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    The Different Work Experience and Goals in My Life Have Prepared Me for an MBA

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    I joined a student entrepreneurship association called NUSEA while I was at Stanford in 2006. I was soon elected the head of its then defunct Mentorship program – it had only one active mentor at the time. Within six months, I successfully turned the Mentorship program around by enrolling seven high profile Silicon Valley veterans as mentors to inspire and guide NUSEA members in their entrepreneurial journey. This exposure enabled a number of them to start their own companies.

    To achieve this, I proactively attended numerous conferences in the Bay Area and approached the speakers to enroll them into NUSEA’s mentorship program. Initially I was reluctant to approach established entrepreneurs due to the fear of being shot down. However, I quickly realized that it is not just NUSEA that stands to benefit from the relationship with the mentor, but the mentors found value in the experience too. I learned not to underestimate the value I bring to the table. I also learned to capitalize on opportunities where I have little to lose and plenty to gain. This empowered me to be less fearful of failure and to adopt a ‘go-getter’ approach to life. 

    Within a month of joining the Barclays equities technology team, I spearheaded the project to establish disaster recovery capability for the entire trading system in Japan by replicating it at a secondary location. This significantly enhanced the bank’s ability to respond to disasters and continue serving its clients during the toughest of times. When Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake two years later, Barclays was one of the few banks that offered uninterrupted services to its clients.

    The system was highly complex and comprised dozens of interconnected components used by numerous trading desks across Barclays. Being new to the team, I had limited knowledge of the system. Moreover, information was fragmented across different teams. To overcome this problem I methodically gathered bits of information from various individuals and pieced them together to understand the bigger picture. I also had to work closely with numerous teams, both within and outside Barclays. Garnering their support was a challenge because some of them were not too concerned about this project. I realized that to rally support, it is far more effective to show how others stand to benefit, rather than focusing on what it means to you.

    This project taught me that lack of knowledge is usually only a temporary obstacle and gave me the confidence to handle any project, no matter how large or complex.

    Working at aidha has been one of my most fulfilling experiences. aidha aims to empower foreign domestic workers in Singapore by teaching them how to manage their money. A year ago, we pioneered the MoneyCircle programme which draws on aidha’s financial expertise to help volunteers at the Hospice Care Association (HCA) achieve financial security. The HCA volunteers have dedicated their lives to helping terminally ill patients live their last days comfortably. As a financial mentor, I was able to have a real impact on their lives by helping them plan their financial future.

    The biggest challenge I faced in this endeavor was gaining the trust of these volunteers, most of whom were older and more experienced. Instead of adopting a student-teacher approach, I decided to join them in their journey by making it a collaborative learning experience. I did this by sharing my personal experiences and participating with them in all the activities (budget exercises, virtual portfolios, dream capsule). I was soon able to cross the barriers of age and experience to gain their trust.

    In my second year at university, I applied for the prestigious NUS Overseas Colleges programme. Under this programme, less than 0.5% of the students in each cohort are sent for a year to study at top universities (UPenn, Stanford, etc.) and to work at high-tech startups. As a consistent top performer at my university, I was confident of being selected. And so, reading the words “We regret to inform you…” on the letter from the university came as a disappointment.

    However, I was not one to give up so easily. To understand what my application lacked, I contacted a number of students who had been successfully selected that year. I realized that while I was a strong contender, I had not communicated my passion and drive clearly to the selection committee. All the pieces of the puzzle were there in my application, but the glue to hold them together was missing. I revisited my application and transformed it from a simple list of achievements into a compelling portrayal of my passion and commitment to success. I was successfully selected in the following year.

    A couple of days before the go-live of a critical project at Barclays, I got into a conflict with a colleague who was crucial to its success. The issue at hand was a simple oversight on his part. I reacted to this by criticizing him as being negligent. Due to my response, the small issue escalated and our relationship soured.

    I then approached my management for support on this issue. To my surprise, my manager asked me to sleep on it. I felt disappointed that I was not receiving the support I expected. However, after some cooling down, I realized that I had overreacted. By criticizing my colleague, I had unnecessarily made the issue personal. The next day, I approached him for a heart to heart and each of us understood the other’s perspective. The relationship soon improved and the project was delivered on schedule.

    This incident taught me some valuable lessons that help me deal with difficult people. Most importantly, I learned that criticism and blame are often counterproductive. This issue could have easily been avoided if I had focused on the problem rather than on the person.

    In my 11th grade, I enrolled into coaching classes to prepare for the highly competitive admission examinations for the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). I did well in these classes and consistently ranked among the top 5% of the students. The instructors were confident that I would do well in the examinations.

    However, about 6 months into the classes, I started losing focus. I spent a lot more time watching television and playing computer games. My parents naturally got concerned and spoke to me about it a few times. I reacted badly to this. I had spent most of my school life at a boarding school and I was not used to being told by my parents how to go about my studies. So, when they told me that I should be working harder on my IIT preparation, I felt that they did not trust me and were unfairly accusing me. In a rash act of teenage rebellion, I went to the coaching center and withdrew my candidature. I did not get into IIT.

    I eventually joined another great university and never really regretted not getting into IIT. However, I still regret the way I reacted to my parents’ sincere concern. This experience taught me the importance of being open to honest criticism and feedback, especially from someone who cares about you.

    My goal is to become a successful investment manager for a large institutional equity fund in ten years. To achieve this, I need the following:

    1. Passion for investment analysis
    2. Investment analysis skills and industry exposure
    3. Practical leadership skills
    4. The opportunity to put my skills to use as an investment analyst and to grow into portfolio management

    My interest in investment management was sparked when I joined Barclays Capital on the graduate programme at the onset of the 2008 recession. I was sent to London on training where I met some employees of Barclays Global Investors (an asset management firm). My conversations with them about their jobs and their role in the financial industry struck a chord with me. I felt I possessed some of the basic traits that investment analysts require – detail orientation, patience and an unconventional thought process (I have a tendency to question the status quo).

    I could visualize myself in their role and it felt good. I found it appealing to be in a position where people looked to you for ideas and relied on your decisions. Over the next three years, this interest mushroomed into a strong passion for investment analysis and a desire to pursue a career in investment management.

    To improve my knowledge of investment analysis, I signed up for the CFA exams and passed all three levels. I attended numerous financial product training courses at Barclays. I also started my personal investment portfolio to learn about equity investment first hand.

    To move to the next level, I now need to solidify my knowledge and gain industry exposure and experience as an investment analyst. I also need to hone my leadership skills to give me the ability to grow into a successful fund manager. An MBA from a world class university is crucial to achieving this.

    At Harvard, I will have the opportunity to interact with classmates who have had meaningful work experiences in numerous industries. Understanding how businesses work across industries is important for success in investment management. The quality of the faculty and the innovative teaching methods at Harvard will cement a strong technical foundation for my career. The exposure to real world business problems will allow me to practice leadership even before I step out of school. Finally, Harvard’s alumni network and reputation will open doors for me in great investment management companies across the globe.

    When I was ten years old, I left home for the first time to study at a boarding school. Moving away from the comfort of home at such a young age would be frightening for a lot of people. However, I was raring to go. It was a famous school situated on 700 acres of forests in one of India’s most beautiful hill stations. I was excited about going to a new place and making new friends. I did not realize that it wasn’t going to be that easy.

    When I arrived at the school with my father, the first question the headmaster asked me was “Son, do you think you can cope?” I didn’t really understand the question or the intent behind it and I replied “Yes!”

    The headmaster had good reasons for asking that question. I was from a small town in south India. The other students at the school were from big cities like Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta and even other countries. It wasn’t going to be easy for a ten year old small town kid to fit in and do well in this environment.

    I soon realized this. I had a number of teething problems in my first year. My relationship with other kids was not very good to say the least. After a few months, it dawned on me that this was not like a day school where you could go back to the comfort of your home at the end of each day. In a boarding school, you’re in for the long haul. You can’t afford to not get along with your classmates. After all, you are going to have to live, eat and play with these kids for years to come.

    As soon as I understood this, I noticed a change in the way I dealt with my classmates. I became more understanding and began accepting others for who they are. My classmates reciprocated and my life at the school took a decisive turn for the better. I made many new friends and started doing well academically.

    This experience taught me the importance of maintaining good relationships with people around you. It also taught me to be independent. Most importantly, at a young age, I learned how to adjust and survive in the real world. In many ways, my life at the boarding school made me who I am today.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Different Work Experience and Goals in My Life Have Prepared Me for an MBA. (2023, Feb 09). Retrieved from

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