Why is an MBA a critical next step towards your short and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (750 words)
October 2000 – Logos, Nigeria – After three consecutive years of drought, the residents of Logos had spent their lifetime’s savings, and accumulated debt sufficient to last a lifetime. The local moneylender charged an interest of 5% per month while taking their property as collateral (This was at a time when the Prime Lending Rate was less than 10%)
August 2003 – Umtata, South Africa – Foodworld (an affiliate of Dairy Farm, Hong Kong) had opened 50 swanky self-service supermarkets. Family grocers have seen a 30% drop in revenue and understand consumer preference for an open store format. They do not know how to raise the capital to make a transition.
A ringside spectator of these two situations, I believe both these instances illustrate the scope for growth in the African financial sector. I strongly believe that availability of finance holds the key to development. Innovation in this sector can unleash the potential for progress. About fifteen years from now, I intend to attain a position where I can drive innovation in the African financial system. This will enable me to make a positive impact on the lives of a large number of people.
After completing my engineering degree, I wanted to do an MBA. During my 6-month internship at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France I discovered that diversity of students and prior work experience greatly enhanced the learning one got at a business school. So, I decided to work for a few years, understand the working of an industry and then move into finance after an MBA.
I chose to join the rotational training program at Revel Consumer Goods (RCG). During the last three years, my assignments have included designing a system to track profitability of brands across RCG, evaluating the impact of development projects on social cohesion in villages in Logos and setting up a vendor managed inventory system at RCG, Greece. My most important learning at RCG is that a customer centric approach is imperative for sustainable, profitable growth across industry sectors.
On the surface, finance may appear to be a strange shift in career direction from my current role as a manager in a consumer packaged goods company. I made my first investment in the stock market as a 13-year-old. For the last 12 years, I have been participating (profitably!) in the African stock markets as an investor. As African interest rates drop, I have advised family, friends and colleagues on solutions to ensure a good income from their investments. I have taught myself the theory behind futures and options to enable me hedge my portfolio. A move to finance will unite my passion for finance with my desire to enable people improve their lives.
Exposure to different industry sectors and an in depth understanding of the working of the financial industry are critical for me to move into the financial services industry. I need to understand the analytical techniques that are used in finance. I want an understanding of the theory of what makes an enterprise tick. Since I lack sufficient work experience in finance, I also desire an opportunity of a summer internship to strengthen my credentials. An MBA will give me a theoretical foundation in finance as well as the practical exposure necessary to build a strong career.
My application to Tuck is the first step toward realizing my goal of delivering innovative financial solutions in Africa. After my MBA, I propose to join a global financial services corporation. I believe that team working skills, analytical ability and customer centric approach will enable me to get such a job. Ideally, over a period of six to ten years, I should be able to work in different sectors of the industry (municipal finance, mortgage and pension funds). In this time, I aim to achieve a leadership role within a sector/geography combination that will enable me return to Africa.
The J & G Distributors case was my first exposure to Tuck. This case was part of the operations module of the 1-month management program for RCG trainees. Hence, Tuck was one of the first schools I looked into, after I started researching schools for MBA programs. Tuck’s focus on general management and depth in finance fit in well with my career goals. The Tuck Leadership Forum will help in all round development of my leadership skills. I expect to benefit from the opportunity to interact closely with top-notch faculty members facilitated by the small class size.
My undergraduate university is 170 miles from the nearest city. The rural setting of the Tuck school and the collaborative nature of the community promises to be a déjà vu of sorts for me. The prospect of returning to an environment where everybody knows each other energizes me immensely. As an international student, from a different culture, my active involvement in activities in and outside the classroom will help me contribute to the richness of the community. I look forward to building lifelong friendships fostered by the small scale and residential environment. The prospect of learning skiing and ice hockey is icing on the cake!
* Ade does a nice job of providing the reader with some background as to why he wants to pursue the career that he discusses. The opening paragraphs give us a nice glimpse into his thinking and into events that have clearly impacted his worldview. These are powerful vignettes and would be terrific to bring up again during the interview. The second event, however could be a bit clearer. We're not sure what "understand consumer preference for an open store format" means without reading it over a few times. To make sure that vignettes like these are poignant, they have to be straight-forward and clear.
* Ade also does a nice job of linking his professional and personal experiences to his career goal of delivering innovative financial solutions to the African continent. It would be nice if Ade could provide an example of one such innovative solution that interests him. This would help crystallize his goal and help show its potential for impact.
* The third piece of the essay, Ade's discussion of "Why Tuck" starts off well, but could be made stronger. Ade begins by referring to his first exposure to Tuck, which is a nice lead it, but then almost makes it sound as though he's applying to Tuck mainly because it was one of the first b-schools to which he was exposed. Rather then leaving that impression with a b-school that is concerned about its yield numbers, Ade really should talk more about his first exposure to Tuck and how that left a lasting impression that Tuck is truly the place for him. From there the rest of his discussion in terms of what Tuck has to offer would flow nicely.
* We really like Ade's ending. It always helps to make the admissions representative smile at the end of the essay.
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