After five years of business experience, I believe that I am ready to take the next step toward my dream of being an entrepreneur. I also am confident that I am ready to participate actively as a member of the incoming Wharton class. At this point I am looking to gain the requisite skills and relationships to grow as a professional; I know that Wharton is the right place for me to accomplish this objective. Greg Below is one of Greg's essays for his Wharton application. We present the essay in its original form, with just cosmetic changes made to protect the author's identity. We then provide comments and suggestions, based on the advice available in Your MBA Game Plan . The question that he answers in this essay is: Describe a personal achievement that has had a significant impact on your life. Give specific details. What did you learn from this experience? How did it help shape your understanding of yourself and the world around you? (500 words) Growing up, I always had an intense fear of public speaking . I remember my first grade teacher, Miss Hamilton, telling me that she loved my Christmas story and asking me to read it aloud for everyone’s parents at the school’s Christmas play. I immediately burst into tears, begging her not to make me speak in front of so many people. She finally relented, but even as a six-year-old I recognized the concern in her voice. This fear continued through my early teenage years. At various times I would be asked to give a presentation or make a speech, and I would always find an excuse to get out of it. I would rarely even speak up in class for fear of embarrassment. I couldn’t imagine how I would ever overcome my fear of public speaking. In high school, I became more comfortable with speaking in a group. Things had changed for me. The difference was that I was no longer thinking about what I was going to say to the point of paralysis. I was just speaking my mind. Still, I couldn’t imagine myself actually speaking in front of a large audience. What would happen if I finally got up in front of a crowd? Would I freeze up? Would I even be able to bring myself to get up in front of that crowd? When would the right opportunity present itself?
That opportunity came in my junior year of high school, when I decided to run for the office of treasurer in our student government. I had always had strong opinions about how the school could be improved, and this was my chance to make a difference. I wanted to get more students involved in all areas of the student government. Of course, running for office meant making a speech in front of my school’s 1,500 students. The old Greg would never have done it, but when I realized that a five-minute speech was what stood before me and the possibility of becoming my school’s treasurer, I refused to let it stop me. That day I walked up to the podium and delivered my speech without thinking about that large audience at all. I simply said what I wanted to say, only glancing at my notes once or twice. I stumbled a few times at first, but by the end of
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- Fall '14
- Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Master of Business Administration, Wharton School