BASICS: Word count: 776; female McKinsey consultant, Class of 2012, Dartmouth grad, was a teaching assistant in Dartmouth’s introductory religion class, where “”thinking weekly about what other people valued helped me define what mattered most to me: using my intellectual curiosity and creativity to create change, whether in the classroom, the boardroom or the developing world.” The lead sentence is catchy: “My favorite college class was the one I taught.”
ANALYSIS: An element this writer may have that you don’t, besides the gig at McKinsey and an Ivy education is after some spell at McKinsey the writer “opted to spend three months in Kenya working for TechnoServe to understand how my growing interest in non-profit work could fit my future goals.” There’s nothing super impressive about the writer’s report from Kenya, but in the last part, the essay then returns to the teaching theme, “The process of figuring out my next step after TechnoServe and McKinsey brings me back to my Dartmouth classroom. The difference is that the [story] I am trying to diagram is my own – what is the creation myth for the person I have become and what are the rituals of my world?”
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS ESSAY? Could be. The writer does a great job of optimizing her three stories: 1) Being a teaching assistant, 2) Working for McKinsey and Techno-Serve, and 3) Doing some spiel about how the two relate and pose issues for the future. The writer is real smart and winning and if not exactly reflective as to what has really shook her up, she has the right Stanford-y attitude about explaining her motivations: ‘My internship [at McKinsey] showed me that consulting, if done correctly, involved the same attention to underlying thought processes that characterized my religion major. The need to understand what motivated a company’s employees was similar to delving into what united followers of a particular system of beliefs.”
Folks, that is world class BS, and this writer is capable of applying takeaways like that to several situations: what she learned as a TA, why she studied religion, what she learned at McKinsey (“Watching the leaders of the innovation practice draw upon their experience also showed me that while I might feel that my world view was complete, I still had much to learn”), and why she wanted to work in Kenya, etc. Thus, this essay becomes a good model for someone who does not have an overwhelming story (well, aside from working at McKinsey and working in Africa) but is capable of stringing together several semi-ordinary experiences, to conclude, drum-roll please, “My creation myth is not complete, and my world view is still soft around the edges. A Stanford M.B.A. will help me complete the story and expand the boundaries of my world . . . .” And note to imitators: you don’t even need the Why Stanford stuff in this essay (especially since they give you another essay for that).
BASICS: Word Count: 844 WORDS, White U.S. guy (I am assuming), Class of 2013, from health care services, also in medical school (or applying for joint-degree) who grew up in Africa (ahem, just like so many of us) among other places, since both his parents were serious do-gooder professionals who met in The Peace Corps and then worked for UNICEF, the CDC and etc. To wit,
“Over the next decade or so, through a series of events ranging from genocide evacuations to inter-office politics, our family bounced between, XXXX, XXXX, back to XXXX, XXXX, XXX, and back to XXXX” (parts of the essay are disguised to protect the confidentiality of the applicant).
Stanford tip: If you have ever lived through a genocide, holocaust, or anything like that, well, what can I say. . .it also doesn’t hurt to grow up in five or six countries, one of them being Africa. If you cannot manage that, and where you grow up is something that indeed is hard to manage, take a page out of the book of Essay Two writer, and work in Africa.
And after all that, what matters most to the writer: “I was raised on two principle concepts. First, if you have a job, do it well. . . . [and ] Where my first principle is intra-personal in nature, the second dictates my inter-personal interactions: always seek to help others.” That quote gives you something of the level of prose at play here, which is liberating, if you yourself, gentle reader, cannot write, either.
Although let me add, and I am not kidding, this guy is perfectly capable, like the guy whose dad was in prison, of capturing the important parts of his extraordinary story.
ANALYSIS: This is a one-trick essay, but it’s a great trick. The writer grows up among serious do-gooders doing field projects in Africa, including both his parents and all their friends, and just assumes that things will keep getting better in Africa since all those hard working people are on the case, or as stated by the writer, “With the sum total of my perceived adult population working on these problems, I assumed that things were bound to change.”
Then he goes to the states for college, and in his senior year returns to Africa, and learns, “Nearly everything was still broken. Power was sporadic . . .and . . . adequate health care was still severely lacking. I worked mostly on health-care issues . ..managing a general health-care clinic for street children in XXXX. .. .. And during this time, I realized that the infallible adults of my childhood were not going to accomplish it all by themselves.”