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HEC Paris Essay 1 : Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words)
HEC Paris Essay 3 : Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words)
I am currently working with ABC Media India as a Senior Account Executive servicing three business units of Company1- Human Resource/Corporate Community & Corporate Affairs, company 2 and company3. As an Senior Account Executive, apart from planning and implementing the Public Relations and Communications strategy for my clients and ensuring a smooth functioning I also assist in new business pitches. The scope of work as an Senior Account Executive spans from consistent interface with the client, media, customers and analysts to create brand loyalists to creating content and story ideas to garner positive media attention. The job role primarily involves planning, strategizing and executing the communication plan to achieve varied business objectives, securing media interactions, generating interesting story ideas for the readers that are in-line with the business objectives, ensuring client visibility in the media and industry forums to establish thought leadership, implementing customer relations and analyst relations campaign and developing communication literature such as authored articles, case studies, executive briefing books, press releases, Q&As, media pitches, PR plans and quarterly/annual reviews. I am responsible for the on–job training and development of Account coordinators and Trainees working with me along with overseeing work of account executives and assisting them with media relations, writing skills and work-load management. Additionally, I am working closely with the social media lead at client ABC to understand the utilization of this space for clients in India.
Four years into Media Relations has made me realize that communications is my forte. Although extremely challenging Public Relations is a part of the larger picture- marketing. I am now keen on expanding my horizon and venture into other branches of marketing. After PR what intrigues me is brand strategy and consulting. My immediate goal post my MBA will be to work as a brand strategy and communications consultant either in an agency or a corporate set-up. I am keen on working with organizations to formulate a brand strategy positioning, cross-functional planning and monitoring and opt for the right communication medium to tap the target audience, internal as well as external. Creating a strong brand can be one of the greatest challenges for any business, as the brand will permeate throughout the entire business, both externally and internally, consciously and on a more emotional level and this would certainly require larger efforts than advertising. Formulating a strong brand positioning strategy and synergising all functions of the business to communicate a consistent brand image requires strong fundamentals and sound knowledge of the business functions and business objectives. I am confident that a competitive programme will help me nurture an understanding of all these business aspects through interactive sessions with the faculty and co-students. While, my experience in Public Relations will be useful in designing a brand communication strategy, an MBA from HEC will help me learn about various aspects of marketing such as brand strategy formulation, market research, marketing tools, brand positioning etc. thus, sharpening my skills as a professional.
It’s wisely said “if one pursues what one enjoys, one shall never be bored.’ The world of marketing and communication challenges me, a primary reason that has kept me hooked to Media Relations for four years. I grew up watching my father head the marketing activities of his organization in the North of India and developed an inclination towards the field. However, my interest grew stronger while serving as the Vice-President of The Economics Association during my under-graduation. The annual festival of the economics department was the biggest event in terms of scale, participation, efforts and therefore, called for a huge amount of sponsorship. The experience of managing the event, chalking out a proposal, meeting the marketing heads of corporations and selling the idea was exciting and full of learning. The experience and the success of the event multiplied my penchant towards marketing and communications.
While, I had planned to pursue an MBA soon after graduation, I found my career goals transitioning into Public Relations (PR) - the business of communication. PR did not come as a revelation but rather a gradual realization. All through my school and college, I have enjoyed managing events, seminars and owning campaigns. While being involved with any kind of student council work- what intrigued me was the level and depth of communication that went into educating people about the event. I found myself drawn towards PR and wanted to learn more about it before I could pursue my ultimate career goal. Understanding the criticality of PR as a business function, in the long run I intend to establish a consultancy that would offer marketing and communication solutions particularly to small and medium enterprises. The consultancy will aim at bringing to the forefront companies that are doing innovative work but lack the funds to invest in an expensive marketing campaign. The idea is to offer a complete package including marketing, public relations, and branding assistance on the digital space as well as other mediums. Since this cannot be an exclusive service, I need to devise a plan on how to execute my idea and turn it into a reality to ensure that it‘s available at an affordable fee.
PR experience has helped me understand a few things about communications, brand strategy, events, and media. However, I now want to get the academic knowledge and move into a more strategic role. To materialise my goals I would require high-level knowledge both theoretical and strategic, an attribute HEC MBA programme can help me nurture.
My current job profile has made it possible for me to work for different clients from diverse verticals in the Indian market. While I understand the dynamics of one market, I would like to expand my domain knowledge and gain a global perspective. An MBA from HEC will help me in pursuing and achieving my goal in more than one way. Apart from the theoretical knowledge I will gain from the best of faculty and a careful combination of a variety of courses offered at the school, an MBA at HEC would be about experiential learning. The interaction with a diverse set of co-students and experienced professionals will help me garner knowledge and contacts beyond journals. Networking is extremely important in every sphere of work and HEC guarantees a wide network of alumni that can be leverage post the MBA. I am certain that the knowledge gained at HEC would help me acquire the skill-set and network that will take me steps closer to my ultimate goal.
Leading and managing one of the biggest annual media engagement tour hosted by my client-salesforce.com has been one my significant achievement till date. A three day tour, it’s the only platform for the media across geographies to engage with the experts of the cloud computing arena. In my two years of servicing this account only senior resources such as Account Directors have managed such tours. My interaction with the client and trust of the senior management helped me contract this opportunity at an early stage of my career. A couple of factors that made this opportunity distinct were- being nominated by the client, learning experience and varied exposure.
The expectations from the PR agencies ranged from appropriate nomination of senior level journalists, managing journalist travel, managing media expectations, ensuring media coverage justifying the travel, working out the story ideas with the media, to conducting an exclusive session for the Indian media with Mr. ABC, Chairman, Asia’s biggest telecom company The key pull-off for the 5 journalists travelling from India was the 30 minutes face time with the Chairman on day 3 of the tour. A crisis situation arose when the interaction with Mr. ABC was called-off half an hour before the scheduled time due to shortage of his time. Since the media people from India were experienced and well researched, they had extremely strategic questions to Mr. ABC but his unavailability gave media the opportunity to write a negative article on Salesforce.com. It was a grave situation as I had to ensure that no negative coverage appears and also convince the corporate communications team to respond to each query over night. We could not take a chance by not commenting on any issue no matter how controversial it was. I worked closely with the corporate communications team and the media to ensure all gaps were covered. The result despite the adversity was positive front page articles on salesforce.com in Hindustan Times, The Hindu Business Line and an interview of Mr. ABCin Business ASIA. Personally, it was a great professional accomplishment, incredible on-job learning and a truly enriching experience.
Lead the way you would like to be lead and in such a way that others would like to follow. Ethics and Leadership are inextricably intertwined and conflict in more than one situation. I have often witnessed grave conflicts at senior level positions however; in the last four years of my career I too have dealt with similar situations.
Often, public relations firm step beyond the line and barter for coverage. As a result, media especially in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns in India have such requests frequently. COMPANY 1 being one of the leading IT companies in India has an active campaign to increase its visibility in Tier-2 towns. During one such activity in Bengaluru, at the launch of COMPANY 1’s community initiative I faced a huge challenge in meeting coverage targets. As per our local associate, the Kanpur media was keener on business news and would refuse media real-estate for such an announcement unless paid. One of the means to achieve the target coverage was to barter for coverage by either buying space in the paper or through kind such as media gifts. As a policy my company and COMPANY 1 refrain from such activities. Due to the criticality of the announcement, we stood the risk of jeopardizing our reputation and client relationship in case of low media coverage. As an initial thought, I did consider sharing a token of appreciation with the media post the announcement but soon realized that it will be an unethical PR tactic. I therefore, decided to formulate an aggressive media strategy. Thereon, I started focused media pitching, working out exclusive angles for important media, building relationship with the vernacular media and scheduling face time with the business leads. The press conference was a runway success with 30 media covering the announcement, the largest ever for such news. The quality of coverage won us tremendous appreciation. It was a great learning experience and helped in changing our perspective and strategies towards the media in smaller towns and also broadening media’s standpoint.
If I were to dream of a life entirely different from the one now, my thoughts would begin and end with my family. A joint family system is not an unusual proposition in India where family ties, relationships and co-existence are given supreme importance. However, the growing complexities of a cosmopolitan life such as different aspirations, professional goals and needs have made it increasingly difficult for people to stay together and simultaneously work towards achieving their goals.
I am blessed with a wonderful family of 20 people including my grandparents, uncles and aunts. The initial years of my childhood when my entire family stayed together are still etched in my memory. Each day was a celebration and each occasion was a gala event. Although the respect and love still persists, circumstances and the influence of modern age have made us move away from each other. The time I spent with my elders especially my grandparents is valuable not only because of the enormous love that I received but also for the values and thoughts that were instilled in me. The nascent years of my life under the shadow of my elders and with my cousins were full of learning. Given an opportunity I would want all of us to stay together again.
Joint living is valuable for more than one reason, the moral values that are inculcated in children, learning through watching and experience of staying together shapes their personality and outlook towards life, the element of selfness and consideration are a given in a joint family system. In this extremely metropolitan lifestyle, people are constantly chasing their dreams, aspiring to be successful often at the cost of their personal life ending up in seclusion and isolation, and lacking personal relationships. Joint family brings in not only a financial support system but also a huge emotional support system. The realisation to stay together helps imbibe a lot of qualities such as patience, resilience, thoughtfulness, adjustment, peaceful co-existence and respect for different opinions inevitably. The teachings of my childhood are so strong that despite all odds I feel extremely bonded to each family member and I am certain that we will soon recreate the old times.
One of the truest depicters of India’s rich history, tradition and co-existence are the by-lanes of
One of the grandest markets in India Chandni Chowk is famous for its food, jewellery and Indian clothes with each street showcasing its own specialty. Like, a big fat Indian wedding is incomplete without a trip to this market; a visit to the Indian capital would be incomplete without a trip to Chandni Chowk, meaning a moonlit square. At a time when the world, especially India is chocking with communal discord, terrorism, rage and blood-shed the by-lanes of Chandni Chowk are a symbol of harmony and peaceful co-existence. Chandni Chowk houses people from several religions together and several famous religious shrines at a stones throwaway from each other, lending the street a genuine cultural harmony. Starting from the Red fort, the street has Jama Masjid (Muslim), Digambar Jain LalMandir (Jain), Gauri Shankar Temple (Hindu), Central Baptist Church (Christian), Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib (Sikh), Sunehri Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid (Muslim). Symbolizing the remnants of a medieval world, ChandniChowk today stands at crossroads in time, looking forward to an age where modernity and tradition promise to walk hand in hand. It encompasses the true colours of India where people irrespective of their caste and religion stay as one big family. A walk down ChandniChowk re-enforces what India has always been known for- its cultural diversity and unity, love for humanity, equal opportunity and mutual respect.