The IIMB PGSEM application for 2008 had a SOP section which required 5 short essays to be written. Here are the ones I had written:
Statement of Purpose
How do you see the PGSEM helping you in your goals? (150 words)
My taking up the PGSEM course has twin objectives, namely, self-development and learning all aspects of setting up, managing a commercial/social enterprise. Having worked in the software industry for five years, I have closely seen the software development life-cycle. However, there are several aspects of business and the economy that are of interest to me and I find the time ripe to explore these in a formal way, through academics; specifically strategic management of a firm, innovation strategies, and the scope of strategic consulting. Getting ready to usher in acceleration in growth opportunities in my career through strategic management is what I keenly look forward to. Also entrepreneurship is what I have set as my long-term goal for which it would be essential to understand the micro- and macro-economic concepts and details of running a sustainable yet profitable enterprise, and IIMB is the ideal place to begin.
How would the PGSEM classroom benefit by your presence? (150 words)
I consider myself a big-picture thinker, possessing excellent communication and presentation skills (I was recently the conductor of events for our business domain day celebrations - audience of about five hundred). I am also capable of resolving tough engineering issues synthesizing ideas, analyzing a problem from various angles, applying an appropriate mix of intuitive and logical thinking, essentially by getting down to the details. Initiative-driven and possessing a very imaginative mindset, I have successfully executed several initiatives (being the communications focal within the business domain). I will bring to the table insights from my varied interests, fortified by my avid reading habit, which has kept me abreast of the latest information, sources of wisdom, knowledge. I actively volunteer for and participate in various intellectually stimulating events, extracurricular activities (participated as team member in corporate quizzes at IIMB, AIMA) and have a flair for writing (co-editor, organization wide literary-cultural magazine).
What are two major achievements in your career? (150 words)
When major performance issues and design, coding safety problems were reported in the avionics software of our product (which adheres to stringent FAA software safety standards); based on my demonstrated technical abilities, I was given the technical leadership responsibility to resolve the crisis. Utilizing my technical knowledge and through brainstorming sessions, I drove a software architecture optimization effort which helped us simultaneously exceed customer expectations and save over a thousand man-hours of effort for which I was awarded an ‘Excellence Award’. I had voluntarily taken up a Knowledge Management (KM) initiative. This I had done by presenting a paper on the usage of collaborative software such as wikis, project blogs within projects which was accepted by the management and then I went ahead with pilot trials leading in turn to full-scale usage, across the domain and was awarded the 'Special Contribution Award'. These are now being deployed throughout the organization.
What is a major shortcoming you wish to discuss? What have you learned from it? (150 words)
Having excelled throughout my academic life at school, my expectation for the entrance examination for admissions into professional colleges was high. However, my actual performance in the state-wide test was not commensurate to my expectations and I obtained an average rank. This was indeed a low point in my academic life which resulted in my not getting an engineering branch of choice. I resolved to and performed well in the first two semesters and stood second across the college, successfully getting a branch change into the Computer Science and Engineering stream; wherein I learnt the true meaning of the saying: 'Failures are the stepping stones to success'. Later I stood fifth in the class of 2002 in Computer Science. This incident reinforced the belief in me and the capability inherent in everyone to bounce back from failures. To re-orient, adapt and spot the opportunities will ultimately lead one to success.
What is one issue dear to you? How do you see it resolved? (200 words)
An issue that has often affected me is the issue of poverty; the unjustified, irrationally immense divide existing between the haves and the have-nots. How an invention of man’s own ingenuity – money, for trading purposes could have turned victims out of multitudes of innocent humans is a veritable tale of irony. On the one hand are developed nations spending resources at will and consuming gleefully (nothing negative per se) and yet on the other are developing nations even with their natural resources, which lay untapped; full of people starving and dying from lack of basic amenities and medication. I have been drawn towards the practical ideas and works of leading economists, entrepreneurs on poverty alleviation and the end of poverty through entrepreneurial measures and social entrepreneurship ventures, as a viable vision. Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus's work on micro-finance and Grameen Bank, Jeffrey Sachs's work on economic stabilization through aid and the UN Millennium Development Goals aimed at world-wide poverty reduction, and C K Prahalad's concept of targeting the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) come to mind right away - their intense dedication, writings and activities inspire me and I feel compelled to participate in a more tangible way.