Hi, this forum has already helped me a lot during my essay writing. Now as a mature student, I know that a study plan can mean a lot to my application. I try to find every piece of evidence to make my study purpose genuine, but it may also cause the essay a little verbose. Any comments and critiques are more than welcome!
Actually, this will be my second master's. I've had a master's in the US in the same field, so the most difficult part is to prove that my study is urgent and necessary. Also, I had several jobs with short periods and many gaps before my US study. I'm not sure whether I should put that in detail. My current job is as a game designer, and my goal is to become a game product manager; the main benefit of the study is the project-based coursework, which will bring me a lot of first-hand experience.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
My study in the US-the first career milestone
Since I stepped into the game industry in 2013, I felt excited to live my childhood dream and had worked as a junior game designer. However, without a relevant background, my job duty was confined to a cog of a massive project, and at times I seemed not adapted to my work. Then, I pursued my master's degree in game design at American University. After graduation, I returned to China and now work steadily as a senior designer in a well-run online game company.
I consider studying at AU the first milestone in my career path. It introduced me to the stunning world of meaningful games. For the first time, I learned that games are not merely time-killers, but also meaningful tools to serve the purpose such as education or health. During my study, I grasped basic game-making tools and made an "edutainment" prototype.
My study at AU did benefit me in the labor market. Now I have obtained a position as a level-4 game designer, and my salary has nearly doubled compared to the level-3 position before my study.
My current job duty and my aspiration
I admit that I feel a huge sense of reward in this new career stage. As the world continues to embrace digital and online technologies, the boundary between games and other digital products (e.g., mobile Apps) becomes vague: our current game project is smaller in scale, and more dynamic since it's "always online".
Therefore, as part of the designing team, I have more duties than my previous jobs. Alongside the design work, we are required to attend weekly meetings to hear the leader's report; we are encouraged to read the up-to-date data and players' feedback and finally discuss if our business goals are met. Aspired to climb up higher on the ladder, I talked to my leader several times about the new job duty. Still, to my disappointment, she didn't allow me to participate because of my lack of relevant experience.
Feeling a great sense of career crisis, I began to research the current market. I realize that the game industry has already become a "red ocean", a well-known space with a fierce competition where workers can easily be laid off if she only works for a specific part of the pipeline. I also suggested by my peers and recruiters that a designer+a managerial position would fulfill my ambition. One day, I was recommended by a headhunter for the position of Product Manager (PM) in the edutainment field. This new role involves digital products, including games, but with more business-oriented requirements such as data analysis and strategic decision-making.
Though I need to switch my track a bit, this field is not unfamiliar to me. After considering my next role in the digital media industry, I strongly believe in the feasibility of becoming a PM. I believe I will succeed for three main reasons:
1. Because of the "always online" nature of modern mobile games, I can work the magic as a Project Manager (PM) and turn games into real commercial products;
2. As I climb up the career ladder to a higher position, I can take ownership of a game product and turn my dream into a business success;
3. There is a great vacancy for gameful products, such as educational games, so I can live my interest in AU.
After that, I tried to apply for jobs of a higher rank, but during the job interviews, I met new challenges.
My major obstacle is the lack of real-life project experience as a manager. The interviewers always asked me: "Could you showcase the authentic data of your own project?" For which I cannot provide a satisfactory answer. Secondly, a paradox in my domestic market is that you need to have previous experience in a relevant position as a senior worker, so I need a "stepping stone" as a kick-start. Usually, while the interviewers were satisfied with my design experience, they were unable to hire me as a Product Manager.
Therefore, I sincerely feel that my career has plateaued, and I urgently need a second milestone, which led me to this program.
Why this program
The MDM program is arguably the best program in the digital media field
I was thrilled to find the MDM program held jointly by four universities in Canada. As the first and the most renowned graduate program in digital media, it is focusing to solve real-world problems with digital media products (including games, mobile apps, and even other art forms). It fits my career goal so well for it extends the knowledge to other digital media than mere games.
The unique project-based coursework
Unlike other academic Master's programs, a large part of the coursework is project-based. Guided by top-level faculty and industry mentors, students will work closely with clients and peers on team-based projects. This is firmly aligned with my urgent need for project experience which I am unable to acquire in domestic companies. (it is very hard for game designers to switch into a different work stream without the relevant experience and it takes much longer to experience the full development cycle in a commercial company, while at MDM we can complete four projects in one year)
As for why I cannot have such experience in the workplace, firstly, the grim fact is that it's hard for an experienced worker to switch her stream of work since she doesn't have relevant experience. So I need to get a "stepping stone". Secondly, it took longer to experience the full development cycle in a commercial company, while in MDM we can finish up to 4 projects in a year.
Additionally, I usually cannot take ownership of a game or product and lead a team, while in MDM each student has the chance to turn an idea into a project. Furthermore, in MDM, students have access to local start-ups or even 3A companies, and rich resources to supervise a project, so they can collaborate closely with them to launch a project of their own. Finally, I also have to chance to be both a designer and PM on a team, and thus practice these leadership skills. In all, this is beneficial for a designer to build a more competitive portfolio with a broad mix of work.
About other coursework
Besides the projects, I can also freely take elective courses from the four renowned universities, and thus bridge the gap of UI/UX skills for product design. More excitedly, the program also offers management courses such as communication, time, and project management, then the skills will be quickly tested in the projects.
Finally, the students will finish a 1-2 term internship in the local company. The campus locates in the center of Vancouver, the heartland of many 3A digital companies (such as EA). It will provide valuable experience in the competitive industry.
Why there are no alternatives
Firstly, there's not a program of this kind in my home country (or in any other country). Most master's program focuses too much on the academic part but provides no real-life project experience.
I also tried to teach myself from online schools. However, the courses offered online are not systematic or organic. So I believe MDM is the only and the best choice for me.
Future career plan
Post completing my education, with hard work and perseverance, I would be able to get a significant trailblazing path for myself and pursue my further aspirations in China. I am particularly aspiring to build a core profile as a Product Manager in a Digital Educational Company.
Though impacted by the pandemic, China's digital and education market still has great potential. Post lockdown, the majority of the businesses switched their entire functioning online. This coupled with the fact that China is brimming with heavily funded start-ups results in a massive influx of vacancies in the Digital Media sector. Moreover, due to the large school-age population and the three-child plan, the audience will be large; Also, the development of children's extracurricular interests, such as programming, e-sports, English, and other fields of education are highly advocated in China. My special focus on language learning games makes China the best workplace for me (my proficiency in English will be a plus here). The financial payback is also huge compared to the cost. According to recruiting website, the average salary of my current position is 220K RMB, while that of a project manager is expected to be 40-50K RMB. I will devote myself to this meaningful area and turn my dream into a reality. This will give me inner satisfaction, acknowledgment, and respect as well, which I will not get in other countries.
Tie to my home country
As I mentioned above, with my skillset, I can enjoy an advantage in my home country, and I also have a wider connection to local partners and customers than in Canada. I returned to China from the US after my study, and that shows my tie to China with fact, and I will depart after the completion of this program for the same reason.
Currently, I'm happily living with my parents in the downtown area of the capital city. Our house is quite friendly for the elderly, and my parents enjoy life here a lot and have no intent to leave. Being emotionally very close to my family and as the only child of my parents, I am bound to return to China to take care of them and live with them.
I sincerely hope that the community shares my enthusiasm and considers my application worthy enough for the proposed study program. I would now request that you kindly process my application for the relevant visa.