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MBS Essay 1 : What are your long term career goals?
During my engineering study, I taught slum children in my spare time. During my interactions with the children I came across their appalling living conditions. I observed that people in the slums have to deal with the fury of rains, floods and subsequently diseases due to unhygienic conditions. The non-availability of electricity forces them to steal the same from livewires above the streets, often leading to loss of life. There is constant fear of their homes being moved or razed by the government. I learnt that coping cost for the poor is huge due to absence of a secure shelter with basic amenities that can protect them from the environment.
Is there nothing we engineers can do to mitigate matters? This is the question I often asked myself. Ever since I remember, I have been attracted to tall structures. This interest led me to civil-engineering but the idea of low-cost housing took shape in these interactions and has formed the basis for my long term goal; an outlet for my passion for buildings.
In due course, I have come to realize the huge latent demand of low-cost housing, which the Indian real estate industry has somehow bypassed. The country presently faces shortage of 25 million dwellings out of which 88.14% pertains to the demand for low-cost housing. There are presently only four private players in this sector, but due to their limited outreach, the problem is more or less un-resolved.
Thus, my long-term goal is to address this gap and reach this target group on my return to India. A more equitable growth of housing is required for India, which I wish to contribute to, after due exposure to different business models in this sector and hope to make a difference.
MBS Essay 2 : What is unique about your background and experience that you would bring to your classmates at MBS?
I come from one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Within the economy, I am associated with the largest private organization in the Energy-infrastructure sector, a sector transiting from being primarily government-held to one having major private participation. I am, therefore, a keen observer to the unique conflicts arising from the interface between the private and government sectors and their resolution thereof. I bring with me perspectives from a unique sector having certain teething problems in this period of transition, in a very fast growing economy.
Further, India is the market, which most companies in the world, want to tap. My passion for understanding business and observing companies’ growth will help me put across ground realities and the consumer psyche, which will add value to the case discussions on markets of the future.
My professional experiences apart, I am involved with two social organizations which I helped to set up from scratch. In both ‘Reach & Teach’ and ‘Nanhekadam’, we teach underprivileged children and organize sanitation and health drives in slum-areas. These experiences help me to appreciate the social facets and business’ role in alleviation of some of the problems. Thus, I can help connect business with basic human needs. This aspect will be useful for my peers not only when they deal with people but also when they pursue their careers in the business world.
In my under-graduation, I studied with people from different religion, caste and creed. My work responsibilities give me opportunities to work with people from different nationalities predominantly China, USA and Germany. My appreciation for contrasting viewpoints is rooted in my exposure to such diversity. I will help bridge any cultural gap that my classmates might feel in the diverse environment of MBS.
Hence, I add to MBS community with my multi dimensional approach and zeal to excel.
MBS Essay 3 : What gaps in your knowledge or skills do you hope that this program will help you to work on?
Working as assistant manager in the Energy-infrastructure business for the past 2.5 years, I have learnt the nuances of managing operations but I do believe I lack commercial and strategic knowledge of business and the exposure needed to helm a business unit. I come to MBS hoping to fill these gaps and gain international perspective on business.
MBS’s focus on general management skills will help me to understand how business models and various functional aspects of any business interplay with each other for a more cohesive outcome. The knowledge of the different aspects of business will strengthen my skills to integrate various business functions and those necessary to start my own venture in due course.
Knowledge of finance and how to make it work to the advantage of business will add impetus. With capital investments available relatively easily from venture capitalists these days, I need to understand how to best use these resources as an entrepreneur, which I hope to, learn to become, through this program.
I understand that excelling in business world requires a dynamic leadership style as one has to deal with teams transcending cultural, language and country barriers. The diverse composition of syndicates will help me develop a bigger picture perspective and lifelong associations.
With faculty that includes professors such as J. Douglas Dow (a specialist in business strategy), Selwyn D'Souza (teacher of Managing New Ventures), John Bailey (an expert on entrepreneurship and innovative corporate strategy), Carol Gill (an expert on Managing People) and electives such as Managerial Judgment that examines the psychology of decision making, MBS offers the exact combination of core management and venture management expertise to help me transit into an entrepreneurial role.
MBS Essay 4 : Describe a workplace situation where you had a responsibility for managing people. Reflect on what you learned.
I collaborated with my manager to start an in-house engineering team, with an aim to standardize the civil structure designs and ensure repeatability amongst projects and reduce dependence on external consultants. This initiative would save the company USD 150,000 annually in consulting fees. I was to lead this team as an additional responsibility.
Initially, I was not able to interact with the team on daily basis as my seniors, found it difficult to relieve me for this team. Thus, cost-saving, though a management-mandate across projects, was not translated into a concrete project and not properly communicated to my team.
The team-members started getting de-motivated and were content in achieving the primary goal of doing away with external consultants. They did not put-in efforts towards exceeding expectations. Further, they started taking offs frequently and started chasing personal-goals such as higher-studies.
To overcome the problem, I started staying back late to make daily plans for the team. Also I started calling the team ten minutes early to office everyday to outline daily targets and improve intra-team communication. I also suggested having a working lunch together twice a week which the team agreed to. This enabled me to communicate management’s vision effectively and motivate the team to put-in their best.
I started a rotating work model which ensured that every week 2 members did not have any deliverables. This helped the members to pursue team and personal goals in harmony.
I understood that regular and clear communication is fundamental for meeting team goals. I also learnt that various people have different motivations and people give their best when they believe the team leader is also taking care of their personal goals. It strengthened my belief that assertiveness merged with respect for other people’s aspirations instead of confrontation works wonders in reaching the desired outcome.