Thursday, September 27, 2012

Statement of Intent

That's right. Four years after graduating college, I am hoping to go back in order to pursue my MBA. I am currently in the process of applying to Concordia University, and as with all graduate school applications, I was asked to provide a statement of intent – “Why do you want to attend school at Concordia? What do you plan to do with your advanced degree? Explain how this new academic program will contribute to your career goals.” Thus, I began a journey of prayer, Bible reading, and silence, as I asked God to direct my path, to show me if this is what He has for me, and to gain a vision of my vocation. He met me in this place of searching just as He promises in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

Last Friday I sat on a bench in the courtyard at the San Juan Capistrano Mission, reflecting on the lifework of those courageous priests. Thinking of the Christians who have faithfully served the Lord for the past two millennia and further back into our Jewish heritage, I asked to be given a vision of what it means to be a Christian woman and a business woman. In His loving kindness He brought Proverbs 31 to mind (you should pause to read it if it has been awhile: ). I was captured by the beauty of this image and how it brought together the competing viewpoints that I was entertaining of a Christian woman as gentle and kind while a business woman was strong and assertive. In these verses I found my calling: I long to be a virtuous woman - a woman who tenderly cares for your family, works diligently and wisely, generously gives to the poor, and seeks to honor the Lord in all that she does.

Well, without giving too much more away, here is my statement of intent for your reading pleasure (safely under the 500 word count maximum at a smooth 494):

The Lord has given me a passion to see the Kingdom of God grow, both through the ministry of the church and in the marketplace. Since graduating from Biola University four years ago, I have gained experience at ECCU (Evangelical Christian Credit Union in Brea, CA) working with churches, Christian schools, and non-profit ministries through banking operations and loan servicing. It is my desire to continually grow in effectiveness, as I pursue excellence coupled with efficiency in my current position as a Quality Control Specialist. In the days ahead I would like to move into a management position where I could seek continued enhancements to my unit, and be able to invest in staff, mentoring them to maximize their potential. Eventually it is my dream to work for a non-profit, particularly because they do so much good, but have so few resources. I currently volunteer as a child advocate for Compassion International, so I would love to help shape the future of that ministry. Additionally, I have a passion for museums, so it would be exciting to work as a business consultant for a struggling museum, striving to increase their effectiveness and sustainability. Finally, it is a dream of mine to partner with my husband, who is a high school teacher, in order to start a classical Christian school at our church in Newport Beach. Wherever the Lord leads, I want to be equipped for the journey.

During a recent informational meeting I was impressed by the caliber of professors and students who are drawn to this university, and I would love to be a part of what God is doing in the business community of Orange County through this school and its alumni. I have a few years of business experience now and with a proven track record, I will continue to grow and progress over time, but the MBA program at Concordia University would equip me with unique tools to be more effective, as I seek to grow in knowledge and experience beyond my present capacity. At Concordia I would be challenged and given the opportunity to explore aspects of business like marketing and financing that I do not encounter every day, and to embrace my calling as a business woman. I am particularly fascinated by the Public Policy emphasis, as it would unite my passion for history, fascination with government, and exposure to regulations, federal legislation, and legal documentation in the banking industry.

Ultimately, it is my desire to be a woman of virtue, as described in Proverbs 31 – a woman who tenderly cares for her family, works diligently and wisely, generously gives to the poor, and seeks to honor the Lord in all that she does. For the past few years I have debated and prayed, asking the Lord to direct my path. I genuinely believe that the MBA program at Concordia University is my next step on this journey to grow in grace and truth both professionally and personally.

I appreciate your prayers as I prepare for classes to begin and more fully embrace my calling. May the Lord bless you and direct your steps as you seek His face.