Admission Essay to University of Pennsylvania :
Daniel Saat – Rochester - New York
It was his father’s unique approach to business and to life in general that influenced Daniel to write this essay about the duo’s experience in an open-air market in Israel. Daniel may follow in his father’s footsteps with his desire to work in marketing or consulting. At Brighton High School, he was the regional president of the Distributive Education Clubs of America. He was also an all-state saxophone player, varsity baseball player and active member of United Synagogue Youth. Daniel wrote this essay to gain admission to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Beer-Sheva Marketplace - University of Pennsylvania
We stroll through a marketplace in Beer-Sheva, inhaling a conglomeration of smells and sounds that feel as though they are part of a different century. My father and I enter a small stand. A little woman sits in the corner scanning her livelihood like a hawk monitoring her nest. She promotes her wares not for a quarterly report but to feed and clothe her family. My father picks up a small wooden camel and calls out in our native tongue, “How much?”
“Fifty shekel,” she responds. Her reply is automatic. This is what she does all day, every day.
My father eyes her directly. He doesn’t fl inch. “I’ll give you 10.” He remembers the game as if he’d been playing it daily since he left his homeland. She opens high and he counters low, each one hoping the other will give in first. I observe, taking mental notes.
She replies with conviction, “It’s handmade, I can’t go lower than 40.” We all know the camel was made in a local factory, but he doesn’t contradict her. To call her credibility into question at this stage could ruin the transaction.
“I only have 20,” fi res my dad, as if he had rehearsed his line. I glance at his back pocket bulging with Israeli currency but don’t let on, for she’s searching my face for a sign of weakness. I’m beginning to see what the game is all about.
“I cannot sell for less than 40,” she retorts. My father squeezes my hand subtly and I latch on to his paw. We slowly start to leave the stall.
“So be it,” he voices over his shoulder with an air of studied ease. We continue out of the cool shadows toward the fascinating frenzy of the exotic streets.
Just as our sandaled feet touch the dirt road and we are about to rejoin the crowd, we hear a shriek. “Wait! Give me 30.” My father winks at me, turns nonchalantly and swaggers toward the woman. I quickly pull 30 shekel out of my pocket and thrust them into his hand, so the woman won’t discover the treasures buried in his pocket. I smile at my quick thinking. My father plays it straight, as if I were supposed to hand him the money.
He works his thick fingers around a 5-shekel piece and with a magician’s sleight of hand swiftly transfers the coin to his other palm. “I only have 25.” The woman hastily nods.
The negotiations are successful. The woman is satisfied for she had invested only 10 shekel in the knickknack. My father smiles. While he would have paid any price for the camel, he enjoyed the challenge of a worthy opponent. We rejoin the streets to once again immerse ourselves in those ancient sounds and smells.
From my earliest childhood, I have learned many such fascinating business concepts at my father’s side. These experiences have long intrigued me. Formulas, figures, accounting cycles and textbooks do not tell the whole story. Cultural traditions of negotiation, respect and the dynamics of people coming together to buy and sell are the most captivating parts of trade. Society is an interdependent web, relying on its members to meet each other’s needs. Business is centered on the exchange of one good or service for another in an effort to improve society’s standard of living. The intricacies, methods and strategies involved in this exchange are what I hope to acquire and master.
Why This Essay Succeeded…
Daniel’s essay works because he not only shares his relationship with his father but also draws astute conclusions from his interaction. He takes the time to explain the meaning of the experience and uses it to give insight into his interest in business. Through his essay, you learn about him on a personal level through the way he relates to his father as well as on a professional level by seeing his career goals.
A successful essay is not just an interesting story. What captivates the admission officers is the meaning within the story. This is the real challenge of the essay.
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