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I am a big believer in fighting against cruelty and helping those who cannot help themselves. One of my main values is animals’ well-being. In the past 4 years I have been involved in my city’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). As part of my involvement I built a website for the organization which makes the adopting process more accessible. In addition, I helped in organizing a fund raising event in collaboration with my city’s Rotary Club and my wife and I are raising dogs as a foster home whenever the city’s kennel is overcrowded.

Therefore if I were not pursuing the career goal I described in question 1, I would pursue to become my city’s SPCA CEO. Being a manager of a non-profit organization could teach me a great deal about solving numerous multi-disciplinary problems. I would deal with the government’s and the municipal’s bureaucracy for improving the animals’ living conditions. I would deal with the fundraising from corporate companies and the general public because the SPCA relies only on donations. I would negotiate with animal food providers and private veterinarians in order to reduce prices thereby rescuing many more dogs. I would organize adoption events and collaborate with the police in order to increase the awareness of animal abuse and their abusers.

Dealing with all the above challenges when I am in a disadvantage position of being a non-profit organization without any financial background and while managing volunteers is without a doubt a very challenging mission.
However, more than the extensive multi-disciplinary management lessons I would receive in such a role, this alternate interest would stimulate me to wake up every morning and know that I dedicated my life to one of my most important values.

My time at the Air Force flight academy was one of the most challenging periods in my life.

The first difficulty was to cope with the tough fitness standards such as running increasing amounts of kilometers daily while carrying approximately 30 pounds of equipment.

However, the mental and emotional challenges were even more difficult. I started the course with no friends or confidants. This meant I had no one to rely on, while being evaluated on complicated tasks such as learning physics and aviation while barely sleeping and being woken in the middle of the night to train. What’s worse, I was competing with my comrades for few spots, as every few weeks more candidates were reassigned elsewhere.

I discovered that my most important need was to make friends despite the competition. I decided to do this by supporting and motivating the people around me. I focused on offering encouragement, providing personal example, and staying optimistic. I also learned the value of keeping a healthy sense of humor even in the most stressful situations. I soon found out that the bonds I was creating were as powerful as friendships I’ve had for many years.

Although I was reassigned from the course after five months (due to insufficient flight proficiency) I gained so much from it. My most important area of growth was learning the incredible significance of teamwork and building strong ties with teammates. I especially learned to encourage others and motivate them to excel in the face of the toughest challenges. I quickly learned this made all of us stronger, while also preparing me to face the challenges ahead.

Finally, I acquired a strong proficiency in self feedback and self improvement from the sound teaching methodology of the course. I consider this one of my strongest skills and it has helped me overcome many challenges later on.

Several months back I was promoted to co-lead an ongoing tax audit of one of our team’s biggest clients, the local branch of a multinational American technology conglomerate and one of the world’s two largest companies. This was my first experience leading such project.

When I joined the audit was stuck. During eight meetings with the inspector, no progress was made from the evidential to the material debate. Moreover, inaccurate information was unintentionally presented to the inspector, who was threatening legal proceedings.

My objective was to identify previous errors and reduce the tax exposure. I realized that to succeed in this project I’ll need to coordinate work with experts from various practices in our office to decipher the company’s finances while smoothing the relationship with the inspector.

The following weeks I read countless contracts and financial reports. I divided the work to 11 disputed issues and held daily calls with the client to outline our approach. I consulted with 9 co-workers, including department chiefs, assigning preparation of supporting documentation according to field of expertise and defining negotiation strategies. Eventually I narrowed the scope to three issues that were mishandled by the company.

When I met with our client I discovered the next challenge: The Company’s controller’s refused to review things she already explained to my predecessor. She also said the parent company controllers were not responsive enough to her questions. I felt the best approach was not to confront her, but rather, become her partner. I suggested clearing my schedule and coming to her office. That way, I said, we could work faster and together convince the controllers to cooperate.

Over the next two days I felt I was gradually gaining her respect and affection. We spoke to roughly 10 finance personnel, auditors, lawyers, and site managers, with each conversation revealing more sections of the complete picture. Finally, I felt ready for the inspector.

I started by taking full responsibility for the team’s previous mistakes and complemented the inspector for spotting them. Next, I provided information that strengthened the inspector’s claim on two minor issues. Only then I presented my new evidential information.

The inspector said she was “extremely impressed” by our work. She jokingly added that if we keep this up we’ll finish the case sometime this year. It seemed the atmosphere was getting friendlier.

In our next meeting I got to participate in material negotiation sessions. We accepted the inspector’s position on two subjects, she accepted ours on six others and we compromised on two more. We resolved 10 of 11 points of disagreement.

Taking responsibility for promoting this project was instrumental in enhancing my professional self-confidence and exposing me to new aspects of our work. Overall, within three months we managed to nearly finalize a complicated tax audit that was virtually stuck.

The information we uncovered during our preparation allowed us to create two new projects for supporting departments in our firm and additional work for the audit team. These projects benefit both the client and our organization, creating profitable projects for us and strengthening our relationship with a major client while reducing our client’s tax liability in its annual tax reports by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I made a difference when I started teaching English and science at a local orphanage in my hometown. Although the children attended school, they needed an extra helping hand. Additionally, since all classes at school were taught in Hindi, they looked forward to my tutoring to develop English speaking skills. I was delighted to learn that when a English-speaking call center began operating in our town, many of them took part-time jobs for extra earnings. I also recently found out that I inspired a few of the children to pursue engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in XXX town.

I showed my resilience when I pursued an idea to develop a mobile app for X and deploying customized devices to pick shipments from sellers. My department head at X, uncharacteristically, wrote off the project because of the large investment required ($3M) and his preconceived myopic outlook ignoring the ultimate potential of the project. With no opportunity to present the app’s business case and with support from my direct manager, I decided to approach our CEO. After tailing him for days, I finally caught him at lunch and convinced him to start a pilot. My persistence paid off – the project made $X monthly and broke-even in 13 months, and I got my second promotion.

I find it challenging when people are egoistic. Collaboration and trust is my modus operandi, and it works wonderfully in project management. However, often I come across people with a “my way or the highway” attitude. One such scenario occurred when our business finance unfairly held xx amount of vendors because of loopholes in agreement. His ego hindered each time any consensus was round the corner. Drained by multiple confrontations, I took charge and quantified each dispute. With exact numbers in front, it got easier for management to take call. Since then, I enter discussions after properly quantifying each problem statement.

I made a difference when I: volunteered to lead remediation efforts for a failed process that resulted in a $7 million company loss. As the newest team member, I was paralyzed by the fear of failure, but knowing that leadership opportunities like this are rare for junior-level employees, I took initiative and stepped forward. I employed a team-first approach, asking for assistance from experienced colleagues and openly welcoming feedback even if I disagreed. My efforts paid off as we rallied around this collaborative effort to create a permanent solution. I learned that promoting joint ownership towards shared goals is a powerful way to influence others and achieve results.

 

 

I am out of my comfort zone when: I am faced with uncertainties. As my career progresses, I face more difficult problems without obvious solutions or next steps. A recent project required two drastically different approaches depending on my manager’s decision. While I initially wasted efforts trying to predict his decision, I realized that preparing for both scenarios required more work but also ensured that I would be ready for either outcome. I understand that uncertainty cannot always be mitigated, but by focusing on what I can control and being confident in my tools and creative ability to manage the unknown, I can be comfortable being uncomfortable.

 

A valuable thing I have taught someone is: always be cognizant of any risks and be objective in evaluating their potential impact. During the recent cryptocurrency frenzy, a friend with very little subject matter knowledge began investing a significant portion of his assets. I explained cryptocurrency technology to him followed by several possible scenarios that could lose him everything, which convinced him to reduce his stake. He eventually admitted to being fueled by emotion, causing him to disregard any negative outcomes and blindly chase rewards. With my career in a high-risk product, I understand and live by the principle that responsible decisions require delicately balancing upside with downside.

Throughout my international career, I have immersed myself in multi-cultural marketing strategies working directly with global CPG companies such as L’Oreal, led regional brand marketing for the Mark Cuban apparel start-up Three Commas, and created lasting impact in volunteer project manager work with Social Venture Partners. These experiences have not only spurred personal and professional growth, but also served as stepping-stones towards my long-term goal to become a VP of Global Brand or CMO for an international consumer goods company such as Procter & Gamble.

In pursuit of these long-term goals I first need to transition into a brand manager role with a world-class CPG company such as Unilever, Pepsico, or P&G. As alumni Yee Chen (’15) and Matt Johnson (‘15) both reinforced, Ross’s collaborative and action-based learning will empower me to make this transition. Courses, such as John Branch’s ‘International Marketing Management” or Aradhna Krishna’s “Pricing Strategy and Tactics”, will cultivate product management skills while enabling me to bring my own experiences to the classroom.

I am excited for the MAP experience that alumnus Nate Hill (‘05) described as a “revolutionary learning opportunity.” MAP will assist me in more effectively bringing innovative solutions to a career in brand management. Projects such as the development of NIVIDIA’s go-to-market strategy in China, will allow me to leverage my marketing experience in APAC while expanding upon skills relevant to my post-MBA goals.

Alumnus Jeremy Schifeling (’12) strongly encouraged me to join the Marketing Club to gain experience with real-world tools through the Marketing Lab and strengthen my professional network. By taking a leadership role in this club, I will deepen the value of my participation. Ross clubs, world-class curriculum, and MAP will enable me to continue growing personally and professionally and achieve my post-MBA goals of international brand management with a global CPG company.

I consider supply chain to be an instrumental game changer for many industries, not just a cost function. My past experience in e-commerce has reaffirmed this belief, and shaped my long-term goal of becoming the Head of Supply Chain Initiatives of a multi-channel retail company such as Amazon or Walmart. Such organizations rely on ingenious supply chain solutions catering to local needs, and thus have an amazing prospect to manage ever-expanding scale through disruptive innovations.

In order to acquaint myself with the best practices across industries, after getting my MBA I would like to join a consulting firm such as McKinsey or BCG as an Associate. The client-facing role demands discipline and strong business ethics, which are essential for my future leadership roles. Additionally, working directly with clients’ senior management will help me gain ‘CEO perspective’ and expand my network.

I believe that to achieve my career goals, I must acquire global business acumen and strong leadership skills. Having spoken with a few Ross alumni, I know that the school intrinsically instills these skills in its students.

The comprehensive curriculum taught by a distinguished faculty will build a strong academic foundation. I am especially excited about classes such as “Strategy and Growth” by Prof. Aneel Karnani. The consulting hands-on experience-based approach epitomized by MAP will truly prepare me for summer internship and post-MBA roles in Consulting.

The Consulting Club at Ross will be another great asset to prepare for my post-MBA career. I intend to join the club leadership as VP, Firm Relations, in order to improve my leadership while engaging with 500+ students with similar aspirations. The Sanger Leadership Center extends real-life experiences through workshops and simulations such as Crisis Challenge, testing leadership mettle in varied situations.

Finally, Ross’ global environment, student body diversity and close-knit culture will allow me to build life-long relationships. Being a part of a 50,000-strong alumni network will be instrumental in supporting my short-term and long-term career goals.

Michigan Ross School of Business

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