Question asked the candidate to describe his career goals, how an advanced business degree would help him achieve these goals, and his reasons for applying to Columbia Business School (limit 1000 words).
The business world is full of many interesting opportunities and a vast array of sectors in which one can specialize. This financial world has global implications that are constantly changing, and therefore may leave a business leader feeling lost without a formulated plan of action. One needs to develop definitive paths and goals in order to remain focused. As a working member of the New York City financial world for the last three years, I have established certain goals that I am currently striving for as I journey on in my continuing career at Ernst & Young.
One such goal is the ability to manage people effectively and efficiently. I believe that in any line of work, the key to a successful business is how well that business is managed from a personal development perspective. Employees of any company must be given pertinent direction, sound training, and proper feedback from their managers to be more productive in their defined job roles and responsibilities. In order to provide employees with this development, job experience supplemented with a further academic education is extremely important. I feel that an advanced business degree will help me to attain this vital mix and provide me with the essentials of being a successful manager in the various engagements I encounter throughout my career at Ernst & Young.
A second career goal is to further expand my horizons and take a look at the whole picture. When I first began working in the “real world” as an auditor for Ernst & Young, I was placed on the Morgan Stanley engagement, which was one of the largest and most complex financial service engagements in our office. I was given job responsibilities that focused on such a small part of the ultimate goal. I was not privy to many of the other components that allowed my team to meet the client’s demands and expectations. This was due to the fact that I lacked any prior experience in the financial service industry and that I was new to the engagement. As I continued on the engagement for the next three years, I was given more responsibilities and began to see more of the big picture. I began to develop a greater interest in financial services and wanted to see more aspects of the business. Thus far, I have been given the opportunity to see a vast array of areas at Morgan Stanley and at my current client, Lehman Brothers. These areas include front office trading operations on the fixed income and financing desks, middle office functions in fixed income cash and derivative instruments, back office operations on various trading desks, and multiple SEC filings. As I continue along in my career endeavors at Ernst & Young, I want to learn more about the financial industry and be able to look at the business from a much broader realm rather than from the individual components for which I have been responsible. As I have much more to learn, I believe an advanced business degree will provide me with a window to see various new ideas and avenues from both a domestic as well as a global perspective. This will allow me to communicate more effectively to my clients and indicate to them specific inefficiencies in their business processes for which I may be able to provide recommendations and assistance in improving.
Another goal is to continue developing my own experience and knowledge with the help of others. While experience in the work place is extremely important in attaining this goal, I believe it can only be enhanced in an academic arena where professors and other students can share their own work experiences with each other. This would provide me with different perspectives in looking at my own experiences and current job responsibilities. Also, the ability to work with these people in an academic setting (e.g., through various class assignments that require group participation) would allow me to bounce my own ideas off others, while at the same time provide me with the opportunity to listen to what others have to say. The wealth of knowledge and personal resources available in the process of obtaining an advanced business degree is an endeavor I feel is too worthwhile to forgo.
The goals I have established above in furthering my career can be accomplished at most business schools. However, one of the distinguishing attributes of obtaining my advanced business degree at Columbia University is the New York element. As mentioned previously, for the last three years I have been working as an auditor for Ernst & Young in New York City, primarily on financial service companies, including Morgan Stanley Group and Lehman Brothers, both highly reputable and profitable companies centralized in New York. The experience I have received from working on these engagements has made me realize the advantage of being in New York, as I truly believe I would not have obtained as unique an experience anywhere else. Columbia, itself a highly reputable and professional business school, has that same advantage, which would allow me to strengthen the New York business experience while at the same time bring people from many different business backgrounds to the New York arena. The contacts I would make at Columbia, from the versatile faculty to my educated peers, would help me develop into a more knowledgeable member of the domestic and global business communities.
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