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Business School Admissions Essay
This section contains three MBA
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
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
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
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
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