Drumroll..........Just sent in the cambridge application! Took me long enough! Started the process in September and after two long months of brainstorming, essay writing and re-writing, insulting and praising myself in equal measure and annoying my reference providers with 'gentle reminders' every couple of days, i can say i am reasonably happy with my application. I have obvious weaknesses....a low undergrad gp, pretty mediocre extra curriculars and less than stellar work exp. I do think however that i have been able to play up my key strength.....applying from an under represented region (Africa) and an under represented field (private equity) mean that i am likely to bring a unique perspective to the class. My classmates would probably not know what investing in emerging and frontier markets entail....I would have liked to emphasize on my role in my previous place of work where I was instrumental in bringing about a lot of change but the jbs questions appear skewed towards achievements at my current job. Fortunately, I mentioned my previous achievements on my cv so i hope that i get a chance to elaborate on these when i get interviewed....JBS had three main essays:
Essay 1: What are the key issues facing organisations in your sector over the next three years and what course of action would you recommend to such organisations.
Here i focused on the difficulties in investing in Nigeria. Corruption, weak capital market, infrastructure deficit etc. My recommendations centered around alignment of interests between investee and management and the need for pe professionals to deepen their competence. Personal rating for this essay, 7/10. I felt it was almost academic but decided a school like cambridge would like a bit of intellectual posturing.
Essay 2: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure?
Here i used this question to acknowledge one of the weaknesses of my application - my low undergrad gpa. I explained how i never thought i would fail to make a second class upper degree. I also explained how the failure helped me develop my strongest qualities - tenacity and drive and how i learnt to fail forward. Personal rating for this essay, 7.5/10. I felt it was more personal than the first and i think the fact that i reflected on my low gpa without trying to make excuses for it would be a postive.
Essay 3: What are your long and short term career objectives? What skills and characteristics do you already have will help you achieve them? What do you hope to gain from the degree and how do you feel it would help you achieve them.
Here i elaborated on my desire to make the transition from an analyst at a Nigerian focused PE fund to an associate at an emerging markets focused PE fund in the short term, and own my own fund in the long term. This essay was anecdote heavy and i think my best essay. I linked JBS's entrepreneurial focus and events such as 'Enterprise Tuesdays' to my goals. I would rate my essay here 8.5/10...
Lets hope adcom agrees with my ratings!