IIM A PGPX Winning Essays (For Co’24)
Winner: Md. Saddam
Essay 1. Please describe some of the challenges you faced in the last three years of your work life and how you were able to overcome them. (500 words Limit)
I moved to international business as a country manager in 2019 undauntedly and was excited to face challenges and learn invaluable lessons. While conducting my first business review with distributors, I came to know that stock of repossessed machines that was sold on the credit to customers has increased to 140 units, a stock level that was adversely impacting the distributor’s revenue collection with a yearly loss of more than 2 crores as interest. Discussing with my management, I came to know that we cannot support the distributor to recover the losses as those were already billed and sold machines. This seemed to be a deadlock as excessive Repossessed machines would block the working capital of the distributor and impact the financing of new machines business which in turn would impact the budget support for any marketing activity impacting the new machine sales negatively. Resolute, I met customers, on-ground team, dealers and finally came up with a win-win solution. I proposed to the distributor to refurbish the machines and market them separately. I proposed to my management to support the distributor on the spare parts required for refurbishing by providing healthy discount of 15%~20% but parallelly increasing the budget target. This solution helped both the distributors to liquidate their 90% of the repossessed machines and my company achieve a 15% extra business revenue from the spare parts in the country.
Another challenging situation that I confronted was that Nepali customers of Mahindra were purchasing spare parts from Indian territories due to cost differential benefitting them. Our Spare parts of Construction Equipment product had been costlier than its cost in India by at least 10% to15%. Hence, most of the customers whose business resides near the border used to bring in parts from India, impacting overall Mahindra Nepal business of spares negatively. To retain our Nepali customers and increase the spare business revenue, I first analysed the fast-moving parts and the parts which were being easily compared at the customer end and found that there were just 29 parts for which customers easily compared with the offering in India in terms of pricing. But for the other remaining 800+ spare items, customers didn’t care much. But when they bought the expensive item from India they bought the inexpensive ones too. Hence, after going in depth I came up with a solution of optimizing the CIF prices in which I proposed to reduce the cost of 29 frequently moving line items by 25% and increased other items by 1% by this overall impact on cost of CIF remained same but the customer retention increased and consequently our spare retail business increased by 10%. This problem took a lot of effort to convince the management as the risk involved was massive that might have affected the business and brand adversely if it went wrong. The trust of my company in my pragmatic vision and my trust in my calculated risk aided by a little luck helped me sail through the entire exercise successfully.
Essay 2. Tell us what is special about you that makes you a good addition to the classroom (500 words limit)
I will be a good addition to the class of 2022 because of two reasons – one personal and the other professional.
Coming from a humble family of Truck drivers and helpers and having faced language and socioeconomic challenges throughout teenage years, I feel immensely confident, proud, and grateful to be a first-generation graduate inspiring many young acquaintances and relatives in my village. My parents, despite their unfamiliarity with academia, inspired me to dream big. Witnessing the pain that my relatives endured while driving trucks which had almost no comfort and safety is what drove me to pursue Automobile Engineering. Aspiring to enable myself to alleviate their pain, I chose to work with Product Management Division at Mahindra & Mahindra Truck and Bus division and during my tenure, I interacted with hundreds of Truck’s & Tipper’s drivers and customers as a part of my market study to conceptualize new range of trucks. I helped Cross Functional Team to implement the new design which addressed the Safety and comfort concern of the driver and increased the operating profit of customers. Empathetically, I conceptualized and implemented unique Sleeping Provision with natural blowers in a day Cabin coupled with ready to use load body features which in turn reduced overall driver fatigue and eventually increased owner’s profit. Post the Launch of the Product, I strived to add an international outlook. Seeing my intrinsic passion and whetted expertise, the HR referred me for International Business as a country manager for Nepal Market and today, I am responsible for an increased portfolio of complete Commercial Vehicle & Construction Equipment business of the company in Nepal. For my peers in class, my being the first generation to graduate coming from an exceptionally humble background will be a galvanizing story to share. I also pledge to continue to bring more talent into mainstream education and workforce through PGPX clubs such as ‘Smile’ and ‘Prayaas’.
IIM-A PGPX class of 2022 students represent 20 sectors, and the batch statistics for Automotive and Mobility, show only 8.8%, or about 12-13 students. In addition, approximately 20% of the batch has experience working abroad. Thus, my candidature from the Heavy Commercial Vehicle and Commercial Equipment industry with international work experience will enable me to contribute to the growing diversity and international representation needed to conduct more diverse discussions on new perspectives on current and future business scenarios. I would also like to bring a new dimension to the ‘Energyx’ club managed by PGPX students where energy consumption in commercial vehicle sector has been of low emphasis while today, road freight accounts for more than 25% of oil import. Hence, with an eclectic blend of exposure from professional and sustainability arm from both domestic and foreign land, I having worked across verticals such as Product management, Sales, and channel distribution and internalized the diverse experience to add greater value to while discussing case studies is what I intend to contribute and learning best management practices and tools is what I long to gain.
Essay 3. What will a management degree bring to you at this stage of your career? (500 words limit)
I can very distinctly see that the growth of Industries in Commercial segments will be one of the major contributors writing the economic future of our country through both domestic and export requirements. The need for “Value Product” in the Commercial segment imposed with various norms will be the primary need and to capitalize on this opportunity, the industry will need future leaders who are capable of driving various markets and the company sustainably. Hence, at this stage of my career, I am looking for three key things that a management degree will help me to build upon.
Firstly, I want to build a holistically profound business understanding. Currently my experience is in a specific field and I have a limited understanding of other aspects of business. So, I am seeking to build a more comprehensive approach towards business. Hence the PGPX will be a good fit for me, especially the robust curriculum, case based pedagogy and peer to peer based learning of the program will chisel my nascent understanding of fields such as Finance, Strategy, IT etc.
Secondly, I yearn to enhance my credentials and move to midlevel management in Marketing into my current Commercial vehicle industry or connected industries such as Ecommerce & logistic. Till date, despite not having any formal education in the field of Business, I was fortunate enough to work in both product management and in international business and in both these cases MBA degree was an essential requirement. Somehow my innate skills and proclivity helped me land in the right places at the right times. These exposures inculcated in me the longing for a rigorous and formal training to bolster my confidence further. An MBA from a reputed institution has become very crucial rather a distinguishing factor if I seek bigger and more impactful responsibilities. For my transition to meet my immediate goal to be a part of the mid-level management into Marketing, an MBA from an institute of your repute is indispensable.
Thirdly, an MBA from an esteemed organization will help me build an eclectic network of professionals, a boon for every member in the long run. Before the start of my professional career, I was a taciturn. But in my 8 years of work experience, I have understood the importance of diverse connections. For instance, when I moved to International business, our company wanted to expand its network into the Indonesia market. It assigned me to do desktop research and reach out to prospective distributors. In this assignment, I struggled massively. I felt that if I had some connections related to Indonesian markets it would have helped me approach things more efficiently. Therefore, a diverse network will help me tackle unforeseen challenges in future too. I believe that the vast alumni network at IIMA has the best reach of the same and the well optimized cohort of PGPX will connect me to the gems of the fast-emerging group of leaders who will play key roles in the prosperity of our world.
IIM A Previous Sample Essays
Essay 1 : Can you narrate a few incidents from your professional life that would illustrate your ability to handle volatile situations? (1000 words)
2. What is so special about you that professors and peers would like to have you in the class? (500 words)
3. Do you have anything special that you would want the Admissions Committee to know? (500 words)
Essay 2. Can you walk us through some challenges you faced in the last three years of your work life? Please describe how you were able to overcome them. (500 words)
2. Tell us what is special about you, which would make you a good addition to the classroom? (500 words)
3. What will a management degree bring to you at this stage of your career? (500 words)