Thursday, August 7, 2008

A couple of B-school essays

It seems that my last posting of a B-school essay was well received and "advice" was sought by some future applicants. The only "advice" I can give is a) be yourself, b) make your examples short, pithy and colorful, c) tell a story that stands out, d) strongly link your past experiences with your future goals, e) avoid vagueness at all cost f) don't assume the reader's ability to read between the lines, and above all f) answer the question clearly. And yes, have someone else who knows you and has a command of the language, read and critique your essays. I could go on, but posting a few of my essays might just be more helpful. Here are two essays I wrote for Columbia GSB and London Business School.

Essay 4 (b): If you were given a free day and could spend it anywhere, in any way you choose, what would you do?

I love art, history and education through travel. I visited Florence last year and couldn’t get enough of the city. I’d spend my free day on the streets of the city of the Medici. I’d be woken early by the pealing of church bells. I’d stop by a neighborhood trattoria and jostle with the locals for pastries and a steaming cappuccino. I’d strike up a conversation with friendly faces and find out what the day held for them.

I’d hurry to stand in the line snaking outside the Uffizi so I could see Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’. I’d stroll through the sculpture garden in the Piazza della Signoria and make charcoal rubbings off Ghiberti’s doors at the Baptistery. I’d climb the 414 steps of the Campanile for breath-taking views of the city and the Tuscan countryside, much of which hasn’t changed in centuries. I’d spend time crawling through the vaults of Brunelleschi’s Dome of the Basilica del Fiore, an engineering marvel to this day with the world’s largest masonry span. When the church was built to be the largest house of worship, the neighboring streets and houses were actually lowered so that the Basilica would look more imposing that it actually was. I’d revisit Michelangelo’s David and take sneaky photos of it. I’d have to take in a pistachio gelato as I walked the cobbled stone streets of Santa Croce, which reeks of tanneries. I’d make my way to the piazza where Savonarola’s ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ blazed. I’d spend a moment in silence mourning all the works of art that civilization lost, thanks to the mad monk.

As dusk draws near, I’d avoid the ‘Menu Turistico’ for dinner. I’d buy cichetti and some homemade wine - bottled in used plastic bottles. I’d hike up one of the hills, south of the Arno river and watch the setting sun glint off the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

LBS Essay 1: In what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation? Why? How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this? How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal?

My post-MBA goal is to work for the Private Equity (PE) consulting practice of a tier one strategy consulting firm and to specialize in Merger and Acquisition (M&A) due diligence studies in the Indian pharmaceutical sector. Very specifically, Bain’s global reach, its strong focus on PE and pharmaceuticals and its collegial culture would provide the best career fit, enabling my long-term goals. Having relished the intellectual stimulation of tackling a variety of business problems in diverse industries in my four years of management consulting, I know that Bain would provide an exciting opportunity to further expand my ability to devise creative solutions and lead organizational change.

At Advion, a biosystems startup, I collaborated with pharmaceutical scientists to develop analytical devices which expedite drug discovery by accurately analyzing drug candidates in 1/100th the time that other techniques require. While learning the science behind drug discovery, I also observed how Advion’s PE backers used their business consulting backgrounds and financial expertise to guide Advion’s executives on innovation and growth strategies. This foundational exposure to key aspects of the pharmaceutical industry would help me address industry-specific issues at Bain.

Following Advion, through a business strategy and operations consulting role at Stroud, I learned to facilitate operational turnarounds at multi-billion dollar corporations in sectors from food and beverage to electronics to consumer goods. Recently, I worked on the exciting transformation of a PE-owned packaging products company, leading 5-10 person teams at each of nine plants to identify a total of $40MM in profitability losses through a financial analysis and deep operational assessment. The subsequent 6-month pilot program which I led focused on improving operations efficiency, product quality, logistics and inventory management, resulting in a $7M profitability increase. I gained extensive finance and supply chain knowledge and a practical understanding of organizational change management, preparing me to lead consulting teams to solve clients’ strategic and operational problems.

After growing through two promotions, in order to gain expertise in post-merger strategy (an issue prevalent in PE,) I eventually accepted an advanced role at Accenture. I started acquiring expertise by leading two eight person case teams (client VP’s, directors, consultants) to integrate two global supply chains and realize merger synergies at a Top 3 computer manufacturer, initiatives which improved cash flow by $30MM and profits by $20MM.

The London Business School (LBS) MBA is the next logical step in refining my leadership skills, acquiring a general management aptitude and developing the financial acumen necessary for M&A due diligence in a post-MBA role at Bain. My conversations with N. Mehta (’08) and N. Patel (’06) have convinced me that LBS’s flexible curriculum would allow me to integrate the knowledge I acquire from electives in Finance, Strategy and International Management and Private Equity. Through a semester at Wharton’s healthcare program and through UCL courses such as ‘Business Enterprise Training in the Life Sciences,’ I would build my financial knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry. LBS’s global reach and its diverse community would teach me to leverage the cultural diversity inherent to consulting firms.

Having grown up in Bombay, India’s commerce hub, I understand the unparalleled benefits of being at the heart of a cosmopolitan capital. LBS, with its proximity to 70% of the FTSE 100 and 75% of the Fortune 500, would give me an unbeatable edge in achieving my professional goals.


OMGparishilton said...

thanks for posting ur real essays, not many (if any) blog does that.. much appreciated

adekku said...

Thanks ton! Hopefully you'll share more ^_*