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It is the choices that we make that determine an our true character - SOP for PhD in Psychology

Nitajt 1 / -  
Oct 6, 2010   #1
My name is Nita Thakaria and I am from India. I wish to study in the field of I/O psychology, few aspects that really interest me is the study of management-employee relationship, work motivation that drives production, the organizational culture which holds the employees, the motivated leadership and its effectiveness, organizational development, training need analysis, appraisal, ergonomics and the need of employee counseling. My thesis research was of nine months during Masters on a non-profit international organization which helped me recognize my ability to perform research and how to correlate: leadership style of leaders, culture of the organization and its organizational effectiveness. My research studied the relationship among the leadership styles, culture and organizational effectiveness of a particular fifteen year old organization and its presidents which were yearly elected.

During the research of my thesis, the process of collecting and analyzing the data, the interpretation of the findings and designing of the follow-up experiments were exciting and extremely fulfilling. Another interesting part of the research was that I helped the organization build eligibility criteria for electing their Presidents each year. This research indeed has inspired me to work further in the field of leadership, Organizational Culture or Work Motivation and study their inter-relationship in different work environments. A question that always keeps me engrossed is: "how do organizations leverage leadership, culture or motivation to increase their productivity?" Every firm for example NGO, Private firms or Government utilizes each aspect mentioned above in a different manner to enhance their productivity. On one hand, the organization works on developing the parameters for maximum productivity which depends on several factors like Manpower, capital, work environment etc and on the other hand, what really interests me is to observe the response from employees towards the developed parameters and its impact on them. I hope to produce a practical, concrete line of research in the mentioned interest area to examine and discover the aspects of leadership/ organizational culture/ work motivation and its impact in different work environments. I would also prefer to conduct research in the above mentioned interest areas on consulting with the faculty. I have referred several books and articles of well known psychologists in the field of leadership and its effectiveness and few of them were Dr. Bruce Avolio, Dr. Bernard Bass, Dr. Michael Mumford, Dr. Robert Linden and James MacGregor Burns.

I have completed my primary education from Muscat, Oman. Later, I pursued my secondary and higher secondary schooling from Baroda, India. The highest level of leadership opportunity experienced in my schooling was when I was elected as head girl of my school during higher secondary in the year 2003. At a young age of 16, I handled a student union and was a role model to all my juniors. I was the ambassador of my school in all inter-school activities and was student editor chief for annual school magazine as well.

After completing higher secondary schooling in the field of life sciences (physics, chemistry and biology), I then chose to break my own mindset about social sciences and decided to pursue my under graduation (2005) in sociology, psychology and English literature. As i was interested in understanding the functions and synergy of mental processes and human behavior I majored in psychology in under grads with minors in English literature. When I started under graduation, simultaneously I had also joined an International youth organization (non-profit) -AIESEC's local committee in Baroda as an active volunteer in August 2005. Within six months I was promoted as a Vice- President of the development sector of the local committee in 2006-2007. I was a very dedicated and passionate individual towards the social issues in the society and I led a team of 10 members working on several different student global exchange projects under my guidance. I was associated with AIESEC for 1.5 years where i gained tremendous knowledge on the organization's processes by being a live example of power of youth who could transform youth into change agents and impact the society positively. In AIESEC, i executed several projects on social issues and one of them where I did a lot of research was on indigenous people of India and how to save their rich culture and heritage.

As a Vice President of the project I was responsible to showcase Indian indigenous people's culture to international students for cross cultural synthesis and helping the indigenous people preserve their tribal inheritance. This global student exchange project hosted 20-25 internationals from 10 different countries who intended to study and learn the Indian tribal culture. I was amazed personally to conduct a research at an age of 18 and initiate a global project on learning the tribal culture of India. This project is still continued by the local committee today [/watch?v=M9Z0oUYRlOU]. On my academic end, in 2006 I was in my second year of under graduation and chose Psychology and English literature as my focusing subjects. This year I got exposed to the several branches of Psychology and I personally found keen interest in the field of Industrial Psychology. This field at the moment connected to me instantly because concurrently I was working in an environment where I was exposed to the HR heads of the NGOs and corporates every day. I could readily understand the volunteer's attitude within AIESEC and their behavior in work instantly as I had started studying Industrial Psychology in college. In 2007, I completed my term in AIESEC as a Vice President and was awarded nationally in AIESEC in India as the best Exchanger with the best project executed nationally for the year 2006-2007. My position in AIESEC entailed extensive research and implementation of various projects with a leadership position- an element I thoroughly enjoyed and judging by feedback I received from my superiors and peers, I performed well. Due to this exposure, I also learnt to appreciate the value of collaboration and information sharing - I am very much a team player and strongly believe in the value of diversity and multitude of opinions.

In 2007-2008, which was also my last year of under graduation, I chose to study in detail Industrial Psychology and Organization behavior which interested me the most from all the branches of psychology. Same year a group of students from my class were selected to present a research on a topic of our interest from our majoring field. This research work was a 3 month project where a group of 10-11 students of my class worked together. The topic chosen was "Woman as Consumer" and we decided to understand the changing patterns of purchase behavior in young women of Baroda. The team was responsible to develop the questionnaires, collect data and evaluate data in all. We conducted the research having two distinct parameters: education background and distinguished product groups. It was interesting how young women with different age groups and education backgrounds preferred different product groups. This purchase behavior pattern was studied over a sample of 500 women in Baroda. This experience stimulated me to complete my masters in Industrial Psychology and learn more in this subject.

I believe that the qualities we all possess are unique, but it is the choices that we make that determine a person's true character. I have made bold choices in the past and lived up to the commitments and the expectations. I am passionately committed to turn my desires into reality and make the most of one lifetime. This desire of pursuing research with inquisitive and explorative attitude that would enhance my constant learning process led me to pursue masters in Industrial psychology in 2008. My master's program was quite different in terms of its teaching approach. We were provided a lot of practical experience in terms of training programs, internships, seminars and corporate excursions. Initially the graduation program started with in-house training sessions where experienced faculty members, trainers and externals conducted 15 workshops on different subject areas of psychology. This training helped me to gain knowledge on how to implement the theoretical knowledge in the work environment. As the year passed, I got in depth knowledge academically on Industrial psychology, organization behavior, Human resource development, individual and group behavior in organizations along with experimental and social psychology. The most challenging moments during my graduation was when I joined internships and had to implement my academic knowledge into practice. It was a great experience to get trained under professional HR managers and help them execute several HR projects with profound research.

During the two years of my masters, I did three internships in two different sectors: government and private firm. The experience was extreme as the functions of the organizations were very dissimilar but the key learning was the functioning of the HR departments in these work environments. Processes like recruitment, training, induction, appraisal etc were few of my personal observations in both sectors. I learnt about organization's structures, their leadership body, culture and their organizational effectiveness measurements. Apart from the internship experience, I also got an opportunity to volunteer in the faculty events such as assisting the professors in conducting psychometric tests for career orientations of BBA students of our university and organizing the mental health day program event as a promoting event of the faculty. I presented a seminar on fish philosophy and its implementation in our environment which was represented in front of all graduate students and psychology faculty members. As mentioned above I had also completed a nine month research on my thesis for the master's program in my faculty which was rated as one of the highest scoring thesis in my faculty for the academic year. Reflecting on my graduate days, I recommend you to emphasize on my academic record as well with my experience in research. I believe that knowledge is not what one is able to retain and reproduce on a sheet of paper.

In Master's program in the Department of Psychology, I scored 65 % overall with the best grades in the thesis which is a matter of great pride for me, as very few students have achieved this feat. This makes me several cuts above the commonplace. I enjoy teaching and although I have no formal experience in teaching but I have had several opportunities in past of training and my naturally strong communication skills will help me considerably. In fact, that's something I would enjoy immensely. I am a very practical person and my understanding is prodded by actually seeing things work. I am a quick thinker and very good learner. I am very flexible to learning and exploring new things in life generally.

I look for a PhD program to refine my knowledge and skills in my areas of interest along with providing a challenging and interesting opportunity to conduct research. I believe it will also serve to give direction to my goal of a career in a research oriented organization. I want to pursue further research in the field of industrial psychology with research interest areas in leadership, culture, organizational development or motivation. Needless to mention that the United States is the world leader in this field and your academic institution is held in high esteem worldwide. I always believe that the essence of university education lies in synergetic relationship between student and his faculty. What attracts me is the freedom of choosing independent research topic for PhD, the esteemed faculty and the environment to pursue research. The opportunity to learn from them directly would be invaluable indeed. I feel that graduate study at your university will be the most logical extensions of my objectives. I would be more than happy to be given the opportunity to pursue my PhD in your university.

Thank you for your time.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Oct 9, 2010   #2
I wish to study in the field of I/O psychology. A fe w aspects that really interest me is are the study of ...

I have referred (what do you mean? Read? Recommended?)several books and articles of well known psychologists

I see a typo: i
In AIESEC, i executed ...

The team was responsible to develop for developing the questionnaires, collecting data and evaluating data.

...three internships in two different sectors: government and private firms .

extra words here:
I believe it will also serve to give direction to my goal of a career in a research oriented organization. I want to pursue further...

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