Try B school Selector (Free) Apphelp is now on WhatsApp
Disclaimer: Any trademark registered by IIM Calcutta is property of IIM Calcutta. Use of these does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by IIM Calcutta.
IIM Calcutta PGPEX Sample Essays Set 1
Essay 1: Give detailed descriptions of three activities you performed in your workplace in the last five years which will help us assess your abilities and strengths. (300-500 words)
Instance 1: Client Relationship is my forte. At AMC (dummy name), I lead a team of five people for a complex project for our client, Chennai Municipal Corporation that includes the rollout of the new features of e-governance (e.g. ERP, e-tendering, MAS etc.). In June 2015, the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has feted Chennai Municipal Corporation's e-delivery of municipal program as a National Best Practice in India. I received the prestigious ‘AMC Experience Award’, which is given to the ones who have gone beyond their normal duties to enhance the AMC client Experience, bringing it to life. The AMC client Experience encompasses four distinct behaviors, which are exhibited in our daily interactions with our clients including a) Invest in client relationships, b) Share and collaborate, c) Put ourselves in our clients’ shoe and d) Focus on client value. The entire project experience made me develop strong customer first mindset critical for any enterprise success.
Instance 2: I have a strong analytical competency. With the help of this skill, I worked in discovering and communicating some meaningful pattern (i.e. analytics) in data. After my formal certification course from WILEY, I, as big data analyst, applied my learning on real time business data of RedLantern, my venture, to help us take some business decisions. Some of the analyses are published as “Case study on application of big data analytics on e-commerce”. The largest analytics community of India named ‘Analytics Vidhya’ has sighted this case study. After the publication of this case study, I personally have been approached by Todd Nevis, director and co-founder of icrunchdata, the leading US brand for news and perspective in Data Science, to be their guest writer.
I also got an opportunity to present the case study at CII Chennai, Suresh Kapadia Center of Excellence for Leadership. This case study has been also referred by some of the current second year students (2014 – 2016) of IIM Calcutta who took RedLantern project in their sales and distribution management course. I was their project guide for the same.
Case study link: www.RedLantern.blogspot.com (dummylink)
Instance 3: I strongly believe in my innovative mindset. At a self-funded venture, we always wanted to compete by our innovations and not by money power. It started right from our website designing (single page listing of all products) to our offered value propositions (like open analytics, budget controlling, product trends, social shopping etc.). In 2012, we brought some innovations in our communication too (adopting of only social media channel). Lately I am trying to incorporate the vendor-managed inventory model in online grocery segment by negotiating with some key vendors like ITC, Mother Dairy, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Mahindra Retail etc. Several national and local newspapers (e.g. Business Standards, The Telegraph, Hindustan Times, Ei Samay etc.) interviewed me as spokes-person from RedLantern, where I discussed our innovations in operation, communication and software (both front and back end).
Essay 2 : Narrate an important/unusual incident of your life when you had to face a very demanding/challenging situation. How did you overcome the situation? What lessons did you learn from this incident? (300-500 words)
National Entrepreneurship Network conducts Entrepreneurship Week with our institute every year. The program is conducted for a week where students are required to set up small businesses. In 2011, I had participated with a team of six members to run a food stall. This was the first time I was involving myself in real business transaction. We had to compete with various other food stalls, games and activity centers, including our campus canteen. We had to provide food all day to ensure that no student had to go to the campus canteen for meals. Our major challenge was to provide meals for more than 100 students along with our routine class schedule. We had to juggle between sessions to prepare for the meals. I formed a team such that when I had classes, one or two other members wouldn’t have classes since we had different subjects. Other challenge was setting the competitive pricing. We were declared the best food stall in our institute for that week. I learned the importance of time management and teamwork from this experience.
Again, In 2013, we participated but with a bigger team of 13 members. This time we had a 3-course meal along with hot and cold beverages. We divided the team into 2 groups – one would take care of desserts, beverages and food supplies and the other group would be responsible for cooking 3-course meals. This time it was tougher since competition had varieties to offer. So we made different Indian cuisines everyday to ensure that we are able to cater to everyone’s taste buds. We took daily feedback for improvisation. We proactively asked the students in the morning for their order. This way we were able to estimate food quantity. Another challenge was that beverages were common, so we served them with a twist like easy mock tails and masala sodas. For desserts, we created ‘flavor of the month’ ice cream from Gelato and serving it to students at a higher price. Another major challenge was maintaining the deadline, hygiene and food quality. Since all the students had regular classes, we had to make sure that the meals are available on time so that they are not late for classes. We chose high quality ingredients and made sure that we maintain proper hygiene with disposable glasses, plates and spoons and proper waste disposal system. This time again we were declared the best food stall again. Also, the profit was more than the previous year. The entire episode gave me a better experience to deal with diversified team and much more brainstorming than before. I understood the importance of inventory management and brand marketing, the way we used to promote our food stall by providing menus a day in advance.
These two weeks gave me a taste of real business and how it is actually run. It was a great learning as well as motivating experience for me where I realised my capability and desire to get more involved in entrepreneurship.
IIM Calcutta PGPEX Sample Essays Set 2
Essay 1: Give detailed descriptions of three activities you performed in your workplace in the last five years which will help us assess your abilities and strengths
Every year, combat units of Indian Army undergo exercises to evaluate war readiness. In Sept’07, I was assigned to lead a 60-men-sub-unit in one such 3-month exercise.
This sub-unit finished last in previous year’s assessment and I was expected to turn that around. Though flattered by my superior’s confidence, I knew task ahead was daunting. Given the short run up to the next assessment, I had to move fast. Building a great working relationship was the most important step. Hence, I spent majority of my time knowing my troops. I even shifted from officer’s mess to men’s quarters. I realized that they wanted their leaders to toil and train with them, and fulfill their basic needs. Staying with them, I understood their smallest problems and improved the standard of their food, hygiene and sanitation. This motivated them to give their 100% in training. Knowing them at close quarters allowed delegation of responsibilities according to their strengths. Better teamwork helped us outshine on the D-Day as ‘we’ attained 1st position. This first real leadership stint helped me earn respect of seniors, peers and, most importantly, my subordinates.
Periodical movements of Army units to new areas of posting are matters of serious nature. First aspect involves security and secrecy as information leakage can easily lead to sabotage. Second aspect involves efficient transition from one place to the next. Third aspect involves liaison with railways that provide rolling stock for the move while operating within tight time schedules- delays incur heavy demurrages.
In Nov’08, I was assigned to execute my unit’s movement from Allahabad to Jammu, a distance of 1300KMs to be covered by road and rail, while with only 3 years of service- a task generally entrusted to officers with 6-9 years of service. With the need to ship 500 men, 20 tons of equipment, arms and ammunition, I set out to plan meticulously. I formed my core team and divided responsibilities. I personally took responsibility of liaison with railways. We ensured that all material was well packed and stacked for loading, and all 500 men knew their responsibilities. We conducted dry runs, monitoring the progress each week. On the assigned day, everything was executed like clockwork.
This experience improved my planning and organizing skills at an early age, and gave me confidence to take on bigger challenges.
Providing timely and quality manpower is a vital responsibility of HR. At Randstad, HR in North was not upto the mark with its recruitment responsibility. I made recruitment the most important responsibility for my team as attrition was 50-60%. I took 3 initiatives for improving recruitment performance. I arranged training on recruitments-through-linkedin, effective use of job-portals, and headhunting for us. I created incentives for timely recruitment and recognized achievements publicly. I personally took the onus of closing critical positions. This motivated my team coaxing them to work hard. By Dec’11, HR closed 85% of the vacancies compared to 10% in previous year.
This success in recruitment gave me a firm footing in my organisation.
Essay 2: Narrate an important/unusual incident of your life when you had to face a very demanding/challenging situation. How did you overcome the situation? What lessons did you learn from this incident? Use extra sheets if necessary
In Jan, 2009 I was given a responsibility to lead a 70 member team for 6 months in an insurgency prone area in J&K. The team was to be inducted in the area in March. Recent news of terrorist attacks in the area leaving two soldiers dead was playing heavily on my team’s mind.
I knew from the outset that I would face three major challenges. Firstly, majority of my team did not have any recent experience in counter insurgency (CI) and we were inducting at a time when snow melts and terrorist activities pick up. Secondly, I had only 45 days to train and prepare my team for CI. Thirdly, the area was under terrorists’ radar and we had to be at our best from the word go. Given the odds, I set out to complete my tasks in aid of the civil authority.
Motivation, training and engagement of my troops were central to achieving my objective. Terrorists have the initiative in such situations with the choice to strike at a time and place of their choosing. Hence, I decided to be proactive in pre-empting their possible moves. Sensitizing my troops to a likelihood of terrorist attacks was important. I, therefore, organized meetings of my team with experienced soldiers (those operating in the area for more than a year). These meetings brought my team face to face with ground realities and instilled the importance of CI training. I followed this up with a 45 day rigorous CI training for my team. Every likely situation around terrorist attacks was rehearsed through mock drills. This training oriented them and helped in getting ready for actual deployment. We moved into CI area after this training. I organized my team into groups assigning clear areas of responsibility. My team had to be vigilant and alert 24 hours in a day and even a small blip could be fatal. I understood the challenge and ensured that I was present with atleast one group at the most vulnerable time i.e. night. Aggressive area domination activities both by day and night kept terrorist movements around our area in check. However, the intensity of operations created stress. I took to organizing sports competitions, movies, and song and dance competitions which helped troops in bonding and overcoming stress while ensuring that duties are rotated to beat monotony while simultaneously implementing an effective leave policy. Organized spiritual sessions by Panditji from a nearby temple also helped sooth nerves while leaning on spirituality.
At the end of 6 months, I stood triumphant as I had achieved my stated objective. My performance was recognized in the form of a medal from President.
This tenure made me understand the benefits of time well spent on meticulous planning, gave me confidence to take greater challenges in life, and, most importantly, taught me that if you as a leader lead from the front and sweat out more than those whom you are leading then your team will follow you with respect and with conviction.
Essay 3: Anything else you would like to highlight in support of your application
I have always been passionate about giving back to the society. One of the many initiatives that I had taken was under Operation Sadbhavna. The objective of this operation was to extend a helping hand in rebuilding the socio-economic life for the people in J&K. In 2009, during my visits to the village under my unit’s responsibility I felt a need of a computer centre in the village school. I initiated a project under which a computer centre was established in the village school with funds being provided by the Indian Army. It gave children an opportunity to learn how to operate a computer and access internet. This also gave them exposure and confidence to compete with their privileged counterparts. I was also instrumental in organizing educational tours for children of an orphanage. These children visited places like Jammu, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Delhi and met luminaries like governor of J&K and Commander-in-chief Western Army. This gave them exposure and a feeling of happiness and care.
These projects helped me immensely personally. They gave me a profound understanding that if right opportunities and facilities are given to village and underprivileged children then these children can bring enormous socio-economic changes in these villages.
I am personally involved with SOS children village in Jammu. This society is involved in helping poor children, orphans and children affected by terrorism. I visit this place during my vacations. During my visits, I interact, eat and play with children. I have been an active donor and have also encouraged others to donate. Seeing these children grow into successful adults would give me great satisfaction.
I am also associated with Literacy India since May’12. I teach and do career counseling of children from disadvantaged sections of the society on weekends.
I feel these experiences and involvements have helped me in becoming more humble, satisfied and sensitive towards people around me.
I will also like to talk about my MSc in Applied Psychology here. My post graduation in Applied Psychology was through distance learning as I was in Army during that period. I was very passionate about doing this course for which I spent all my quota of leaves in preparing for the course. Course involved 15 days classes in campus in Annamalai Nagar in both the years and Annual examination in the month of May. Though I was preparing hard but my examination clashed with a major exercise in 2008 while deployed in deserts of Rajasthan tackling the 50 degree Celsius heat, and in 2009 I was near Line-of-control tackling the terrorist threat. Due to this I did not get adequate time to prepare for exams but I was committed to clear my examinations in the first attempt and despite paucity of time I achieved that.