Personal Statement (First Draft)

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Personal Statement (First Draft)

Postby bhan87 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:39 pm

This is my PS for Harvard. I'll be writing 4 more for each school I'm applying to, but the general introduction remains the same. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

As I peered out at my audience, I ran through a mental rehearsal of the speech I was about to present. To the left were several major executives of some of Japan’s biggest companies, including: Morgan Stanley Japan, The Japan Times, and, importantly, Bloomberg Japan (a key target for that day’s presentation). To the right were important officials from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, including Ambassador Roos himself. I had been personally invited to the Ambassador’s residence for a special luncheon dedicated to funding study abroad programs to Japan and was asked by the Association of Teachers of Japanese (ATJ) to give a presentation aimed to attract new donors to the Association’s Bridging Scholarship program. The stakes were high because a successful pitch would mean dozens more students would receive vital financial support to study in Japan. As I composed myself to begin my speech, I recalled a lecture I had given to my juniors on Sophia University’s debate team just a week prior.
After joining Sophia University’s Parliamentary Debating Society (SDS), I quickly became an important mentor responsible for educating younger debaters. One week before my speech at Ambassador Roos’s residence, I gave a basic lecture to the youngest debaters on how to cut unnecessary arguments to improve their speech efficiency. I applied the same three basic principles I taught the first year debaters to the speech at the Ambassador’s residence. First, identify the primary goal of your speech: convince Bloomberg Japan to become a donor for the Bridging Scholarship Program. Second, understand your audience: executives that have already heard most of the conventional arguments for supporting study abroad scholarships. Hence, arguments for the benefits of broadening the international perspective of Americans, though correct, were ultimately ineffectual for this speech’s goal. Lastly, construct an efficient method to achieve your goal based on your target audience. In this case, I had to find a unique argument for funding study abroad scholarships that these executives may not have heard. My experience in Japan’s debating community provided that unique argument. Many of Japan’s university debate clubs were founded by foreign students, including SDS. Thus, I argued that funding study abroad scholarships not only impacts the American students that receive those funds, but also the Japanese students they are likely to encounter. Many of these Japanese students are then encouraged to study abroad in the United States, including numerous debaters from Sophia University. The speech lasted no more than five minutes, but the round of applause and a flurry of handshakes indicated the message, though succinct, was effective. Later, I was informed by the ATJ that Bloomberg Japan decided to become a regular donor, and has since enabled dozens more students to study in Japan every year.
This experience represents both my career ambitions and my ability to achieve them. I wish to enter the rising field of law relating to East Asian businesses. To achieve this goal, I have taken numerous steps that will help make me a highly marketable graduate. First, my academic career reflects a strong background in Asian comparative politics, particularly in China and Japan, culminating in a graduate level course in East Asian international relations and a funded senior thesis project on Chinese criminal law. Under the supervision of Dr. Solinger, I presented the results of my project at UCI’s undergraduate research symposium. Second, I have concrete cultural experience, which includes a demonstrated ability to use that experience for advocacy, as shown by the result of the speech at Ambassador Roos. By my second year in law school, I intend to pass the JLPT at the highest level and the HSK at an upper-intermediate level. Lastly, through my experience in Japan’s debating community, I have already created a network of contacts from Japan’s most prestigious universities, many of whom will be or already are working for either Japan’s powerful bureaucracy or Japan’s largest corporations.
Studying at Harvard Law School would be the logical next step for fulfilling my future career ambitions. Harvard’s International Legal Studies program will provide me access to many of the foremost scholars studying East Asian law. In particular, I am interested in studying with Dr. Ramseyer, a specialist in Japanese law. His book, The Fable of the Keiretsu, particularly piqued my interest when it argued that the influence of the Japanese government’s industrial policy on economic recovery was minimal. Though I agree that media-hype probably exaggerated the influence of industrial policy, I am hesitant to discount it completely. While at Harvard, I look forward to having candid and productive discussions about such economic policies with Dr. Ramseyer and other members of Harvard’s distinguished faculty. In addition, Japan’s most prestigious university, Tokyo University, only has an exchange agreement with one American law school: Harvard. Both in international reputation and quality of program, Harvard Law School would be the ideal school for my career ambitions.

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Re: Personal Statement (First Draft)

Postby 3|ink » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:54 pm

I think you and I simply have different opinions about what makes a PS. Personally, I wouldn't write about something that's probably already on your resume. However, it's clear you're a capable speaker and have what it takes to be a good trial lawyer.

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