Application essay for the MBA program
Hey, the topic of the essay should address the following;
1)Your professional goals and how the MBA degree will help you achieve them
2)What you gained professionally and/or personally from the experiences detailed on your resume (1-2 paragraphs)
Growing up as an underachiever had its perks. Similar to most overachievers, I was bogged down with studies on the weekdays, however, on the weekends, unlike said overachievers, with their heaps of extra classes, I was busy making friends. These friends came in all kinds of shades, shapes, beliefs and pocket change, and were hard to get through to (10 year olds can be like that). If one valued loyalty above all else, another valued courage and still another valued decency. I was required to be less of a kid and more of a chameleon to win them over. However things got easier for me when I found the one quality they all responded to; Leadership.
Honing and exercising my leadership skills thus started from an early age and quickly I was able to use that skill in a more formal setting. Soon I was leading debating teams, science fair teams and starring in the school play, with little to no prior experience, simply because I could motivate my teammates to work hard. I was also more decisive and knew exactly what subjects I liked and excelled in. Mathematics, Accounting and English were these subjects and I concentrated my focus towards learning them, a quant heavy focus. It was because of this preference towards quantitatives that I decided to do my Bachelors in Business Administration, majoring in Finance & Accounting, and in Economics, from North South University (NSU), the leading private university in our country and the only ACBSP accredited private university at the time.
Soon after I joined NSU I received a merit based scholarship equivalent to 50% of course tuition. My father, however, went into retirement around the same time, which meant that money was tight around the house. Hence, I decided to look for part-time jobs, to not only help my father pay for my University tuition, but to also further enrich my experience and enhance my skills.
I landed my first part time job, as an analyst, at Bangladesh Brand Forum. Getting experience from there I later on moved to similar jobs in Start-up Dhaka and Lightcastle Partners. In each of these job roles my key responsibility was to gather, analyse, draw conclusions from and represent data in a meaningful and engaging manner in either print or online publications. I later on did my internship in a similar post in IDLC Investments Limited. I was there as a research analyst and analysed the supply chain, marketing models, financial statements and industry's prospects, of various listed companies, to provide an assessment of it's current condition and make a prediction about its future outlook. These assessements were published in The Financial Express, a leading tabloid in Bangladesh. I was also tasked to compile and link up 12 excel worksheets for easy access and report generation. Through these jobs I refined my skills of data analysis and communication and through these skills I landed my first corporate job at The City Bank Limited.
I joined The City Bank Limited as a 'Management Trainee', immediately after I graduated. It is one of the top 3 leading local banks in Bangladesh and has a very rich history, of around 40 years. As a Management trainee, we were expected to be the future leaders of the company and were thus sent through a year-long rigorous training program. We spent our year in week(s) long "attachments" in each of the banks 13 different divisions, getting an in depth overview of each division and thus learning how the bank functions as a whole. At the end of each 'attachment' we were tasked to identify each division's short-comings and provide solutions to alleviate them.
One particular short coming that I identified was the processing lead time for retail loans. The entire function was completely paper-based and was thus time consuming, since forms needed to be couriered from branches to risk management division for further assessment. Hence, I analysed that a paper-less system, one that relies on sending scans of forms instead of the actual forms themselves, if implemented, could save the bank almost USD 800,000 each month in salary and wages, which is 20% of the banks salary. My findings were lauded and used to seek clearance from upper management for implementation of the new system. The new system was then introduced in the middle of 2017. This made me realize that I had a knack for problem solving.
At the end of my management trainee period I was promoted to the Associate Relationship Manager role and placed in the Commercial (i.e. emerging corporate) division, and 2.5 years after that I was promoted to the role of Relationship Manager (my current designation). In both these roles I was able to utilize the modest utility belt of skill sets that I had amassed over the years. Skills of leadership, Decisiveness and Communication (for instance) were required during each complex transaction, where I head to decide on the most effective solution, clearly communicate the solution to the various inter & intra divisional stakeholders and then lead the team to ensure the solution's proper application. Each of these transactions generated revenues of over USD 0.10 Million for the bank.
One key aspect of my job was also risk mitigation, where my background in data analysis helped immensely. In one such case I identified a client's decreasing profitability and increasing leverage through a historical analysis of its financials, that, coupled with prevalent predatory pricing tactics that were being exercised by the related industry's market leaders, made me reject the clients loan proposal. This saved the Bank from a loss of USD 4.00 Million as the cient registered its first Net Loss in the very next year.
Finally the skills of problem solving and communication helped me vehemently during a turbulent time in the FOREX market. During this time exchange rates were going up but the USD spot selling rate was capped by regulators. This meant that the bank would be making a loss during the payment of each USD import transaction. Hence, in order to avoid this loss, I forwarded the import deals of my clients at rates slightly above the buying rate, and convinced my clients to accept these forward contracts. This ensured both cient and bank gained some profit from the deals.
These skills of Leadership, Decisiveness, Data Analysis, Communication and Problem solving are what all modern managers must be equipped with to be efficient, and in order to take these skills to the next level I wish to pursue my MBA at Illinios State University. At Illinois State I will be under the tutelage of a stupendous faculty who will guide me through a rigorous yet intellectually rewarding program geared towards nurturing my existing skill set and adding to it. I am also looking forward towards meeting a diverse set of peers, from different countries and cultures, with whom I can share experiences and benefit from mutual learning. Finally, since the classes are during weeknights, I wish to dedicate my days towards research under one of the many fine faculty members of the University.