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Statement of Purpose for Yale- Jackson Institute Global Affairs.

Samueljames20 1 / -  
Nov 20, 2018   #1

graduate school application sop

Hello, wonderful Essay Forum Community,
This essay is an SOP for my graduate school application. I will use the bones of it for several schools but it was written with one program in particular in mind: Yale's Jackson Institute of Global Affairs. The word count must remain below 1000 and I would prefer to keep it below 900.

I'm curious to hear from reviewers, what existing elements are unique and impactful. What existing elements could be cut. What elements or information is missing. And how is the flow of the essay, is it interesting and cogent?

Thank you all so much for the feedback!


For eight years I've traveled and worked across six continents, through Peace Corps I discovered international development. My interest has grown most around community and economic development because I believe individuals and communities with opportunity, purpose, and economic inclusion will be more engaged with other forms of development, such as public health and education. In recent disaster response experiences, I noticed opportunity lost, lots of money and attention go in but no long-term economic development comes out. Therefore nothing changes. I am applying to The Jackson Institute of Global Affairs to study the political policy and economic effects that shape response programs and to prepare to transition my career from implementation and management to policy and program development of international humanitarian crisis response.

In hurricane recovery operations I felt good about having a singular problem to solve, help people recover from the storm, in Micronesia and Puerto Rico it became clear that the storms were not the problems, they merely exposed and exacerbated the symptoms. Even so, disaster relief programs thrust billions of dollars at the devastating manifestations while ignoring the root causes. Contrary to recovery, development aid utilizes evidence-based improvements and thoughtful design to amplify long-term positive effects. As part of my research and subsequent career, I would like to advocate for and deliver economic empowerment as a part of response programs to populations affected by disaster, conflict, or epidemic.

All of my target programs offer rigorous International Economics and Management training, however, Jackson stands out for several reasons. First, because of the international focus and diversity, distinct perspectives to help grow my own. Second, access to different programs-Law, Global Health, Management, and Economics-allows me to curate the perfect interdisciplinary curriculum to meet my academic objectives. Third, small Jackson class sizes mean closer collaboration with the brightest minds in the field, specifically I am interested in studying with Dr. Levinson and Dr. Unni Karunakara on issues such as applied economics in development and delivering healthcare to disaster-affected populations. Furthermore, I am interested in the Kerry Fellowship because it aligns with my interests in global economic opportunity and will provide excellent experience in writing and research.

During the summer months and after graduation I plan to work with innovative organizations such as Mercy Corps who is already implementing development projects into response programs. I'm interested specifically in Mercy Corps's Market Development Initiatives with Sudanese refugees in Uganda and their Business Development Project in Puerto Rico. My career goals and interests are strong but plastic, in graduate school I expect my direction to shift as opportunities arise and new ideas take hold. My purpose, however, will remain-to be a leader in public service and impact the positive development of underserved communities around the world.

I'm drawn to Yale's demanding academics. In addition to giving me direction and insight, my career has helped develop the maturity needed to meet those demands. Below is a brief of the attributes and tools I expect to use followed by an illustration of some them in practice:

Growth mindset: intrinsic motivation, open to new ideas
Leadership: democratic style with a passion to teach and team build
Emotional intellect: resilience, empathy, inter-cultural communication
Analytical and Logical: deconstructs unwieldy problems systematically

As head of distribution for the International Organization for Migration, I had incredible responsibility-and loved it. My critical thinking and resource management skills were exhausted-but I adjusted. As a leader, I included staff in every decision, gauged aptitude, delegated responsibility, and built capacity. Tribal politics, illiteracy, language barriers, violence, and substance abuse made it difficult to build trust in many of the staff. Additionally, the environment we operated in was dangerous and constantly changing, nevertheless, our team was able to mature and bring operations from three months behind schedule to one month ahead; such a strong system was developed I was able to take on the additional role of Acting Fleet Manager when Captain Rick was on home leave. Along with great success, I also experienced personal failure. When a conflict arose between departments I reacted defensively and without perspective making a constructive solution unlikely. Stress and isolation had there way. Thankfully, mentors and colleagues helped me reflect and learn from my missteps. A year later in post-Maria Puerto Rico, when traveling the island with teams of mainland medical practitioners, it was these scars that checked my hubris and allowed me to maintain perspective and facilitate productive communication within a frustrated mission

Holt  Educational Consultant - / 13,881 4564  
Nov 21, 2018   #2
Samuel. this is a very interesting personal statement that carries clear motivational aspects for your choice of masters course and the university. This is not a statement of purpose. The statement of purpose focuses on only 2 things. Your academic and professional goals as it may be developed and honed by advanced academic theories and practices as set forth in a masters degree curriculum. It is not a narrative of your interests nor a long winded essay that takes too long to get to the point due to the over informative nature of your presentation.

The opening statement must indicated how your previous studies, yes, that is a requirement, has prepared you for this course. Previous studies meaning your college interests, accomplishments, and relevance to your profession. Within your profession, you should explain what factors have led you to the realization that you require further training in this field. Focus on a specific problem you wish to resolve. The motivating factors, which take more than half of the essay at the moment, should be removed to shorten your presentation. The motivation should instead be developed in the motivational letter.

You must also be sure that the professors you are discussing in this essay are open to hiring student aides or assistant researchers, if your thesis program does not require their participation, or if the professors do not hire students for any reason, then mentioning their names will not help your application. Not even mentioning that you look forward to enrolling in their class will be relevant to the purpose of this discussion.

Focus your decision to choose this university instead on the similarities your academic and professional goals have with the objectives of the program and the training or internship aspect of it. Explain how you hope to use these tools within your workplace and why you feel that your professional background has helped make you a perfect fit for this program. Create a written impression of your determination to succeed in this program and how you plan to utilize the university sources to do it.

There is a missing reference to your study plans in this essay. Your last 3 paragraphs should be removed to focus instead on the study plan which will be the main purpose / reason for your motivation for higher studies. The reason being, the purpose is to solve a problem in your field of expertise, the solution will be found during your research thesis, which will then be applied in the actual workplace. This may be hypothetical in scenario as you may decide to change the focus of your thesis later on. At this point, you just need to prove an applicable reason for your studies.

The essay need not be extremely wordy. You can actually complete this essay within 750 words at the most. It all depends upon how you revise the essay and change the content to be relevant only to the "purpose" aspects of the academic and professional kind.

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