Question: Explain what has led you to want to pursue an MBA, particularly, why an MBA, why William and Mary, and why now? Please address your post-MBA professional goals as part of your response.
I first considered pursuing an MBA about three years ago, when my wife and I moved to Virginia from New York City. Having left my job at a financial website at the tail end of the dotcom boom, I had been freelancing for a few years and was beginning to feel comfortable in my abilities and job. Although many people would appreciate this comfort – especially when self-employed – I feared the transition would lead to complacency, laziness, and a stagnant career.
Facing a professional crossroads, I considered the opportunities available. Realizing that my current plateau was unacceptable, I began to discuss the prospect of returning to school with my wife, along with the impact it would have on us. As I explained my reasons for this decision to her, I faced a new challenge – redefining the goals I had set for myself years ago.
I moved to New York in 1998, intent on becoming a professional writer. In my mind, that meant supporting myself solely by my writing and eventually having a book published. At the time, I expected these career goals would take at least ten years to achieve. But due to hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of luck, I had been successful. Not only had I become a staff writer for a Wall Street-based financial website less than two years after arriving in New York, but had made the difficult transition into self-employment and freelancing.
Yet by the time we relocated to Richmond, this was no longer enough. I knew that I wanted to pursue an MBA, but still had not achieved all my existing goals. Although I was a professional journalist, I still had yet to publish a book. I decided to pursue this goal before returning to school, and took the opportunity to breathe new life and drive into my day-to-day work by expanding into new areas of writing. Soon, I was no longer just a journalist, but a ghostwriter for private clients, a copywriter for corporations, and a published author. At the beginning of 2003, I had never published a book in my life. By year's end, I had written four – one published under my name, and three ghostwritten for clients published under their names.
As I worked on these books last summer, I considered the next step in my career. Feeling proud of my ability to achieve both goals in less than five years, I also realized that my opportunities as a self-employed writer were narrowing. My success was encouraging, yet I had not reached my full potential. I wanted to take my career in a new direction, and acknowledged that I am at my best, both professionally and personally, when I am challenged to learn something new. Although I had written for a variety of clients and publications on various topics, and had written books both for a national publisher and self-published individuals, I had run out of challenges in the world of self-employment.
So as I began creating new goals for myself, I realized that one thing was essential to the next step in my career – an MBA.
I say this because although I intend to continue writing, I want to eventually run my own publication and/or business. At this point, I'm uncertain just what that would be, but I've learned that few executives in the publishing world are accomplished writers themselves. By getting an MBA and working towards an executive position at a media or publishing company, I would have an opportunity to do something few in the business can – bridge the gap between content and management.
As I discussed this with colleagues, clients, my mentor, and others, my opinions were reinforced and I was encouraged to pursue this route. Today, I am confident and ready to gain the business education necessary to achieve the goal I've set for myself.
William and Mary is my leading choice for an MBA for several reasons. First, I believe that William and Mary has a reputation for nurturing students and encouraging them to expand their skills and excel – something I feel larger schools such as the University of Virginia and others sorely lack. Secondly, I have great respect for the efforts being made by the MBA program to offer a high quality education at a minimum price, and to attract a wide range of bright, capable students that can learn from each other as much as their professors. And lastly, attending classes in Williamsburg will allow my wife and I to stay near Richmond as she takes her comprehensive exam for her PhD in September and begins her dissertation this fall.
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