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Essay 1 :What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will a Chicago Booth MBA help you reach them?
On 31st July 2012, India suffered the largest electrical blackout in world history affecting 670 million people. More than 500 trains were immobilised, bank ATMs failed and subway lines were paralyzed. This is a striking example of India’s infrastructure woes, perpetrated due to policy failures and absence of governmental leadership. However I am very passionate about India’s future potential and excited about the global leadership role it can take in the global economy. My long-term professional objective is to join a developmental institution like the Planning Commission of India and help transform and contribute to the country’s growth by helping conceptualize and implement transformational projects at a national level.
Upon completing my MBA, I intend to become an Associate in the public sector practice of a management consulting firm like Mckinsey, BCG, Bain etc. In my Associate role, I plan to work for 3-5 years on high profile government projects, leading engagements and working with various units of the government like city municipalities, trade associations and government owned enterprises. to prepare myself for my long-term goal. I think these experiences will help me understand the various challenges faced by both the public and private sector in India.
After this period, I hope to join one of the various Economic Advisory Councils of State to develop a deeper understanding of the social issues and also assimilate myself to the workings of the public sector and governmental agencies. A better understanding of the organisational design of a public office will prepare me well to lead such an office in future. This platform along with the strategic leadership and management skills learnt at Chicago Booth will lay the path for me to serve As a trusted advisor to my country through an organization like the Planning commission
Chicago Booth MBA’s intensive and flexible curriculum will offer me the perfect blend of foundation courses and electives along with experiential learning labs which will build my foundation to join India’s Planning Commission. I am very excited of the opportunity that this will throw up for me to build insights and skill-sets in the area of public policy, global economics and equip me to work in a high performance environment.
In light of my public-sector goals, Booth’s advanced alternative courses such as Economic Analysis of Major Policy Issues in addition to the LEAD course will help me to understand, and develop requisite knowledge and appreciate global economic and policy landscape. Courses such as International Commercial Policy and International Financial Policy will exactly be the education I need to appreciate the understanding of coupling between government and business, understand dynamics and also will be able to appreciate the value that can be added in this significant and crucial partnership The Lab courses, such as Management Lab and Social Entrepreneurship Lab, will provide me hands-on learning in order to address management and leadership challenges faced by the government bodies of India.
With the help of International Business Exchange Program, I hope to attend London Business School or Hong Kong University of Science and Technology or Indian Institute Of Management for a semester to provide myself a deeper understanding of global business education. Further, Booth’s various student-led groups like the Graduate Business Council along with the school-wide co-curricular activities will further enhance my leadership qualities in creating opportunities and service to people. I also believe these experiences will help me understand diversity and better appreciate it, understand and experience the intricacies of working in a team and more importantly help me develop a broad mindset and a global outlook.
For these pertinent reasons, I believe Booth’s MBA will be the best investment to achieve my professional objectives. I visualize myself as a bold and ambitious leader eager to make an impact on the life of more than 1 billion people in India, i.e. 15% of global population, by improving the efficiency of the public infrastructure and improving the quality of life. The ultimate aim will be to create a better , sustainable, stable and promising tomorrow for our next generation.
Essay 2 : What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it?
After graduating from the University of Tokyo, I joined XianGreen, a renewable-energy start-up venture with a niche business idea to fit solar panels on domestic roofs by leveraging Japanese government’s feed-in-tariff scheme. The challenge was to convert this exciting business idea into a sustainable business enterprise. I started with sitting in a room for hours with a pile of blank sheets, brainstorming on a number of questions – starting with how many people we need in what domain or expertise creating a very critical business plan.
For the first few weeks, I did everything from meeting with potential suppliers, conducting interviews, designing the logo, looking for suitable warehouses to even taking the role of a office manager (sometimes cleaning the desks and windows at night). Within 3 months, we built a talented team of 42 professionals, most of whom were ex-military men, in a fun start-up environment and the business blossomed into a profitable and innovative enterprise catching the eye of several social sector investors.
From this experience I learned how to work without supervision, how to build a team, how to delegate to & inspire people and how important is to have a long-term vision. I feel proud now looking back at the various roles I performed and the company I could build.
Essay 3 : Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think?
I grew up training to become a professional swimmer – starting when I was six years old and for the next eight years I devoted six days a week to this sport I so loved. At 14, I was one of the fastest swimmers in India. When I was 16, I faced the most tragic incident of my life – a bad fall during a weights training session resulting in several torn ligaments in right knee which shuttered my swimming career. After a year of rehabilitation hoping against the worst, I had to face the fact that my competitive swimming career was over. I fell into a depression but through the love and support of my family, I was able to recover and overcome this dreadful moment. As I accepted my new circumstances, I began to comprehend the factors that profoundly shaped my personal development. By being a professional swimmer at such a young age, I learned about hard work, commitment, and sacrifice. The players around me and the matches we won (and lost), taught me about the true meaning of contributing, achieving goals and about life itself. The important life lesson for me was that failure is never final, unless we choose to give up. Discovering that we can turn our lives around, choose a different path, or embrace a new idea at any age or in any set of circumstances is liberating. Several years later now, I am a successful banker in Beijing.
The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the application, what else would you like us to know?
My three best friends are Benjamin, Saifina and Nabil, Year 7 (11-12 years old) students of Education society for the displaced, a community school in WestBank. I was introduced to them through a community organizer and was instantly attracted by these students - it was a treat to view these children, who would have otherwise abandoned their studies, punching at the keyboards and holding paint brushes like artists. I’ve developed a special bond with my three young friends because in each of them I see a bit of me.
Among the three, Saifina is the most mature although a bit serious; Nabil is the most fun-loving, always high on energy. Both have one thing in common - their never-ending willingness to learn from others. Benjamin is different and has some pre-conceived ideas on his perceived limitations. My focus has been to build a good chemistry with him to propel him forward to more positive goals with constructive criticism. I have never missed an opportunity to meet these special friends because I enjoy every minute of their company. This gives me a sense of accomplishment when I am able to make a difference in their lives and also brought me a sense of personal satisfaction that surpasses what I have gained till date.
Benjamin has a knack for Mathematics and is eager to solve problems suitable for older students. Spending time with him solving mental arithmetic riddles is always exciting – it serves as a reflection of my younger years. Nabil is full of personal questions for me – what I do exactly in a bank, how many hours I sleep, how my social life is etc. He wants to discover a true picture of a “city” banker’s professional and social life and draws inspiration from my life. The time spent with reserved Saifina is mostly listening to her business ideas. In order to nurture her entrepreneurial aspirations, we end up having interesting “story-telling” sessions on her role models - famous entrepreneurs Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Finally, we four share a common interest – strawberry scoops from our favourite ice-cream shop.
By spending time with them, I have begun to comprehend the factors that profoundly shape my personal development. It has taught me about the true meaning of sacrifice, hard-work and contributing. A visit to a classroom housed in the most tumultuous region of the world, West Bank, turned out to be an enlightening experience which made me realise that I do possess positive qualities of kindness, compassion and responsibility. Most substantial to me is that I have explored a talent and passion that is uniquely my own and which subsequently produces the confidence I need to shape my identity. I intend to take these life lessons along with me as I go for my MBA next year and I visualise myself, years later, as a successful leader in a field that I love - working on the well-being of more than a billion of people.