I am currently pursuing BE(Hons) Chemical Engineering at BITS Pilani and intend to apply for MS in Engineering and Management course at some of the universities like Duke, dartmouth etc. I have prepared a SOP keeping Duke university as the sample university. It would be great if some one could check it and throw light on the needful things to be done.
Thank you so much in advance !!
"It was the Christmas vacation of 1996 and all my younger cousins had gathered at our home for spending the holidays. There was a terrible fight among three of my cousins over owning an apple which had apparently been first noticed by one them, while another kid had shaken the tree and had made it fall on ground, and the third kid had run and picked it up. After analyzing the scenario, my amateur instinct asked me to divide the apple into four equal parts. I distributed one to each of them, thus making them honor the contribution of each towards spotting, plucking and picking the apple, and took the fourth piece to reward myself for solving the issue. It is needless to say that it was a very pleasing experience of its kind for me .Hardly did I know that I had actually been involved in something that would later be termed as resource management, team spirit, leadership skill and analytical ability as I would grow up.
Similar incidents kept occurring every now and then in my life while I kept growing up liking the pure science subjects(specially Maths ) in my school, securing first rank in each class from first grade to tenth grade, cutting myself out for being an engineer in future. Nothing was a cake walk though! From my hometown, it was a four hours daily travel by local train to and from the main city of Kolkata where I could get some proper coaching for the competitive exams. After the same struggle for two years I finally became a BE(Hons) Chemical Engineering student at BITS Pilani which is the best private engineering college in India and has an acceptance rate of not more than 1.7%. However, all this while, I never fell out of love with economics and my managerial instincts .This was probably because, the middle class family background had taught me how to value each paisa earned through hard work, and hence, how to optimize the cost of every activity in life. Also, all the struggles that I had undergone in following my dream of getting admission in one of the best engineering institute in India had unknowingly strengthened my ability to manage in critical situations with limited resources and manpower.
Engineering was something I always wanted to study and develop skills in, but management was a passion that was already inside me. Hence I have always been looking for the best possible way to amalgamate both of them. That was when I came across the wonderfully structured program of MS in Engineering and Management at the Duke University. What caters to me the most is the program’s flexibility in letting students choose over a wide range of technical/management electives along with the core management subjects. For instance, sustainability has always been one of my key areas of interest. All the while doing a project on solar cells and a paper on biofuel during my under graduation, I used to dream of being able to contribute towards the universe by reducing carbon footprint, using renewable energy, etc. However, just being a Chemical Engineer would only help me know about the perfect materials to be used or the right technical processes for the same. In order to bring about this effect in a massive way, I should be able to shake and awake the entire corporate sector that rules the world and introduce to them optimization of sustainability. The required platform for that activity can be achieved only after securing enough knowledge on managerial decision based on financial criteria, feasibility of a technical design, customer’s perspective, legal fundamentals protecting business ventures and intellectual property( which are the key components of the four core courses offered in the program). Hence,it would be highly rewarding for me if I could pursue courses like Energy and the Environment/Environmental Engineering/Material Science (as offered at the university) along with those four compulsory subjects on Management and Finance.
Innovating technical solutions is important. But what is even more important, is presenting it to the corporate customer in a marketable manner. This key lesson was learnt by me during my internship at JSW Steels (the then largest private sector steel manufacturer) for two months. We, the students, had been involved in a project on optimizing emission of by-product gases from the COREX plant there. To keep a regular check on our progress, the management used to involve us in presentations and group discussions.At the end of the day when I was graded as the best intern among twenty students (all from various campuses of BITS Pilani), I learnt this major lesson, that even though all the students might have been equally good at contributing towards the technical design, the organization would buy it from the one who would have the right way to negotiate, present and approach them. Having accomplished this task from a batch of twenty students, I felt the eagerness to enhance my knowledge in all these even further. Conversely, during my tenure as the publicity chairperson of the IEEE students committee at the college I also realized how important it was, for someone in a management post, to be technically strong enough to work with some of the best engineers at Asia-Pacific level.
Besides these, there have been individual experiences where I have enjoyed playing pure managerial roles like group leader as in dance club, that needed rigorous managing of a group having a strength of sixty plus, or in Team Embryo, that demanded constant communication with the alumni and the Embryo leaders of other campuses to organize online seminars,etc. Similarly, study of subjects like “Process design decisions”, “Process control” as a part of my Chemical Engineering curriculum have helped me have a glimpse of the real-life industry .My project on “Mathematical Modeling of human bile flow” has also developed in me the ability to view almost any phenomenon from an engineer’s perspective, i.e, model the phenomenon quantitatively and predict the solution from the computation. Such independent experiences in technological as well as managerial domains, clubbed with my study of an elective course on “Principles of Economics” have helped me realize that engineering and management, when pursued together, forms the best combination that can serve as a tool to meet the world’s constantly growing demand for advanced technology, while paying equal importance to the economy in today’s unpredictable financial scenario where each step needs to be taken with sufficient awareness and care.
Thus, I would consider myself to be the most fortunate candidate if I am allowed to secure a seat in the course of MS in Engineering and Management in your reputed institute. This will be the greatest opportunity for me to pursue my passion and help myself contribute towards the world’s economy as an engineer with a proper sense of optimizing cost and performance of the processes."