It was the summer of 2005 and I decided to work voluntarily as a financial specialist for a nonprofit organization. I was tasked to help manage the finances of a public hospital. However, my duties went beyond financial matters as I, together with 40 other volunteers, helped the elderly in a variety of chores such as cleaning their rooms and preparing their meals. I observed the elders suffering from dementia; up-to-date facilities and medicines were what they needed. But since they were confined to the hospital, whose environment was neither conducive nor comfortable, they were unable to procure these medical needs.
What struck me was that the hospital has been receiving a considerable amount of national subsidy. Thus, I realized that there was mismanagement on the part of the hospital administration, as most funds were used for labor costs resulting in the inefficiency of health services. Furthermore, I also saw this problem in some environmental conservation movements of NGOs in Korea and in the Nevada Conservation Corps (NCC), which I both participated in. Working for these organizations made me realize that if they knew how to efficiently utilize their funds, then they could implement more diverse and effective environmentally-related programs.
In addition, prior to the aforementioned volunteer works, I had led my schoolmates in extracurricular volunteer activity clubs during high school. At that time, I participated by cleaning facilities for the handicapped, opening bazaars for less-fortunate neighbors, helping farmers, and spending time with old and solitary people. I was enthusiastic with such activities because I was involved together with my parents. We were happy every time intended activities for the needy were realized. However, each time my voluntary work was through, I felt odd and incomplete because I knew I have not provided everything the people need.
I reckoned that my help was only short term and afterwards, they will be back again to their old situations. Also, rejections caused sadness on my part as some refused to be helped. Thus, I questioned myself if there was actually a better way to be of long and lasting service to my fellowmen. Because of hopelessness and dissatisfaction, I ceased helping the needy. Nevertheless, voluntary work kept coming back to me. Then I realized that there must be something I could do other than physically and morally helping and supporting the less-fortunate, elderly, and sick.
Consequently, I began to aspire towards becoming a consultant in a nonprofit organization and giving advice to other organizations on how to effectively and efficiently utilize funds and subsidies. To achieve this aspiration, I deem an economic program best suits my career needs. Although I took up business administration in college, I know that economics is the right path to follow based on what I learned from Peter F. Drucker’s autobiography. He contended that one needs a sound education in economics in order to study and practice business administration.
Therefore, because of the book and Drucker’s life journey, I was influenced to major in economics at the University of California (UC). Moreover, economics, at its core, exists to distribute the wealth of the global village and promote justice throughout human society, which correspond to my professional goals and values in working for a nonprofit organization. I believe that UC, with its excellent program in economics, will equip me with the necessary knowledge and training for a strong foundation for future success.
Because of my experiences in voluntary works and seeing the situation of people in need, I have envisioned to create a foundation that will enable people to have the opportunity to experience long and lasting financial equality and this will further leave a precedent for running a successful management firm in today’s burgeoning globalized world. 2. Prompt #2 Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?
Everyday is a new and exciting day; it is a chance to meet nameless faces that can be made into friends and an opportunity to strengthen old friendships, thus each day should be faced with a bright smile and positive disposition. This is how my family and friends would primarily know me – an outgoing person, always ready to socialize with others. Because of this, I am able to maintain healthy relationships at home, in school, at work, and in the community. Moreover, I am organized, focused, and hard working. This is evident in my excellent mathematical and analytical skills showcased in school.
In fact, because of my commendable scores in math, I stayed in the Dean’s Honor List from elementary to high school and currently rank in the top five percent in Santa Monica with a GPA of 3. 92. In line with this, I led the math club for two years in my high school and tutored classmates for various math lessons and competitions. I believe that the mathematical and analytical abilities I have developed through my experiences will be of great help in pursuing my goal of becoming a financial specialist as well as in tutoring my classmates in UC, who want to be tutored in math for them to also take a step higher in reaching their own goals.
In addition, I am also an ideologist, concerned with issues involving human rights and the preservation of dignity of human lives. Because of the experiences I have gained and the lessons I have learned from volunteer works, I have developed an interest in the promotion of justice, respect for human life, and environmental conservation. Therefore, I specifically want to participate in UNICEF’s programs and various school clubs and community activities at UC to promote my advocacies.
I know that the leadership skills I have acquired will be instrumental in pursuing this end. Since my elementary years, I have been trained to lead by being school president and club officer or member and squad leader in the Korean Army. This attribute, along with my outgoing and hard working nature, will help me realize my professional goal as a manager of a nonprofit organization in the future and my advocacies in life.