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Need some help with Cornell Essays [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2006, 17:20
Ok I really need some help with essay 1...

1. Describe your greatest professional achievement and how you were able to add value to your organization. (400 words)

I think I am really scared by "greatest professional achievement" because, to be honest, I don't think I have achieved anything "great". Now I know this is all about marketing myself and if I really have to I can think of a project and make it sound like my "greatest achievement", but...

What if... I try to talk about how I started out with a very technical degree and background in Computer Science, and slowly but surely started moving my career to what I really want to do, which is business related stuff? Would that work? Suppose I say that my greatest achievement was really figuring out what I want to do with my career and moving in the right direction and applying to MBA, etc...

My only alternative is to use a pretty typical IT project and talk about how I managed this testing lab and held meetings and made things run better blah blah blah...

Any advice would be really helpful. thanks!!
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2006, 19:53
IMO what they mean by professional acheivement is how you made a positive impact on your company.

Coming from a computer science background myself, I can relate to what you are going through. We IT geeks just do our part and sometimes forget to look at the bigger picture. I suggest you take all the projects you have been involved with and look at them from the business perspective. Ask yourself....Did this project create anything of value for the company? Did it help the client to realize savings (savings that affected the bottomline)? etc.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2006, 20:15
Here's what I wrote, basically:

I'd avoid really boring subject on IT if you can. Now, not all IT stories are boring. I read one recently about a guy coming up with an idea and the struggles he fought to obtain buy in - I think that's a great story (he has $ figures too, and quite a bit of introspection in it, and it shows initiative and leadership in anticipating issues or solutions), but a lot of stories are really really really boring.

A story about how you saved the EMC cluster from a raid-array failure on node six is about exciting as watching paint dry. Or how you were asked to write a UNIX script to "debug the mainframe cobol code from the obfuscated and deprecated ISDN link", or "Properly instantiating an AJAX interface to the non-compliant XML" make me want to shoot myself. In part because I have no fricking clue what it really means, and in part because it's usually fabulously boring stuff.

But worst of all, its usually really really hard to tie these kinds of things back to value add. So what, you wrote a unix script? Who gives a sh? Anyone even notice at your firm? So what does that really mean? Nine times out of ten, the value add to the company really isn't there. It's just a tactical issue - a task that had to be completed and you completed it. It's ok if the task is tactical, but the outcome should be strategic in value. Again, nine times out of ten, the big spin on why the "EMC cluster problem" was soooooo big and impressive is that "I completed it under budget and under tight timelines". Meh, kinda iffy. Where's the value add? And think about the message that sends - your best accomplishment is finishing something on time? Why, do you normally finish late?

And M, since I know your reading this, no, its not your story. Yours was fine. I know you'll still email, but I'll tell you now anyway :)

Last edited by rhyme on 04 Dec 2006, 21:09, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2006, 20:35
Coming from an IT backgrounnd, I can sympathize with your situation. What may sound glamourous to us just seems like a rather mundane task to others. No one apprecaites us IT folk!
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2006, 21:09
sujith wrote:
Coming from an IT backgrounnd, I can sympathize with your situation. What may sound glamourous to us just seems like a rather mundane task to others. No one apprecaites us IT folk!


I'm IT too, or was anyway, I hear ya.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2006, 08:09
But you are treated like the gods when something goes down and Suzy Q. finally has Blackberry access again!

My boss and I always joke about bringing down the Internet access for a day around the bonus season, just so they remember us... :lol:
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2006, 09:27
rhyme wrote:
Here's what I wrote, basically:

I'd avoid really boring subject on IT if you can. Now, not all IT stories are boring. I read one recently about a guy coming up with an idea and the struggles he fought to obtain buy in - I think that's a great story (he has $ figures too, and quite a bit of introspection in it, and it shows initiative and leadership in anticipating issues or solutions), but a lot of stories are really really really boring.


hmm.. now who may that be ;)

thanks rhyme for ur help on polishing the words!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2006, 13:29
Here are the finishing lines of my essay for this topic

The cost of modifying existing tools was close to a 1 million but a new tool would have cost 6 millions. I secured extra capital for those modifications after submitting a proposal. Finally, the team implemented new etching processes in manufacturing and impressed IBMers and customers. Additionally, I established new recipes database that could be effectively used in new etching projects. As a result of my etching process, IBM secured revenues in excess of 10 millions from Sony and Microsoft and ensured future business from them. IBM maintained its leadership over Asian rivals. In the whole process, I was able to file three patents and got a Bravo award from the program manager D-Y. Shih.

Please don't plagiarize, this is jsut to give you guys idea
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2006, 13:45
jainan24 wrote:
Here are the finishing lines of my essay for this topic

The cost of modifying existing tools was close to a 1 million but a new tool would have cost 6 millions. I secured extra capital for those modifications after submitting a proposal. Finally, the team implemented new etching processes in manufacturing and impressed IBMers and customers. Additionally, I established new recipes database that could be effectively used in new etching projects. As a result of my etching process, IBM secured revenues in excess of 10 millions from Sony and Microsoft and ensured future business from them. IBM maintained its leadership over Asian rivals. In the whole process, I was able to file three patents and got a Bravo award from the program manager D-Y. Shih.

Please don't plagiarize, this is jsut to give you guys idea


Here's the same thing, just written differently.

Quote:
Purchasing an entirely new tool, would, by my estimates cost almost $6MM, but modifying the existing tool could be achieved for a relatively attractive sum of $1MM. Convinced of my vision, I developed and presented a proposal to senior management. With their approval, I was selected to lead of team of X IBM employees and Y consultants. Excited by this opportunity, but acutely aware of the challenges I faced, I was determined to suceed. I established a new recipes database to handle complex etching projects and met daily with my team. Together, we suceeded in completing the modifications and IBM secured over $10MM in additional contracts from Sony and Microsoft. My hard work, dedication and willingness to accept a little risk were all rewarded when I recieved the "Bravo award" from my employer and when the patent office informed me I had successfully obtained three patents on etching."
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2006, 14:11
Wow you did make it look better, but once submiited is submitted at least I showed the impact. Some of your changes did change the meaning but I guess it doesn't matter now
  [#permalink] 05 Dec 2006, 14:11
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