Question: Describe a failure that you haveexperienced. What role did you play, and what did you learn about yourself?(500 words)
Absolute US was an annual event inSingapore that helped prospective students meet those of us who were alreadyschooling in USA. It is now defunct, but I’d once tried- and failed- toresurrect it.
When I took this up, Absolute US had beenon the brink of death, and I’d begun the project by formulating a three-facetedrevival plan. First, it’d previously been held at Singapore’s largest club, andI decided on a smaller and cozier venue instead.
Second, some games would be organized tospice things up. Finally, a team of motivated shareholders- rather thanlow-energy volunteers- would be assembled by pitching Absolute US as amoney-making venture. Besides arming myself with a good plan, I also workedextremely hard, playing whatever role was necessary- be it the leader who’dformulated the entire plan; the more hands-off project consultant; or theevent’s game designer- to make my re-conceptualization a reality.
I had a good plan, a dedicated team, andhad been doing whatever it took to succeed. But in spite of this, Absolute US2006 boasted historical attendance lows and didn’t make a profit. What’d gonewrong?
Having reflected upon the affair, I nowrealize that the project had been doomed from the start, because of threeerrors in execution.
First, we’d ignored local contexts. Makingplans from abroad left the project without proper intelligence on the ground.I’d designed the new, apparently perfect, plan and organized the team when Iwas in Chicago in April 2006. When my team returned to Singapore in June afterschool had ended, I went to Thailand for a month of social work. As studentswho’d spent the year abroad, we eventually picked a venue that turned out to bea has-been so past its popularity peak that it folded a month after our event.A better appreciation of the need for ground-level research would have servedus well.
Second, as leader I’d failed to strike abalance between involvement with the project vision and its details. I’d workedhard, involving myself in all the project nitty-gritty’s. However, my trying togo it alone working out every detail, rather than trusting others to execute,not only caused a breakdown in communication of the project vision to my team,but also left them without a leader for a short period when I was in Thailand.Though I’d immediately stepped down and become a project consultant insteadafter realizing the problem, it’d been too late. The leaderless period hadalready demoralized my team.
Third, I’d lacked a backup plan. I’d takenfor granted that no hiccups would occur, and when one did, I was caught unprepared.In particular, I’d planned to communicate from Thailand via email, but thiseventually proved unfeasible because I’d unexpectedly lacked Internet access.
What I’d learnt, in short, was that havinga neat idea is no guarantee of successful execution. This had been a painfulbut educational experience, and I look forward to doing things differently- andsucceeding- in future endeavors.
"Describe a failure that youexperienced."文章在第一段清楚的交代了事情发生的背景，而且在第3段里也明确提出来了：“historical attendance lows and didn't turn a profit”这是一个有关Failure的故事。这里没给自己留任何的借口，说的非常的干脆利落。
"What role did you play"在文章的第2段，作者又非常明确地说出了自己在这个故事中的positioning，及他的Role和Responsibility是什么 "playing whatever role was necessary- be it the leader who’d formulatedthe entire plan; the more hands-off project consultant; or the event’s gamedesigner- to make my re-conceptualization a reality."
"What did you learn aboutyourself?"文章中的后3段，清晰的表达了自己的观点，和通过这件事情得到的反思。作者直接地点明了自己的问题，并没有逃避。这种直面Failure的精神，正式AdCom的人所寻求的spirit。
1. 作者对自己很“狠”在做“自我批评”的时候，一点都没有手下留情。他用了直接的自我批评的形式，比如说："I'd failed".. "I'd lacked"...，而并没有采用"Becauseof this, I chose to... Unfortunately it failed". 这样间接的方式来对待自己曾经的failure。这样做并没有给他减分，只能让我们知道这位申请者是个诚实的，自信的，有勇气并且谦逊的人。而且，他也让我们相信，在今后的Project中，他将做的很好。
2. 文章的分析性很强作者用非常logical并且structured的方式分析了自己的失败，让我们认识到他是个很有逻辑，并且相信他能够将在这件事情上的learning apply到今后的工作中。
3. 写Failure Essay的技巧写FailureEssay的技巧就是，向Adcom的人show你已经做了很多很多的事情，但是最终你还是screw things up了，但是你并没有stop在那里，而是借此机会进行了反思和学习。而且，作者在最后的learning的总结也很给力。一个好的作者不但能够go detail的告诉大家他做了什么，而且，还能够通过1-2句话把自己的反思总结到一个很高的高度。