Dear fellow URMs can you please critique my PS

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
andreskicdo
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:06 am

Dear fellow URMs can you please critique my PS

Postby andreskicdo » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:14 am

Please let me know what you think. Grammar, flow, vocab, topic, tone. I appreciate all your help.

Nine years ago I arrived to the United States with little more than a high school diploma and a rudimentary grasp of the English language. In the face of a dire economic situation in my home country of Colombia I uprooted myself and left behind the only life I knew in search of new opportunities. Within a month of my arrival I got a job as a dishwasher at one of the popular Greek restaurants in the city and with my first paycheck in my hands, calloused from work and sweaty from the nervousness, I drove to the local technical institute and enrolled in adult ESOL classes. At the time I did not know what success looked like, but I saw education, hard work, and determination as requirements to obtain it. Moving to the U.S. had been pivotal: for the first time in my life I felt I was faced with a daunting challenge and was immersed in a truly meritocratic environment in which my actions would determine the ultimate outcome. Mastering English was only the first step. I had pushed open the then ajar door, and opportunities my mind was not yet capable of imagining were now within reach.

My mother always told me growing up to always strive to be the best at what I do regardless how big or small. Encouraged by the atmosphere in which I found myself and heeding that advice I approached with tenacity and diligence the task at hand. As I devoured textbooks, the once foreign and challenging idioms, dangling modifiers and double negatives slowly started making sense. Fast forward a few months and I found myself sitting down taking the SAT and shortly after, enrolling in the local community college. Had I seen myself that first day of classes, I would have not believed that the timid young man who barely spoke because of fear of misusing a word or self-consciousness about his accent would become in two years’ time the confident person giving an interview to the university’s publication relating how he had made the Dean’s list every semester while working a full time job, and in the process, becoming only the second person in the school’s history to gain acceptance to an Ivy League university. Somebody told me when I arrived to the U.S. that opportunities were there, but you needed to take advantage of them. Attending the University of Pennsylvania represented the fulfillment of that premise.

The experiences I had gone through made me see the world as a series of puzzles that needed to be solved. Grounded on my own life I knew that knowledge origins were both diverse and sometimes unexpected. That approach brought up my interdisciplinary major of International relations. I enjoyed being able to see a problem through different prisms and thus being able to craft more comprehensive answers to the questions at hand. Fearless and persistent I followed a challenging and intense curriculum. My commitment paid off as I was able to graduate with honors and write a thesis that addressed the underlying causes for the shift on structure of the illicit drug business in Colombia. The topic could have not been more appropriate. In a way it merged the world I left behind with the person I had become.

My studies and my own existence proved to me that as societies grow more complex, institutions become more powerful and necessary in society. Heightened power brings along problems with an increased level of complexity. The opportunity to not just provide, but also execute solutions for such types of institutions drew me to join the Investment Banking Strategy Group at Citigroup following graduation. Being at the nadir of the financial crisis raised the stakes, but it also provided an unparalleled chance to learn from the inside of the storm. In this role I was responsible for mining through mountains of data in order to create analyses that tried to shine light on the right path to follow. Devising the strategy of a division with 10,000 employees worldwide and $2.5 billion in revenues a year was frightening, as my actions no longer just accounted for my personal success or failure, but potentially could affect the lives of many more people. These exercises required the detailed examination of the conclusions and assumptions made, which highlighted the vital role the legal framework plays into the decisions institutions like this one makes. The more I got acquainted with financial regulation, the more intrigued I became by the capability of the law at its worst to inject uncertainty and paralysis into an organization.

The last 9 years have felt as if I was sprinting with a parachute strapped to my back. As I have gained knowledge and insight some of those ropes have been slowly breaking off, allowing me to run faster and longer. At a personal level it has been satisfying to be able to succeed in the face of sometimes tough odds. But as much as that parachute might have felt constraining at the beginning, I have realized how my personal challenges are dwarfed by the collective trials we are faced as a society. I joined Citigroup almost four years ago and just now we are starting to see the first green shoots: the product of strategies I once helped design. It is another proof that institutions like Citi are like aircraft carriers: they allows us as a society to get further, but it requires a long time and many of us to steer it through the storm. This will not be the last financial crisis my generation will see, but I sure want to be part of the discussion that sets up the legal framework that will help us weather the next one. I believe that personally I can reach any goal I set for myself, but reaching those goals will never be as satisfying as being part of a group that works together for a common purpose.

andreskicdo
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:06 am

Re: Dear fellow URMs can you please critique my PS

Postby andreskicdo » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:20 am

feel free to pm if you do not want to post. THanks!

andreskicdo
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:06 am

Re: Dear fellow URMs can you please critique my PS

Postby andreskicdo » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:48 pm

please some help :roll:

User avatar
Gustave
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:41 pm

Re: Dear fellow URMs can you please critique my PS

Postby Gustave » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:06 pm

Howdy,

My quick thoughts on this. The scope seems very broad, since it attempts to relay the entirety of what seems to be an eventful decade. As a result, it loses focus.

My recommendations:

1: You're going to be writing a diversity statement. Quite a lot of this should be in that document. Tell the admissions folks about your unique perspective as an english language learner and how the (presumably) Columbian heritage informed your academic success. That sounds like a spot on DS to me.

2: Focus in on one particular instance demonstrating your insight and thoughtful analysis while at Citigroup. Include multiple characters, perhaps a foil to your awesome self, and demonstrate through active verbs and detailed descriptions exactly what you did in that role. Narratives are more powerful than exposition, and are much more effective at conveying chracter traits. The goal of a PS is to convey who you are, not to be a laundry list of your qualifications. That's your resume's job.

I'm not going to do spot checks for grammar and punctuation on this, since I hope to soon read a much more focused story. PM me that and I'll gladly take out the old red pen, though.

GL!




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