Oxford Said Sample Essays
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Oxford Said Essay 1: Explain why you chose your current job. How do you hope to see your career developing over the next five years? How will an MBA assist you in the development of these ambitions? (maximum 1000 words)
Graduating in Chemical engineering from India’s premier college ABC, I got an opportunity to start my career as a Process Engineer at Company 1, Mohali. It was a core chemical company which gave me the opportunity to not only use my technical knowledge but also to develop people management and leadership skills via interactions on shop floor. The job also provided me with opportunities to innovate & apply the theoretical knowledge gained in my undergraduate study to real life applications. In the first six months, I reengineered the washing process to reduce the wash water generated by tinter production by about 70%. Given the fact that the plant was facing wash water storage and disposal problems, this reduction was a huge help. In December 2007 I had to relocate to Delhi due to personal reasons. I joined Company 2, a sales and marketing consulting firm in the Pharma domain. As an associate, I breathed life into a failing client relationship by successfully delivering high quality deliverables on time. Due to this, within 8 months of my joining, I was made the offshore point of contact for a $350k project. This was one of the firsts in my company i.e. a person with such limited
experience was given complete responsibility for a critical project like this. Also there was a sudden flux in my team with my team manager being assigned to another project abroad and my team members resigning from the company. Recognizing my client facing skills, my analytical prowess and passion for leadership I was made the team lead for my project. Under my leadership the team has grown from one to six members in the last 3 years. In May 2010, I was promoted to my current role of Senior associate and was also given the opportunity to travel onsite to US for 6 weeks. I grabbed this opportunity to build faith in our client and was able to transition the ownership of $600k sales force structuring business to offshore. Currently, apart from being the single point of contact for this $600k business, I manage the day to day deliveries for $X million salesforce structuring and alignment business.
Armed with an exposure to both Manufacturing and Consulting industries, I have reasonably strong grip over ‘People-leadership’ and have developed a strong ‘customer-centric’ mindset. The mix of consulting and manufacturing has given me a very unique perspective in terms of how industries are run. However, despite having worked on business assignments worth $2Million, most of my work involves gathering client’s requirements, formulating solutions to address their existing problems, and managing deliverables; I have been seldom been involved in researching/identifying client’s potential problems, and exploring new ways of gaining more business from them.
The above is attributable to my limited business knowledge from a cross-functional perspective- how decisions pertaining to one function within an organization affect other organizational functions/departments. Unless I understand this cross-functional inter-dependence, I will not be able to envision client organizations’ potential challenges, and subsequently explore further business development avenues with them. I believe that Oxford MBA will provide solid steps towards realizing my aspiration.
Post MBA, in short term, I see myself getting into the role of an associate in a global management consulting firm. As an associate, I will learn to align business components (marketing plan, operations plan, expected financial results) with client organizations’ strategic objectives. Simultaneously, exposure to projects from different industries will take me beyond just my understanding of the pharmaceutical industry. In the long run, I envision myself as Chief Strategist for my organization. Ultimately, as an Entrepreneur, offering strategy consultancy across industries, I seek to become the driving force behind my client organizations’ short/long-term future. Besides Oxford’s offerings pertaining to ‘Strategy and Leadership’ and ‘Entrepreneurship’ concentrations, its focus on developing real world Consultancy and Leadership skills, perfectly synergizes with my future career aspirations. The diverse peer group in a B-school not only gives me the opportunity to build strong networks and gain global perspective but it also helps me develop several leadership areas. Amidst the school’s entrepreneurial-rich environment and by involving myself in centres like Oxford centre for entrepreneurship and innovation, I plan to crystallize my business idea further. I am very positive that I will not only gain from but also contribute to the stimulating learning environment of the class. To conclude I would say that this will help me gain superior personal maturity both in my personal and professional life.
Oxford Said Essay 2: Which recent development, world event or book has most influenced your thinking and why? (maximum 2000 words)
“Pursuit of Happyness”, written by Chris Gardner with Quincy Troupe, has most influenced my thinking. The book, an autobiography of Chris Gardner, CEO Gardner Rich and Co., inspires me to follow my dreams against all odds and motivates me to establish a balance between priorities in life. Chris advocates a “Go Forward” attitude in his novel and is inspired by two incidents in his life. The first, one is when he watches a smart man walk out of a red Ferrari and decides that he wants to get as rich as this man .This made me realize that often small observations can act as the driving force to make one realize one’s dreams and goals .The second one is when his mother tells him that if he wants to make a million dollars he would. Thus the belief or advice from a close person not only inspires him but also acts as a fuel to spur him to achieve his goal. Drawing a parallel from this to myself, I see the importance of having clarity of thought and how small statements made by near and dear ones can provide big impetus.
In the long run, I want to start up my own venture and it is my family support that gives me the confidence to achieve my goal. I also firmly believe that a country like India, with its billion population, can fulfill its billion aspirations and challenges by bringing the downtrodden and the less fortunate to the mainstream in life. In this regard entrepreneurial ventures go a long way in creating jobs and sustainable communities and this is especially the need of the hour in India. By being an entrepreneur and a responsible citizen I want to contribute in my own way in building tomorrow’s India. Also, in the novel, even though Chris had neither the college education nor the best of personal circumstances, he remained focussed. He was with his toddler son, homeless on most occasions, but he did not give up his dream, and continued to pursue it with full passion and succeeded in setting up his firm in 1987. It is this “follow your dreams” attitude that motivates me to don the role of a leader in daily life and pursue excellence.
I also learnt that there are no shortcuts to success and hard work, determination and perseverance are essential for realizing one’s dreams. After Chris gained a position in Dean Witter Reynolds’ stock brokerage training program, he worked to become a top trainee. He arrived at the office early, stayed late each day and made approximately 200 calls/day to prospective clients. Gardner passed his licensing exam on the first try and became a full employee of the firm. However, he did not became complacent and continued to work hard and set up his firm, Gardner Rich and Co. in 1987. This also taught me the importance of being persistent with ones goal and the importance of being consistent in life. I have carried these etho's throughout my life and believe these examples have had a significant impact in life and in certain outcomes. Another point that is inspiring is that, Chris resolves to be a good father because absence of a father figure in his life had led to a lot of caustic remarks and troubles. This brings out two things, one that although he was pursuing his dreams, he did not forget his responsibility towards his son and the other that harsh childhood experiences had not broken him. Both these things speak volume about Chris’s mental strength and sure are the philosophies that I would want to follow. I was specifically inspired by the various attributes of Chri’s personality. His temperament, passion, steadfastness in
achieving his goal and most importantly fulfilling his duties completely as a father and providing a support system to his kids inspired me. I want to achieve success but not at the price of my family and this novel has enabled me to inculcate an attitude of balance in professional and personal life.
The book has taught me not to bow down to tough circumstances, learn from them and incorporate the learning’s in life. Chris has exemplified all these in this novel and has motivated me to believe in them. “Giving back to the society” nature of Chris, after having amassed wealth gives a message to help the society when one’s need or ambitions have been fulfilled. This is an important message and to some extent, in my opinion, not only advocates humility but also a feeling of satisfaction as a human being. I can truly relate to this as in my 4th year at college I organized a Seminar on HIV AIDS
Awareness. The satisfaction I got on seeing massive participation and the questions people were posing were very fulfilling. I was also enthused by the fact that an event of this scale pertaining to AIDS had not been organized in IIT and truly was unparalleled.
In a nutshell, the book touches upon both professional and personal aspirations and via incidents churns out philosophies that have motivated me to follow my dreams with a balanced mind without being afraid of obstacles. I can confidently say that “Pursuit of happiness” is my mini bible for selfhelp or is like an inspirational handbook that I use as a ready reckoner when I feel down in life. To conclude reading this novel is one of the most profound things to have impacted my personal thinking and approach to life