Q1: What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.
Working in a Japanese garment factory was not a very glamorous job. The work involved long hours and returned minimal pay. My father worked on the production floor and my mother in the bookkeeping office. My parents had had both started working right out of high school. Their limited education also limited their options for working their way up to higher paying jobs. It was difficult for them to raise a family on meager factory wages.
My parents were both not only hard workers, but also wise. Even though they did not make a lot of money, they managed to put aside enough to make some investments in money markets and mutual funds. Their investments paid off and they were able to raise our standard of living, buy property, pursue hobbies, and travel. My mother was very good at accounting and managing money. She would teach me about accounting, investing, and economics and how to apply those principles in everyday life.
It was the inspiration of my parents that led me to want to pursue an education and eventually, a career in Math and Economics. I admired the wisdom and fortitude of my parents and vowed to apply those same characteristics to my own life and education. As I watched my parents’ financial wisdom lift our family from barely getting by to being quite successful, I realized that the same principles apply to businesses and even to entire countries.
Last year, I took a summer job as an accounts clerk in a manufacturing company. This was a great experience for me. Up until that time, my only real experience with how financial accountings worked were the lessons I learned from my mom and the textbook education I received at De Anza College. This job would be the first time I got to see how all the theories and processes I had been learning about actually worked in a real-world situation.
As an intern, I was given the opportunity to work in various capacities within the bookkeeping department. My experiences included accounts receivable, accounts payable, data collection for financial reporting, as well as preparing import and export shipping documents. When I started the job, I thought I had a fairly good understanding of how things were supposed to work, but found out that processes in the real world are not always the same as in the classroom.
In this job, I learned how to apply the fundamental financial principles I knew to the specific accounting routines and requirements of my employer. I found that flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing business conditions was just as important as being able to recite the accounting theories I had been learning in school.
My parents helped to guide the direction of my academic and vocational interest. A well known idiom states “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” My parents bent the twig. The rich soil of the University of California is the perfect place to finish growing the tree.
Q2: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
I always enjoyed spending time in my high school library. Besides being surrounded by the world in print, I was fascinated by the order and arrangement of the library. Every book was categorized, classified, numbered, organized and filed in logical, sequential order. Most students looked around the library and saw books. As an accountant, I saw structure. (No wonder some people make jokes about accountants.)
It was not long until I joined the student librarian team and not long after that when I became the team leader. Most team members were assigned one day per week to work in the library. As the team leader, I felt it was important to become as proficient in library management as possible and to set a good example for my peers. To that end, I could be found in the library almost every day after school.
The Joint School Librarianship Competition (JSLC) is a competitive event that has been held in Japan every year since 1987. The goal of JSLC is to enhance student librarians’ knowledge in library science and management. I approached the head librarian about allowing my team of student librarians to participate in the competition. She agreed to support us.
The competition involved three rounds and included seven sections: Compulsory questions, Voluntary questions, Book processing, Shelving, Online information search, Book classification and Book searching. I developed a “training plan” for my team and worked with them for over two months preparing for the competition.
I used the actual rules and guidelines of the formal competition to develop and implement mini-competitions within my fellow team members. Since the number of team members able to attend the actual competition was limited, I held a sequence of “elimination rounds” to motivate my team members to do their best so we would end up with the best possible team. My leadership in preparing for the JSLC required critical thinking, project management, motivating others and working with team dynamics.
Eventually, we went to the competition and got all the way to the semi-finals. I was very proud of my team and of myself for having put so much personal effort into helping them be successful. The ability to develop consensus and group collaboration is an important part of who I am as a person. I know that the ability to bring out the best in others is important for success not only in business, but in other areas of life as well.
I also believe that this belief is applicable in an academic setting like the University of California. As a student of the University of California, I will leverage my experience in teambuilding and collaboration to not only acquire the best education I possibly can for myself, but to work with others to achieve the academic success we all seek.
I am excited about the opportunity to continue my studies at the University of California and will continue to demonstrate the personal values and tenacious hard work that you want in all your students.