Why MBA? Essay
Turkish news nowadays carry vivid images which have become terrifyingly commonplace: the surface of the sea littered with dead sheep; a landfill explosion leading to a number of deaths; vendors offering radiation-contaminated tea for half-price; a little girl’s death resulting from her fall through an open sewage manhole in her schoolyard; radioactive waste sold to unsuspecting scrap dealers; a twenty-year-old tanker breaking into pieces, spilling hundreds of tons of crude oil into the ocean and killing sea life all around.
The frequency with which these environmental disasters fill Turkish news broadcasts — along with the obvious insensitivity of the authorities towards both environment and health issues — prompted me to learn about ways to prevent these types of disasters. At the age of fifteen, I decided to focus my studies on environmental sciences in order to equip myself with the technical tools I would need to make a real contribution.
After earning a master’s degree in environmental sciences, I completed a professional international management certificate program in order to gain a management perspective of the field. I then realized that, in order to effectively combine my technical knowledge and management skills, I needed to accumulate real-world experience. Specifically, working at a large company would allow me to develop insight into various industries, as well as an overarching vision of the international business arena.
I have now worked for nearly two years in the energy and environment group of Koc Holding, Turkey’s first and biggest diversified conglomerate. As a project engineer, I am mainly responsible for our holding companies’ environment and energy sector investments. This position has given me the opportunity to interact with businessmen from all over the world, thereby expanding my international perspective. Because of my outstanding work performance, I was chosen to attend various meetings with local and international governmental bodies such as OPIC, IFC, and the World Bank. It is highly unusual for a young associate to represent the company at such events, and my self-confidence — as well as my management skills — was further enhanced by that successful experience.
While working in various business lines, including the automotive industry, consumer durables, and the energy sector, I have realized that the root cause of many environmental problems is financial. I believe that many people in the environmental sector are so ignorant or insensitive that they will cheat customers to increase profits. Furthermore, businesses do not prioritize environmental investments; as a result, insufficient funds are allocated to adequately prevent problems. For instance, despite a population over eight million people, Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, still lacks a properly operating sewage system. In most of the areas of the city, waste water is discharged directly into the Bosphorus.
In the long term, I hope to help solve my country’s problems by starting my own environmental-services business in Turkey. The company will serve both local and international customers by providing cost-effective, adaptable solutions ranging from waste management to safety management. In order to accomplish this goal, however, I must deepen my knowledge of the field. Despite my experience, I still lack some important knowledge and management skills, especially in finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I am also aware that my knowledge of American environmental issues is insufficient. Since dealing with aspects of international business will be an integral part of my job as an entrepreneur, it is essential that I fill in these gaps.
The NAME School’s MBA program is the perfect bridge from where I am to where I want to be. I am attracted by the inventiveness and uniqueness of its entrepreneurial and finance programs, and believe that I will increase my practical knowledge of entrepreneurship by interacting with my classmates. I value the fact that at NAME entrepreneurial education does not stop at the classroom, but rather continues through internships and extracurricular activities. I feel that a business school for entrepreneurs should balance a dose of theory with real-world application, and NAME’s curriculum and hands-on experiences through associations, internships, and the management field study provide such balance.
I am also drawn to NAME because of the school’s emphasis on teamwork and technology, reflected by such exciting courses and programs as High Technology Entrepreneurship, International Finance, 12-week field application projects, and the global immersion program directed to teach global thinking and global action. Additionally, the school’s profusion of student groups and its flexible entrepreneurial program — with electives from 200 courses — will allow me to tailor my course of study directly to my career interests. It is precisely this flexibility that I plan to draw on while at NAME and beyond, by taking advantage of (and contributing to) the school’s strong international alumni network.
Above all, a NAME MBA will help me strengthen both the finance knowledge and the entrepreneurial skills necessary to secure a position as an environmental specialist in a multinational American-based firm. Such a position, in turn, will prepare me to accomplish my long-term ambition of building my own company. By developing and maximizing the technical knowledge and managerial skills I have already accumulated, NAME will allow me to ultimately make a concrete and substantial contribution to Turkey’s environment.
For the first 20 years of my life, my activities–and self-confidence–were circumscribed by the fact that I was a chronic allergic asthmatic. I was underweight, not as strong or as well as my peers, and unable to participate normally in sports. At night I was unable to sleep without an inhaler beside my bed. I was forced to ingest heavy medication on a daily basis.
At the age of 20 I started running (slowly at first), because I discovered that this exercise–although routinely precipitating a mild asthma attack–would later enable me to sleep through the night. Very gradually, my runs became longer. My strength improved, the severity and frequency of my attacks lessened, and soon I was able to discontinue all medication. More remarkably, after about seven years I was actually able to run 20 miles with no problem at all. This accomplishment was an enormous confidence booster, as it demonstrated that a normal, healthy life was possible for me and that I could achieve anything if I set my mind to it.
Eventually it was a logical step for me to progress into competition. I found myself running in marathons and, finally, competing in triathlons. In 1983, in fact, I successfully competed in the Hawaii Ironman triathlon, arguably the most arduous and certainly the most celebrated single-day athletic endurance event.
I have assiduously pursued aerobic exercise for the past 11 years, ever since I discovered that such endeavors were finally possible for me and were the means by which I could attain physical strength and well-being. It was a long and arduous road–from huffing and puffing (and wheezing) my way through tentative one-mile runs to involving myself in the rigors of the triathlon–but I was determined to become fit and to stay fit.
It has made all the difference.
As a Marketing Manager with ADP’s corporate marketing department, I have been assigned to lead various product-specific marketing initiatives supporting a diversified group of business segments. Among these tasks, none was more important to the strategic direction of the business than leading the development of ADP’s web site adp.com.
ADP, a leading $5 billion technology company with over 425,000 clients worldwide, lacked a consistent or aggressive Internet strategy. Instead, each business unit or division was driving its own website strategy and execution. More often than not, the result was a fragmented message: a cluttered, company-centric website that failed to effectively communicate our broad range of products and services. Despite its market leadership, ADP was meeting neither the expectations of users nor the needs of clients. The company was also missing a tremendous marketing opportunity and risking losing market share because our competition was operating at a far higher level than ours. Realizing that corporate marketing could add value across the company’s business segments, I initiated and led a plan to redesign the website and fully leverage the Internet as a marketing channel to drive branding, product awareness, and sales leads through an integrated and path-driven website.
My role was specific: develop a strategy to improve navigation, communicate the complete range of ADP’s products and services, optimize the flow of traffic to drive leads for the business segments, persuade visitors to purchase ADP products and services online, and create a platform for ADP’s evolving E-business strategy. This initiative was highly challenging because of the complexity of the service offerings, the diversity of the business, and the overwhelming political bureaucracy within the organization.
With a limited budget, limited resources, and limited supervision, I designed a four-phase strategy to re-evaluate the current website and replace it with an active, path-driven site. The strategy included a review of the company’s current navigation and content, a strategic assessment mapping navigation and functionality against corporate and divisional objectives, and the design and architecture of the site. Furthermore, we developed a plan to validate our recommendation with market feedback through client and prospective client focus group interviews.
The first phase encompassed an overall program review, analysis of all current ADP and industry Internet market research, a web traffic audit, and internal interviews with senior management. In familiarizing ourselves with current industry practices, we also reviewed ten competitors and twelve business-to-business leaders’ websites. These 22 sites were carefully evaluated for their relative strengths and weaknesses in the areas of navigation, content, degree of user-centricity, and organization. The second phase included a design exploration. Working together with a web design firm, we developed five different design options. In phase three, we gathered market feedback through focus group interviews conducted with both clients and prospects based on the current web site and on the new design options. The final phase involved feedback-based revisions to the designs, which will be presented to ADP’s Executive Committee in April and launched in May 2000.
The project was a success. Our recommendation was received with exceedingly positive feedback by both the business units and the Executive Vice President of Marketing. In addition, I have been awarded with the honor of presenting the project to the Executive Committee in April. Our long-term goal is to develop an entire adp.com team dedicated to servicing clients and marketing on the Internet.
The management skills I have gained from this project have been invaluable to my career growth. I have learned the value of qualitative and quantitative research, experience in fiscal management and project management, and the importance of matching corporate strategy to Internet strategy. More importantly, the experience has taught me the value of gathering senior management “buy in” through the progression of a project. I was able to successfully gain the support of senior management by maintaining open communication and making them part of the process. Ultimately, this support was critical to the success of the project, which has brought my department and me increased visibility within the company — a development that, in turn, has led to more important projects. Through the success of adp.com, I am now regarded as an effective and respected manager who has the ability to analyze and lead complex projects from concept to completion while gaining the support of senior management.
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