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Is This Personal Experience Appropriate to Talk About? [#permalink]
11 Sep 2009, 10:11
I am going to apply to business schools in the next few months. I had a personal experience that I am considering discussing in my essays but I am not sure how it would be viewed by schools. Please give me some feedback:
Quite a few years ago my father, a blue collar worker, was fired from his job after 29.5 years of service. He was 6 months away from being fully vested in his retirement and it was obvious that the company was saving quite a bit of money by firing him (instead of getting full retirement at 55 he had to wait until he was 65). He made a mistake that could have happened to anyone and the company capitalized on this.
Several years after this happened there were a series of vandalism attacks on property of the company. My father was charged with the crimes and since it involved a public utility it was a fairly high profile case. My family hired a very prestigious attorney and after a few months I started to notice that he was missing things. I ended up getting very involved in the case and in the end much of what we had was a result of my work. It was a legal battle that lasted over 2 years and the outcome was much less severe than anyone anticipated. I learned a lot during this time. I knew nothing about the law when it started and in the end I could hold my own with any attorney. I also took the lead in assembling a team. I hired several expert witnesses and legal consultants in addition to discussing the case with many attorneys. It was a high stakes management project and I feel like I did a very good job in handling it and the results reflected this.
I am not sure if I should use this story when applying to B-school. I have read that schools are becoming increasingly concerned with business ethics. A common theme behind my father's situation was the ethics involved in the decision to fire him. I thought a lot about this during this time and it is a topic that I became very interested in. However, I am not sure how the criminal aspect would be digested by the people reviewing my application.
I dedicated several years to this situation and now I am a slightly older applicant (34). I thought that this might help explain why I want to go to school now but again, I am not sure how it would be viewed.
Re: Is This Personal Experience Appropriate to Talk About? [#permalink]
15 Sep 2009, 19:16
There is no downside to using that story. It's extremely unusual, interesting, shows you in favorable terms, and speaks directly to your age issue. (Of course, it might help you even more if you were applying to law school.) Of course, your age will still be a negative to some degree and you will still need to do all the things that other successful applicants do: state concrete, savvy goals; show progressive leadership and impact in and outside of work, etc. etc.