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Client Name: John

Target School: Wharton

Essay Question:

Taking two years to pursue an MBA requires a considerable investment of time and resources. Please describe the path leading to your decision to pursue a Wharton MBA now. How do you expect the MBA experience to benefit you on both a professional and personal level? (1,000 words)

Essay Type: Future Goals / School Fit

Actual Word Count: 1135

Target Word Count: 1000


Second Submission of Essay with Editor’s Comments:


Since I first entered university, I have evolved from being convinced that an MBA was a necessary part of my future, to believing that MBAs made careers of victimizing other people, to realizing that an MBA truly will help me achieve my passion, which is helping people in my native China. I am now passionate [Comment 1] about attending Wharton to challenge myself with powerful business lessons that will help me grow as a leaders [Comment 2] .

My alma mater offered an orientation program that offered [Comment 3] new admits consultation on academic study, and more importantly,[Comment 4] early career plan. I was excited to learn that the tests confirmed what I already expect [Comment 5] – that I showed a strong ability in business. Starting that day, I pinpointed [Comment 6] MBA as an ideal master degree to pursue following several years of solid work experience.

With plans made, I embarked on the trek by opting to major in international finance, in addition to taking a broad spectrum of business-related electives including intermediate accounting, economics and banking. Although most of the teaching materials [Comment 7] derived from the communist time while [Comment 8] teachers still resorted to the stale methodology of indoctrination, I looked forward to every class that gave me new insights into how good business [Comment 9] function. I missed a chance to have [Comment 10] more interactive learning environment and to be able to challenge the lessons that we were taught, but the classes further solidified my plan to acquire a formal business degree.

Originally my career plan was simple: to excel at [Comment 11] workplace, get an MBA, and then work as [Comment 12] top strategy consultant before settling down as an executive at a corporation. I was happy with my career progress as an Information Technology consultant, but it was not always smooth. While my project at International Media Corporation, my second employer, was in high gear, the 9.11 tragedy reduced international travel to a standstill. (For details, please see essay No. 2.) As if this were not enough, the ensuing fiber-optic scandal in which International Media Fiber Optics [Comment 13] was involved, worked perfectly as [Comment 14] the last straw—it forced our parent company to suspend its China-based operation [Comment 15] , including my project. That meant that I was unemployed.

For the first time in my life I needed to assess my career plan. I had done nothing wrong, but the action of other [Comment 16] affected me and [Comment 17] put me out of job. Was this what MBAs did? Did they ruin other people’s jobs? [Comment 18] For a time,[Comment 19] I started to think that the business world was not where I would [Comment 20] be.

Over the next six months I got a much clearer picture of what I wanted to do. [Comment 21] I gained experience in the UN initiative (for details, please see essay No. 3) and I reflected upon the world at large. What did I want to do, other than plan for my next promotion or consulting assignment? What did I want to be in twenty years? Consequently, this experience allowed me to contribute to society and to learn more about what I wanted.[Comment 22]

My work in [Comment 23] the UN substantially changed my view of MBAs. This time, I started to perceive MBA [Comment 24] from a new angle—first and foremost, MBAs [Comment 25] must be socially responsible before they can aspire to reap professional achievements; otherwise they are still doomed to failure however smart they are. [Comment 26] This was again solidified by my acquaintance and mentorship, at the [Comment 27] UN conference, with an investment banker turned philanthropist,[Comment 28] also the founding chairman of the US-based Green Earth Institute. There were, and are, responsible people and organizations after all. I realized that I could be earn an MBA and make an impact just like those people!

Six months on, I headed back to the corporate world, confidence recovered. National Data Systems (NDS) seemed an ideal place to start my career anew—I knew so the minute I saw the receptionist for interview [Comment 29] — in lieu of charming girls [Comment 30] , a disabled person handled the task. Later I learned this deep-rooted culture resulted from NDS’s strong advocacy of handicapped-hiring. As for me, I further extend it to hiring veterans in my department. Not only do I commit [Comment 31] social obligations, but the department actually benefit [Comment 32] from their ultra reliability and diligence. In addition, I volunteered as the department representative for the office health and safety initiative.

Mid 2004 will witness my department’s consummation [Comment 33] of a worldwide business transformation project, to which I have been contributing as a IT consultant and project co-leader. This is [Comment 34] perfect opportunity to see my current work to completion and then embark on my new endeavor.

Upon graduation, I would like to join a top-tier IT corporation and rotate in different functions in its leadership/executive development program at mid-management level. I see this ad [Comment 35] being important for gaining the management experience that I will need for my true long-term passion, which comes from my work in the UN. I want to help the underprivileged in China.

Consequently, I plan on establishing an IT-based NGO in the long run. My business experience gained from my post-MBA job will render me better positioned [Comment 36] to contribute to this scenario—applying cost-effective technologies (only possible through my experience with an elite technology firm) to improve the quality of life in communities that have not changed in decades, if not centuries. After all, the betterment of the entire nation cannot hinge upon the prosperity of but a number of regions or cities.

Based on my experience in consulting and the UN [Comment 37] I believe that managing an NGO shares much synergy with running a for-profit business. The leadership experience developed and social connections established in the business arena should be most conducive to my long-term career aspiration. The end of my achievements in business will ultimately find their way in the social cause. Yes, financial standing is an important yardstick,[Comment 38] against which personal success is judged; however, it will be even more fulfilling if I can share this success with the needy and bring benefits to them.

As the [Comment 39] leading business school, Wharton offers many lectures in addition to [Comment 40] cases that prepare students for all kinds of real business challenges and opportunities, which caters [Comment 41] well to my career aspiration [Comment 42]. Admittedly, Wharton is most famed for its strength in finance; however, it has, over the years, [Comment 43] also produced a plethora of successful general managers. Having said that, I [Comment 44] trust Wharton is where I can attack my weak link by brushing [Comment 45] up my financial skills, which I believe are indispensable to my career advancement later on. “He is a sharp cookie, a natural leader just waiting to burst out of his shell”, goes the comment on my first performance review. My communication with Wharton students and alumni has fully attested to my belief that Wharton is the very school that will transform me from a candidate to a bona fide leader of the future.





The essay sounds much better but is still over the word limit, so in some places I have suggested eliminating words or phrases because they are not necessary in terms of the point you are trying to make, not because they are “wrong” or sound “bad”. In a few other places I have suggested less complicated wording or more straightforward sentence structure.

In regard to the paragraph about MBA’s being doomed to failure if they are not socially responsible, the world is full of examples of people who have achieved high levels of success in terms of wealth and power, who are not all that socially responsible. This might catch up with them, in the case of blatant disregard for the law. But there are a lot of examples where people in business act well within the scope of the law when they prioritize their company’s profits over what’s best for society, and they are rewarded with promotions and higher salaries. Some of them might have remorse and/or change their course later, like the investment banker you met at the UN, but I’m sure plenty of others will live very comfortable, relatively happy lives and not feel any regret about the decisions they’ve made – are they not then successful, in society’s eyes, as well as their own?? The reason I bring this point up again, is that the statement is completely contrary to what you will find in business school. Wherever you end up going, you will meet plenty of people who snicker at people who are overly concerned with the social or environmental downsides of the free market system – people who are proud to declare that their main priority in life is accumulating as much wealth as possible, because that is the only outlook that makes sense to them. Business schools are businesses, and they promote themselves by citing the number of CEO’s and other top execs among their alumni – I have never seen them focus on how many socially responsible execs they produce – simply having the title is enough to be used as proof that their MBA program is a good one. So to me, the statement you make sounds naïve – it is a nice thought, but not really tied to the reality that I experienced in business school, and for that reason it rubs me the wrong way. And if it rubs me the wrong way, it could rub an essay evaluator at Wharton the wrong way as well. I would strongly suggest re-writing the paragraph in more personal terms – not that it is necessary for all MBA’s to be socially responsible, but that you finally saw that there were MBA’s that had their own socially responsible definition of success – you saw first-hand that the knowledge and skills you’ll get from the degree can be put to good use in the non-profit sector. Show that you managed to resolve your own personal conflict about your long-standing desire to get an MBA and work in business, but don’t suggest that everyone getting an MBA will or should experiences the same conflicts you did.

Content Rating: 4 (out of 5)


Parameters / Structure:

The structure has improved considerably – your goals are much clearer now, and the essay flows more smoothly.

Parameters / Structure Rating: 5 (out of 5)



Overall it is very good – I have made more grammar- and usage-related corrections this time, not because they are new, but because it made no sense to make them earlier when the structure still needed so much work. However, they are mainly along the lines of common mistakes with articles and agreement. It is definitely a good idea to clean it up a bit, but not because it came across that you have any major problems – your grammar comes across as sound, for a non-native speaker.

Grammar Rating: 4 (out of 5)


Use of “Situation, Action, Result” format (if applicable):

Much clearer than before!

Reflection on Target School:


It is still not very clear why Wharton would be the best choice for you, as opposed to other schools. If you have time, please see my earlier suggestions – I think it would be worthwhile refer to your desire to start an NGO as entrepreneurial and to cite Wharton’s strength in that area as something that you would benefit from, given your long-term goal. However, the essay is still too long – I’m not sure how many words the cuts I’ve suggested will take off, but not enough to add another paragraph about entrepreneurship – it would have to be inserted cleverly and concisely into the existing structure.

Reflection on Background:


No further comments here!

  Rating Descriptions






The essay adequately answers all elements of the essay and utilizes a fitting experience / example for the question at hand.


The essay does not completely address the essay and / or the experience / example used is not compelling.


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.



The essay has minimal grammar flaws, including syntax, sentence structure and use of idioms.


The essay exhibits grammar flaws that should be addressed, but do not affect “readability”.


The essay exhibits grammar flaws that detract from the essay and do affect “readability”.



The essay flows well, is concise and meets the word limit criterion.


The essay surpasses the word limit by a noticeable margin and the essay would benefit from structural improvement.


The essay is difficult to follow and the main points of the essay are difficult to extract.



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