Question: Describe three (3) personal qualities that you feel would make you a good MBA candidate.
Considering the personal qualities I've gained over the course of my career, three specifically come to mind that would make me a good MBA candidate. First, I have a strong desire to learn and achieve. Secondly, I have the ability to be both adaptable and flexible in situations. And lastly, I am able to understand complex concepts and communicate them clearly in layman's terms.
Although most applicants claim they have a strong desire to learn and achieve, my professional history demonstrates this quality. As explained in my first essay, I relocated to New York City to become a professional writer. During that period of my life, I consciously pursued that goal, as well as strived to learn and gain experience as I worked in the competitive Wall Street environment of the late 1990's. Working for a managing director of a major investment bank with limited financial experience was perhaps the most difficult opportunity I have faced, but it was an invaluable experience that I built upon when I became self-employed. During this period, I taught myself a great deal about having your own business, while expanding my writing skills. As I moved into copywriting and the publishing of my book, I learned a new area of publishing – one that is completely different from the world of journalism. Yet during each stage of my career, I've focused not on income, but achieving a new goal and continuing to challenge myself and learn new skills. In fact, pursuing an MBA is the next step in this professional progression, and it will not be the last.
Secondly, my professional history has taught me to be adaptive and flexible in a variety of situations. Everything from moving to New York City to working in the financial industry, becoming a dotcom employee, and supporting my wife as a self-employed individual has required an overwhelming degree of flexibility and adaptability. For example, my current work environment is seldom stable, which creates an ebb and flow to the demands it places on me. I may work fifty hours a week, plus weekends when I'm writing a book, but in between projects I may accomplish my day's work in as little as three hours. Of course, this kind of change also brings a financial uncertainty. Instead of receiving a regular paycheck, it's not uncommon to receive thousands of dollars at a time, only to go for weeks or months without additional income. This flexibility and adaptability also carries over to my work itself, such as when I take on new clients or projects. Given that different companies, editors and clients expect different things, my writing must continually reflect their expectations. For example, a magazine article for Bloomberg about back office technology for separately managed accounts is vastly different from a hard news story about the ongoing budgetary problems in Virginia for the Bureau of National Affairs. And of course, both differ from the ghostwriting of a book for a wealthy Los Angeles client that is aimed at small business owners. This ability to change and be resilient will undoubtedly be a great strength both as an MBA student, and in future endeavors.
Lastly, my experiences as a journalist and writer have taught me how to take complex concepts and explain them in layman's terms. Whether it's helping a client explain how small business owners can best position themselves to sell their business, telling financial advisors about the newest technology available, or explaining financial aid concepts to parents who may not have attended college themselves, one of my greatest strengths is the ability to understand a range of complex details and elements about a topic, while remaining focused on major issues and explaining them in clear manner that is easy to understand. In fact, this ability has become somewhat of a trademark in my career among financial publications and clients. While some of my colleagues are known for their in-depth reporting, ability to understand corporate motivations, or being able to accurately assess a particular industry, I am somewhat known for my strength in explaining complex concepts to those lacking an understanding of the topic. As an MBA student, this would be of benefit in group projects and presentations, as well as help me apply my education to practical applications in my career.
I possess other traits that make me a good MBA candidate for William and Mary, such as attention to detail and thoroughness, but the three qualities I've discussed are the most significant strengths I can offer the program. Not only will my strong desire to learn and achieve continue to support me throughout the next two years, but my adaptability and flexibility will ensure that I handle new challenges. In addition, my ability to understand complex concepts and communicate them in layman's terms will be an asset to the learning process.
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