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I had always found joy in contributing positively to other people's lives. Chevening Influence Essay

purple 1 / 1  
Oct 5, 2017   #1
Hello everyone. Please help me criticize my essay for me to know whether I correctly answer the question. Here is the question. Thank you.

Chevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.

(minimum word count: 100 words, maximum word count: 500 words)

Chevening Leadership and Influence Essay

Since a young age, I had always found joy in contributing positively to other people's lives. That prompted me to always seek better ways to do so. Even though helping people really just needs a sincere intention and it does not always need a leadership and influencing skills, I found that those skills could lead to a much greater impact and thus, there were more people benefited from my actions.

My first influencing experience happened when I became Chief Secretary in a student committee organizing a local-brand bazaar. A tight budget made us had to set a high price for potential tenants and so all that were interested were relatively established businesses. It would help us financially, but I felt uncomfortable, as our initial goal for the event was to help businesses still struggling to gain market awareness and apparently, our price was unaffordable to them.

Expectedly, the whole team balked at my suggestion to reduce price and I understood their concern. Therefore, it was not enough to only remind them about our true vision but I also had to meet them halfway and gave them solution. Therefore, I proposed to set aside 10 out of 70 spaces for a Free Tenant Competition for students. I compromised and decided that if we could only help 10 striving businesses grow, it was still better than nothing. Making it a competition for students would help tremendously as marketing strategy to attract more visitors and it was also appealing for seeking sponsorships to help the budget. The whole team liked my idea and the event was a great success. I learned that one of the best ways to influence is to put forward everyone's best interest and seek for a win-win solution.

My leadership experience happened in XYZ, a non-profit organization that focuses on community development. I started there as Program Development staff and after several projects with outstanding achievements that I contributed in, I was trusted with a higher position, Board Secretary, which was the second most important position in that organization.

There was a project of a school initiation in a village that was still in its beginning stage and it desperately needed more funding. There was no solution in sight and the project leader was ready to give up. However, I felt responsible towards the project's team as they had worked hard for it and also towards the villagers. Therefore, even though I was Board Secretary, I took over the responsibility of funding. I made a proposal to the government and I got a grant of 40 million rupiahs and the problem was solved. I managed to boost the team's morale and made a contribution to the villager's life by continuing the project.

At that time, I did what I think a leader should do for her team and through opportunities provided by Chevening Scholarship, in the future, I hope to create even greater positive impact to the people around me.

Holt [Contributor] - / 9,061 2735  
Oct 5, 2017   #2
Meidiana, your essay doesn't start off with a strong paragraph. "Since a young age" is the kind of reference that reviewers do not appreciate because it doesn't really mean anything. What age are you referring to? Based upon what experience as a child? Nope. They do not believe that "a young age" qualifies you as having developed a true leadership definition or understanding. It would be best if you simply open the essay in a direct manner, offering a reference to your professional leadership abilities immediately. That will surely catch the reviewer's eye if done properly.

That being said, you must remove the reference to the student committee because that is an amateur leadership trait that doesn't really show a professional leadership ability. Being a university project, there were other people in authority who were truly behind the decision making process. Don't think for one minute that your professor or adviser in charge of the project would not have shot down your suggestions if it were not within preset university guidelines for the occasion. That is why I always advice that applicants never fall back on academic related leadership skills. At that point you are still a "leader in training", not a true leader yet.

Your leadership skills do not seem to be part of your professional work experience. These both sound like you accomplished tasks during your college studies. Is that the case? If that is so, then this is not the way to develop the essay. Most specially since in your last reference, you were not even a real leader but merely a board secretary who decided to take charge of a situation. I do not see any true influencing skills in this instance that will prove your potential as a future leader of your country.

If you can, come up with more professional "crisis management" scenarios where you were the point person on the project. That means, you were in charge and all decisions you made were final. You were not making suggestions, you were making decisions that changed the outcome of a project or inspired your team members towards developing viable solutions that you approved of. It has to be professional sounding, not obviously academic participation trying to sound important because this actual presentation, isn't impressive at all.
OP purple 1 / 1  
Oct 5, 2017   #3

Thank you so much for your thorough feedback to my essay.

Actually, the non-profit organization is not a student organization or associated with any university at all, even though I joined it when I was still a student. Therefore, I hope my experiences there can be included, as it was not academic at all.

I will definitely revise it and repost it again and I will really appreciate it if you can review it again.

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