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Graduate MIT EECS Statement of Objectives - why a good candidate question


Marsupilami 1 / 1  
Dec 12, 2015   #1
Hi, I am somehow stuck and have rewritten and deleted my Statement of Objectives too many times. Could someone please give me a feedback on what I have until now?

Please explain why you are a good candidate for graduate school. You should describe why you wish to attend graduate school, what you would like to study, and any research experience you have. Describe one or more accomplishments you are particularly proud of that suggest that you will succeed in your chosen area of research.

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Since I was a little kid, I always wanted to know how things worked. This could become a real hassle for my parents as I took apart their devices and was not always able to put it back together. It was not surprising that my interest drove me to take up an apprenticeship as IT specialist at Swisscom, the leading telecommunication company in Switzerland. In the last year of my apprenticeship, I was assisting the Head of Product Management. Thanks to his trust in me and my skills, I was leading a platform development team as well as a hotline team, which is an extraordinary responsibility for an apprentice. This was the moment, where I decided that I wanted to have a similar role in the future and I applied to the University of Applied Sciences St.Gallen (FHSG) to study Business Informatics. During my studies in St.Gallen, I had learned that I still had a great interest in understanding what exactly happens in the background of IT systems. Working in IT I know that further educating oneself is a key factor for future success, or in the words of Oscar Wilde "You can never be overdressed or overeducated". These two points made it clear to me that a graduate school will be the next step on my education plan.

For me, education is not about titles, credits or diplomas but more about expanding ones knowledge. It always surprised me to hear fellow students say "I will take course x; it is boring, but you get a lot of credits and a good grade for no effort". My mindset often leads to high expectations towards myself and hence I want to get the best education from the best schools in the world as well as to be in class with some of the brightest minds in the world. In my opinion, there are not only possibilities to learn from the professors, but also from fellow students.

My attitude towards education is probably best summarized by Albert Einstein: "I would hold seminars, and if the young people are interested and listen, I would give them a diploma."

While working in teams I discovered my strength to link and combine knowledge and different areas. Through my broad interests I was often able to take a different point of view and therefore the team was able to achieve better results through the combination of solutions.

I always had an interest for IT security. Probably it is because there is a lot of unconventional and outside the box thinking as well as the curiosity to walk off the track. After I started working in the field of IT security, I could more clearly identify the areas I was interested in. As I see my future in the cyber defence area, the main topics I am interested in are cyber security, forensics and behavioral analytics. The last point is influenced by my interest in psychology.

This area fascinates myself because of its ever-evolving importance. This can be seen by this year's car hacks and the growing mass of IoT-Devices. Cyber-attacks pose a big threat to all levels from private individuals to governments. These attacks are conducted by ever more organized and professionalized criminal organizations, hence, the "good side" has to keep up and be ready to defend the innocent people from harm. I cannot deny that I am excited by the thought of being like a detective who is putting the pieces of a puzzle together to come to the solution, or find the crack in the wall that is responsible for a vulnerability.

Coming from a country which has its strength in research I hope to be a good addition to MIT research teams and profit from the intercultural exchange. Furthermore Switzerland has, through its large financial services industry, which is a main target for criminal organizations, a lot of experience and a higher standard than other countries. This gives me a good basis in the area of cyber defence. To further strengthen my skills and deepen my knowledge I consider the MIT with its Lincoln Laboratory poses one of the best opportunities for me.

My final project in the apprenticeship as well as my bachelor thesis were both in the field of cyber security. For the final project in my apprenticeship I set up a Debian server and hardened it. My bachelor thesis was conducted on a higher level and I assessed the threats of working with third party SMEs for the Swiss Armed Forces. This research showed me the difficulty of defining a framework and quantifying security measures effectiveness.

During my projects and assignments in St.Gallen I had to use a variety of research tool, ranging from qualitative and quantitative questionnaires, research groups as well as statistical analysis, clustering and segmentation to compress the research content into simple and clear statements with supporting numbers.

Working in teams for papers at the FHSG has shown me, how much more a team can achieve in terms of creativity and solution bandwidth. In the international projects, the cultural diversity of the team brought this synergy to a whole new level and everyone in the team profited from a broadened view on the topics.

Even if I was the best of my class in the professional baccalaureate, I mainly achieved this thanks to my incredible classmates and amazing teachers.

In the assessment year at the University of Applied Sciences St.Gallen, which consists of 60 credits, it is not possible to enroll to any additional modules. After a passed assessment, a student may sign up for more courses. As visible in my transcript, I graduated with 135 of 120 ECTS after the assessment, which means I literally gave more than 110% to get the most out of my time at the University of Applied Sciences St.Gallen.

My effort also showed in any project I have worked with a client during my studies, as I was offered a job after the completion. As the companies were not active in the areas where I wanted to develop myself, I unfortunately had to turn down the offers.

vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Dec 12, 2015   #2
Hi Oliver, I edited your essay to make it shorter and better respond to the prompt. I removed the mention of your grades and your explanation at the end because the reviewer will be looking more at your transcript of records and records of grades for consideration. Your explanation will not carry much weight int hat instance. You have more than accurately depicted your strengths in the essay anyway so you don't need to worry about your college grades. Your work experience and abilities during your internship and participation in your field is more important. Here is the edit:

Please explain why you are a good candidate for graduate school. You should describe why you wish to attend graduate school, what you would like to study, and any research experience you have. Describe one or more accomplishments you are particularly proud of that suggest that you will succeed in your chosen area of research.

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Since I was a little kid, I always wanted to know how things worked. It was not surprising that my interest drove me ...


Don't hesitate to let me know if you want to work further on this. Otherwise, it is ready for use :-)
OP Marsupilami 1 / 1  
Dec 13, 2015   #3
Dear Louisa,

Thanks a lot for your effort, I like what you have done with it. Isn't the part about my achievements missing now? So my mindset and attitude towards education is not that important to be mentioned separately?
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Dec 13, 2015   #4
On the contrary Oliver, your whole essay more than spelled out your achievements in the field of EECS. All of your apprenticeships, participation in activities, and the like, all of your actual, practical accomplishments, which the reviewers consider to have far more weight than the academic aspect of accomplishments (which you were thinking of representing) are highlighted to the best of your abilities in this essay.

While your grades prove your academic accomplishments, those are just numbers to the reviewers. They can get those from various sources in your application packet. However, the reason why you are a potentially good student, an asset to the university in terms of purpose and ability, can only be represented by your actual practice in the field. I believe that your essay has been greatly strengthened by placing the entire focus of attention on your actual instead of intellectual abilities. When the reviewer compares your academic records with your practical experience, he will see the balance in your personality and abilities. Factors that I know can enhance the possibility of your application being considered :-)

However, if you feel that you want to include information that I previously removed, then tell me which parts those are and I'll see if there is some way to make it work for your essay. I'll be on standby in the meantime :-)


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