhood my parents were, understandably, unable to respond with much enthusiasm to my often-stated ambition of one day becoming an attorney. They were naturally more concerned with day-to-day survival than anything else and could scarcely dream of ever sending me to college, much less law school.
Just having reached the juncture in my life at which it is possible for me to apply to law school represents the fulfillment of one of my longest-held dreams. It is hard for me to forget my earliest days in school, when 1 could not even understand most of what my teachers were saying.
It is not surprising, I suppose, that 1 have a particular interest in the problems of the Hispanic community. Whatever I could do as a lawyer to help these people who are so victimized by unscrupulous businessmen, as well as their own ignorance of the law, would give me great satisfaction
WHILE MY TWO YEARS OF experience in the business world have taught me substantive lessons, I approach my graduate business education with an enthusiasm, flexibility, open-mindedness, and desire to learn that I believe will serve me equally well. After securing an undergraduate degree in business, 1 have now had the opportunity to see how things actually work in a professional environment. I have developed a passion for business that exceeds anything I expected, as well as the conviction that—with further education and training—1 have the potential to attain whatever goals 1 establish for myself.
I have chosen a field—finance—in which 1 know I can excel, principally as a result of my strong analytical abilities. One of my significant past achievements drew on just such skills. As an assignment for the real estate company for which I serve as financial analyst, I was to do a cash flow analysis for a $30-million office building that we were set to acquire. My projections for the first-year cash flow turned out—quite amazingly—to be within $10,000 of the actual figures.
The same energy and capabilities that led to my being selected as one of the top 10 (out of more than 500) business students at my -undergraduate institution have made me successful in my work endeavors to date, but there is so much more 1 need to leam. I think the fact that I am a quick study, that 1 tend to assimilate new material with relative ease and speed, will help me to meet the rigorous academic challenges that your curriculum will pose. 1 am a detail-oriented person, but 1 manage to maintain a broad perspective, and 1 think this will be useful to me in studying for my MBA.
1 am particularly interested in finance as a cornerstone in the foundation for my career in business. I want to know much more about such things as computer sciences as applied to finance (in terms of projecting financial models) and organizational behavior as it relates to working in groups.
Management consulting is my main professional goal at this point, as 1 like the idea of a business activity that involves extensive people contact, variety, and working regularly in different settings.
There are several reasons I am confident that I am well suited to a career in business. I am just as comfortable working with people as with numbers and greatly enjoy the personal interaction that is a part of business. I am a well-rounded individual, and I regard myself as something of a diplomat, having gracefully dealt with a number of delicate situations in my business experience. I am ambitious, motivated, persistent, and organized and have the capacity for quantitative thinking that business today demands.
When I am not working, I derive pleasure from such diverse activities as reading, traveling, and skiing. Because 1 also enjoy art and music, I know that I would greatly relish living in the cultural mecca that is [school's metropolitan location].
IN 1979, IN THE SOVIET city of Odessa on the Black Sea, a young man confronted a problem that would forever alter the course of his existence. This 17-year-old Jewish man, who wanted most to become a doctor, was denied the possibility of admission to medical school because of his religion. It could have been an end to a dream.
I was that man. My determination to become a physician, and my parents' support of that ambition, turned our lives upside down. We applied for a visa to leave Russia; while we waited, my parents and older brother were not allowed to work, and all of us were followed by the KGB. When we finally arrived in America in 1980, we had to make our way to Seattle without funds, friends, or command of English. My father, who is an engineer, was reduced to working as a plumber, while I began each day at 5 a.m. unloading trucks. Life was a struggle, but we were all sustained by a dream: my goal of studying to become a doctor.
Within a year of my arrival here, after attending night school to learn the language, 1 was able to obtain a job as an X-ray orderly at a local hospital. In this position, and later as an admitting aide, I was able over a period of three years to learn much more about American medicine. I had extensive contact with patients, doctors, nurses, and administrators and found 1 was able to relate well to each group. 1 saw
My determination to become a physician, and my parents' support of that ambition, turned our lives upside down. We applied for a visa to leave Russia; while we waited/ my parents and older brother were not allowed to work, and all of us were followed by the KGB.
suffering, healing, death, and all of the other constants that make up any hospital environment. 1 had an opportunity to observe surgeries, from mastectomies to hysterectomies and bypasses, and to see firsthand the importance of positive doctor-patient interactions. I was fascinated by everything I saw and became more convinced than ever that I could one day make my finest contribution as a physician.
When I first entered college, I had enormous problems with English, especially scientific terminology, and my GPA was an unremarkable 2.84. However, as I mastered the language, my grades steadily improved; in fact, in the last three quarters I've earned a 3.8 GPA
Beginning in 1984,1 worked as a volunteer in the autopsy room at my university's pathology department, amassing more than 500 hours'
experience, just as the hospital provided me with a chance to observe diagnosis and treatment, the autopsy room gave me a chance to find out what goes wrong, what causes death. In that room it was possible for me to see death, smell it, touch it. I prepared organs for examination by medical students as well as assisted in autopsies and cleaning up. I was even awarded a highly sought-after scholarship in recognition of my work. .. .
I first became interested in medicine in high school, when I sat in on my brother's medical school lectures and later accompanied him on hospital rounds. My commitment to becoming a doctor, and my excitement over the prospect of being able to serve others in this capacity, is what has driven me and kept me going in the face of so many obstacles since my departure from Russia. Now, with my goal in sight and so many recent experiences reaffirming my passion for medicine, I know that all of the dedication and sacrifice have been worthwhile. 1 am eager to begin my medical studies, eager to meet the challenges 1 know they will present
MY DECISION TO RETURN to school now and earn my MBA degree stems from my determination that I have specific needs that can best be met within the confines of a graduate business curriculum. 1 need more specific general management skills, a greater degree of expertise in data processing and computers, and a broader knowledge of finance (as opposed to accounting) in order to progress in my career.
Being in the business world and residing in your city, 1 am, of course, well aware of your reputation as one of the premier graduate business schools in the United States. The high caliber of the faculty and student population would provide me with a challenging and highly stimulating environment in which to study. The interplay of ideas would be illuminating and provocative, and the contacts I would establish within the school (and without) could only be assets to me as 1 continue my career.
The timing of my application to your program seems especially propitious as I will soon be leaving my firm (of my own volition) after eight productive years that have been extremely beneficial to me. I have reached the point at which there are no significant new opportunities available to me in the company that I would find exciting or rewarding. It is time to move on, and the perfect moment for me to seek to broaden the business foundation upon which the balance of my career will rest. I am eager to round out my education and fill any gaps that exist in my knowledge and understanding of business theory and the skills necessary to survive and prosper in today's fast-paced, always-
changing, high-tech business world.
"YOU'VE COME A LONG way, baby" is one of Madison Avenue's best-known slogans, but it also happens to reflect my own assessment of my personal growth and development during the past two years. I have gone from being a follower to being a leader, from being someone who was shy and uncertain to a person who is self-confident and even aggressive. It has been a remarkable metamorphosis, and it has changed my life.
I have learned in the classroom, but I have also learned substantive lessons in the arena of life. I have come to see that I am bright and capable, that I have as much to say and offer as anyone else, and that I have a personal warmth that attracts other people and facilitates effective communication. I have come a long way because while previously I was the person always taken by the hand, now I am the one who takes others' hands. Getting into a major university was a big confidence booster, and I viewed this as the beginning of a new period of achievement and action.
Earlier in my life things were more confused. After spending my first eight years in Southern California, I moved with my parents to Iran during a five-year period that encompassed major political turmoil. 1 went from being a child whose main concerns were school, sports, and TV to a youngster whose awareness of, and familiarity with, larger and more serious issues grew enormously. I returned to the United States with more sophistication and perspective, but I still didn't feel the confidence to assert myself or take chances. It wasn't until years later that I recognized the doubts that were holding me back and made a conscious decision to become a different kind of person.
Now that I have seen what I can accomplish—and have specific goals relating to a career in medicine—1 believe my potential is great. 1 have passion and 1 have ability, and I believe that together these are a powerful pair. My passion for medicine developed while 1 was working as a volunteer at a local hospital. There I put in approximately 180 hours in the emergency and recovery rooms and discovered a particular fascination with surgery. 1 observed vascular surgery, an appendectomy, and orthopedic surgery, and I was deeply impressed by the skill, precision, and elegance the surgeons displayed. It is still hard for me to describe how I felt as 1 watched these various procedures, but I knew this was the kind of work for which I one day wanted to prepare myself.
In the Department of Hematology and Oncology at my university's hospital, I have done two years of research work in the area of osteosarcoma. This experience has instilled in me a desire to do clinical research in the area of cardiac surgery and position myself so that I might be able to develop new techniques.
Another exciting phase of my time at my university has been my involvement with the student health advocate program, which provides a liaison between students and the student health center. I was trained to do counseling, teach stress management, provide over-the-counter medication, and make referrals when appropriate. Only 40 people a year are selected for this highly competitive program, and even fewer (15) are chosen for work in my school's residence halls. I was one of those selected to work in the residence halls, and last year I was appointed recruitment coordinator for the entire student health advocate program. It has been an excellent opportunity, not only as a learning experience but also in terms of testing my stripes as a leader.
As I look toward my future in medicine, I believe one of my greatest assets will be my strength in dealing with others. I have exceptionally good instincts about other people and always seem to know how to approach them, how to talk to them. I also genuinely like people, which I think they quickly sense. I am very excited by the prospect of studying medicine and know that I have the commitment, confidence, intellectual capacity—and yes, the passion—to make mine a valuable presence within the profession.
AT THE AGE OF 33, 1 consider myself fortunate already to have had opportunities to work for an established corporation, for a start-up company funded by venture capitalists, and for a company of my own. Functioning in these three diverse environments has provided me with exceptional experience and a wonderful foundation upon which to build. However, in order for me to advance in my career to a degree fully commensurate with my abilities, 1 need the formal business training I presently lack. Your program seems totally congruent with all of my requirements not only because of its structure but also because of its pragmatic approach to teaching. As a member of the real estate industry, which is now in a slump, 1 find the present time most appropriate for beginning my graduate business studies. I am not as busy at work as I have often been in the past or as I expect to be in the future as my sector of the economy starts to recover. For that reason, this is the perfect moment for me to return to school and satisfy my desire to broaden my knowledge and perspective. Working in the company of so many MBA graduates impressed upon me the value of a graduate business education and made me very eager to immerse myself in a program just like yours. 1 want to remove the mystery that now surrounds certain subjects about which 1 am not knowledgeable. In addition to acquiring a much deeper understanding of finance, marketing, accounting, and other areas of business, I expect to emerge from your program with heightened credibility and the skills required to compete more effectively in today's challenging business environment. Your professors and the other businesspeople with whom I will be studying will provide an extremely stimulating and instructive experience for me, one to which I hope and expect I will be able to contribute. Further, the fact that your program includes work abroad is most appealing to me because 1 am intrigued by international real
estate (I intend to expand my business into this sphere) and believe the opportunity to interact with foreign businessmen will be most rewarding.
This MBA applicant was responding to a question concemi?ig his childhood.
I WAS BORN 31 YEARS AGO IN Alabama, where my father was on temporary assignment as an engineer for a company with a military aircraft contract. Our stay in the South, however, was brief, and I was still an infant when my parents returned to their native New Hampshire with my older sister and myself.
Within six years, another sister and two brothers were born. We all lived in a cozy ranch-style house on six acres. I have many pleasant memories from my time in this home, which was located at the end of a long, tree-lined dirt road. The setting was beautiful, there was space to roam, and a picturesque river was within walking distance. For a while my father continued to work for the same company, which was developing an experimental aircraft. When this company failed, though, he became a radiation health physicist for the state.
Mine was the classic small-town upbringing in many respects. The values I learned were typical for someone growing up in a community in which everyone knew his neighbors and in which family and religion played important roles. I always did well in school and was quite popular with my peers. Sports, especially baseball, were my passion from an early age. I played on a series of different baseball teams, including one that made it to a local championship. I was even part of an all-star Little League team when I was 12. My mother was eager for me to test my aptitude in other areas as well and so involved me in art, piano, guitar, and tap dancing, none of which engaged my interest as much as sports.
My parents were fairly devout Catholics and raised their children accordingly, I was an altar boy at church and spent four years at a private Catholic boys' high school. While there I attended an institute which groomed upcoming seniors for leadership positions in the student body. I exercised what I learned as a group leader at special religious events as well as in programs for retarded children.
The most memorable event of my youth was, sadly, the breakup of my parents' marriage. 1 will never forget the day a moving van pulled into our driveway and my mother announced to my brothers, sisters, and me that we would be relocating to another house. While 1 had known there were problems between my parents, this was still an unexpected and shocking development. 1 was a sophomore in high school, and my idyllic world was shattered. My mother, who was a registered nurse, began working again, spending long hours in a nearby hospital. My brothers, sisters, and I, who had always had the normal sibling conflicts, became much closer in the aftermath of our parents' split, and our new rapport was a source of comfort to all of us. But there were other, less positive ramifications. 1 did not do well in school that year, at one point skipping class for a month. Somehow 1 recognized on my own that 1 needed to be living in a more disciplined environment than existed in my mother's home and, as a result, returned to my father's house, where 1 lived during the balance of my high school years.
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