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Monday, August 09, 2004

Re-think 

Having come up with a tentative topic for my third short essay for Kellogg, I started to make some notes whilst eating dinner. It soon became pretty clear that everything I'd want to say in this essay I'd already said elsewhere. I may have explicitly focussed on team work only in my Outside of work I . . . essay, but a lot of the elements that make for good team work (listening, understanding that different people take different approaches, etc.) I've covered elsewhere. Somehow I don't think I wish the Admissions Comitee had asked me to repeat myself will be a useful road to go down. And if there's not much new in there then I guess it could be construed as 'writing what she thinks we want to hear' (which might not be entirely inaccurate).

So I started to have a re-think. Now, there are a couple of areas that are causing me some concern for my applications in general. The first is a slightly dodgy set of grades in my penultimate year at university. There's a good explanation for them and I'm giving it in the optional essay for Wharton and the additional information for Stanford. For Kellogg it fits in quite well in the Review you file essay. The other (lesser) concern is my quant background. My GMAT score is OK but not spectacular (over Wharton's 80% guide, but only just). So while I don't think anyone is going t be concerned that I won't cope with the quant curriculum, I don't think they're going to see quant as a particular strength either. I also don't have any quant classes on my trannscript. The way that the UK university system works, you're admitted onto a specific course of study, and you have fairly limited opportuities for pursuing subjects outside that course. I studied languages, and quant classes weren't an option. I did study maths right up to before I went to uni, which means I've done the equivalent of a US college math course, but that doesn't show on my transcript. And there's quite a high quant element in my job, but I don't imagine many people really understand what fundraisers do, so that won't necessarily be that obvious.

This lack of quant evidence started me thinking. I could use the 'open' essay to do something along the lines of I wish the admissions committee had asked me if my transcript is a fair representation of my abilities. That could cover the quant stuff, and allowed me to discuss the grades issue, freeing up some space in the file review essay. But done that way, I think it would come across as 'this is something I think is a weakness', and that isn't how I feel. It's more that it's something that isn't very well demonstrated elsewhere. So instead I'm going to do the 'persuasion' essay and use an example where I used quantitative information to persuade. It's something I've done quite a lot of, so I don't know why I didn't think of it before. This way, I hope I can communicate 'good quant skills' rather than 'doesn't lack quant skills', which I think is a much stronger approach.

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