Another Statement of Purpose Draft for TUM

Backstory

Writing a statement of purpose or motivation letter cannot be done in a single iteration. I think I mentioned several times in my other blog post that I drafted and scrapped my letter multiple times. The letter I finally sent was the third iteration of long contemplation and brainstorming.

Recently, I was helping some friends in reviewing their letters. One thing that caught my attention was the idea conceived in the letter is not well-formed. It made me think that it must be their first iteration of the letter. So, I dig my document storage and look for some draft that I scrapped so I can review it too.

This is the second draft I made for the TUM. The third draft that was sent was posted in another post in this blog. I think this letter is quite good, where I tried to show myself as a risk-taker to jump out from a steady consulting career to pursue my passion. So, I hope you guys can learn some from it.

On a side note, most of my letters I made two years ago revolved around my application to TUM. Because as far as I remember, TUM was one of the few universities I applied that requires a motivation letter. Some other German universities I applied did not require. And for those which require, I readjust the letter I wrote for TUM by removing the reference to TUM and changed it to the other target universities.

The letter

Three years ago, I applied for six different universities to continue my education in Computer Science. I got a perfect IELTS score, good GPA and experiences, and strong recommendations, what could go wrong? All of them rejected me only mentioning that I am not the candidate they were looking for. It was a hard for me to accept it in the beginning, but I realized that I can never stop to shape my way to become expert in this field. 

Many people, perhaps also those admission committees, questioned my decision to move out from consulting job and looking for something more technical. It was neither because of I was underperformed, nor I hated my job in Accenture. My supervisors really appreciated my contribution there, from architecting the solution for Program Management Office (PMO) system, into opening more business opportunities through the continuous development of the PMO system. I was proud of my contributions there, but in the end, all of those works actually utilizes less of my skills. My supervisors even told me to step back from doing technical job because I had great potential ahead in consulting. That made me thinking, and I realized that my truly passion is really in software engineering. After all, my 4 years of studying computer science would be wasted if I kept my distance further with computer science. 

Despite of many rejections, luckily, I got accepted in Samsung Research Institute Indonesia (SRIN) as Lead Engineer. I was appointed to take part in pilot project on Tizen platform in Indonesia. There, I learned the importance of coding pattern. We had to develop native app for Tizen, which the official language and API is written in C. I viewed this would become hindrance at later time when we have to maintain our code. Because, programming in procedural language tends to hard to apply good coding structure through object-orientation. 

Thus, I created a framework library which encapsulates many boilerplate codes for coding native app in Tizen. The framework which then called Tizen Fundamental Classes (TFC) employed necessary coding pattern to support app development which is not clearly defined in vanilla Tizen native API, for instance, Model-View-Controller pattern. After several months, the productivity and learning speed for the developers is quite fast and efficient. It helped new team members who are new or previously coding in Android to adapt and learn coding in Tizen. 

TFC development is also a sandbox for me to experiment with C++ niche features such as metaprogramming, a feature that is rarely touched by common programmers. I introduced an Embedded Domain Specific Language (EDSL) within the TFC library to enable programmers to integrate asynchronous code more seamlessly using combination of lambda expression and macros which leads to more readable codes. TFC itself is now has been published as open-source project in GitHub, and I got an opportunity to present my work during Tizen Developer Conference 2017 in San Francisco. 

I also several times was requested to present a workshop related with Tizen to general audiences. I presented during Samsung Indonesia Next App program in 2016 and 2017 around Indonesia, talking about developing Tizen native app using C/C++ as well as TFC. Thankfully, serving as teaching assistant since my second year until I graduated from college, and being previously working as consultant really helped me to deliver the workshop smoothly. 

My career in Samsung has been going very well, but it is not a finish line for me. I want to reach higher by taking Master degree in Informatics in Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen (TUM). By continuing my education, I believe I can obtain deeper knowledge in this field and become specialist in this field. TUM provides particular research which gain my interest, such as ExaHyPE research to establish algorithmic foundation for exascale supercomputer. Collaboration between law and informatics also interest me, remembering my focus during undergraduate thesis in Information Retrieval and Natural Language Processing. 

After completing my master study, I want to work closely in informatics as researcher in technology industry or university. I also want to continue further for doctorate level and make contribution in the advancement of computer technology. I believe by studying in TUM can open the opportunities for me ahead, and I can give back to TUM my contributions as a scholar. I am sure that I have big potential which is proven by my determination, academic background, and experience in professional and academic roles. I am looking forward to begin my journey as graduate student at TUM.

Verdict

I don’t know why I scrapped this letter. Actually, the idea is similar to the letter I finally sent to the admission committee. Perhaps one of the reason because I wanted to make the letter to be a “real letter,” which has a proper introduction and proper closing, instead of a statement letter that sounds like a declaration of intent.

Either case, I think it is okay to have any kind of writing style. I sent the motivation letter to SECCLO using this kind of style, instead of the more “letter-y” style the one I sent to TUM. The key is just, use your feeling and be yourself!

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