So I recently submitted the following essay to a top 20 Business Graduate Program. It took me a long time to come up with my answer to the following question. What do you all think? Will the admissions department be impressed?
Essay 1: If you could host a dinner party and invite any four people, either living or dead, whom would you invite and what would the five of you discuss together? There is no right answer concerning the dinner guests; rather, we want you to be creative and thoughtful in your response. Space is limited to 4000 characters.
The four people that I would invite to a dinner party are Shigeru Miyamoto, Joss Whedon, George Lucas and Stan Lee. Each of these individuals has enjoyed enormous amounts of success due mostly to their creativity and abilities to communicate their creations in a way that resonates with people. In essence they are storytellers who know how to raise themselves out of the noise and interference and say something meaningful to a large audience.
Using dinner topics as a three-course meal our panel will start with"presentation of creative ideas as smart business decisions" and "how to maintain creative control of intellectual property". As an entrée we'll discuss "mixing business with creativity" and "management of various personality types". For dessert we'll all enjoy a roundtable discussion of criticisms that America is becoming an "anti-intellectual" society.
Shigeru Miyamoto is the creator of 7 of the top 25 all time best selling video games in history including Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda and Nintendogs. His games have totaled more than 180 million units sold and always garner high critical praise. Because video games are a large collective effort Miyamoto has worked extensively as producer and manager of his projects. His contributions to the discussion would likely focus on how to manage various personality types while maintaining creative control of his projects. I'd also like to hear how he helped a medium in its infancy grow into major money maker.
Joss Whedon, a respected writer, director and producer of films and televisions shows, has earned a fiercely loyal fan base in a crowded and fickle industry. Because his ideas buck conventional thinking I believe his contribution to our conversation would include how he has presented his creative visions as smart business decisions. Programs such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly continue to live on outside of their original formats. No matter the obstacles Whedon manages to produce his ideas for consumption in one way or another. His ability to connect with his audience no matter the medium makes him a perfect candidate for our dinner discussion.
George Lucas is the American icon responsible for ultra popular franchises Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Since 1971 he has directed just six films. Those films have earned an average of $282 million dollars each. While these numbers are impressive I believe Lucas' genius is more rooted in his acute understanding of merchandising andbranding. Star Wars especially has become a part of our American cultural heritage and is the perfect example of how a creative mind can, with the right positioning and work ethic, generate enormous returns and lasting success. I'd love to hear from Lucas how mixing creativity with savvy business choices has made him so successful.
Stan Lee, using a mostly disregarded medium, turned Marvel Comics into a multi-billion dollar empire with co-creations like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The comic book industry has faced serious obstacles in the last 60 years including government and social criticism of content, which would later contribute to threats of an industry collapse. Lee's powerful storytelling allowedhim to position his stories to be told in other medias thus provinglucrative for him and his company. I would like to hear his views on overcoming barriers to success despite serious opposition.
Lastly, television, comic books, video games and films have all been criticized as lazy medias that some critics argue has contributed to a perceived disinterest in more traditional ("intellectual") forms of communication. Each of these dinner party attendees has been important in legitimizing their respective genres. Video games andcomic books especially are still seen as juvenile medias with little to contribute to society or culture. I would love to hear the responses of my dinner guests to those who say they have contributed to a "dumbing down" of America.