Application Questions-sample responses
1-Why are you applying for this degree program?
In the modern dispensation, undergraduate degrees are first loosing their essence. There is increased competition in every field in everyone is required to enhance their skills based on the prevailing market needs. Employers are increasingly going for people who are more qualified in terms of education experience. My desire to take my career to the next level has prompted me to take an MBA course. It is because without an advanced education program, it becomes difficult to remain competitive in the market. I have learnt a lot of issues from my previous and current employer. However, experience cannot be confused to mean skills. It is only through learning that one is able to acquire the necessary skills capable of pushing one to the next level. I believe the necessary business skills can only be acquired through an MBA program. My request to study MBA was at the very beginning presented by my employer in this case Sambre Holdings. I had proved to be a competent employee and one who had helped the company achieve numerous accolades. The management, therefore, wanted me to get into the executive so as to offer my competencies at the executive level. There are a number of reasons why I feel I need to have an MBA qualification. To start with, most of my peers who I went to school with have MBAs.
Whenever I am in the company of peers, I feel left out in almost all instances. I feel the emptiness and intellectually inferior to them even though I have had the best experience in my career than most of them. I wanted to know which school they preferred as the best for an MBA program. Their answer was almost unanimous as they mentioned this school as the number one choice in attaining a world class skills and qualifications. When the same question was asked a number of companies in the European Union, the MBA program was mentioned as the best in terms of providing the best qualifications for anyone to gain entry into the corporate world and business. The MBA a program can be used anywhere within the EU as there is general consensus that the discipline is of the essence in any industry. It is very important to me because in a short while I will be immigrating to France.
My move to France will be on a permanent basis, and I require to a strong discipline that will enable me to gain entry into the French market with relative ease. In any market, individual qualifications matter more than anything. It is my desire to take advantage of the learning opportunity presented so as to acquire the necessary skills to be able to present myself as a strong candidate in the job market. The MBA qualification together with my experience will provide a magic that will make me one of the best options to consider in the job market. However, I am not just looking for an MBA qualification so as to be elevated in my career, knowledge is more important to me than any other thing. One may be able to get the MBA certificate but have inadequate knowledge capable of making an impact in the market. It is my hope and prayer that I will be allowed to enroll in this MBA program so as to improve on my skills and increase my competitive advantage.
I could talk of a number of professional achievements that I am most proud. However, I believe that the best is yet to come, as the future is more promising than what I have been able to engage in. One of my biggest achievements that I am most proud has all to do with one occasion when I managed to close in on a deal that my predecessors could not close in on for more than ten years. I was able to close in on the deal for a record time of six months. The magnitude of the business could not be over emphasized. The deal was a big political deal that required massive global expertise and business fineness to achieve. A comparative analysis between my predecessors and put me on an elevated level based on the fact that I had managed to ensure milestone achievements in just a short period of time. My international exposure and experience put me at a strategic level to the extent that I was able to meet the company's objectives in critical areas of business needs. I was very effective and efficient and my intellectual prowess in dealing with business matters could not be over looked.
Another big accomplishment was when I helped the company boost its revenue. I did this through focusing on the developing means strategies that were aimed at focusing on the needs and expectations of the customers. Before I joined the company, my predecessors focused their energy on the employee development. They did not know that customers are crucial in ensuring that the company attains the required revenue limits. Through my initiative, we developed a vibrant customer care service that ensured that the needs and expectations were factored in with respect to the provision of goods and services. The customer base grew to significant levels and client’s loyalty rose to significant levels. To this end, revenues were increased to levels never experienced before in the company.
My third and greatest professional achievement was when I helped the company attain the break-even status. Under normal circumstance, a company should be able to attain the break-even level just two into the business. In this case, the company had taken almost ten years without achieving the significant level of break-even point. My idea was to match the income and the expenses so as to ensure that the company was in a better position to achieve the status. I was able to renegotiate on some of the fixed cost. For instance, I reduced the bills that the company was paying telephones, luxurious trips and other less important issues that were less important to the company. Consequently, I was able to source for supplies that offered better deals. The prices of the products were also reviewed upwards based on the prevailing market process. After taking all the measures, the company was able to achieve the break-even point and this was in fact the beginning of a bright future for me. Even the individual achievements are unique and spectacular; I believe that the best is yet to come from me. When I finally get the MBA qualifications, I will be one of the best in the market and more achievements will be realized through my own initiatives.
3. Please describe a situation where you failed to reach a professional objective or goal, and what you learned from this experience.
When I started my career, my biggest problem was inadequate experience. I also did not take time to think through the different assignments that were given to me. Connecting with what I had learnt in school and the actual practice was my biggest undoing. Case in point is that I could not develop proper strategies so as to come up with a concrete solution to a particular problem. As a result, I found myself missing crucial deadlines that were otherwise critical to the wellbeing of the company’s development. For instance, on one occasion, I was asked to come up with a price penetration strategy that would enable the company to achieve the ends in terms of revenue collection. In the first instance I did not know how I was supposed to go through the assignment, though I was well conversant with the various price penetration strategy plans. I needed to look at the concept in a broad manner by considering a number of issues. It took me time to come up with the necessary strategies and with that I was not able to meet the deadline. On another occasion, I agreed to a task that I did not have full knowledge about. The job required me to carry out a mini audit of the sales department and hand in recommendations for possible actions. I started the program as appropriate, but midstream, I realized that the task was more involving and more difficult than what I thought it would be. I had not done auditing, though I thought it was based on the general ideas of operations in that particular department. Before I knew it, I had done a wrong thing with the deadline elapsing as I continued through my duties. I had not planned adequately for the program and for once I saw myself as being a let down to the company.
I learned some valuable lessons that I have carried through my professional duties. One of the lessons I learnt was that it was important to plan for every single activity. I came to the realization that without planning, one became an agent of failure. My first assignment taught me that one has to think through a given task before making any progress. On the other hand, I came to understand that one cannot deliver in a field for which there is no competence. However, smart an individual may be, every program is unique and it is not proper for anyone to take up tasks that are beyond intellectual ability. Coming up with plans and strategies to solve a problem were my biggest lessons. With the two tools in hand, I came to understand that it was possible to beat deadlines with relative ease provided it was within the professional jurisdiction. Through the challenges experienced in my career from the time of inception I have learnt my lessons and in fact today I know how important it is to work under pressure and deliver. Presently, I handle deadlines with relative comfort with the conviction that I can be able to meet the deadlines whatever the circumstance. The challenges and the lessons learnt have been a great resource for me to a great extent, as I now know better.
4. How do you think your colleagues perceive you?
My colleagues normally have unique ways in which they look at me. A majority of my colleagues would admit that I am a hardworking, a result driven individual who is capable of meeting the deadlines and last they would say I am able to deliver on what I promise. Throughout my life, from childhood to adulthood, I have been a person of character who values personal wellbeing. I am not known for less constructive business either in my social life or my professional duty. In fact, I have a very strict lifestyle and do not entertain any unnecessary engagements that are not to say I do not get along with people. I am a well-rounded person, scalable individual who is capable of moving easily between business, commercial and technical responsibilities. I have unique skills and the ability to translate what I sell relative to my audience and cross-cultural backgrounds and the corporate cultures. All these are some of the things my colleagues would say about me. My colleagues paint the actual picture of my personality. Some of my friends who describe me with absolute exactness have been with for quite some time. It is, therefore, not by mistake that they are able to describe my personality the way they do. I have been with some in school and others in my professional career. A strict background covered with strong principles has made the person that I am today. If I did not carry myself with utmost respect and professionalism, most of my colleagues would have nothing positive about me.
As a human being, I have my strengths and weaknesses of which I do not shy from talking about or letting people know. From my strengths and weaknesses, one is able to determine my abilities as appropriate. One of my strengths is that I have great communication skills and I am able to articulate the issues with absolute clarity. Consequently, I can work with people from diverse backgrounds. Professionals with varied skills easily get along with me as I am able to deal with them with relative ease without any conflicts. I am also motivated and I can derive motivation from anything that is capable of producing results. Discipline is my other critical strength. Discipline cuts across board. Personnel management in terms of professional life and social life defines my discipline to a great extent. Last, but not least, is that I am focused and determined to get my job done in a proper manner and on time. I do not like disappointing people, be it in my professional duty of in my personal association with people outside the normal work area.
I have some weaknesses that are to some extent very unique to me. Time management is one of my biggest worries especially in my professional line of duty. For instance, sometimes I take much time in pay very close attention to particular details. The resulting factor is that high quality work is realized and additional time is saved down the road. However, this tendency takes much of my time to the extent that sometimes I am not able to attend to some of my personal and professional duties. Another weakness is that I do not get along well with people who are not result oriented. Individuals who do not perform in the work area get it tough working with me.
5. How would you define leadership?
Leadership is a concept that can be explored from different fronts. Leadership can be applied in social life or in the business world. However, it does not matter where the concept is used as its application cuts across the board. Simply put, leadership is one where an individual is capable of influencing the inherent behaviors of a group or individual without causing any disorientation. In this case, the thoughts, behaviors and the attitudes are the major components of influence when it comes to leadership. Through these components, a sense of direction is achieved to the extent that individuals are able to carry out some functions without any prompting or intimidation. The idea is to influence the individual so that they are able to make their own decisions based on they have been persuaded. Leadership can also be a process through which people are brought together to perform a duty that is of significant advantage through collectivizing of the efforts. In simplistic terms, leadership is having people looking up to some individual for the purpose of getting direction based on what is to be done. Leadership in the business world has a number of complexities and compelling issues.
Many people sometimes tend to confuse leadership with some inherent individual characteristics, though there is more to leadership than a person’s characteristics. It should also be noted that leadership has got nothing to do with the position that one holds a place of jurisdiction. It also does not matter how senior one is. In a corporate set up, there are normally positions that are supposed to be filled; anyone coming in to fill the positions does not necessarily get into a position of leadership. Level of pay does not definitely guarantee one as a leader. The underlying factor is that a leader should be able influencing other people to the extent that free will is achieved. Before an individual is able to influence other people, it cannot be said that one is a leader. I my past professional duty, I have been able to hold some leadership positions. I must admit that being in leadership is the most challenging phenomenon I have ever engaged in. People always look up to you for leadership and wellbeing. Anything done impacts either directly or directly.
Leadership is a delicate balancing act to the extent that it requires extreme caution for one to be a leader. Leadership also requires that the visions be turned into realities. On one occasion, I was made a leader of my department on an acting capacity. At first, some people did not believe that I was able to meet the challenges that came with the program. When I finally took over, I first ensured that I blended well with individual colleagues before I embarked on any assignment. It got to a point that I was just but able to give directives and they are acted upon without any resistance. Through such activities, I was able to get a little bit of skills in so far as leadership is concerned. I am ever open to take up any leadership position because I have absolute faith in myself that I am quite able to influence the people in a positive and a common course.
6-Participating in a program involves working with a diverse group of individuals (nationalities, industries, job functions, etc.). What will you be able to contribute to such a group?
Diversity is one phenomenon that one cannot ignore the present dispensation. Different work places have people from different racial backgrounds, professions and industries. In my previous engagements, I have always been able to get along with people no matter where their diverse backgrounds. Some of the co-workers sometimes can be a challenge, but for me, it does not matter their established nature, as I am quite capable of managing people. One of the things that help me in getting along with people is that I find it relatively easy to define people’s personalities. My educational background has helped me to a great extent in in fine-tuning how well to recognize people’s personality and the right way in which I can deal with them. My cultural psychology knowledge has been of great help when it comes to deriving the requisite understanding about people. In my current position, I have helped increase the customer base by 30%. The rise in customer base has been as a result of being able to interact with the clients. Part of the interaction process has been to correctly determine the needs of the customers and positioning the company’s solutions relative to their needs. Initially, such tendencies were not common in the company through my own initiatives; there has been significant improvement.
I have been able to achieve this by understanding people from their own perspective. Many individuals have a tendency to understand the world around them based on their personal filter. Filter sometimes requires that the individual come down to the level of the other party so that an understanding can be derived between the two parties as appropriate. The underlying factor is that understanding a person is crucial in determining the rules of engagement. My global perspective mixed with scalability helps me to adjust my personal level to relate and be able to understand the fundamentals of the task that has been handed to me. By being vibrant and up to date with the diverse issues enable me to evolve as an individual. Consequently, my worldview remains fluid and dynamic to a greater extent. This is something I can bring into to the group to enhance the performance of the group as appropriate. In such a group, some of my past experiences will be of significant help. For instance, my professional background will be of the essence as it will be easy to share with the group some of my past experiences. Through this, I will be able to inspire other individuals within the system to sharpen their professional competence. Another important thing that I bring into the group is my educational background.
My course in the cultural psychology will to great extent help in knowing how to deal with people from diverse backgrounds. Also important will be that my understanding of customers will be of great help to the company. What I bring to the group is wide and diverse. Professionalism, experience and education background are some of the things I will be able to bring into the group. That is not to say that I will not be learning anything from the groups too. I have always wanted to learn something new everywhere I go. As I learn from the group, I will also be glad to draw from the other member so the group. It is my hope that I will be able to develop my abilities by working with a diverse audience.
7. International exposure
When it comes to international exposure, I would first think about diversity. My father used to work for an international company in Germany. It was only proper that we had to go once in a while to check on him. Throughout my childhood, I grew up appreciating the diverse nature of individuals in the world. One of the things I learnt while in Germany was it was possible to venture into any career and do well. Education in Germany was one of the most fascinating things I ever came across. The learning process was goal oriented. Every engaged in a particular field so as to get a good job. Another thing that I learnt was that cultural dynamics were a huge phenomenon in the country. There were people from different places some of whom were so much experienced in terms of professional background. There were also many places through which one could work and that was a major motivation in fact for some time I felt as though I wanted to stay permanently in Germany. Though my stay in Germany was only on short notice and on different occasions, I learnt different issues that are critical to an individual’s development.
Before joining my current employer, I had the privilege of working for an international company though on an internship level. The company dealt with oil products, especially from the Middle East and some parts of Asia. I was in charge of coming up with robust business strategies that could ensure high sales of products. It was also within my jurisdiction to come up with the means and ways through which I could develop new markets. The tasks were very challenging and very demanding. On different occasions I was required to fly, to fly to the Middle East and Asia to see how the parent companies were carrying out their operations. One of the things that fascinated me was the strategic human resource strategy that the company had. The company was responsible for all the employees across the world, though there were special avenues through which the strategies were implemented.
Working with the company changed my perspective about different issues. As I worked for the international company, I realized how diverse the workforce was established. On the other hand, there were different professionals who were highly learned. I remember one man only known as Ricky who worked as a policy adviser. He had three undergraduate degrees with a major one in business. Ricky also had an MBA and a PHD in management. I appreciated the diversity that was inherent in the company. As I left the company, though after a short time, I was able to learn a number of issues that changed my perspective about different issues. Part of my vast experience was gotten from the international company.