Statement of Intentx* – PhD application requirement


*X= an emerging story behind a would be journalist

When we were kids the common wisdom was that the most successful people are those who nurture their innate talent and know even as they are very young what they had to do in life. If I say that Journalism was one of those wonderful things I knew all along were meant for me I would be lying to myself.

Since high school and perhaps even before then, word was that I am going to excel in biological sciences. Whichever counsel I took, be it professors, classmates or family I was solemnly told to apply for med school for ‘this is the Pakistani way’, this is how a man makes a respectable living and to think otherwise was bound to fail. Ever having a penchant to ask annoying questions, to understand what make things tick, a ‘cavalier’ and a ‘confused’ attitude as some high school mentors would remark, these advices given to me went utterly against my views on life.

At the time I was too immature to realize the nuances involved in career planning, ambition, passion and priorities and advertently took up business studies in college due to insufficient grades required to study bio-engineering and limited availability of degree programs in Pakistan. It was a rude awakening; the professions I always thought were meant for me since high school were simply out of my reach.

However, selecting business school exposed me to a fascinating new world with its extremely diversified curriculum. I developed a bond with professors and made friends with people with extremist religious views and others with atheistic tendencies. For the first time in my life I was in an environment conducive to learning in its essence and self discovery; to research before accepting whatever our elders dish out to us, to not accept how things appear at face value but appreciate the subtleties of human condition, to, and most significantly, be rational about my approach towards life and not engage in senseless rhetoric.

Truly, my four year undergraduate program helped me cultivate my better self so that now I knew, that the penchant to ask annoying questions was in reality, the quest to search for the truth and that the ‘cavalier’ attitude was in fact a desire to lead a life that ‘matters’. This was also the time I started keeping track of current affairs in earnest and developed a keen interest in fine arts and sociology. I became an avid follower of Time Magazine, Ted Talks and, an acclaimed blog about art, photography, cinema and design.

Communication Studies first grabbed my attention in an Advertising elective I took in the final year of the undergraduate program. The timing was just perfect. We were taught topics ranging from Targeted Rating Points, Ad Spent and Cultures Inside Advertising Agencies to the ‘rapid growth in the telecommunication sector’, the ‘rise of press freedom’ and ‘corporate communications’ in Pakistan. I was completely hooked and as I sat through these lectures, I realized for the first time in my life the direction my career choices should now take.

Hence towards the end of the business management program I selected Synergy (pvt.) Ltd for my official internship program. The agency’s diverse portfolio meant that I got a chance to understand firsthand the creative processes involved in advertisements, content writing, film production and corporate communications and it was perhaps due to my performance that I was offered employment after completion of this internship.

Choosing Synergy (Pvt.) Ltd as the official internship proved to be a very good decision. It became the place where I began to understand my strengths and weaknesses, my passion for the media industry and my writing potential. But most significant of all I realized that a MBA which I had always planned after completing my undergraduate program and for which I even wrote the GMAT was now incompatible with my career goals.

At this stage I decided to experiment and accepted a job offer to lead the marketing campaign for a not-for-profit organization; Ahmed E.H Jaffer Foundation whose first project is a Boarding School of Excellence, The Hub School. By this time I was writing extensively for online blogs and a marketing publication Synergyzer Magazine. Here I also got a rare and wonderful opportunity to write a first draft of an interview for the Huffington Post.

Now working with this broad spectrum of people in the communications industry over the past two years and the confidence given to me by my superiors for my writing ability, team spirit, commitment to deadlines, affinity to ask questions and a passion for work, has reinforced my conviction for creative writing in the media industry.

Undertaking a journalism program at this stage in my career will be a culmination of all my passions and amateur skills into a professional endeavor.

The media industry of Pakistan and in particular the new media is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy. Press freedom has surpassed infancy and we are now standing on the verge of a cultural revolution with Imran Khan’s Movement for Justice Party and 2013 elections. However, the sector needs to evolve. It needs best practices; it needs trained and educated people who understand the principles of Journalism, who know the difference between constructive criticism and frivolous debates. These conditions cannot be more perfect for an aspiring journalist to make a valuable mark.

X University has the capital advantage of being located in a political powerhouse where ‘a story’ is always around the corner. Furthermore the numerous resources at its disposal such as the Reader’s Digest Centre, the Apprenticeship Program and Capital News Online are some features that provide a splendid environmental mix for a practicing and learning journalist.

My decision to apply for Journalism studies was not an epiphany neither was it something I always knew I would take since childhood but something I have actualized over the years. It has been a journey of self discovery and I sincerely hope that the admissions committee will consider my application strongly.


And you know what, they did! :-). Yes, I’ll be leaving for my Masters very soon. I have been meaning to post my statement of intent for quite sometime but I wanted to make sure that I make it in the bloody program first.

Actually.. I have been meaning to write something along the lines of ‘My journey towards a masters program’ but just couldn’t get myself to write one until I knew for sure I would make it in. Well, now I have and I think this Statement of Intent is a very appropriate way to describes one’s journey than the usual emotional innuendos. There you have it. A bona fide, accepted, well researched, well edited etc etc statement of intent.



2 Responses

  1. You’re good, but should pick on more intellectual topics. Your writing style is nice and keeps the readers’ interest; the content. not so much.
    Enjoy London, I miss it. Do see the sunrise from Hampstead park, and walk for hours along Thames (alone, people are full of nonsense and kill the feel of it).

    Oh, and run down Regents St. with your arms flailing. People will look, but you’ll feel thrilled and refreshed (or so I did)

    Good luck with your career.
    (Sorry I didn’t read the above, I read your 7 make outs place)

    1. I sometimes feel that my writing lacks the depth as perhaps that of a literature student for lack of staying up to date with English fiction. Also, there is an element of childlike wonder which some might mistake as being immature. That however is not the case, therein lies the way I write and see things. I would also recommend you check out,
      1- What do you remember of your time on Earth
      2- Duck Season, No Wabbit Season, No Wedding Season.

      If you ever get the time.

      And London… yes this place is something. The most splendid moments are those where we get lost on the streets after hours when the public transport is closed and nobody wants to chip in for a taxi. I like your Regents St. idea though. Thanks for an interesting feedback.


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