Describe what you believe to be your two most substantial accomplishments to date, explaining why you view them as such.
The above mentioned question brings to memory varied accomplishments at different stages of my career. The first is where I led a major turnaround at ABC (Small-to-medium enterprise business) and the second was during an international student exchange program in the early stages of my career.
On taking charge as Zonal Manager, I realized that morale among the 1200-strong sales staff was abysmally low. We were adding new clients but the confirming collections (account activation and account-related fees) never materialized. Sales personnel were meeting just 3-4 customers per day when the business needed a minimum of 8 “quality interactions”. Traveling, in itself, consumed nearly 60% of their working time. On an immediate basis, the core team was lead towards re-aligning operations – each salesman would now be assigned leads (prospects) closest to his/her area. During various training events, I accompanied salesmen during their client visits. More than 8-10 client calls per day were shown to be possible. My core team was quick to replicate this initial “hand holding” thus creating a positive ripple effect and bringing the average (per person) to 9 calls per day. As a “third front”, a 5-person customer analytics group was quickly mobilized. We were thus able to match the right set of banking solutions – to the right prospects – and customize effectively. The results: A complete turnaround with a 30% increase in client enrollments and 50% increase in sales revenue.
Thus, the 12 months beginning May 2008 concluded with a major entrepreneurial success. In retrospect, it taught me the nuances of facilitating across various functions – right from the details of day-to-day client servicing to developing, pricing, promoting and selling cutting-edge products.
In September 2002 and as a student of management studies (at MDI, India), I was selected for an international student exchange program at the BI, Norwegian School of Mgmt. During the 4-month-long stay, I went on initiate and organize the “India Day” festival – the first of its kind at the university. The day long event showcased various aspects of my country right from its immense cultural diversity to the capital markets. It culminated with an entertaining music extravaganza followed by traditional Indian cuisine. My skills in multi-tasking and time management peaked as I organized the event and simultaneously partnered on a major team presentation the next day.
Miles away from family, I had learnt the basics of self-leadership. I had successfully “managed myself” – right from studies to basic household activities to organizing a cultural extravaganza. Essentially my first step towards leadership, the event always brings in cherished memories of working in a truly global setting.
Sample MBA Admissions Essays - Accepted by Anderson and UCLA (Courtesy of EssayEdge)
What do you consider to be your most important personal and professional accomplishments to date? (Please limit to three.)
With no money, no direction, and no goals, I graduated from high school in 1987 not knowing if I would ever be a man, if I would ever know what life means. Unable to afford college tuition, I worked odd jobs for a few months before deciding to join the United States Marine Corps. A scrappy kid who needed structure and support, I entered the Marines unprepared for the next thirteen weeks of extraordinary physical and mental challenges.
Arriving at the recruit-training depot in Parris Island South Carolina on February 3,1988 not knowing what to expect, I watched my hair fall off my head, had vaccinations for every disease ever discovered, and learned to live with sixty other young men in close quarters. The days were long. I would wake up at 4 a.m. and work nonstop for 18 hours until I could collapse on my bed. Exposed to individuals from many different cultural and economic backgrounds, I learned the value of teamwork and the work ethic essential to leadership. When we first arrived on the island, my platoon was a jumbled mess of disobedient, out of shape, undisciplined boys. After three months of exhausting training we were molded into a group of highly motivated, physically fit men. On the proudest day of my life, I marched in the graduation parade to become a United States Marine.
After being discharged from the United States Marine Corps, I became determined to attain an electrical engineering degree from Florida State University. I wisely invested in the GI Bill early on in my Marine Corps career in order to go to college. Although a substantial amount of money, the GI Bill only covered my tuition; to pay for food and rent, I took a full time job with the VA work-study program. In the beginning I had difficulty adjusting to working full time while maintaining a full coarse load, and I began to feel hindered by my years outside the classroom. However, determined to succeed, I learned to manage my time well, and I established good study habits, which have continued to the present. In the spring of 1997 I obtained a Bachelors degree in Electrical engineering, a full year ahead of schedule. I take pride in the fact that I am the first person in my family to obtain a college degree.
I moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college and accepted a position at an aerospace company as a design engineer. Although I had multiple offers, I chose to work at my particular company to further my education. Putting in long hours at work while devoting most of my personal time to obtaining a Masters degree in electrical engineering, I felt like I was in college again with my full time job and academic responsibilities. To keep some sense of sanity and maintain good spirits, I decided to learn how to snowboard. Although at first snowboarding seemed a most impossible mission given the long drive to the resort and my inexperience with cold weather, I persevered and by the end of my first day could navigate my way down the mountain. I have since become an accomplished snowboarder, but nothing matches the exhilaration I felt at the end of that first day when I completed my first run without falling.
Why have you decided to enter the Fully Employed MBA program? Why is it the appropriate time for you to begin?
With the drive, determination, and discipline to both work at my career and attend an MBA program, I am excited to pursue a high quality MBA at UCLA. Interested in acquiring the skill set and technical knowledge necessary to become a hi-tech consultant, the UCLA program will prove central to my future success.
As an engineering major in college, I developed excellent analytical skills and improved my problem-solving ability, but I never had the opportunity to take courses exploring business strategy, finance, or market forces. To realize my career goal, I clearly must enhance my abilities in these as well as other areas of business. I believe that the management core at Anderson will provide me with the necessary knowledge to enhance and develop my capabilities. Also, in order to become a successful consultant, it is imperative that I gain a more thorough education in foreign markets, business technology, and competition. As a hi-tech consultant in the twenty-first century, the ability to understand business on a global scale will be highly prized. The International Field Study at Anderson would suit my needs well by allowing students to learn about business by working with foreign companies.
Moreover, I look forward to interacting with the highly qualified, diverse students of the Anderson FEMBA program. With only 132 students forming numerous study groups, the program ensures the intimacy necessary to learn from each other's varying perspectives and backgrounds. I know I could both contribute and grow in this unique environment where all students are fully employed. From my time as an officer in US Marine Corps and as an employee at a high-tech aerospace company, I have both developed strong team abilities and have seen the value and synergies of combining people with different backgrounds, knowledge, and experience levels. The dynamics created by these teams help produce the most innovative and creative ideas, whether in the Marines or an Anderson classroom.
While I will never regret joining the Marine Corps, the five years I spent serving my country led me off the beaten path for achieving my career goals. Although I developed a strong work ethic and a goal-oriented nature, I have not followed the standard path. The FEMBA program will be the great equalizer, ensuring future employers that I have both the personal qualities and rigorous academic training necessary for success. By working full time and working on my masters degree in engineering from the University of Southern California, I have shown that I have what it takes to manage my work schedule while attending a prestigious institution. Now, I seek only the opportunity to prove this again by being admitted to the Fully Employed MBA program. AT UCLA, I will start my way down the path that will lead me to career success and fulfillment as a hi-tech consultant.
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