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Post-MBA, I hope to become Business Development Manager in a Homeland Security Technology company such as Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon or Boeing. Thereafter I hope to advance to Business Development VP in a similar company, and finally to assume a position as CEO of a Global Business Unit, managing thousands, with annual revenues of over $500 million.

As a Product Manager in my company’s System Security Group, I’ve had opportunity to work with the Group’s President, who is a Stanford GSB Executive MBA graduate. I’ve been inspired by his achievements, which are similar to my career goals, and hearing from him about his Stanford experiences has led me to consider Stanford GBS as my next career step.

My discussions with him have brought me to realize that, in order to advance from my current position as Product Manager with business development responsibilities to Business Development Manager, I need to grow in three areas: management theory, hands-on experience, and international perspective and networking. After speaking with additional Stanford GSB alumni and students, I’m convinced that a Stanford GSB MBA is the best way to get all three.

Stanford’s “Homeland Security: Operations, Strategy, and Implementation” course, along with Prof. Lawrence M. Wein’s research, can significantly contribute to my specific industry knowledge. This, as well as Stanford’s strong ties with Silicon Valley and its impressive recruiter list, will all be great advantages when I seek to fulfill my short-term goal immediately post-MBA.

Coming from a multidisciplinary background which combines undergraduate studies of Computer Science and Biology, as well as experience in technology, sales, marketing and business development, I hope that Stanford’s multidisciplinary approach will enable me to better utilize my knowledge. The D-School course, for example, will help me apply the knowledge I have gained as Product Manager to my future decisions as CEO of a technology company, responsible for a full range of development and business activities.

Stanford’s new Curriculum and the opportunity to take up to 18 elective courses leave me considerable freedom to take finance, accounting, and investment management courses. I need these in particular to evolve my viewpoint from the tactical Product Manager view I hold today to the strategic CEO view I’ll need to manage larger processes. In addition to this theoretical knowledge, I want to practice in Stanford’s Center for Leadership Development & Research how to think and act like a CEO: strategically, in real time and with confidence. The Leadership Labs and the Executive Challenge are a great opportunity to evaluate the performance of executive managers, and to get my fellow students’ feedback on my own decision making.

Homeland Security CEOs today all have their eyes on India, one of the biggest Homeland Security markets. In my current position, I’m responsible for business development activities in India and have been on dozens of trips there, participating in hundreds of meetings with Indian officials and businessmen. Stanford’s Global Management Program with its Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX) in India, as well as the Stanford and IIM(B) Link (SAIL) program in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, can expose me to additional opportunities in the Indian market, strengthen my network there, and provide me with opportunities to contribute from my experience managing over 15 Indian tenders.

Stanford’s Center for Global Business and the Economy, International Development Club, international student body meeting in small classes, and global alumni network, will all give me ample opportunity to contribute from my experiences in over 30 countries, while also helping me to strengthen my global business network and learn new ideas about international management.

As a Sales Engineer in my company, I led the technical aspects of my company’s entrance into the Indian telecommunications market. Our conservative evaluations estimated $100 million in potential revenues for the company in the next 5 years from the booming Indian market alone.

I teamed with my company’s India Sales Director to create a strategic penetration plan. Our main competitor governed the market, so we approached big market players and lowered prices as a “door-opener”. I coordinated my company’s marketing and business development staff to implement this strategy. In parallel, I initiated the customization of collaterals to comply with Indian regulations. We hired an Indian Sales Engineer, whom I guided on a daily basis.

I traveled to India weekly to meet key local and international companies, establishing especially intimate relationships with IBM’s local branch. Our first door opened when I presented our product suite to IBM India’s CEO and 30 experts, convincing them to include us in their offering for a specific tender. I then presented with IBM to over 50 Indian officials from the national tender committee. IBM won the tender, awarding NICE a first $1.2 million order.

Within the first year of entering, my company’s presence in the Indian market is now solid, and is expected to yield $20 million during 2008. Two months after the IBM tender win, I was promoted to Product Manager, responsible for all the products my company sells to the Indian telecommunications market, and for all the products’ Business Development activities there.

Recently, my company’s Security Group President referred to India’s telecommunication market as one of our division’s greatest growth engines. I believe that by opening this new, promising, growing market, I had a significant impact on my company, a contribution never made by a Sales Engineer before.

If there is one thing that I absolutely cannot stand, it is injustice – especially when it comes from people in positions of power, and has an adverse effect on people’s lives.

In my military duty, I help screen applicants to the Navy’s elite Officer’s Academy. After passing a number of tests and interviews, applicants are split into groups and officers such as me test each individual’s leadership potential, willingness and ability to work in a team, and ability to think and act under physical duress. After three days, each officer decides which applicants he feels should be considered for application, and then presents their case to the commander of the navy’s instruction base.

Two months ago, my partner and I presented to the committee 3 candidates who we thought should be admitted. While the committee chairman decided that two of them shall start the course, the one both my partner and I agreed was the most promising was rejected.

I knew this applicant’s file backwards and forwards – he was better than any other candidate in our group. This young man wanted to contribute to his country and was fit for the program.

I couldn’t let it go. I talked with the academy’s psychologist in charge of the screening process and asked how this decision could be appealed. I then talked with the applicant’s officer, and convinced him to appeal on his subordinate’s behalf. When a few months passed and I saw that the formal channels were not working, I made a personal call to the commander of the naval academy and shared my feelings with him.
He argued that the base commander must have had good reasons not to accept him. I asked him to please check the sailor’s file and get back to me, if anything then for me to sleep better at night knowing that there is a good reason this applicant wasn’t accepted.

A week later this young man started the naval academy.

In 2001, a child forgotten in a car in our city died. This bothered me so much that I decided to invent something that would prevent it from ever happening again.

I came up with the idea of creating a child-secure environment. I felt the idea was simple, inexpensive and essential. However, instead of pushing it immediately, I hesitated and moved slowly. Five years later another company introduced it to the market. I still view my hesitation to move quickly as a failure.

Even though I invented several products for commercial use in the past, such as a mechanism to keep the freshness of food at restaurants, I felt this idea had the greatest potential.

When I first started to develop the idea, I initiated research and collaborated with specialists from different areas, such as car safety and childcare. After 6 months, I realized I had neither money nor business connections in the area, so I decided to wait for an opportunity to attract investors.

Two years later, in 2003, I revived my idea after attending a lecture from a successful local entrepreneur. I initiated a meeting with the manager of our largest patent company and persuaded him to work with me. Next, I began developing the prototype.

I created a business plan and presented it to 5 potential investors. I convinced them the idea had great potential, yet they preferred to start working only after the patent was guaranteed. However, this was a long and expensive process, so as before I hesitated from taking the next step until I had the funds.

In 2006, I read an article in a news website that a product very similar to mine was successfully released by a UK company. The headline was “How didn’t we think about it earlier”. I knew I missed my chance and was very disappointed.

Although I failed, I learned a lot about myself.

I learned that sometimes the fear of failing could stop me from moving forward. Instead of being afraid to fail, I should have considered this experience an important lesson heading up to my next venture. I learned that even a good idea has to be pushed as much as possible and that I cannot succeed if I’m too afraid to risk resources such as money or time.

I also realized that I cannot do everything on my own, and that teamwork is a crucial element in success. Once you picked excellent people, you need to trust them with your ideas and with their work. For example, by cooperating with professionals and even starting a partnership, I could have boosted my idea.

This experience affects me to this day. For example, it reflects in my aspiration for a business career, including my MBA candidacy. I am not afraid to invest as much time or money as needed. I also believe I could leverage my MBA experience to meet partners I can cooperate with in the future. Most importantly, I now look for the opportunity instead of being afraid of it.

Since an early age, education has always been the thing that matters most to me. I grew up in a family that emigrated to my country with nothing, and through education, built itself up, gaining financial security. My mother, who holds an M.A. in Educational Management and has been a teacher for 40 years, has always inspired me.

Education is important to me in two distinct ways: firstly, I believe that it is the best tool to enable people to take responsibility for their lives. I believe strongly in the old Chinese saying: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”. Secondly, although history has shown that even educated people can hate, I believe that good education is still the most effective tool we have to reduce unfounded hatred.

I devoted myself at an early age to teaching young people because I wanted to encourage social responsibility and community contribution. From age 10 to 18, I was a member of a youth movement that taught strong democratic values and social responsibility. At the age of 15, I was sent for a two week youth leaders’ training course, following which I became a volunteer youth leader in the movement. From age 15 to 18, I led groups of 30 children in weekly activities. For 2 years, I also served as Chief Editor of the movement’s newspaper, managing 10.

In high school, I initiated and edited my school’s first newspaper, because I felt it was important that students would have a platform to publish their ideas. I also volunteered as a Big Brother for an economically disadvantaged child for 2 years, a child who had never been taught by his parents to value education. I worked hard to help him understand that education is the key to independence in his future life and was thrilled to see him graduating from high school with excellent grades that enabled him to apply to any local university.

I educated in the army too, when I was selected to be the Platoon Commander for the Intelligence Corps’ leadership program training course. For 6 months, in an enclosed facility with no access to the outside world, and with limited vacations, I was responsible for every aspect of my 15 young cadets’ lives, being to them commander, teacher and father, instilling in them the importance of responsibility and initiative in their future leadership roles.

I believe strongly in ‘first-hand’ and ‘hands-on’ learning. This is one reason I decided to continue with full time work and community service even during my undergraduate studies. As a student, I volunteered weekly for two years with the “Youngsters Build a Future” organization, tutoring groups of 3-4 fourth grade children from disadvantaged backgrounds and serving as their role model.

In my current job, I participate bi-weekly in a corporate-non-profit partnership between my company and a local youth cultural center, teaching groups of children from low-income families from the surrounding neighborhoods how to utilize education to build a better future, and strengthening their confidence to do so. I want to continue the community service I’ve been doing for 5 years through Stanford’s “I Have a Dream” Club, which is similar to the programs I participate in with my company.

I think that encouraging education should be the task of every capable person, not only a governmental task. When I achieve my goal of becoming a CEO, I would like to create at my company a corporate-non-profit partnership similar to the one I participate in now. The program will encourage employees to volunteer to teach disadvantaged youth, and youngsters who remain dedicated to the program will be given scholarships. I intend to use Stanford’s “Education” and “Social Venture” Clubs to brainstorm this idea with other Stanford students, and Stanford’s “Social Entrepreneurship” course to gain exposure to similar programs that might help me make this partnership a reality.

When I realized that I was gay, at the age of 20, education took on a new importance for me. I realized that I now have another personal reason to promote education. Lucky for me, I was born to an open-minded family in a democratic country with an open society. However, I felt strongly that it is my duty to somehow help prevent other gay people from suffering unfounded hatred—and I knew that education is the most effective tool.

I acknowledged that, although I am not a public figure and not involved in political activities, I can set an “educational” example for my close friends and family, some of whom had incorrect stereotypes about homosexuals. Although it took some time, I decided that I will not be embarrassed about who I am and came out, telling all my family and friends, but otherwise not changing my lifestyle in any way. The real significance of my example struck me when a brother of one of my friends approached me discreetly and told me that he thought he was gay. He said that, looking at me, he realized that a person can be both gay and live an “ordinary” life. I understood that, in addition to my educational work, I can educate and contribute to a better society just by living true to myself. I hope that I can continue to set this example not just in Stanford’s Out4Biz Club, but simply by being who I am at Stanford.

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