True story: this is actually the essay that got me in Graduate school. Yes, I sent this in…and yes, I stand by every word of it.
Almost ten years ago, I checked onboard the USS CARL VINSON as a freshly minted U.S Navy Chief Petty Officer. It was a big deal: I was only 27 years old; I was one of the of the youngest in the peer group to achieve the rank; I was unstoppable.
I also had absolutely no clue what I was doing. Seriously. None.
At least I didn’t lack in the self-awareness department.
It’s one thing to make rank quickly due to technical expertise, but it’s quite another thing when you look out on a division and see the faces of 71 Sailors that require leadership. One tends to learn humility quite rapidly in that situation.
From very early on, I learned that I could excel and eventually master technical aspects of any job I held, but there was something different about people. People aren’t merely problems to solve or machines to troubleshoot with flowcharts and protocols. Leading people requires knowledge, experience, and critical thinking. People are so dynamic that the privilege of leadership ensures a career where there is truly never a dull moment, for better or worse.
When I realized this – that I could never truly master people – I was hooked. I knew I had to dive in and dedicate myself to the theory and practice of management and leadership.
There is always this mild background anxiety that accompanies me when it comes to my leadership. It is my duty not to be a dictator, but rather to serve the people in my charge. I have a responsibility for their well-being and development, I have a responsibility to ensure they continue to learn and can provide for their families, I have a responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment in which they can thrive. As well, I have the responsibility to better myself academically and professionally so that I can pass my knowledge on.
This is a massive responsibility and the thought of failing them absolutely terrifies me. Yet it also exhilarates me. Being in a leadership role has been extraordinarily rewarding to me and I feel it is only natural, in my progression, to pursue a degree of higher learning in order to better myself. There are people that may argue otherwise, but I believe that I am still nowhere near close to knowing what I need to know to be proficient. I honestly believe that I could study leadership for the rest of my life and still not reach true proficiency, but I am okay with that.
Leading isn’t easy. That’s why not all can do it.
A graduate program is important to me so that I can learn to more effectively communicate my vision with my employees and make more informed leadership decisions. Additionally, I am highly interested in the ethical components of leadership, particularly while we are navigating our current political climate. I believe the Master of Science in Business Management and Leadership program will provide me with additional knowledge and tools that will help to bolster my skill set and aid me in providing the most effective leadership and mentorship to those working for me, both now and in future endeavors. As a leader, my own personal growth is critical, both in staying on the cutting edge of the latest research in leadership and management and in setting an example for my peers and staff to model.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your decision.