It was the International Conference on Machine Learning and Computing held at Singapore in March 2011. I was presenting my first research paper, on the scheduling of timetables using hyperheuristics. An audience of international scholars and computer scientists sat in front of me, patiently waiting to hear what I had to say. Months of hard work and perseverance had paid off and I was thrilled yet nervous.   As I began to deliver the presentation, I felt a sense of belonging and attachment to the audience.  The presentation went off well and I was able to answer all the queries succinctly.

Later after the presentation, as I sat back and reflected on my efforts, I realized that the satisfaction was not because of the “glamour” associated with international conferences. But it was aroused from the journey of perseverance and commitment that went into writing the paper. The thrill of researching unchartered territories and mapping progress step by step has steered me to a career in academia.  To this end, I would like to pursue a Masters in Computer Science.

An inquisitive nature along with a desire to realize my full potential drives me to explore new avenues in research. Witnessing my eagerness to conduct research, Prof. __________ at my grad school granted me with an opportunity to work on the above-mentioned research project, which introduced me to the diverse fields of operational research and combinatorics. The experience not only stretched the thresholds of my abilities but also taught me the hunger and determination required to see a project through. From endless brainstorming sessions to being an occasional lone ranger in the project, the experience helped me develop a pragmatic approach to problem-solving. Moreover, this endeavor has certainly kindled my interest to engage in research in the analysis of algorithms and related fields.

As an individual, I believe in excelling in any endeavor I undertake.  This trait is clearly reflected in my performance at both the undergraduate and graduate level, where I completed both the schools at the top of my class. The rigors of the classes and my grades in both the degrees reflect my quest for fundamentals. Throughout my higher education, I have had an intensive exposure to a spectrum of subjects and software technologies.  I developed a perceptive and straightforward approach to problem-solving. From developing compilers to understanding the role of the neural networks in computing, the projects were well structured in their subject content and instructions and opened a window of infinite possibilities that computer science presents. To summarize, both undergraduate, as well as graduate studies, have given me a broad conceptual basis, which, I  believe, is essential for a career in academia.

I have always felt that to become remarkable at something, one needs to constantly improve oneself through various endeavors.  I have always tried to emulate this idea and immediately after school, I  registered for three _____________ university courses, on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Database Systems. The main motivation behind pursuing these courses was to enhance upon my existing knowledge and learn under luminaries in the field.  Having spent the past three months in these courses, my resolve to pursue a Phd has only increased.

One aspect of my personality that I always strived to supplement with my work and academics is a love for teaching. Since high school, I have been teaching ____________. As a high school tutor of mathematics and science, I developed a sound approach to different methods of teaching. Recognizing the depth of my knowledge on the subject and an ability to effectively present complicated concepts, I was offered a Teaching Assistantship for the Mobile Communications and Computer Simulation Course. The assignment involved conducting practical sessions for the students while assisting in grading assignments and quizzes. These responsibilities familiarized me with the rigors of managing a technical course. As a member of the Planning Committee for my college’s technical festival, I was also able to build my leadership and teamwork skills. These experiences have sharpened my management and communication skills which will stand in good stead in my career.

An evangelist aptly stated that computer science is an art which charts out a well-defined path in solving and defining seemingly obscure problems and scenarios. Given the nature of issues that we are faced with today, from a vulnerable economy to an endangered ecology, I seek in my career, to see each problem through various angles and thus be able to create better and smarter solutions. As we observe, industries like mobile computing and cloud computing are continuously redefining the modern computer, from the architecture and the OS to compilers and memory. As a professional, my vision is to be a part of and eventually lead in the construction of clear, sustainable and scalable solutions of the focused problem at hand. I am confident that such solutions will have a tremendous impact in improving the cost and time in computing, en route to bridging the gap between the problems and solutions.

In that respect I have found that Columbia University is one of the leading universities in the world, pioneering particularly in the field of ______. The Department of Computer Science boasts of a world-renowned and well-directed system of research labs with up-to-date facilities complemented with an extensive list of course offerings. With an inquisitive and explorative mind, a Master in CS will allow me to study in detail, such courses and develop the acumen and skill set required to recognize and overcome obstacles encountered in CS. The opportunity to work with renowned faculty members would be enriching and intellectual in nature.  On my part, I would bring along with me consistent academic performances and research experience coupled with diligence and hard work. I am confident that I have the abilities to live up to the exacting standards and surpass the expectations set forth for an incoming student. I genuinely hope that the admission committee shows faith in my aspirations and I look forward to being a part of Columbia University.