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August 26, 2013
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Dr. Peter Stokes, Director of Administration and Advising for the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management (LSM), provides insight into the LSM essay on Page 217 today. Continue reading for insight and information.

2013-14 essay: “LSM seeks students who are enthusiastic about combining science with management. Drawing on your experience or interests, please analyze and discuss a challenge confronting the life sciences that could be addressed through the insights and expertise gained from an in-depth understanding of management.”

“As a program, we are looking for students who are enthusiastic about the combination of life sciences and management. Students should directly address the way these fields can work together. We do not have a specific answer in mind for this essay–it is up to the applicant to identify an appropriate challenge to discuss.

With the prompt in front of you, consider the phrase ‘Drawing on your experience or interests.’ A good place to start is to evaluate the experiences and readings focused on the life sciences that have made an impact on you. The most successful candidates will engage with a problem that is meaningful to them as these are issues that students have thought about and that they feel strongly about. Next, brainstorm about the types of issues, or challenges that have arisen through these experiences. Be reasonably specific in choosing an issue. It’s hard to address the problems of the entire healthcare system, but you can demonstrate your engagement in the context of a specific problem. This will be a strong starting point for a reasonably complex and interesting essay.

The directive ‘analyze and discuss’ is extremely significant because the idea of this essay is not simply to describe but to offer insight and explain how the problem should be addressed. Applicants should show that they have a robust understanding of the issue, an ability to analyze it, and the creativity to offer a way forward. Integrate your knowledge with your ideas to offer some way that management can address and solve the challenge at hand. This is not just a report… the purpose of this essay is to elicit ideas.

Remember, LSM students take many academic paths. We do not have a single idea about how science and management intersect—and students are continually inspiring new collisions. However, across interests we do need to see enthusiasm and a grounded sense of how these two fields combine productively. Student excitement is demonstrated by an ability to engage with an issue in a complex and nuanced way.

To learn more about the program and to view student profiles, we encourage you to explore the LSM website.”

Check Page 217 frequently for insight into Penn’s interdisciplinary programs and tips on required essays.

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