WHAT IS YOUR CAREER VISION AND WHY IS THIS CHOICE MEANINGFUL TO YOU?
Go ahead and check out our draft here:
Working in high tech industry, I have been amazed by impact implementing technological advancements can have. My career goal is to advance to a senior management position in a consumer electronic products corporation and manage market changes in consumer products driven by technology advancements. Innovation and development have been and would be the keys to drive the consumer market. Invention of television 1930’s changed dynamics of consumer market, development of personal computing in 1980’s gave consumer market a new direction and now internet is redefining communication and entertainment. Today, the challenge lies with not developing new technologies but with its management. To offer consumers what they would need and benefit from and what they could be pleased with would require strategy and planning of resources.
Managing such changes would require broad strategy decisions and would require more than my experience in technology domain. An MBA from HBS will help me develop deeper understanding of financial management and marketing to complement my experience in execution of technical processes and applications. Participating in case studies at HBS with the over 900 students would be an ideal way to expose my self to varied business functions. Learning diverse environment of HBS, with over 300 international students would be an ideal source of different functional views and learn about international business settings. I also plan t participate in Finance club, Marketing club and Consumer Products and Services Club as they would help me fill learn more about these domains and fill in voids to make me more competent for management in consumer electronic products market.
Post MBA, I plan to join a consumer electronic products giant such as Philips, Sony and Panasonic and work in the role of project management for consumer electronics products and managing all aspects related to a final product from development to sales. Working with multinational corporations would help me learn more with an exposure to international markets.
I would like to be serving on a senior management position for a multinational corporation and dealing with management strategies of international consumer market. I would be interested in focusing on the international market and to unify the market changes throughout the world market by making technology advancements available to all.
369 words: Check. Four paragraphs; separate intro, body, conclusion: Check. Structure is passable.
Today we’re going to work through only the grammar on this essay — and in fact, only one small element of the grammar This post does not touch the actual content, but instead the focus is on the unintended consequences of the verb choices and sentence constructions. We’ll tear this puppy apart for content another day. Today, let’s examine how you introduce meaning, in ways that you probably haven’t thought of since fifth grade.
We think it’s safe to say that our brave applicant is not a native English speaker. You may think it’s not fair to pick on a non-native speaker when it comes to the arcane rules of this language, and perhaps that’s true. But top business schools are looking for the best of the best (to use a cliche that I hope to never see in an essay), and so all’s fair in the admissions game. Plus, you’ve submitted to EssaySnark, so what really were you looking for?
OK then. Verbs. We’ve got some strange fascination with “would” in this draft. “Would” is not technically the verb in any of these sentences. “Would” is a helping word; it modifies the meaning of the verb, and in slightly different ways, depending on context and sentence construction. For any grammar geeks among you (OK, probably there are no grammar geeks out there, but I’m going to tell you anyway): “would” is a modal auxiliary.
Standard uses of the word “would” are:
- Usually, to express willingness: “I would be happy to remove that foot from your mouth.” This is saying that if you need a hand with that foot in your mouth (ahem), no problem, I’d surely help you out.
- Or, also common, characteristic activity: “At 2:00 every day, she would get a double extra skim chocolate chocolate moo-moo — with a splash of whiskey” or “He would always wait till the last minute before submitting essays, as if purposely trying to drive his coach crazy.” Here, ‘would” is expressing the customary or typical activity of the person, based on past patterns, observations, or habits.
- Other times, “would” actually makes the statement into a hypothetical: “I would be thrilled if all my clients are admitted to bschool.” The meaning here: I will only be thrilled if that happens; I will not be thrilled if it does not.
It is this last usage, the hypothetical, that applies in several of the sentences in our brave writer’s essay — and frankly, that is just weird. “Managing such changes would require broad strategy decisions…” This is an odd usage. What is the conditional? Doesn’t it always require? In what cases does it not? The writer means “it does require” yet using “would” raises all these questions in the reader’s mind.
It’s even worse when discussing his own career plans, as he goes on to do in that same sentence: “Managing such changes … would require more than my own experience…” OK, that clause is perhaps accurate — the writer is saying that in order to be qualified to manage these changes, he needs something beyond what he’s currently got, and the implication is that the MBA will fill that gap. That is a bulletproof strategy for expressing your need of the bschool education. The problem is that this sentence does not need the “would” and in fact is a much stronger statement without it: “Managing such changes … requires more than my own experience.” Using “would” adds distance and doubt — both of which being very bad in your bschool essay. It’s as if the writer is saying that he may or may not actually pursue this career path, but if he did pursue it, then it would require these skills. We don’t think that’s the message you want to give the adcom.
Better is to come out swinging: to show your confidence and determination to make this career into a reality. The use of “would” throughout this essay introduces this very subtle questioning in the back of the reader’s mind: Is this person really planning on going this route? Or is he just kicking the tires on it? We want to see CONVICTION come through in your application. CONVICTION. Very important.
Every word matters in an essay. You are communicating to the reader on so many levels. It might be possible, in some of these sentences, to simply say “this WILL require these skills” — but even that is not necessary. Just say “Managing such changes requires broad strategy decisions” (in another post we can parse what “broad strategy decisions” means, since there’s a problem with how that’s written, too).
Let’s look at another instance, perhaps one of the most egregious, even if seemingly innocuous: the conclusion. Here Brave Writer says “I would like to be serving on a senior management position…”
First of all, it should be in a position. People serve on boards of directors or on committees — as a member of a group. But they serve in positions. OK great, got that.
What about the “would” in this sentence? Well, it’s likely that the writer felt that this “would like to be” phrasing was expressing humility. He is not assuming he’ll get to serve in this position, but he would like to. Folks, this is milquetoast. This is not humility. It sounds too much like wishful thinking to me. I read it and I think Yeah, and I would like to win the lottery. Your essay should end with a bang, or at least a snap, crackle, pop. How about wrapping things up with confidence? With pride? With power?
Soon enough we’ll be getting a submission that is oozing with so much arrogance that it will stink up your screen, so we’ll be able to explore the other, rancid side of ego in due time. Excess humility is definitely preferable to stink-boy gak (it’s usually the boys who have that cockiness to them — why else the oh-so-appropriate adjective? “Cocky”? See?!? But yes, I’ve seen it in my share of chicky-poos, too, so don’t think you’re all innocent here, my dear).
We’ll call this one a wrap after just this small dissection of this tiny issue: the misuse of the modal auxiliary “would” But don’t worry, we’ll pick up on this essay again soon and take it the rest of the way through the wringer.