Friday, July 11, 2008

On B-school essays

I think back to the Fall of 2007 and the B-school app process. I'm elated that I won't ever have to write another B-school essay again. Although, the one essay that I did enjoy writing was NYU Stern's Essay #3. I created a mini-blog and submitted it as my essay. In the interest of filling chronological gaps for my family and friends, I've decided to post it.

NYU Essay #3 - Personal Expression: Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative. If you submit a written essay, it should be 2 pages maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font

If I had maintained a blog for the past three years, these would be some of the entries:

January 2005: I am passionate about travel and art. I have discovered a unique dynamic interrelationship between them that lets me explore the world around me and better relate to people. Whenever I am in a new city, I visit its art museums. The art I see, in addition to my travel experiences provides the subject matter and inspiration for the canvases I paint on returning home. I finished my new “masterpiece”(right)! It conveys that as humans, we share a unifying theme and blend into each other seamlessly, even though we may look different.

March 2005: I deconstruct what I see around me and then reassemble it using a vivid palette. (A) is a mosaic of a person’s face, (B) is a butterfly,(D) is a building on the Chicago skyline (‘The Corn Cob’ Marina Towers), (E) is a night-time view of traffic in Bombay’s congested streets and (F) is a tree. My memories of a lighthouse in the fog in Nova Scotia inspired me to paint an abstract representation of this seascape (C). My (ethnically diverse) group of friends came over for wine and cheese and panned my new paintings. The best part was listening to their interpretations. Their differing worldviews affect their experience of art and I discover so much about them by listening to their interpretations.

May 2005: Exciting news! I helped Mark, my client, present results from a four month program we co-led – the program improved his site’s operational performance by over 25%. Our audience (the executive team of his Fortune 300 company) was impressed, and now the CEO wants the program to be replicated across the division.

October 2005: Venice was exciting. My girlfriend and I discovered this fantastic home-made wine sold at little shops all over the city (in used Pepsi bottles). We enjoyed our “to-go wine” as we took in the sights.

December 2005: Business is booming out East. My father is on a whirlwind business trip to N. Africa and the Middle East after which he will ‘stop by’ his Malaysia office before returning home to Bombay. Finished reading ‘Freakanomics" by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and ‘The World is Flat’ by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. The latter made me think about how the West and East have perceptions of each other that differ so much from reality. A huge gap exists. I renewed my desire to use my multi-cultural lifestyle to bridge this gap.

April 2006: I ran workshops on basic consulting skills for seven new recruits at a company retreat at Cambridge University. We simulated business cases, data analysis and delivering Powerpoint presentations. Visited Stonehenge and St. Paul’s cathedral (London). I have now seen the world’s four largest churches (Rome, Florence, Milan and London).

June 2006: Returned from Bombay! I could barely recognize the city I grew up in and last visited two years ago. Sam R. (one of my mentees) called to inform me of his promotion. He thanked me for the daily coaching I gave him during his first project.

April 2007: I helped my friend, Kathy organize a Forsyth summit, where scientists from Forsyth, Harvard and MIT presented latest research in combating oral and dental conditions to Forsyth donors.

May 2007: My friend Lauren and I participated in Project Bread’s ‘Walk for Hunger’, a 20 mile pledge walk in Boston that raises funds for Massachusetts food pantries and soup kitchens. Sore after five and half hours, we renewed our determination to spend more time at the gym. However, we were glad to have raised money for a worthy cause.

July 2006: Lauren, who works at a US investment bank was having trouble motivating her counterparts in India to meet project deadlines. She turned to me for insight into differences in communication styles, upon which I suggested being more formal when communicating deadlines and expectations to her Indian counterparts than she would with her US colleagues. She used my suggestion and saw a dramatic improvement in their response. I am glad that my dual cultural background helps me explain Indian business culture to my non-Indian friends and vice-versa, a skill which I would bring with me to business school.

July 2007: Love living in downtown Boston! Love my new job! My Friday commute involves an elevator ride down 10 stories, a 30-second walk through a mall and an elevator ride up 23 stories.

August 2007: I was at a presentation to the client CEO (at a multi-billion dollar PC company). Halfway through, he asked for my assessment of the performance of manufacturing operations currently outsourced to China. I had my response prepared. My recommendations will be implemented, saving over $10M for the company.

October 2007: Visited a client site in S. Dakota, which leaves N. Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii as the three states I need to see to have visited all 50. I have seen world-famous buildings like the Guggenheim and The Louvre, but nothing prepared me for this. My client site is an enormous white building surrounded by cornfields and painted with black spots – like a gigantic Jersey cow.

December 2007: I find that talking about what people are interested in is the best way to bond with them. I often go out to lunch and dinner with my clients, giving me opportunities to get to know them personally. I am always pleasantly surprised by what I learn about them – one of my clients is related to Amartya Sen, an economics Nobel Prize winner. He gave me a signed copy of Sen’s book of essays titled ‘The Argumentative Indian’. That makes for three books in my library signed by a Nobel Prize winner.

1 comment:

MechaniGal said...

Fantastic! I loved this "essay".