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As a 32 year-old, highly motivated, self-starting organizational coach who is soon to be graduating with honors with an M.A. in Management from the University of XXXX. I believe that I am an ideal candidate for the Industrial-Organizational Psychology PhD program at your school. Understanding the intricate patterns of human motivation in the workplace has been the focus of my coaching business and has given me a burning desire to conduct further research in order to contribute to the profession of organizational development and to the scholarly literature in this field. As I realized my need to continue my education and began searching for a PhD program that would help me to reach my personal and professional goals, I became convinced that XXXX University, because of its excellent reputation and practical format, is my first choice for continued graduate study. The convenience of studying in Los Angeles, where I already live and own my business, will allow me to become fully immersed and make an active contribution to the many facets of XXXX's academic and professional network.
My intense interest in this field goes back to my first job after college as a marketing associate in a bank. As a young executive, I was initially thrilled by the prospect of wearing a suit to work every day but Friday, driving my jet black sports coupe and playing the role of Charlie Sheen from Wall StreetI felt as if. I was on top of the world and had become everything I ever thought I wanted to be. This position would have been great if it were not for one minor detail: I hated my job. I soon became disenchanted and left to work in something much less glamorous but more fulfilling, as an automobile claims adjuster. I truly enjoyed this job. I worked hard at negotiating settlements with attorneys, writing estimates at body shops and traveling to exotic locations like Birmingham, Alabama. I had a company issued laptop, Jeep and cell phone and my coworkers were great. Once again, I was on top of the world!
However, one day when my stock broker friend asked me about my future career plans, I realized that I had never given it much thought. For the next few months, I explored the possibility of becoming a manager. In fact, my manager and the regional manager had expressed their interest in expanding my leadership role on the team. As I looked at the necessary managerial and supervisory responsibilities, I realized that there was little opportunity for growth in this very structured, task oriented position. It was then that I began to seriously take stock of myself. I started asking myself what it was that I really enjoyed about my job. What was it that got me out of bed in the morning and into the office? I soon realized that the most fulfilling part of my job was applying my knowledge and ability in the training of new hires. Most of these new employees were younger than me and fresh out of college. I loved learning why they took this job, hearing about what they had studied and asking them what their real career goals were. I enjoyed discovering with them the various alternatives that they could explore in order to do what they really wanted to do in the future. Often I was able to encourage these new hires to leave this job and pursue their dream while they were still young and mobile, or to stay and develop into top notch adjusters.
The greatest reward for me was seeing the light in their eyes when they finally got it! Throughout this time I became fascinated by one theme that seemed to pervade each organization for which I had worked: a lack of genuine motivation. It seemed that the leadership of the organizations that I had worked for, including a XXXX company, expected that employees were to be self-motivated. I noticed that most employees were there for the paycheck and little else. I remember thinking to myself that it would not be that difficult to make the employees happy; all they really asked for was a little respect, to be kept in the loop and, above all, to feel appreciated. When I left the auto claims position to run my father's successful real estate appraisal business, I realized that I missed working with individuals to help them identify their motivators and their definition of success and I missed helping them to go on to achieve that success. I realized that I truly enjoyed coaching and understanding employee motivation. This was my first foray into field of organizational psychology. I had begun to feel the need for further education and specialization. After my rather tentative entrance into the undergraduate university scene, I was rather surprised at this new desire growing within me to acquire more knowledge in order to be able to help employees and organizations be more successful. After high school, I had not been sure that I even wanted to go to college. I initially enrolled because I love to learn, if only for the sake of learning, and at that time it seemed to be better than getting a job. After starting out in a community college, I later transferred to a four-year school and started all over again. Yet, I still lacked motivation to really do my best
I was busy enjoying my job as a bartender at a nice restaurant with an excellent manager and great coworkers. Then, one night as I was watching my coworkers it dawned on me that they were all already in their late 20's and were still waiting tables, still needing to have a roommate to live in an average apartment in a very average part of town. Suddenly I had found my motivation! At this point, I decided to enroll for the first time in the summer quarter at my school, XXXX University Los Angeles, taking a full time load. I did astonishingly well, earning a nearly 4.0 GPA! I was excited and felt that I was ready to move on with the rest of my life.
I went on to earn my degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. I can remember taking my last final, walking out the door and thinking, This is it. It's done. I'm done. Emotion welled up inside me and I felt a sense of relief that I had conquered that task, had finished school forever and had what it would take to conquer the world. Needless to say, it was quite surprising when my desire to learn surfaced once again, and led me to enroll in the Master of Art's in Management program at the University of XXXX. I specifically chose the MA program because of its focus on group dynamics, leadership and organizational communication instead of the traditional hard business skills of finance and accounting. I have flourished in this program and plan to graduate in May 2008 with a GPA of over 3.8. It has been my desire to become more involved in organizational communication and training. After reading articles by Marshall Goldsmith and others in the publication Leadership Excellence, I began to formulate a plan whereby I would focus on working with individuals whom, I consider, are the basic building blocks of every organization. I decided to become a coach. I enrolled in a coach training program and have begun to quickly realize my potential in this field.
Since beginning my own business, I have coached a wide range of individuals from unfulfilled stay-at-home mothers to corporate level managers within large organizations such as XXXX. I am beginning to expand my reach into small-to-medium sized businesses. My own research has led me to believe that many small business executives would welcome a low-cost forum in which they could meet with other small business people to share challenges and successes. To this end, I am currently working on writing a series of workshops that will be available over the Internet as seamless multi-media presentations. Over time, I hope to create several leadership and communication programs that I can package and sell over my website. As I develop these skills, my desire is to offer these workshops as a public speaker. I am at a point in my life where I feel that it is necessary to hone my academic skills through scholarly research in the areas of industrial-organizational psychology that are of greatest interest to me. Eventually, I would like to become a published author and scholarly authority on employee motivation, making a significant contribution to society through my writings on this subject.
One of the areas of my research interest is that of organizational communication since it can be said that a lack of communication is often a driving force behind negative workplace attitudes and behaviors. When employees feel that they are not in the loop they will usually write their own internal stories, leading to misunderstandings and discontentment. For example, policy changes may require changes in organizational structure that may alter job descriptions and expectations. However, if the reasons for these changes are not effectively communicated, employees will begin to speculate on the causes which can have a negative effect on morale or make employees feel unappreciated.Communication is a very important aspect within of the workplace. It has been estimated that employees spend more than 50% of their time communicating, either face-to-face, over the phone or through email (Hollingworth, 2007). Some of the key elements of communication are clarity, honesty and timeliness since timely, honest and open communication, rooted in good leadership, will make the difference between high and low employee morale (Traboulay, 2008). Leadership obviously has a strong affect upon organizational communication and motivation. I believe that great organizations have great leadership that facilitates solid communication, thereby motivating employees as they understand and believe in the vision. Thus, leadership development is crucial so that organizations can turn managers into effective leaders who cultivate solid communication skills and build up high employee morale.
Although I have developed a reasonably successful coaching practice, I am now ready to take it to the next level. This implies acquiring specialized skills and knowledge in research methods and statistics, a deeper understanding of organizational theory and a broader gamut of organizational consulting interventions through a program such as the Industrial-Organizational Psychology doctoral program at XXXX University's XXXX School of Management. I am impressed by XXXX's solid reputation in the field as evidenced by a high success rate and as expressed to me by people that attended and graduated from the XXXX School of Professional Psychology in the past and have gone on to rewarding careers. I am particularly interested in the fact that the coursework is tailored to include both practical field experience as well as providing a solid academic foundation. Although I would like to expand upon my experience in organizational consulting, I am also seeking a PhD because of the research component that will allow me to focus on my interest in what makes people tick, principally their attitudes and behaviors in the workplace. A PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology will allow me to expand upon my studies in group dynamics and communication.
XXXX University's unique emphasis on applied work in the field with a strong academic grounding, its reputation in the field of Organizational Psychology and its many other positive characteristics, such as boasting some of the most diverse campuses in the country, make XXXX School of Management my choice for continued graduate studies. Despite a slow start to my career and personal growth, I am certain that I am well on my way to success. My strong desire to learn, complemented by strong graduate showing, will prove me worthy of candidacy in the PhD of Industrial-Organizational Psychology at XXXX University.