I came across my “purpose statement essay” from my application to URI’s Graduate School of Business and thought it might be worth sharing.

For the record, I batted .333 that year.

To put it plainly, I am pursuing the Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree at URI for the power, the people, and the paper.

Knowledge is power, and I need knowledge in order to accomplish my goals. For as long as I can remember, I have been dreaming up money-making ideas and seeking the capital to put them into action. Some ideas have been successful; others, such as the lemonade stand (our downfall was the liquidity of our assets), have not. Sink or swim, I have long been cognizant of the reality that given a good idea, a bit of business savvy, and a modest amount of capital, I can make money.

Now, at twenty-two, I find myself as full as ever of what I believe to be great ideas. I am getting better at locating capital. I have spent six years acquiring a healthy dosage of business savvy, four via my undergrad Business Administration studies and two by way of an internship. I have also become a professional-level Microsoft Access/Visual Basic for Applications developer, building a profitable part-time business as a consultant. What I lack is the depth of business instruction that only graduate studies can provide, specifically in the area of entrepreneurship. I am ready to place the finishing touches on this stage of my education; the MBA is the logical means to that end.

Specifically, I am looking to study the strategic process involved in developing a scalable business model. My goal is to open and operate indoor “active entertainment” supercenters, beginning in the New England region. I am currently completing the “capstone” course of my undergraduate business program, Strategic Management. Learning the principles of strategic management is a great start, and I want to continue expanding my grasp of the foundation and process of “start to finish” entrepreneurship.

Great ideas and a great education, however, are only part of the equation. I can not accomplish my dreams alone, and the old adage is as true as ever: “it’s hard to find good people.” At URI, I will meet those “good people,” people with whom I can discuss ideas, exchange constructive criticism, and trade connections. Among my classmates will be people with whom I can partner in seeing strategies executed and visions fulfilled. I look forward to meeting them.

This productive elbow-rubbing will hopefully not be limited to the students in the MBA program. The faculty members, in addition to their ability to distill management theory into manageable doses, have the singular position of being paid to mentor us, their students, in the pragmatic side of business. Not meaning to knock distance education, I simply can not discount the fact that relationships built in person with one’s professors are of great value. I fully hope to be able, a few years hence, to call any one of them up and say, “Hey, Dr. So-and-so…remember that lecture on corporate governance? Well, we’re having the following issue…what are your thoughts?” Having long heard that whom I know is as important as what I know, I expect to be able to stay connected to my professors long after the degree is completed.

Finally, my pursuit of an MBA is in part, frankly, about getting the diploma, that most essential piece of paper. My father, who holds a Master’s in Manufacturing Engineering from URI, strongly advised me, albeit wryly, to pursue an MBA. According to him, “it doesn’t matter how skilled you are or what you have as qualifications; the guys with MBAs will still get promoted first.” In all seriousness, there is a certain inherent prestige to the MBA degree, and I would be a liar if I said that I did not want to be able to display “MBA, University of Rhode Island, 2005” at the top of the Education section of my résumé.

My holding an MBA is not a guarantee of my intelligence, ability, or success. It is, however, a valuable statement of certification, verifying that I have a working knowledge of the disciplines fundamental to the running of a company; if I expect bankers and venture capitalists to invest in my businesses, I will need to be able to demonstrate the substance of the man behind the business plan. There is no better way to do this than to mention that I hold an MBA.

To these ends, then, I am applying for admission to the Kingston Master’s program in Business at URI. For the reasons I have outlined above, I desire to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration.