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Sample Personal Statement for Information Technology

My purpose in writing this essay is to impress upon you my very carefully considered professional, as well as personal, reasons for applying to your school and, thereby, to convince you of my likely superior future value to the field should you admit me to your excellent school. I am applying for admission to the Ph.D. Program in Management Science at M.I.T. with a concentration in Information Technologies (I.T.).

I have always believed that education in itself is the most satisfying pursuit, a value instilled by my mother, herself a teacher for many years. Along the way I have learned to focus that value and match it closely to my increasing experience and desire to work on the current, most advanced issues in my field.

I have two reasons for making the decision to apply for Ph.D. study. First, I want to become a professor in order to do advanced research in my field. Secondly, I want to develop the abilities of other students in the field. Both of these types of activities, research and mentoring, have already given me substantial satisfaction.

I am choosing to apply to schools in a foreign country for admission to a Ph.D. program in order to benefit from those programs and those scholars in my particular chosen field and to receive guidance in the advanced research that I want to pursue.

The chosen program of study in I.T. requires professors who can teach and supervise research in these areas. This field at that level is little developed in my own country (China). It is not a part of most university business school programs and it is seldom applied in practice. If I eventually want to work in China and have a role in developing this field there myself, I feel that it would be wise to learn theory and best practice from the experts. A second very important reason for choosing to study abroad is the opportunity to actively research any ideas and issues that naturally arise during the academic period. The close relationship and even joining of academics with research and development is not only more available but far superior in the U.S.A.

I have decided that the Sloan School of Management is the school where I would have the best opportunity to pursue my objectives, receive the best guidance and benefit the most. First, the entire University’s focus on bridging the gap between the academic program and industry by joining research skills with issues of practicing managers reflects my own devotion to implementing my ideas with practical advances. During my course of study, I would hope to work with Dr. Wanda J. Orlikowski whose own work in I.T. I greatly admire. I specifically want to know more about information flows and resource management and, ultimately, how managers evaluate that information in decision-making systems in different environments. Then I want to go on to work on developing technical support for real-time decision making.

There are several sources for my keen interest. One source is my past work experience in the computer industry, beginning in China as salesman, then starting my own business in network design and installation, and finally moving on to a position as Research Engineer with a world-class computer company in the U.S.A. I have a solid six years of experience in this field. It also should be said that some of my questions in this specialized topic specifically have come out of my experiences in two very different cultures. Traveling this career path has included education in both China and the U.S.A. and understanding the different approaches to management. Then a third source of my interest is my team and small working group experience in the U.S.

The above identified influences gave rise to my focus on decision-making for future research. One of the important processes that I observed was the large variation in quality of management decisions. Especially during periods of major workplace change, including restructuring, I observed markedly poor decision-making. Those observations particularly sparked my interest in decision-making pertaining to improving the economy of labor and other resources.

During my six years of experience in the I.T. industry, I have learned to make decisions based on a combination of reason and practical experience. This approach has enabled me to work out advances and improvements in software development. In every case, it was this combination of reason or theory paired with implementation and the reinforcement of the two that has led to my learning and professional satisfaction.

I have demonstrated this practice of following up ideas with practical results in my now extensive work experience as a Systems Engineer. My work has been, and is, productive. I alone, or in a major team role, produced advances in software. I designed and implemented both the On-Line ROM Flash Utility for Microsoft Windows and Linux on Compaq/HP Enterprise-Level Proliant Servers and also the PCI-X Driver on Open UNIX8 for PCI-X Capable Proliant Servers. One of my inventions is now being reviewed by a Compaq/HP committee for patent filing.

Truly great decision-making requires another element. It needs to be joined by equally good communication skills. The power of good communication skills paired with good decision-making skills in making for a winning team has impressed me in various areas of life. One who excels in this area and whom I admire is Lakers coach Phil Jackson. He combines leadership, communication skills and decision-making so effectively in one challenging situation after another. His real-time decision-making is outstanding. I will have this ideal before me in my own work as I hope to produce a winning team too in the future.

I already have experience and knowledge gained from working on earlier teams in long-term Research & Development projects in this very field that I want to pursue further. I know the satisfaction and pride that these past achievements have given me and also the desire to produce additional advances. In all my various past roles in the I.T. industry I have faced challenges that I learned to resolve. I know that there will be challenges in every situation and I feel very strongly that I am prepared for those in the Sloan School of Management.

I believe that the combination of continuing desire for self-improvement, increased learning, combined with my insistence on approaching problems with both reason and practical application, and thus to lay new paths with new ideas, is my defining character. I further believe that this character will take me forward successfully to explore new paths and lay new ideas in I.T. At the same time, I strongly hope that you will recognize my solid experience in the computer field, my U.S.-earned M.S. degree in Computer Science and my strong motivation compelling me to leave an established, personally-owned business as clear indications of probable future success, and admit me to the Sloan School of Management.


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