April 29th, 2007
4. In your career, you will have to deal with many ethical issues. What are likely to be the most challenging and what is your plan for developing the competencies you will need to handle these issues effectively? (400-word limit)
That’s an interesting one. In my opinion, it’s quite different from the rest, because even if you come up with a really ‘good’, polished answer, it doesn’t really help you highlight anything significant about you, your strong qualities, achievements and the other goodies you managed to promote in the other essays. The best it can show is that you know how to come up with good answers about ethics questions…
In fact, after thinking about it I came up with a subversive (!) idea – HBS already managed to collect lots of information about you in the other essays and the application itself; therefore, it just uses this essay to signal and ‘show off’ its strong emphasis on ethics. Something like – “look, out of only five essays, we actually dedicate one entire essay solely to ethics! Must be really important for us!”. Tongue in cheek, but I assume next year will undoubtedly convince me that HBS really takes ethics seriously.
According to this – admittedly bizarre – logic, it doesn’t really matter what you write here, as long as it’s plausible and somewhat original. One possibly good advice I’d received is to tailor the ethical issues to your future industry – for example, if you’re going to do agriculture then discuss ethical issues related to that, like using cheap fertilizers vs. environmentally-friendly ones.
As the weird guy on the block, this essay was also the one I used to talk about my knowledge of HBS. Since HBS doesn’t have the infamous “Why HBS” question, I wrote here about my HBS visit experience, and a class I attended which happened to discuss a supposedly trivial ethical issue in a truly eye-opening way.
As for the plan for tackling these issues, in addition to mentioning all the great stuff I shall learn at HBS, I also used this place to mention specific books I read that related to the topic.
This is an oddball – try to make the best out of it by answering the question, of course, but also throwing in other bits and bites you didn’t manage to write anywhere else…