Essay Clinic: Michigan State University’s Master Program – Supply Chain Management

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Indonesia Mengglobal Essay Clinic is our effort to provide tangible help for Indonesian applicants who want to study abroad. This essay clinic is not meant to showcase ‘the perfect essay’, but by analyzing other people’s essays (what works, what does not work, what’s good, what’s bad), we hope you can learn how to write an effective application essay and how to continuously improve your own essay. We also accept essay submissions. Click here to learn on how to participate!!

Note on the Essay

This essay will be submitted to Michigan State University’s Master program in Supply Chain Management.

Essay Prompt

Develop a study objective.

The Essay

I wish to continue my study by pursuing a master degree in Logistics focusing on Supply Chain Management. Logistics play important role in country development and economy. A country which has good and integrated logistics system can provide low price commodity for their society which can improve buying power and society economy. As an archipelago country which has huge number of island, Indonesia has big challenge in logistics area. The cost of logistics across Indonesia around twenty seven percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is higher than other ASEAN country. My past work experience have shown that there is huge differentiation of logistics cost between area in Indonesia. The highest component in logistics cost is transportation cost It happen because most of infrastructure and transportation mode that support logistics process is not enough provided. For example, In Java Island most of commodity such as food, beverage and medicine are transported by truck instead of using railway, Meanwhile the latest infrastructure such as road, port and bridge to integrate the island and industrial area is not build yet. To solve the issue on March 2012, Indonesian government had launch blueprint of National Logistics System (SISLOGNAS). The goal of this blueprint to make Indonesia role is not only to flow goods effectively and efficiently but also to increase business competitiveness and economics growth.

In 2015, Indonesia will face ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The objective of trade bloc agreement is to improve competitiveness among ASEAN country to be a worldwide market leader. However, Indonesia needs to build strong integrated logistics management to compete with other country and also high level of human resource competency to face competitive in ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). For my Master Degree, I would like to gain a deeper understanding about supply chain management and develop a methodology considering all activities in Logistics by involving Strategy in Logistics Operational, Transportation Mode that suite with Indonesia geographical area, Procurement and Tool to simplify Logistics Process. This field of study also fits my work experience as Logistics Improvement Analyst over three years. During work experience I analyze current logistics process and proposed solution for improvement area and also to produce outline design and costing of new a logistics system, specifying the operations the system will perform and the way logistics performance will be viewed by the people. Beside, logistics not only play important role in economic aspect but also in humanitarian aspect. For example how we design logistics system to supply aid while natural disasters occur and how fast we can reconstruction the affected area. These humanitarian logistics knowledge I got while I was join Strategic Leadership Seminar on Public-Private Cooperation in Humanitarian Logistics Response sponsored by USAID, World Food Programme (WFP) and The Logistics Institute – Asia Pacific.

I choose the United States for master degrees because I believe the United States education system has deeper experience in supply chain and logistics area as well as professor who are internationally acknowledge as an expert in supply chain field. Moreover the curriculum is specifically design to prepare student for advance in supply chain and logistics knowledge by learning not only on theoretical but also practical about logistics in real world situation. The chance for me to pursue master degree in the United States will give me opportunity to expand my professional network in logistics and supply chain area.

In the future, I would like to give beneficial contribution to the achievement of the long term visions of my country Indonesia in logistics and supply chain area. The vision area directed toward the goal of National Logistics System (SISLOGNAS). My potential contribution in achieving these vision are by involving in Non Profit Logistics Organization (Indonesian Logistics Association) which now I am mailing list member of this organization and to the Government Organization who has the authority to design integrated logistics concept to support National Logistics System in order to develop low distribution cost and to improve buying power for society.

Review from Patricia Wahyu

My review and suggestions on this essay:

  1. Consider to proofread the essay to avoid grammatical errors (tenses, plural/singular). Pay attention to the punctuations (period, comma, marks) and how to use capital letters as well. 
    This is very important, because in my opinion it shows how serious and dedicated you are to apply for this program. In this essay, I found some grammatical errors, for example: “My past work experience have shown that there is huge differentiation of logistics cost between area in Indonesia” , or  “Beside, logistics not only play”. I also notice that there is a comma used instead of a period, a period missed in the sentence, etc. Moreover, I find myself hard to grasp the messages you are trying to deliver in some sentences. Try to make it simple, easy to understand and not confusing.Don’t make sentences too long if it’s possible. For example in this essay, the following sentence is too long and confusing for me:
    “My potential contribution in achieving these vision are by involving in Non Profit Logistics Organization (Indonesian Logistics Association) which now I am mailing list member of this organization and to the Government Organization who has the authority to design integrated logistics concept to support National Logistics System in order to develop low distribution cost and to improve buying power for society”
    Try to position yourself as the reader. It’s also good to not repeat the same word, enrich your vocabulary (check thesaurus.com) but make sure that it still conveys the message clearly.
  2. Be careful with the flow and the structure of the sentences.
    It’s always helpful to outline the main messages/ideas you try to deliver in each paragraph. These are the ideas I capture from your essay. Paragraph:
    Paragraph #1: The current problems in Indonesia especially in logistics.
    Paragraph #2: Why and what you want to study for your master’s degree, how that can help to tackle the problems in (1), your past experiences, and why logistics is important.
    Paragraph #3: Why you want to study in the US.
    Paragraph #4: Your plans in the future after finishing your study.The flow is actually great, but honestly I think the transition and the ideas between paragraph 1 and 2 are not written smoothly. I think it would be better to stick to one clear main message for each paragraph, not mixed.  I also notice that you write more for the first two paragraphs, compared to the last two. While the length shouldn’t be a big problem, in my opinion, it may lead your reader to think that you don’t really have much to say for the last 2 paragraphs, which are your reasons to study and your after-graduation plans. Content-wise, I actually think that your last two paragraphs could also be improved. Make it more unique and distinct, not the answers that the other candidates would also write in their essays. Try to think more important reasons/answers to persuade the reader.
  3. Mention more about the university you are applying to.
    This also can be done to improve your paragraph 3. For example, if you want to use this essay to apply to MSU, mention the reasons why you choose MSU, what makes you think that MSU is a great university, why getting accepted means so much for you, what kind of research/expertise that MSU is well-known of, the values/goals of the university that you think are so great, etc. Show your interest and knowledge about the university so that they  also become interested to you.
  4. Be more specific about your after-graduation plans.
    The more specific you are, the more you seem to be very serious and passionate about what you will do in the future. I notice that you mention “by involving”, which honestly I think it is still general, and could be elaborated more. What kind of involvement? You can mention the programs that you plan to do in details and how impactful it would be for people/society. I also think that mentioning mailing-list membership is not strong enough/necessary to support your involvement in this context.
  5. Make the reader impressed and remember you
    Remember that the reader, the admission committee, reads hundreds essays and only has very short time allocated for each essay. What kind of impression that you want to leave for the reader? Your essay also shows yourself; for example: are you goal-driven? Hard-working? Smart? Passionate about this field ? Creative? A good communicator?In the first paragraph, telling the facts about the problems that Indonesia are facing in logistics is good, but honestly I think it would be interesting if you tell the problems from your own perspective too, for example how it impacts your daily life, or personal story that has made you motivated to pursue your knowledge further. The first paragraph is really important. Try to make it more engaging and unique, not just a collection of facts.
  6. Mention relevant / important facts only.
    Unless it’s really relevant with the message you are trying to deliver, if the fact can be found in your CV, no need to mention it in the essay. For example, in paragraph 2, I think it’s enough that you mention and explain about the knowledge you’ve learnt, instead of mentioning the seminar that you attended. Always ask yourself whether the facts are important to be included to support your ideas. In my opinion, what you think and what you want to do are more important after all, and remember that the room for you to express your ideas in the essay is limited.

Overall, my last suggestion is to practice writing essays as often as you can. Before doing that, it would be better too if you read a lot of essays that have been proven/successful. Read as many as you can (20-30 essays or more). It will give you better sense on what kind of good essay that can grant you admission. Good luck!
Credit for featured image: “Disintermediation graphic” by abk3y. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Disintermediation_graphic.PNG#/media/File:Disintermediation_graphic.PNG

  • Michiko

    Hello kak Patricia Wahyu, I’m also going to write an essay for the same purpose-applying to SCM master program.

    Could you mention the link or where we can read the proven essays?
    Thank you very much :)
    (Michiko)