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"Public service" - NYU - Why Wagner, why now, and why you?


answers: 4
Apr 4, 2011, 10:32pm   #
Hi all, I would greatly appreciate any feedback and critique on this essay for graduate school. Thanks for your help!

This is the question:

MPA, MUP Applicants Please upload an essay describing your career goals, your interest in NYU Wagner, how your education and work experience qualify you for admission, and how Wagner can play a role in helping you make positive impact in the field of public service. The essay should be two to three pages, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, and 12pt font. In essence, please tell us why Wagner, why now, and why you?

This is my "reply":

When I was seven years old, my parents took me to a gathering at the Town Hall in my hometown of Hyderabad, India. A few dozen families occupied the place so I believed it to be a social gathering. As I was waiting for the music and dancing to begin, a bell sounded. Everyone took their seats as a few local businessmen went to the stage and started talking about money. A few minutes later, everyone, including my father, began yelling out began calling out numbers that were steadily increasing. Slowly, people began leaving looking disappointed and angry. I was baffled, unsure of what was happening and looked at my parents who didn't offer an explanation.
Years later, in high school, as my Economics teacher was explaining the formal and informal banking systems in India, I was reminded of the gathering that I had attended. That gathering was an informal money-lending scheme organized by the rich community members. The numbers that were called out were interest rates and people in desperate need of money were bidding on loans and were willing to pay an obscene rate to get it. The wealthy businessmen were lending their money without any collateral because they knew that poor civilians were unable to run away from their homes after publicly agreeing to repay their loans. This is a classic example of how the rich in third world counties take advantage of the poor. This outrageous financing practice continues to this day and still needs to be addressed at a larger scale. This is what propelled my decision to pursue a career in public services. Since high school, after understanding the desperation of the poor, I have wanted to hold a financial executive position in a governmental or non-profit agency that helps the poor with basic financial needs.
After obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Accounting, I spent five years working in the public accounting field where I gained knowledge in general accounting principles and business practices in both private and public sectors. After, I accepted the position of Controller at Team Continuum Inc., a 501(c)(3) where I would manage public funds for the first time. Team Continuum is a not-for profit organization that provides immediate non-medical financial assistance to patients and families affected by cancer as well as fund various patient care programs in cancer institutions, such as NYU Langone Medical Center, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, Colombia Presbyterian and Beth Israel Medical Center. Cancer affects families both emotionally and financially. In many cases, one family member will quit their job in order to take care of a family member with cancer. This takes an enormous toll on a family's financial status. As a controller, aside from my regular accounting duties, I took the initiative to analyze the demographic data of the grant applicants to help the grant manager allocate funds to particular hospitals and neighborhoods where the need appeared greater. Helping these families is one of the most rewarding jobs I could possibly imagine.
Having worked in both private and non-profit sectors, I have learned that financial flexibility varies greatly in each sector. The private sector focuses on profit and maximizing shareholder value whereas the non-profit sector focuses on providing a social need on an ongoing basis even though revenue cannot be forecasted reliably. Public financial management requires a real understanding of policies with emphasis on budgeting and cash management. In order for me advance in my career, I need a college degree in public administration and policy to broaden my knowledge and learn the intricacies of non-profit organizations. I believe there is no better place than Wager to obtain this knowledge.
NYU Wagner has a renowned MPA program which prepares its' students to face the ever-changing world of public service agencies. Its' exceptional faculty are experts in their fields of public service whose research continues to serve as a foundation for other leading experts. It is the only public service college in the New York metropolitan area that offers a MPA program with a specialization in Finance, which is specifically designed for someone like me. This program will provide me with insight on public policies and how it affects the financial statements of a non-profit or public agency. My experiences in India have greatly influenced my views on the importance of agencies committed to helping those in need. Instead of finding ways to take advantage of the poor, societies would benefit from developing organizations that strive to aide the public with pressing social issues. I am committed to public leadership and have no doubt that NYU Wagner is the place for me to learn these skills.


Thank you for getting through this!

Apr 6, 2011, 03:57am   #
Very good essay, except I think you need to spend more time writing about why you want to attend Wagner in particular. The part of your essay where you deal with the work experience you have and the experience you had in India is very well-developed, but I think you really need to tailor your essay towards Wagner. At the moment, you only seem to have the final paragraph dedicated to that purpose. Otherwise, it is a highly personal and effective essay! Good luck! If you have time help me out with my letter of interest to Northwestern (below).
jbnyu:
why Wagner, why now, and why you?

Whis means they are testing you to see how thoughtfully you have chosen this school. Students who read a lot and plan for the future often have very specific answers to these questions.

This is a classic example of how the rich in third world counties take advantage of the poor. -------------Very good discussion here... and the same thing happens in developed countries, too!

I believe there is no better place than Wager to obtain this knowledge.
NYU Wagner has a renowned MPA program which prepares its' students to face the ever-changing world of public service agencies. Its' exceptional faculty are experts in their fields of public service whose research continues to serve as a foundation for other leading experts. It is the only public service college in the New York metropolitan area that offers a MPA program with a specialization in Finance, which is specifically designed for someone like me. ------I am very impressed with the essay and believe you will be accepted, but if you want to improve it get a little more specific about "why wagner." You have the opportunity to specify which professors' articles/books you have read, which resources you will use, and in general share your detailed plan. You really did a great job already, but you can add more detail to apply pressure to the reader by showing the reader just how much time and thought you have invested in this.

:-)
Apr 12, 2011, 09:19pm   #
Thank you both so much for your responses.

EF_Kevin - Funny you should say to focus on specific professors and their work. Wagner already asks you to choose 2 professors and discuss why their work is appealing to you. I didn't want to repeat myself :)
Oh, that makes sense! Well if they did not ask about that it would be a great opportunity to show how PROACTIVE you are by telling about how you read articles by these profs, etc....

Anyway, that is just one idea. The point I want to make is that we want the reader to feel a sense of OBLIGATION to give you access to whatever you want, because you have such clear vision of the future with many specific goals and ... clear intentions.

:-)



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