Post-MBA, I hope to become Business Development Manager in a Homeland Security Technology company such as Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, or Boeing. Thereafter I hope to advance to Business Development VP in a similar company, and finally to assume a position as CEO of a Global Business Unit, managing thousands, with annual revenues of over $500 million.
As a Product Manager in my company's System Security Group, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Group’s President, who is a Stanford GSB Executive MBA graduate. I’ve been inspired by his achievements, which are similar to my career goals, and hearing from him about his Stanford experiences has led me to consider Stanford GBS as my next career step.
My discussions with him have brought me to realize that, in order to advance from my current position as Product Manager with business development responsibilities to Business Development Manager, I need to grow in three areas: management theory, hands-on experience, and international perspective networking. After speaking with additional Stanford GSB alumni and students, I’m convinced that a Stanford GSB MBA is the best way to get all three.
Stanford’s “Homeland Security: Operations, Strategy, and Implementation” course, along with Prof. Lawrence M. Wein’s research, can significantly contribute to my specific industry knowledge. This, as well as Stanford’s strong ties with Silicon Valley and its impressive recruiter list, will all be great advantages when I seek to fulfill my short-term goal immediately post-MBA.
Coming from a multidisciplinary background that combines undergraduate studies of Computer Science and Biology, as well as experience in technology, sales, marketing, and business development, I hope that Stanford’s multidisciplinary approach will enable me to better utilize my knowledge. The D-School course, for example, will help me apply the knowledge I have gained as a Product Manager to my future decisions as CEO of a technology company, responsible for a full range of development and business activities.
Stanford’s new Curriculum and the opportunity to take up to 18 elective courses leave me considerable freedom to take finance, accounting, and investment management courses. I need these, in particular, to evolve my viewpoint from the tactical Product Manager view I hold today to the strategic CEO view I’ll need to manage larger processes. In addition to this theoretical knowledge, I want to practice in Stanford’s Center for Leadership Development & Research how to think and act like a CEO: strategically, in real-time, and with confidence. The Leadership Labs and the Executive Challenge are a great opportunity to evaluate the performance of executive managers and to get my fellow students’ feedback on my own decision-making.
Homeland Security CEOs today all have their eyes on India, one of the biggest Homeland Security markets. In my current position, I’m responsible for business development activities in India and have been on dozens of trips there, participating in hundreds of meetings with Indian officials and businessmen. Stanford’s Global Management Program with its Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX) in India, as well as the Stanford and IIM(B) Link (SAIL) program in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, can expose me to additional opportunities in the Indian market, strengthen my network there, and provide me with opportunities to contribute from my experience managing over 15 Indian tenders.
Stanford’s Center for Global Business and the Economy, International Development Club, international student body meeting in small classes, and global alumni network, will all give me ample opportunity to contribute from my experiences in over 30 countries, while also helping me to strengthen my global business network and learn new ideas about international management.
As a Sales Engineer in my company, I led the technical aspects of my company’s entrance into the Indian telecommunications market. Our conservative evaluations estimated $100 million in potential revenues for the company in the next 5 years from the booming Indian market alone.
I teamed with my company’s India Sales Director to create a strategic penetration plan. Our main competitor governed the market, so we approached big market players and lowered prices as a “door-opener”. I coordinated my company’s marketing and business development staff to implement this strategy. In parallel, I initiated the customization of collaterals to comply with Indian regulations. We hired an Indian Sales Engineer, whom I guided on a daily basis.
I traveled to India weekly to meet key local and international companies, establishing especially intimate relationships with X's local branch. Our first door opened when I presented our product suite to X India’s CEO and 30 experts, convincing them to include us in their offering for a specific tender. I then presented with X to over 50 Indian officials from the national tender committee. X won the tender, awarding NICE a first $1.2 million order.
Within the first year of entering, my company’s presence in the Indian market is now solid and is expected to yield $20 million during 2008. Two months after the X tender win, I was promoted to Product Manager, responsible for all the products my company sells to the Indian telecommunications market, and for all the products’ Business Development activities there.
Recently, my company’s Security Group President referred to India’s telecommunication market as one of our division’s greatest growth engines. I believe that by opening this new, promising, growing market, I had a significant impact on my company, a contribution never made by a Sales Engineer before.
If there is one thing that I absolutely cannot stand, it is injustice – especially when it comes from people in positions of power, and has an adverse effect on people’s lives.
In my military duty, I help screen applicants to the Navy’s elite Officer’s Academy. After passing a number of tests and interviews, applicants are split into groups, and officers such as me test each individual’s leadership potential, willingness and ability to work in a team, and ability to think and act under physical duress. After three days, each officer decides which applicants he feels should be considered for application, and then presents their case to the commander of the navy’s instruction base.
Two months ago, my partner and I presented to the committee 3 candidates who we thought should be admitted. While the committee chairman decided that two of them shall start the course, the one both my partner and I agreed was the most promising was rejected.
I knew this applicant’s file backward and forwards – he was better than any other candidate in our group. This young man wanted to contribute to his country and was fit for the program.
I couldn’t let it go. I talked with the academy’s psychologist in charge of the screening process and asked how this decision could be appealed. I then talked with the applicant’s office and convinced him to appeal on his subordinate’s behalf. When a few months passed and I saw that the formal channels were not working, I made a personal call to the commander of the naval academy and shared my feelings with him.
He argued that the base commander must have had good reasons not to accept him. I asked him to please check the sailor’s file and get back to me if anything then for me to sleep better at night knowing that there is a good reason this applicant wasn’t accepted.
A week later this young man started the naval academy.
In 2001, a child forgotten in a car in our city died. This bothered me so much that I decided to invent something that would prevent it from ever happening again.
I came up with the idea of creating a child-secure environment. I felt the idea was simple, inexpensive, and essential. However, instead of pushing it immediately, I hesitated and moved slowly. Five years later another company introduced it to the market. I still view my hesitation to move quickly as a failure.
Even though I invented several products for commercial use in the past, such as a mechanism to keep the freshness of food at restaurants, I felt this idea had the greatest potential.
When I first started to develop the idea, I initiated research and collaborated with specialists from different areas, such as car safety and childcare. After 6 months, I realized I had neither money nor business connections in the area, so I decided to wait for an opportunity to attract investors.
Two years later, in 2003, I revived my idea after attending a lecture from a successful local entrepreneur. I initiated a meeting with the manager of our largest patent company and persuaded him to work with me. Next, I began developing the prototype.
I created a business plan and presented it to 5 potential investors. I convinced them the idea had great potential, yet they preferred to start working only after the patent was guaranteed. However, this was a long and expensive process, so as before I hesitated from taking the next step until I had the funds.
In 2006, I read an article on a news website that a product very similar to mine was successfully released by a UK company. The headline was “How didn’t we think about it earlier”. I knew I missed my chance and was very disappointed.
Although I failed, I learned a lot about myself.
I learned that sometimes the fear of failing could stop me from moving forward. Instead of being afraid to fail, I should have considered this experience an important lesson heading up to my next venture. I learned that even a good idea has to be pushed as much as possible and that I cannot succeed if I'm too afraid to risk resources such as money or time.
I also realized that I cannot do everything on my own and that teamwork is a crucial element in success. Once you picked excellent people, you need to trust them with your ideas and with their work. For example, by cooperating with professionals and even starting a partnership, I could have boosted my idea.
This experience affects me to this day. For example, it reflects in my aspiration for a business career, including my MBA candidacy. I am not afraid to invest as much time or money as needed. I also believe I could leverage my MBA experience to meet partners I can cooperate with in the future. Most importantly, I now look for the opportunity instead of being afraid of it.
From an early age, education has always been the thing that matters most to me. I grew up in a family that emigrated to my country with nothing, and through education, built itself up, gaining financial security. My mother, who holds an M.A. in Educational Management and has been a teacher for 40 years, has always inspired me.
Education is important to me in two distinct ways: firstly, I believe that it is the best tool to enable people to take responsibility for their lives. I believe strongly in the old Chinese saying: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”. Secondly, although history has shown that even educated people can hate, I believe that good education is still the most effective tool we have to reduce unfounded hatred.
I devoted myself at an early age to teaching young people because I wanted to encourage social responsibility and community contribution. From age 10 to 18, I was a member of a youth movement that taught strong democratic values and social responsibility. At the age of 15, I was sent for a two-week youth leaders’ training course, following which I became a volunteer youth leader in the movement. From age 15 to 18, I led groups of 30 children in weekly activities. For 2 years, I also served as Chief Editor of the movement’s newspaper, managing 10.
In high school, I initiated and edited my school’s first newspaper, because I felt it was important that students would have a platform to publish their ideas. I also volunteered as a Big Brother for an economically disadvantaged child for 2 years, a child who had never been taught by his parents to value education. I worked hard to help him understand that education is the key to independence in his future life and was thrilled to see him graduating from high school with excellent grades that enabled him to apply to any local university.
I was educated in the army too when I was selected to be the Platoon Commander for the Intelligence Corps’ leadership program training course. For 6 months, in an enclosed facility with no access to the outside world, and with limited vacations, I was responsible for every aspect of my 15 young cadets’ lives, being to them commander, teacher, and father, instilling in them the importance of responsibility and initiative in their future leadership roles.
I believe strongly in ‘first-hand’ and ‘hands-on’ learning. This is one reason I decided to continue with full-time work and community service even during my undergraduate studies. As a student, I volunteered weekly for two years with the “Youngsters Build a Future” organization, tutoring groups of 3-4 fourth grade children from disadvantaged backgrounds and serving as their role models.
In my current job, I participate bi-weekly in a corporate-non-profit partnership between my company and a local youth cultural center, teaching groups of children from low-income families from the surrounding neighborhoods how to utilize education to build a better future, and strengthening their confidence to do so. I want to continue the community service I’ve been doing for 5 years through Stanford’s “I Have a Dream” Club, which is similar to the programs I participate in with my company.
I think that encouraging education should be the task of every capable person, not only a governmental task. When I achieve my goal of becoming a CEO, I would like to create at my company a corporate-non-profit partnership similar to the one I participate in now. The program will encourage employees to volunteer to teach disadvantaged youth, and youngsters who remain dedicated to the program will be given scholarships. I intend to use Stanford’s “Education” and “Social Venture” Clubs to brainstorm this idea with other Stanford students, and Stanford’s “Social Entrepreneurship” course to gain exposure to similar programs that might help me make this partnership a reality.
When I realized that I was gay, at the age of 20, education took on new importance for me. I realized that I now have another personal reason to promote education. Lucky for me, I was born to an open-minded family in a democratic country with an open society. However, I felt strongly that it is my duty to somehow help prevent other gay people from suffering unfounded hatred—and I knew that education is the most effective tool.
I acknowledged that, although I am not a public figure and not involved in political activities, I can set an “educational” example for my close friends and family, some of whom had incorrect stereotypes about homosexuals. Although it took some time, I decided that I will not be embarrassed about who I am and came out, telling all my family and friends, but otherwise not changing my lifestyle in any way. The real significance of my example struck me when a brother of one of my friends approached me discreetly and told me that he thought he was gay. He said that looking at me, he realized that a person can be both gay and live an “ordinary” life. I understood that, in addition to my educational work, I can educate and contribute to a better society just by living true to myself. I hope that I can continue to set this example not just in Stanford’s Out4Biz Club, but simply by being who I am at Stanford.
Sustainability is the cornerstone of my life and, ultimately, what matters to me the most.
At a very young age, I became aware of the inequity in our society and understood that I’d been blessed as one of the more fortunate. I felt a strong desire to help the children I saw begging on the streets, and to contribute to the growth and advancement of weaker populations. I started volunteering in events such as polio drop day and food donations. When I asked my parents what more could I do, they taught me that to truly help others, one must be in a strong, stable position oneself. Over time, this translated into looking for venues that would be both profitable and community-serving.
During university, I came across companies like A2Z group, a privately-owned firm focusing on waste management, and SWach, a cooperative of rag pickers. Inspired by both, I began to form a commercially viable venture that would also serve society. The idea of working with the underprivileged sector for waste management and using new technologies for generating different forms of sustainable energy perfectly catered to all my aspirations, and I began to pursue environmental issues and related activities in my area.
Leveraging my position as a class representative, I first proposed a wastewater treatment plan for our 1,100-acre university campus and later introduced bio-composting for cafeteria food. The following year, as President of the Student Union, I partnered with the environment club and created competitions to promote awareness of the importance of renewable energy. This reduced food and electricity wastage by as much as 40%. Capitalizing on the Golden Jubilee year of the Student Union, we organized environmental awareness campaigns. Students began requesting that we reuse discarded bicycles, which were collected and auctioned, with the resultant income used to maintain the landscaping. They also asked for neglected areas on campus to be cleaned and cared for, with new grass and plants being sowed. I meanwhile oversaw the transformation of our Student Activity Center’s barren land into a lush garden, which soon became a popular spot for students and professors alike.
After graduating, I ventured into the field of plastic-to-fuel and recyclable waste collection, to increase my knowledge and build a foundation in waste management and sustainable energy. Coming to Japan for my first job, I was motivated to import various available technologies and methodologies, such as a highly efficient and systemized garbage disposal and segregation system, which is still missing in India and many other developing nations. As part of my job at _____, I regularly work with highly intellectual people from all around the world. Gaining access to the wide array of knowledge in the international market and working in an energy segment at ______, I became convinced that by sharing technologies we can quickly have a significant environmental impact. Today, my approach to sustainability goes beyond the environment, into every aspect of life, especially the work I do to give back to the community. As a volunteer with an organization in India that helps educate disadvantaged children, I sought to ensure long-term financial sustenance – encouraging more than 10 people to become new volunteers and donors to this organization. I also introduced do-it-yourself technology solutions for underprivileged kids, such as air coolers made of cardboard and recycled bottles, and helped mount and market the organization’s donation drives.
I try to follow the philosophy of teaching how to fish rather than providing the fish. Over the past four years, I’ve regularly presented in university events and published articles for my university magazines and newspapers, on practical ways for skill enhancement in order to achieve sustainable growth. I believe that a smart yet ephemeral effort will likely reap few fruits, while a sustained effort is far more likely to lead to positive results. My beliefs have been further strengthened by witnessing the persistent working culture of Japan and the progress Japan has made.
Sustainability has positively influenced my life. From environment to general lifestyle, sustainability forms the bedrock on which my life rests firmly and I will continue to strive to bring sustainability to our society in every possible positive way.
Growing up I always wanted to be like my father, a serial entrepreneur running the family business. As I grew older, I discovered an unspoken truth standing between me and my dream: of my eleven paternal aunts, not one was involved in the family business. In fact, of the 3,000 professionals employed there today, only 5% are women. The business is now moving to the third generation, and I see us blindly inheriting that unspoken truth as my younger brother and male cousins are being positioned to lead the company. Regardless of the barriers, I’m holding strong to my dream and I aspire to be the first female leader in our family business. I believe that an MBA from GSB will empower me to achieve my aspiration.
After visiting the campus and meeting with a number of alumni and students in November 2016, I am convinced that GSB is the community I want to join. Given the conservative mindset of Saudi, I find it important to be in a diverse and collaborative community that will allow me to learn, share and debate different viewpoints. In addition, the advantage of GSB’s small class size was obvious in the close-knit bond and the strong sense of community I noticed among the students, as well as the anecdotes alumni shared about regularly consulting faculty, even after graduation. As I am likely to continue to face many barriers in my country to achieve my ultimate goal, building lifelong relationships with alumni and faculty who will continue to support me, and challenge me throughout my journey is extremely important.
It is crucial for our family business to adapt to the country’s economic transformation and expand into sectors outside of the oil industry. I aspire to join the business to develop a new growth strategy and plan for its success through future generations. GSB’s location in the Bay Area will allow me to expand my horizons and expose me to new opportunities that I can introduce to my country.
One of the highlights of my GSB visit was a class I attended called Entrepreneurship: Formation of New Ventures in which John Morgridge led the discussion on his experience as the CEO of Cisco. The opportunity to learn from both academic faculty and great practitioners from different fields will prove invaluable.
Finally, the TALK experience and the Touchy Feely class will help me build my confidence and develop softer leadership skills. GSB will provide me with an ideal environment to become an effective female leader who can drive change and be an active participant in the growth of my country.
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