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After two years as manager of the tablet production department at my pharmaceutical company, I saw myself as a good candidate for promotion. I had initiated many well-appreciated projects inside my department and helped it improve. I scheduled a conversation with the plant manager, Dr. Emerson, the HR manager and the plant production manager, my current boss to discuss my future at my company.

I started with my most important achievements: my department’s record of producing 9 billion tablets in one year; the attrition rate that decreased by more than 70%; the challenges I dealt with while the department grow 50% in less than a year; the new recruitment procedure I initiated; the OEE efficiency and Setup Time Reduction projects I am managing. I was hoping to be given an indication for a raise.

The plant manager listened to what I had to say. Her answers though, were not what I expected.

Dr. Emerson told me that despite my achievements, I had much to learn before being promoted to a senior management position. She told me pharmaceutical industry knowledge she demands from her managers. She also mentioned my need to take on more cross-organizational projects in order to have a broader vision of my company. She praised my achievements, but criticized my lack of pharmaceutical knowledge. Finally she mentioned that I lacked exposure to a variety of management styles. Since I had only one manager during my 2 years as a department manager, I needed more exposure to other managerial styles.

At first these criticisms frustrated me. I didn’t expect to be promoted immediately, but was seeking confirmation of an upcoming promotion. A few minutes after the discussion I consulted my manager. He told me not be disappointed because the management believes I am made from the right stuff to become senior manager. He backed up Dr. Emerson’s criticisms, and said that I had to prove management I was ready to be promoted.

The next day I started acting on these points. I scheduled weekly conversations with the plant QA manager to learn more about the pharmaceutical world. A week later I asked to lead a cross-organizational quality project. I was also selected to manage a six member team, all of them colleagues, in a second cross-organizational operational project.

During my conversations with my boss, he advised me to complete an MBA, further confirming my decision to do so. He felt an MBA would help complete my knowledge and skills and prepare me to become a marketing manager.

My manager’s criticism taught me a lot about what is expected from me. I realized that success in a certain field was not sufficient for me to become a high-level manager. I realized that now, I would have to take the next step and show that I can manage in different environments, and lead cross-organizational projects in new fields. I also confirmed that this critical point in my career was the perfect one with which to supplement the knowledge and skills of an MBA together with my experience as a department manager and the knowledge I acquired in the pharmaceutical field, to help me achieve my goals.

My long term career goal is to become Senior Vice President and Head of Global Information Security Group in a major Information Security corporation such as $25 billion Cisco, $5 billion CheckPoint or $5 billion Netscreen. I plan to achieve that position after acquiring the necessary tools and experience required to manage a large-scale global business by completing my MBA, starting as Product Manager and working my way up.

I find the information security industry exciting; it is ever-growing, ever-changing and provides a huge technological challenge in adapting to new technologies and attacks. Data security was a crucial element to business managers worldwide deciding to connect their intra-nets to the Internet. This made the transformation to a global-commercial network possible. I am proud to take part in maintaining the Internet’s revolutionary role by making individuals who use it feel secure. I hope to harness my motivation, technological ingenuity and managerial skills in developing the industry.

My fascination with business, direct interaction with clients, strategic overview, and the view of a company as provider of products that meet customer needs has motivated me to move from technical roles to business positions. Both my current position as Group Manager in the military and my desired post-MBA position as Product Manager require team management. While today I use intuition and experience to guide my activity, I plan to strengthen my skills by learning formal methodologies at Tuck and benefiting from personal experiences of classmates and faculty. I feel that such knowledge will help me do my job effectively and achieve my long term objectives.

In future positions I will be faced daily with situations which require interpersonal skills: interviewing a job applicant, rewarding an employee, providing constructive criticism, etc. While there is sometimes a suggested textbook solution to these situations, great skill is required to adapt the general solution to the particular case. I look forward to improving my “soft skills” by taking classes like “Leading Organization” or “Organizational Culture and Culture Change”. Here, I can refine my skills with “hands on” experience in a forgiving environment.

Product management and my subsequent positions also require close interaction with departments such as finance, marketing, sales and R&D. I will need to understand the activities of these departments, best practices for interacting with them and how to take them into account in decision-making. Tuck’s Global General Management approach towards teaching business, providing the “CEO perspective”, will allow me to obtain knowledge on this.

I learned that an important part of being a manager is developing vision, knowing not only what your business unit is doing next month but also what you think it should do three years from now. The job requires developing a road-map and setting milestones that will lead to long-term objective while keeping short-term goals in mind. Knowledge gained through courses like “Global Strategy and Implementation” and “Top Management Teams” will allow me to take these considerations into account, balancing it with reality.

I feel that Tuck is the place to receive my MBA education. The close community, the unique geographical location and the strong emphasis the MBA program has on team players and teamwork creates a special atmosphere. I feel most comfortable learning and exchanging ideas in this type of environment. Its informality allows me to easily open up and express my opinion or risk making a mistake. This special trait reflects also in the Tuck alumni community. Talking to Tuck students and Alumni, I was impressed with their willingness to go to great length to assist each other.

Aiming to get back to the Information Security industry I am thrilled with Tuck’s opportunities to expand my education in a technologically-oriented environment through programs like the Tuck Global Consultancy or the Glassmeyer/McNamee Center for Digital Strategies. I plan to take advantage of the fact that Tuck is part of Dartmouth University. The opportunity to enrich my education through classes in Physics, Psychology or History is something I look forward to as I feel this would allow me to develop a multi-disciplinary creative approach that will provide be with a better framework to achieve my goals.

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