Essay Clinic: Cornell’s Master Program in Real Estate


Indonesia Mengglobal Essay Clinic is our effort to provide tangible help for Indonesian applicants who want to study abroad. This essay clinic is not meant to showcase ‘the perfect essay’, but by analyzing other people’s essays (what works, what does not work, what’s good, what’s bad), we hope you can learn how to write an effective application essay and how to continuously improve your own essay. We also accept essay submissions. Click here to learn on how to participate!!

Note on the Essay

This essay will be submitted for an application to Master Program in Real Estate offered by Cornell University in United States.

Essay Prompt

Explain how your proposed field of study fits in with your educational background, your professional background, your future objectives, and your future involvement in community development.

The Essay

My passion to learn about property is increase during my work experiences in a reputable architecture consultant for two years. It has been my dream to work with great architect, and therefore I should catch the opportunity in 25 kilometers away from my home, Bekasi. Besides me, there are other workers who try hard to find a living space near their workplace. The phenomenon of commuter workers and the demand of housing attracted the developers to build high rise housing and residence in suburban areas. By working in a good company, I can get the limited opportunity to involve in an integrated mixed use development project. In that time, despite the distance of my workplace from home, the experience of work outside the town and the chances of working on great project become a trigger in my decision to pursue further knowledge about designing an integrated living space through higher education in real estate and regional planning studies.

I find my interest in town and housing studies during my undergraduate level in Solo. The study actually has more emphasis on city culture and local people studies. In that time, I learn more about heritage architecture and how to maintain the culture identity in design development. Therefore, most of the project tasks were required to reflect the local style and the building impact with the environment. But by having four years of my undergraduate degree at […] at Solo, it has also given me an interesting experience to see how a city changes from a heritage city into a modern district. I saw many heritage buildings were revitalized and more cultural events were held. That situation led to the increasing of tourism in Solo and attracted the developer to build more hotels and entertainment areas. The improvement in road infrastructure and transportation were also increased the city economy growth. Next to Solo City, there is a new integrated region build residence supported with shops, retails, school, hospital and even a waterpark. This satellite city is called Kota Solo Baru. Even though the location is outside the borderline of Solo, the presence of Solo Baru has clearly given a lot of job opportunities for Solo citizen.

After graduation, I went back to my hometown and started to work in an architecture consultant.   While at work, I required not only designed buildings, but also planned districts. Beyond that, I see the reality of Jakarta’s work life. With its high opportunity and quality of job, Jakarta, have made people from around country chased their fortune in this promising city. People from around country have different options of their chosen living space. Some of them would live in luxury apartment near the workplace, while the others find a living space in integrated suburban area. And with that situation, the demand of housing is rising. And later, there comes proposals from local developer assigned the architect to design more houses. The architect then begins to design apartments, residences, and integrated districts. And also did I in my workplace. Nowadays, the trend of project tends the architect to design a mixed used area that includes houses, retails, malls, and schools. Even though, build apartments is still appeal for the developer because its market level were likely still in a high level among other residence options. Along with city’s development, I have involved in the development of various projects range from small complex, housing that supported with mall and retails until the integration of golf field within the residential development. And it is getting more interested for me and also has convinced me to learn more about the regional planning studies, including housings and estates through master degree level.

Therefore, despite the western lifestyle and political issues, U.S. has leading universities with superior learning programs. The U.S. real estate programs provides an interdisciplinary learning about urban studies focuses on business and economic in integration with city planning studies about housing, land use management and spatial designs. The study of real estate programs in U.S reflects its country development which empowering each of the states to create smart regional planning. I believe the knowledge will give more economic and planning strategies not only for my capital city’s development, but also for all around country.

Later in my future, I have planned my career plan to go back to work in a developer company in Indonesia before started the next step to create a developer company. During that time, I planned to involve in local real estate or housing organizations. I also would like to share my experiences as an international student into journals, seminars and publishing books. I believe every journey has to ended with a legacy, as I also one of a young fighters who try to collect all the former scholars stories. I also planned to become an educator, because I believe of what begins with education, ends with dedication.

Review from Andrego Halim

Before reviewing an essay, it is important to first understand the prompt. It specifically asks how the “proposed field of study” fits the applicant in four different aspects, namely: (1) educational background, (2) professional background, (3) future objectives, (4) future involvement in community development. Keep these in mind as we analyze the essay.

The author started off the first paragraph with mundane daily worklife which didn’t really do a good job in grabbing the reader’s attention. Author should keep in mind that the committee will be reading hundreds, maybe thousands of essays. Most applicants will typically have a work experience before applying for graduate school so it will be expected that most applicants will be describing worklife in their essays.

If the author wants to stand out, it is critical to be different by diving into details: a specific project, event, person, or anything that might have shaped the author’s character in certain way. For example, the author can describe if he/she learned X while working on project Y with architect Z. Remember to be specific enough but still brief. Long paragraphs will easily bore the readers.

On the second paragraph, the author’s intention was to describe how he became interested in town and housing studies by going into a lot of specifics on Solo’s rapid city development. Unfortunately, there were too much details on the city that it moved away the focal point from the author. Instead of highlighting interesting experience to see how the city changes, it would have been more interesting to expand the project details on “heritage architecture and the culture identity in design development”

On the third paragraph, the author was being too generic and again went into too much details on Jakarta’s development and trend. Instead, the author should approach his/her own work project, such as “the development of various projects range from small complex until the integration of golf field”. More technical details should be provided on this topic.

On the closing paragraph, too many general statements were made. The author should have explained further on why Cornell specifically was chosen as the target university instead of other generic US universities that offer real estate program. Is it the school culture? If yes, what is specific about it that other university doesn’t offer? Or perhaps, the specific professor or course that is available only at Cornell? If yes, which one would that be and how would it help with the author’s future?

The author also tried to describe future career plan but it was not specific enough. He/she should go into details with the “career plan”, i.e. which Indonesian developer company that he/she plans to go back to work in right after finishing graduate schools; why that one(s) instead of the rest; and how would Cornell’s Real Estate program help to get him/her in that company? How many years does the author plan to work for that company and what concrete step-by-step plan will he/she be doing until actually starting his/her own company? And so on..

In terms of flow, the author started with present work experience, then teleported back to the past college life and moved forward again to the present and future. It would be easier to craft a nice flow based on the four aspects listed in the prompt. They are already listed in chronological order as well, starting from past(educational background), present(professional background) and future(objectives and involvement in community development).

Overall, the essay did not answer the prompt effectively. The author was being too general in most of the statements which won’t be helpful to differentiate his/her application from the rest. There are numerous issues with basic grammar and word choices though these issues can easily be fixed by having qualified English proofreaders to help reviewing the final draft of the essay.



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