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June 2008. I had been working for a large developer and manufacturer of inspection and repair systems for PCB and FPD, for three months as Assistant Corporate Treasurer. I was thrilled when the Corporate Treasure asked me to oversee our relations with the xxx, a role she previously oversaw directly. This involved serving as a liaison between my company the xxx and the European Union supported our R&D projects. I was responsible for constructing financial reports and overseeing correspondence with these authorities.

Chosen out of 3 employees, I knew this was an opportunity for me to take on a more substantial role in the company. I was eager to take on the complex challenge of managing a budget of $4 Million worth of subsidies.

As soon as I began analyzing the projects’ performance, I realized we were facing a serious crisis. I identified that R&D personnel was under-reporting expenses, preventing us from maximizing our eligibility for approved subsidies. I realized that being in charge of reporting would not be sufficient. In order to rectify the situation, I knew that a re-evaluation of the projects’ financial management was also needed.

I recognized that the problem stemmed from a lack of awareness and insufficient follow-up from the R&D management, the sole parties responsible for both technical and financial reporting. I organized and led Quarterly Meetings with 3 teams of 3-4 R&D Managers, enabling us to reveal unreported expenses, as well as anticipate future problems that may arise. This method increased grant utilization by 15%.

I felt that there was still more that could be done to further maximize. I came up with the idea of a system that would enable corporate management and R&D managers to follow up on projects’ monthly progress. I presented the idea to the Head of R&D Processes, who had vast experience with such systems. He immediately came on board. I knew I would face resistance from the IT Department since funds for the system would come from their budget. Realizing my enthusiasm alone would not suffice to convince them, The Head of R&D Processes and I put our heads together to create a presentation that would target what bothered the IT most, cost. I presented my vision to 2 IT Managers, by highlighting the return on investment from the report’s construction and convincing them of the system’s necessity.

I then spearheaded the system’s design. I consulted with 3 senior Product Managers to decide how to achieve maximum impact and then oversaw the work of the service provider we hired to construct the system. In the 2 months, it took for the system became to become operational, I increased the frequency of meetings with the R&D teams, which now include creating expense forecasts, to a monthly basis. The report is sent monthly to the company CTO, CFO, and approximately 20 R&D Product and Project Managers. The process will enable us to increase subsidies by up to an additional 15%.

This opportunity showed me that when facing a task, it is best to envision the long-term goal, create milestones, and then achieve them one by one. Through my work with R&D managers, I learned how to lead within a team. By overseeing 120 R&D personnel my management skills developed tremendously. The challenge and successful result inspired me to “think big”. Perhaps most importantly, it instilled within me confidence in my abilities to promote change within an organization and a desire to continue on this path.

I had been Bar Manger in the _ _ _ _ _ for two years, where I was managing bar responsibilities in events of up to 400 people when I decided to leave in order to manage my grandfather’s business. I had been in charge of recruiting, training and managing the over 10 bartending employees as well as pricing and managing $10,000 worth of inventory.

When I handed my resignation to the manager, I assured him that I would not only find my replacement but properly train him/her no matter how long it took. Emotionally attached to the place and the people, I was very passionate about the bar and its development. I considered it my personal mission to find someone who would be the best for the job. I began by reviewing my 5-person staff to determine if anyone ‘in-house’ was qualified to take over; otherwise, I would have had to explore the option of hiring someone. I much preferred promoting from within, despite the lack of management experience. I believed the high level of commitment of my employees, as well as their excellent relationships with the rest of the _ _ _ _ _ staff, was crucial.

I knew that I had a rough diamond among my staff, xxx. Extremely efficient and professional, xxx possessed excellent customer relations skills and got along well with his fellow employees. In spite of all these elements, there was a big problem – his maturity. I knew I had a huge task ahead of me: guiding xxx through the transition from an employee mindset of a manager. I knew that given the right guidance, xxx was the best candidate to replace me. I was eager to help him become the professional manager that the _ _ _ _ _ deserved. I related my decision to the company manager and he agreed that xxx was the right person for the job. When I offered xxx the position, he was very delighted and accepted on the spot.

I began by taking him through the logistic responsibilities. To ensure that xxx approached each task with the necessary attention, I stressed the importance of each responsible for ensuring Customer satisfaction. Within 2 weeks I encouraged xxx to assume logistic responsibilities while I monitored. Believing dialog is a crucial tool for guidance, when the occasional mistake occurred I would point it out and discuss with him the logic behind the appropriate decision-making process. I saw that xxx responded well to this kind of feedback, as his organizational capabilities strengthened and his confidence grew. The most delicate aspect of this training period was managing the transition of xxx’s status in relation to the staff. This was crucial to both shift assignments and actual work behind the bar. I stressed to xxx the considerations that must guide him when filling all shifts: as the manager, he is responsible for ensuring a balance between creating a strong team and considering employees’ availability, abilities, and needs.

I emphasized the importance of personal example, responsibility, and welcoming feedback from the staff. Through an exercise where we conceptualized the ideal employee, we highlighted traits xxx must aspire to demonstrate through his work as a manager.

After 2 months, I knew xxx was ready. I gave him control over all responsibilities, under my supervision. Of the opinion that mistakes are an indispensable part of learning, I would only intervene on rare occasions. I would offer my feedback after events and we would review what had happened. I first challenged him to analyze the event through his eyes. Then I suggested alternatives and pointed out several things he had missed, discussing the implications both on the event and the long-term work.

After 3 months, the time came for my final goodbye. I made it clear to xxx that I would always be available. I knew the bar was in good hands: xxx had effectively transformed from team-mate to professional manager. He earned the trust of his employees, providing constructive criticism and positive feedback when needed while being attentive to their needs. A month later, when I stopped by, HR told me that I had made the right choice and that xxx was proving himself to be quite an effective manager, confident and full of initiative. When xxx called me 2 months later, thanking me for pushing him forward and guiding him, I felt great personal satisfaction.

It was 2005 and my young company was taking its very first steps. The founders had the vision to bring a whole new world of personalized content to the mobile text messaging service I was invited by the company’s VP to join the venture, to coordinate the engineering aspects of the product, and help my company make the dream come true. I had the privilege to be the first employee of the company and a part of the initial decision-making process.

In one of the early meetings, the CEO presented us with the company’s 3-year strategy – “We will start by building our own technology foundations and only then start the sales and marketing efforts”, he announced.

I had some hesitations to object to the experienced businessman, but I really wanted to express my concerns. I turned to him and said, “Building an expertise takes a long time; we have only a few years before mobile Internet takes over and text messages are replaced by emails and IMs, and by then our product will have become obsolete.” Instead, I proposed that we hire external contractors to shorten the time to market.

The CEO pondered this for a few seconds and said – “You’re right, I haven’t entirely thought of that; we really don’t have much time. But first, we do not have enough fluid money to pay a contractor right now, and second, it’s somewhat risky to be involved in intense marketing without a solid technology base.” at this point, the meeting was adjourned

He made me aware of the risks in my suggestion, but I sincerely believed that agile development and marketing can improve the chances of the company to succeed. I had a basic idea of how to address the flaws in my suggestion, but I wanted to back it up with objective figures. I started market research and consulted other entrepreneurs and investors. After several days I felt confident enough with my arguments.

I stepped into the CEO’s office and presented my plan – “We have a promising idea, we can find a contractor who’s willing to work for a share of our future income. We won’t have to pay him a substantial amount of cash right away”. “Furthermore”, I said, “We will be able to allocate our resources to the marketing department, hire designers at the expense of engineers and focus on content generation. We will be able to progress faster”.

The CEO was listening to the entire time. Then he looked at the figures and told me: “I appreciate your initiative; you’ve raised some very interesting points. I’d like to discuss this with the other founder and I’ll let you know what we’ve decided”.

Eventually, the company adopted most principles of my plan. We started looking for a contractor right away. The product’s development and the marketing process were paralleled and only 6 months later we launched our service with the country’s largest mobile operator.

Over the past year at _____, I have been working on MDM, Master Data Management, implementations. MDM is a new way to establish a centralized and efficient way to manage data in large-scale organizations. In July 2011 I participated in an MDM conference, including high-level executives from organizations across industries seeking more information on MDM projects or currently involved in MDM implementation.

Interested in hearing about the current MDM projects in my country and technological trends in local data management, I learned that many MDM projects over the past couple of years have failed, though I wasn’t sure why. I met with the IT strategic manager of one of the largest healthcare providers, and we discussed some of his organization’s current pain points and how their current MDM project would address them. Most importantly, we discussed the possible reasons the project was not yielding the expected results.

I considered why the healthcare project seemed to be failing. The local IT market has its own characteristics, and although some of my experience has been overseas, I knew from experience that there was something missing: there was no emphasis at all on Data Quality and Governance. Later that week, I wrote back to the same IT strategic manager and asked about the state of his organization’s Data Quality and Data Governance initiatives. The answer I received was simple: there were none.

First of all, I wanted to present my idea to him, as I was interested in his reaction to the idea of adding a Data Governance role to the project team. Secondly, I wanted to persuade him that the problem was not in the way they ran and implemented the MDM project, which was excellent. The shortcoming was in managing the data once the technology was in place. I developed my own Data Quality and Governance document designed specifically to address the problems he identified in his organization. I noted back to the time I first met him at the conference and tried linking every pain point he mentioned to how the specific MDM solution was solving it. Then, I explained how a Data Quality initiative would solve each pain point in the long run. I relied on my experience in MDM projects and my knowledge of the local MDM shortcomings when conveying my idea. I had a sense that the manager wanted me to “cut to the chase” and tell him exactly how what I was suggesting was going to help him.

I sent him the document I had written and received from him a warm note thanking me for the document and for opening his eyes to this new world called ‘Data Governance’. I knew I had convinced him of the importance of a Data Quality initiative, but it was only a few months later when I heard that his MDM project team brought in a consultant specializing in Data Governance, that I was sure I made a difference.

Dear Mr. Garcia,

As a disaster management entrepreneur, MIT Sloan’s excellence at the intersection of business and technology is a paramount opportunity to learn, collaborate and build globally-scalable ventures that solve humanity’s most complex challenges.

Since graduating from _____, I have kept a singular focus on building impact through technology. I designed analytics to track $1.2 billion in cost-saving projects and built in-house tools worth $200,000 to protect railway assets by predicting failures.

Motivated by my parents’ teachings to do good unto others, I returned to India to start impact ventures that alleviate human suffering. Since then, I have launched two thriving startups:

  • A VC-backed telemedicine platform that brought the step-change innovation of follow-up teleconsultations to India. For me, the inspiration of driving an ethical, user-centered change in India’s online medicine space lay in those one-off “thank-you” calls from appreciative patients who could connect with their doctors in emergencies through our application, giving us the most humane reflection of our impact on-ground.
  • A national-level disaster-management platform designed to remedy logistical breakdowns like those I witnessed during the 2016 Bangalore Riots. The venture takes a bold new approach to streamline $1.5 billion in disaster-relief supply-chain for India’s 600 million disaster-vulnerable people. Recognized by India’s Government as a Top 10 Innovation in Disaster Management, the venture is set to become operationally sustainable by spring 2018.

Beyond these projects, I have enjoyed volunteering my skills to assist in jumpstarting three other social initiatives with xxx.

I plan to learn, grow and share my expertise with forward-thinking classmates at MIT’s multi-disciplinary initiatives, such as “Urban-Risk Lab” and “delta-v” accelerator, to collectively redefine how society directs resources in disaster situations and pioneer disruptive social-technology ventures that strengthen humanity, one challenge at a time.

I thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, _____

Mr. Rod Garcia Senior Director, Admissions MIT Sloan MBA program

Dear Mr. Garcia,

I am writing to express my sincere interest in applying for the MIT Sloan MBA class of 2020.

For the past eight years I have served my country in the military, first in an elite technological leadership program, and later in our leading cybersecurity organization. I have engineered systems critical for national security and was promoted early to lead both engineering and research teams. Today, I am a group leader tasked with leading a national cybersecurity mission that encompasses collaboration among multiple branches of the military and has been nominated for the highest award for national defense projects. Driven by a need to see and feel the impact of my work, I have developed managerial and analytical abilities to recruit and lead multidisciplinary teams, initiate collaborations, and produce systems that protect lives daily.

Following years of experience in the best training ground in the world, I am ready to transition to the private sector and expand my impact. In a world where the threat of cybercrime looms large, I am concerned with the protection and privacy of individuals and businesses. I plan to dedicate my career to attacking this issue and establishing a cybersecurity corporation that will protect millions through innovative technology.

With its technological mindset, innovative spirit, and practical culture, MIT is the best place to prepare to succeed in business. I plan to pursue the Entrepreneurship & Innovation track, which will provide invaluable hands-on experience, global perspective, and knowledge through the G-Lab and iTeams, and courses like “Linked Data Ventures”. I want to contribute to my class by taking the lead in the Tech Club and the MIT Technology Conference, leveraging my experience and connections in our local high-tech industry.

Thank you for your consideration and hope to meet you soon.

Sincerely, _________

Attention: Mr. Rod Garcia and Ms. Dawna Levenson Assistant Deans, Admissions MIT Sloan MBA program

Dear Mr. Garcia and Ms. Levenson, I am pleased to present my application seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. At Sloan, I hope to further equip myself with the skills required to take on an executive role in my company, a business that I co-founded, and where I currently serve as an advisor. At my company, we aim to disrupt the high fees that incumbent financial institutions across South Africa and other developing economies charge investors. At Sloan, I plan to enroll in the Enterprise Management track, equipping myself with the “cross-functional viewpoint” to rapidly scale the business whilst ensuring that operations remain robust. I look forward to gaining hands-on experience by participating in the Management Practice Hack-a-Thon. I believe that my academic and professional experiences have positioned me uniquely to contribute to Sloan’s program. After graduating as the top student and completing my accounting internship with the highest achievable rating, I entered asset management. Investing in companies across Africa has refined my analytical and teamwork skills and highlighted to me the opportunities present in these emerging markets. I, therefore, hop to join the Africa Business Club, and to lead a trek to the continent, exposing these very opportunities. As an advisor to an algorithmic hedge fund, I presented a proposal in 2015 to reduce the minimum required investment from $500K to $10K, opening the fund to middle-class investors with minimal extra effort due to the company’s automation. They went with my suggestion. Today 40% of its investor base is in the $10K-500K cohort, providing a more diversified client base and higher funds under management while enabling middle-class investors to access quality returns. This company is now replicating this strategy in other markets.

I hope you will find my experiences and the characteristics demonstrated befitting Sloan’s high standards. Regards,

Dear Mr. Rod Garcia and Ms. Dawna Levenson,

I write this letter to express my desire to become part of the MIT Sloan community. As a Team Leader in an elite intelligence unit, I am certain that Sloan is the best place for me to develop as a leader.

For the past 5 years, I have lived by the unit’s culture of innovation, which posits that there are no impossible hurdles, only self-imposed barriers. Tackling one of the most complex technical challenges in the history of the unit, I led an organizational-wide effort to develop and implement new data solutions after legacy systems became dated and unstable. Stepping into the role of team leader for the first time, I observed how a motivated and heterogenic team can expedite problem-solving and propel innovation.

Following the success of the project, I was chosen to lead the unit’s Data Science team. Currently comprised of 12 researchers. My team uses data science to circumvent national security threats. What inspires me most is not solely technological innovation, but rather the way we use technology to change reality. To me, my team’s mission is to win wars by not letting them happen.

Data science is bound to become the core of modern intelligence. As such, successful leaders will require impeccable management and leadership abilities along with strong technological skills. I was therefore selected by the unit to attend a fully-sponsored MBA program abroad. The MIT Enterprise Management track embodies the qualities I seek. The EM Lab, the Management Practice Hackathon, and my classmates’ experience will prepare me to effect change upon my return to the military to fulfill a leadership role. I look forward to engaging with Sloan’s diverse student body and helping other students leverage data science in their pursuit of changing the world.

I am thankful for your consideration,


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