My family believed that to succeed I needed to learn from everyone around me. My friends became my extended family, and they still are. Since then, wherever I go – school, work, or travel – I always try to create “small families.” I hope to make my next family in the Wharton community. My first year Learning Team will be diverse; we will need to absorb each others’ culture and customs. From a young age I bridged two distinct cultures, and in the Air Force I learned to navigate the many differences in our multicultural team. That skill helps me today as I collaborate with engineering teams from around the world and I hope it will help my learning team at Wharton.
I hope to serve as a Venture fellow, leading an expedition such as the Atacama Desert/ Patagonia Trek for my fellow students. I have led soldiers in difficult training missions in harsh terrain and spent 3 months in the Australian wilderness, developing skills I cannot wait to share, to help us all grow as a team and individually.
Also, with 7 years in tech innovation and 2 patents in process I plan to share my experience in hardware, software and prototyping with my classmates. I want to create a meet up as part of the Technology Club where like-minded students can brainstorm on the latest tech topics and share our coding skills with the student body as a whole. I would also like to organize Wharton’s Technology Conference, working to secure sponsorships and securing speakers from the IoT industry. Furthermore, I will leverage my current professional network to bring our experts to Qualcomm’s research division in the Pennovation Center, an opportunity for students to meet a potential employer.
I’ve spoken to many students and alumni who have sparked my enthusiasm about Wharton beyond the professional clubs. In the Wharton Social Impact Club I will be excited to take a leadership role in “Say Yes to Education”, organizing a group of classmates to teach courses on tech and entrepreneurship, and creating a team coding competition for high school students.
For sheer fun, the Wharton Follies sounds right up my alley. At my undergrad university, as part of the Improvisation Club, I loved creating funny video skits about our class and our school. I know the Follies will help strengthen our bonds at Wharton. Finally, as an alumni I will use my professional position to strengthen the Wharton brand in my country and support students and alums, my Wharton family, around the world.
There are many ways in which I hope to contribute to the Duke community, as a student in the MBA program. First of all, I am eager to play a strong role in my first-year Consequential Leadership (C-LEAD) team. While enhancing my collaboration skills, I envision bringing both my experience as an Air Force team leader, leading a squad of soldiers who specialized in advanced tactical communication equipment; and as a product development engineer, a role in which I collaborated with engineers from different countries. I believe that these roles have combined to provide me unique insight that can benefit my teammates. As my short-term career goal is to become a product manager in the Internet of Things (IoT Tech), I plan to take on a leadership role in the Tech Club, and to become involved in several activities within the auspices of the club.
First, I plan to leverage Duke’s location in the Triangle area to create events focused on the field of IoT, such as “Tech Talks.” Among our guests could be industry experts, such as Kevin Ashton, who not only cofounded the Auto-ID Center at MIT but actually coined the phrase “the Internet of Things.” This will allow my classmates and I to deepen our knowledge of this emergent and fast-growing field that will affect the way we work, connect and live in the future. I plan to leverage my connections at my current employer, which has two branches in Raleigh, to bring experts from the company to talk in the school as well; an opportunity for students to both gain knowledge and meet a potential employer.
Also under the auspices of the tech club, I believe I can help the students who are interested in a career in high tech to gain additional exposure to the field. Towards this end, I plan to organize a tech trek to Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area through “Week-in-Cities,” as well as to arrange company visits to conglomerates such as Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft. Furthermore, I envision using my experience at my employer, where I interviewed potential hires, to help fellow students applying for positions in the field of technology prepare for their interviews.
One of, if not the, most meaningful volunteer activity I was involved with in my life was volunteering to design a volunteer program at my employer, which was targeted to improve involvement of high school students from weak areas/cities such as the city where I grew up in, in the STEM fields. The idea was to gather a group of motivated engineers who would help these students to improve their English and mathematical skills, as well as to mentor the more dedicated students to enter and compete in regional and national competitions, such as the nation-wide Robotics contest, in which contestants built drones to compete with other teams, and the national Cyber competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education. The latter was a competition that increased students’ knowledge of coding and – more importantly – taught them the importance of meeting challenges as a group. One of my teams even reached the finals in this event.
At Duke, I plan to apply these skills by organizing programs through the Net Impact, to support local high schools by organizing a group of Fuqua students to teach courses about Technology and entrepreneurship. From speaking to current students and alumni, I am looking forward to take part in the activities Duke has to offer besides the professional clubs. One example of this is snowboarding, a hobby I’ve loved for the past few years, as much for the après ski at the end of the day as for the thrill of soaring down mountains at lightning speed. I’ve traveled each winter to Europe for snowboarding, and I’m excited to experience the annual winter ski trips from Duke, and the annual 80s party at the summit.
Furthermore, because I did not attend a sport-dominated school and am not familiar with basketball culture, I eagerly look forward to the traditional “Camp out” event I have heard so much about, seeing Coach K, forming a team with my classmates, renting equipment, and participating in the activities. I am sure we will survive for those 36 hours and get those seasonal passes.
For all of these reasons, I am confident that Duke is the best program to support my future goals while giving me the personal fulfillment to contribute to the society and my classmates by being a part of Team Fuqua.
I will contribute to the Wharton community by helping multidisciplinary teams succeed, by utilizing group interaction as a tool for mutual growth, and by collaborating to resolve conflicts and achieve consensus.
As my military service has comprised both technological management and combat field commanding, my ability to ‘speak both languages’ has been extremely valuable as a part of multidisciplinary teams. Leading the algorithmic content of a system to automate the Air Force target-planning process, I set up a multidisciplinary working group consisting of operational research officers, mission planners and other development teams. Our collaboration yielded an innovative system that reduced planning process duration by almost five times. Through many similar experiences I further improved my ability to view situations through my partner’s eyes and help breach the different backgrounds.
At Wharton, I will lend technical expertise to my diverse classmates in my Learning Team and Cohort. I will also unite multidisciplinary teams to outperform the competition in the Wharton Venture Initiation Program and the Penn Wharton Startup Challenge.
Throughout my professional experience, I have viewed group interaction as a tool for mutual growth. My favorite part of a training initiative I introduced in the elite unit of the artillery corps was coming to work three hours early each Sunday to practice together with my fellow officers. Operating simulator missions, we would provide feedback to one another on our performance, ensuring our maximum effectiveness as instructors. I especially look forward to volunteering as a Cohort Fellow Leader and a Venture Fellow, to practice my own leadership and help fellow Wharton students to be their very best.
Finally, I believe that in many cases what distinguishes the most successful groups is their ability to resolve conflicts effectively. I have demonstrated an ability to achieve consensus by initiating collaboration among key members of opposing parties. Following a two-day stalemate in one particular negotiation between a munitions company and the Defense Force, I summoned a small team comprising representatives from both sides. Together, we were able to devise a solution that the company could provide and which suited the army’s needs. At Wharton, Learning Team members may encounter disagreements while puzzling over case studies. I believe I can help unify the team around a chosen course of action and perform better during its implementation. In the Venture Initiation Program I could help solve conflicts that arise during the first stages of business-building, contributing to the creation of a winning team for the next stages.
Growing up, I was always involved in extracurricular activities that integrated leadership and social action. My life experiences and career choices have enabled me to contribute to society wherever I go. This is why I am especially drawn to Fuqua’s emphasis on community and collaboration in academic and extracurricular activities. I find Fuqua’s culture of consequential leadership, teamwork and social impact perfectly aligned with my core values and future goals. I aim to establish my own public-sector consultancy and advise global non-profits and NGOs.
During college and various internships, I combined my interests in social action and globalization. I volunteered in a public-sector welfare office helping clients with low financial means overcome economic challenges. I then interned for an NGO-focused strategic consulting firm. As someone who is excited about exploring opportunities for social impact, I am inspired to join Fuqua’s Net Impact Club. I believe that actively engaging in the Net Impact Club will provide me a social lens through which to view my future business roles as a change agent. I also plan on building friendships with fellow students while supporting the Duke MBA Games. I look forward to helping to organize and participate in the MBA Games, which Fuqua student A.Z (2016) confirmed as being a fulfilling experience.
With a background in financial and strategic consulting I plan to share my perspective and simultaneously expand my knowledge base by participating in the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum. I will be able to practice newly learned skills to projects that support local and international businesses and NGOs. In this practicum, I look forward to gaining experience in strategic planning and growth management. These areas of expertise are vital for my future career path.Additionally, I aim to join the Duke Consulting Club. It will serve as a valuable platform to network with students, recruiters and alumni who are engaged in consulting activities at Duke and connected to premier global consulting firms. I plan to collaborate with fellow students in solving cases and preparing for future interviews. I am excited to share my experience in public-sector consulting with fellow members and to use my current business connections with global clients to help organize lectures and conferences with American industry leaders.
I am also inspired by the “Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics.” I truly identify with the center’s primary goal to develop ethical leaders with a global mindset. Participating in the unique Coach K Center program will enable me to work with other potential business leaders and put into practice leadership values and principles. This will help me further develop business skills and practices that will be highly productive and highly ethical. This program will be an invaluable opportunity to broaden leadership skills.
I would also love to be a part of the Fuqua Hoops club. As a former captain of my university basketball team for consecutive three years, I am passionate about basketball. I would be honored to play for fun where players such as Grant Hill and Kyrie Irving got their starts. As an avid college basketball fan, I cannot wait to be a part of the excitement and spirit surrounding Duke’s sporting events, from the Camp Out to March Madness. Fuqua alumnus J.Z (2015) attested to the exhilaration in the stands during a Blue Devils game.
Additionally, as a husband and first-time father to be, Duke’s Fuqua Partners will be invaluable. I aspire to contribute to the Fuqua community and its collaborative culture. I know I can be a good addition to Team Fuqua, intellectually, athletically, and even socially on “Fuqua Fridays.”
My parents are in a decades-long land dispute with our government and a real-estate company that may end with their eviction, along with hundreds of others, without compensation. Four years ago, I organized and led a campaign to try and change public opinion in our favor. This experience taught me that successful teamwork happens only when communication channels remain open and people feel free to express their ideas. I aspire to use these lessons to motivate my fellow classmates at UCLA Anderson.
I find that UCLA’s emphasis on sharing success and driving change aligns perfectly with my career goals. I aspire to disrupt archaic industries by incorporating aspects from relevant, technologically innovative ones. At UCLA, I aim to combine what I’ve learned about communication and teamwork with my career goal to expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus. As part of the Entrepreneur Association (EA), I plan to develop round-table discussions that encourage students to disrupt industries that are not commonly regarded by the average entrepreneur. Each session will focus on a different industry and “attack” its conventions. I will seek cooperation from faculty of courses like Market Assessment Principles to amplify session productivity with EA students. Using my background in process analysis and my experience with dynamic social work environments, I envision using these sessions to stimulate cross-industry cooperation and future initiatives.
I plan to bring my collaborative mindset and interpersonal skills with me to UCLA and use them to open minds and enhance teamwork and communication within Anderson’s community.
At age 15, I saw my father go through a traumatic experience. His biggest stock investment fell 70% after the company’s founder admitted that he had committed fraud. By age 19, I experienced a similar fate when two of my investments, fell to near-zero levels on similar grounds.
These two events, besides causing material financial loss, had a great impact on shaping my professional career. I realized the importance of investing based on good corporate governance. While to some people, it’s considered either a hassle or a ‘nice to have’, I consider it a powerful investment tool. Thus, when the opportunity arrived, I consciously decided to steer my career in the domain of corporate governance investing. The skillsets I assimilated are so niche that thus far, no computer or algo-trading techniques have been able to master effectively.
Today, after 5 years of hard work, I have developed my unique core competency in forensic accounting and company governance, spearheading Sustainable Investing at one of the largest investment houses. Recently I was appreciated by the Managing Director of Research for unearthing deceitful accounting practices in a UK listed company and such work helped the firm avoid a potential investment loss of more than CAD$ 170MN.
I believe Sustainable Investing will unfold over the coming decades as the biggest revolution in investing and thus my application to Rotman complements my desire to work in the asset management industry in Canada, a global leader in sustainable investing. Further, the school’s location offers the best professional opportunities to enter this space and interact with professionals across this new industry.
I want to broaden my skillsets in the field of sustainable investing and upskilling myself further to someone who can truly identify ‘clean’ investments that can deliver superior returns to investors. Through a a Rotman MBA, I aim to leverage on electives such as Value Investing and Security Analysis and Portfolio Management to achieve my career goal.
‘The best way to learn something is to teach it’
The ‘high-school me’ would often innocently wonder why my classmates did not understand a concept taught in class. I realized that some foundational concepts require more attention than that is generally given by teachers – without which the comprehension of advanced concepts that follow may become a nightmare. I made it my mission to help anyone I can, especially with Mathematics and Accountancy, during lunch recess or even after school. Aged 17, I implemented my unique ways of helping out my classmates in school, making use of practical examples, props and group activities to make learning more creative and fun. To this day I feel blessed that several of my schoolmates remember my interactive learning sessions.
My curiosity to teach in a non-traditional fashion manifested into reality in subsequent years. A decade has passed since I first started (unofficially) teaching and today, pro bono teaching by choice is a way of life for me. I have progressed to taking guest lectures on corporate governance and financial analysis at India’s finest schools.
Such experiences have had a profound impact on my personality by improving my public speaking and presentation skills, along with the need to constantly expand my knowledge base to keep up with current trends. On a personal level, the opportunity to influence and create a positive impact on young students acts as the biggest driving factor in this pursuit.
I aim to have similar learning discussions with my peers at Rotman. I would like to impart whatever domain knowledge I have in the field of forensic accounting and corporate governance, and am truly excited to be able to learn from my classmates who will surely be subject matter experts in their own domains.
"Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction."
I owe all my professional excellence to the mentors who guided me when I faced my biggest challenges and dilemmas. I was fortunate to have the ability to talk to people who I knew will always maintain objectivity and care before advising me. Notably one mentor pushed me to take the bold step of focusing on pursuing two of the toughest professional certifications – CA and CFA – concurrently along with full-time work. His carefully thought-out advice significantly shaped my professional career.
Witnessed first-hand how critical it is to have a strong and supportive mentor, I decided early on to find time to assist younger finance enthusiasts. I enjoy supporting them with advice on which courses in finance they should pursue to improve their employability, or the best strategies to clear competitive exams such as CA and CFA. The satisfaction I get after hearing mentees get their dreams jobs or acing their exams is truly therapeutic!
While I can see the value I bring to others, mentorship has also greatly shaped my personality. It has given me the chance to hone my leadership ability and coaching style, especially to enforce accountability along with offering encouragement at crucial times to the mentees. Hearing out others has strengthened my listening skills and improved the art of delivering feedback. Further, listening to people with diverse backgrounds and different perspectives necessitates a dynamic approach towards mentorship and as a result improves one’s Emotional Quotient.
While I don’t plan on mentoring any of my classmates in Rotman (unless they ask), I plan on learning from and supporting my classmates in discussions, competitions, job search and even in organizing social activities. I cannot wait to learn of the different spike factors I will discover in such a diverse and buzzing community at the Rotman School of Management’s MBA program.
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