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OFID scholarship essay - Reforming the tax system in Tunisia


Hi everyone, I have been struggling in drafting the below essay as I feel I am perhaps not answering all the questions or focusing on unnecessary points?

I will appreciate your help / opinions.

Instructions: A short essay - of about 500 words in English - giving reasons for applying for the OFID scholarship, explaining your educational goals, and clearly describing how you will use the experience gained from your Master's degree studies to help in the development of your home country.

implementation of comprehensive tax policies



I grew up under a dictatorial regime in a Muslim country where access to education, especially for women, was considered at best a luxury and at worst an unnecessary evil.

Indeed, my mother barely obtained her secondary school diploma. My grandmother didn't even attend high school, and my great-grandmother dropped out of elementary school at twelve to get married.

Fortunately, my parents didn't share this vision. Thanks to their sacrifices and despite the challenging political and economic climate in Tunisia, they made sure that, unlike them, I manage to get the best education possible.

Their efforts paid off as I got offered by the French government, right after high school, a full scholarship to purse a five-year degree in both Management & Law.

Although I moved to Paris at an early stage, I remained strongly attached to my home country's development. I tried to participate from afar to its democratic transition by promoting and raising awareness around the Arab spring events of 2011 and its implications, using the student association I was presiding as a platform.

On top of my involvement into civil society, I felt the need to gain a professional experience on the ground in my field of study. In this framework, I did an internship within a small firm specializing in Business Law, where I had the opportunity to work on the defense of one of Ben Ali's closest advisor. This allowed me to participate in fascinating affairs, such as procurement law procedures' violation, illegal shares' sale, fraud, and public fund embezzlements' charges.

Being so closely involved in these cases awakened in me a strong interest into public finances' management and economic regulation's issues in a developing countries' context. Thus, I decided to specialize in Tax Law as I firmly believe that the government's ability to raise taxes will determine its capacity to create and redistribute growth.

In my future career, I certainly wish to dwell upon my academic achievements in both law and economics. On the other hand, I would also aspire to evolve in a challenging work environment and help countries that struggle with their democratic transition implement effective tax reforms.

My career plan, as ambitious as it is atypical, falls perfectly within the International Monetary Fund's core missions, which aims to help its member states restore market balance and achieve sustainable economic growth.

Nevertheless, to be even considered for the prestigious "Fund Internship Program" in Washington D.C, an L.L.M is presented by the recruitment team as a necessary perquisite.

The OFID scholarship, if awarded to me, will represent a great step in realizing my career goals and personal aspirations.
Indeed, completing my education at U.C Berkeley School of Law would offer me the opportunity to be considered for a job within Middle-East/North African section of the IMF, where I plan on participating into the implementation of comprehensive tax policies that will allow Tunisia to reduce its staggering tax gap, especially in respect of losses from tax fraud and aggressive tax planning. I strongly believe that this is the best way for the country to meet its financial obligations and improve its public services.

Apr 19, 2017   #2
Chiraz, this is totally the wrong approach to responding to the prompt. In order to create a more relevant response, you have to first, present the problem that Tunisia faces, which in this case, is a problematic tax system. Don't leave that for the end of the essay as a mere mention because that is the focal point of the prompt. You basically need to present the following information per paragraph:

1. An explanation of the problem the country faces and why you believe that this is a problem that needs to be immediately resolved.
2. Your plan of action as to how to fix this problem, which requires you to complete a masters degree in order to formulate a workable solution to the given situation.

3. Why you believe that this course of study will help you to develop your solution.

Your response to number 3 should be expanded enough to allow the reviewer to understand exactly how the scholarship program can help you achieve these goals. You can actually take the sentences from the last paragraph and use those to start new paragraphs in your revised essay. They sound like good starting points for discussion that can help you respond to the prompt in a better light.
@Holt thank you so much for your feedback. I tried to rewrite the essay taking into accounts your comments. I would appreciate your opinion on it. Thanks !

Ps: I count 458 words

Tunisia, once the region's most thriving economy, is since the 2011 revolution grappling with recession, rising unemployment, and frequent interruptions in overseas export markets.
This social and economic situation occurred mainly because the country has been unable to raise the necessary level of tax revenues. If recovered in full, these losses would enable a 50% reduction in budget deficit and avoid resorting to external borrowing.

Nevertheless, in 2013, when I did my first internship within a local branch of an audit firm, few effective tax reforms were being implemented.
The system was indeed failing (and is still failing) to capture revenue from the massive informal businesses sector, which has burgeoned in recent years.
Also, the corporate income tax discriminates among firms, largely because of the existence of incentives and other tax preferences that are available to some firms, sectors, and asset types, and not to others

This not only encourages tax evasion, but also poses a serious challenge to the government's authority.
Being so closely involved in these issues awakened in me a strong interest into the subjects of public finances' management and economic regulation in a developing countries' context.

Thus, I decided to specialize in Tax Law as I firmly believe that the government's ability to raise taxes will determine its capacity to create and redistribute growth.

Fortunately, I got offered by the French government, right after high school, a full scholarship which allowed me, unlike my mother who barely obtained her secondary school diploma or my grandmother didn't even attend high school, to complete a five-year degree in one of the best tax program in the country.

Completing my education at U.C Berkeley School of Law will represent a great step in realizing my career goals. Indeed, this master's degree would offer me the opportunity to be considered for a job within the Middle-East/North African section of the International Monetary Fund, which core missions (i.e. help its member states restore market balance and achieve sustainable economic growth) fall perfectly within my field of study and professional aspirations.

Within this organization, I plan, more specifically, on participating into the implementation of comprehensive tax policies that will allow Tunisia to reduce its staggering tax gap, especially in respect of losses from tax fraud and aggressive tax planning.

I strongly believe that this is the best way for the country to meet its financial obligations and improve its public services.

As a young women, raised under a dictatorial regime in a Muslim country, I would be honored to be part of a highly educated class of young people who used the knowledge acquired abroad to help their country by actively participating in the law-making process and public policy reforms that fight corruption and promote women political participation and leadership.


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