McGill Desautels MBA Sample Essays for 2021-22
- Why do you intend on pursuing an MBA at this point in your life? Describe your mid-term and long-term visions for your post-MBA career path and how will the Desautels MBA program add value to your future career? (Max. 500 words)
- What qualities would you look for in an MBA classmate when working on a team project and describe how your background and leadership skills will enhance the experience of others? (Max 500 words)
- Describe a difficult decision you made and the process that you went through to make it. (Max. 500 words)
McGill Sample Essay 1
McGill Essay 1: Why do you intend on pursuing an MBA at this point in your life? Describe your mid-term and long-term visions for your post-MBA career path and how will the Desautels MBA program add value to your future career? (Max. 500 words)
I have over five years of experience working as an engineering consultant in the construction industry. I have led teams and supervised all phases of the project from conception to completion. I have also gained extensive client management experience in a broad range of sectors including airports, hospitals, and commercial buildings. These experiences have led me to collaborate with cross-functional teams which has equipped me with skills like leadership, effective communication, and problem-solving.
However, as an engineering consultant, my solutions and their impact are limited to the technical side of the projects. Now I want to expand my horizons beyond technical challenges into the business domain as well. This is where I believe pursuing an MBA can provide the right platform to fill in the gaps in my business knowledge. Post-MBA, I would like to leverage my five years of experience as an engineering consultant in the construction industry and the knowledge acquired at Desautels to grow my career into a project manager within the construction industry. In the long term, I see myself in a senior management role and eventually a CEO leading a construction or project management company.
The construction industry is not immune to changes in other sectors. In particular, it has been impacted by advances in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and even machine learning and robotics. These things have changed the way the industry works and to be a successful manager in a dynamic industry, I need to be equipped with strong business, analytical, strategy, and operational skills that can only be achieved through theoretical and practical management education.
While searching for my ideal business school, what resonated the most with me was Desautel’s holistic curriculum with a deep focus on organizational strategy and leadership development through a rich elective curriculum, experiential learning, and the international study trip. I believe mandatory courses like ‘Finance’, ‘Strategy’, and ‘Operations’ along with electives like ‘Managerial Negotiations’, and ‘Cross-Cultural Management’ would be a perfect fit for me to fulfill my knowledge gaps and upskill myself.
To complement the rich elective curriculum, the experiential learning opportunities would allow me to build on my skills and expose me to cross-cultural insights. Over the years I have had the opportunity to interact with clients from different cultural backgrounds but my experience is restricted to the Indian market. Experiential programs like the summer internship and the international study trip can provide me with the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience in an international environment.
During the MBA the student clubs like Graduate Business Technology Club, Graduate Women’s Association, and the Net Impact – McGill Chapter would provide excellent avenues for me to access a wide range of resources, gain knowledge from the diverse experiences of the cohort and prepare myself for today’s challenges.
Overall, after evaluating my prior experience, and discussing my goals with my mentors, I am convinced that an MBA from Desautels would be a perfect stepping stone for me to progress in my career and achieve my goals.
McGill Essay 2: What qualities would you look for in an MBA classmate when working on a team project and describe how your background and leadership skills will enhance the experience of others? (Max 500 words)
Over the five years of my professional experience, I have developed an appreciation of what my peers bring to the team in terms of their perspectives, motivation, and passions. I truly believe it’s the personalities of who we are outside of work that define our professional ethos and behavior in a professional environment.
The biggest thing I would love to see in my peers is passion. Passion for something, anything, whatever makes them feel alive. I myself am passionate about dancing. I have learned and professionally trained in 5 Latin American dance forms. It helps me disconnect and destress and teaches me the importance of working as a team in sync, dancing has also helped me build lifelong relationships outside of work. I feel these activities outside of the classroom will help me build strong relationships with my classmates.
The second quality which I would like to see and can contribute myself to the cohort is the openness to different perspectives and diverging opinions. I think that the biggest challenge business leaders face today is to create a workplace that is inclusive of genders and different perspectives. As a woman working in the construction industry, I have personally faced biases in my professional projects. As a team manager, I pay special attention to removing such biases from my actions be they gender-oriented or culturally influenced. As a future business leader, I would love to have peers who understand the value of diversity and inclusivity and work towards uplifting each other.
I also realized through my journey that a lot of the time the bias starts at an early age, especially in the underprivileged sections of society. Through my own experience, I am deeply motivated to empower girls to excel in life. I have contributed towards the high school education of a girl child and have continued my support towards her ongoing engineering education. I believe having the motivation and social work exposure makes me more humble and empathetic which then shows up in my work at the office as well. It would be lovely to have peers who are taking their own initiatives and are motivated to make the world a better place.
Lastly, through my professional work, I have developed a strong understanding of technical and project management skills. Going forward, I want to work in a project manager role, and to reach this goal I want to develop a deeper understanding of strategic, financial, and operational aspects. In business school, I want the opportunity to refine these skills not only through a theoretical education but also by learning from the diverse real-life experiences of my peers. Hence, I would like to work in a team with classmates who come from different backgrounds so that I can gain from their specialized knowledge and have a well-rounded experience during team assignments.
Overall, I believe, more than technical skills, it’s my passion and motivations that have driven me to be successful and helped me make strong connections. That is why I would desire to have peers who have passions and motivation in addition to career-oriented aspirations.
McGill Essay 3: Describe a difficult decision you made and the process that you went through to make it. (Max. 500 words) – currently at 414
One of the most difficult challenges I have faced in my life is overcoming male chauvinism in professional projects. I vividly remember when during one of my design presentations, I was interrupted by a senior client representative and was told that as a girl, I wouldn’t be able to handle the engineering part of a construction project. I was flummoxed and did not know how to respond. My capabilities and knowledge were put into question even before I was given a chance to prove myself. As I looked around the room full of men, I realized that the bias against women was real. Post that meeting my manager made an off-hand comment that I should take a day and reconsider working on the project.
That day presented me with a choice – I could either give up and set a precedence that I can not handle difficult clients and projects or believe in my capabilities and take a stand for myself.
I belong to a family of civil engineers and my initiation into the construction industry was at an early age. Hence it didn’t come as a surprise to my family when I decided to pursue my career in the same field. Although my family warned me against choosing a career in the construction industry because it is traditionally male-dominated industry, I was encouraged to follow my dream.
That day I vowed to never give up on my dreams. I decided that even though this will be an uphill climb, I refuse to let a man’s prejudice take away the credibility of my work.
I spoke to my manager, and he supported my decision to continue with the project, and we made a plan to improve the situation. For the next few meetings, my manager didn’t accompany me, so that I could take complete charge of the project. I also spoke to the other teams and requested them to let me lead team meetings so that I can prove myself. Everyone agreed that I deserved the chance to prove myself. Slowly, my client started trusting me with important tasks and I grew more confident in my work.
It was tough changing everyone’s mind and establishing my own importance, but this experience taught me how to overcome bias. I realized that the only way to fight bias is to never back down but to include everyone in the solution. This incident also taught me to relentlessly pursue my aspiration despite the bias that may exist.
I genuinely believe women can be equally talented engineers and managers however the industry today does not have significant enough representation. Now I aspire to upskill myself and continue rising through the ranks so that one day I can leave a significant impact in the industry so that other girls are not afraid to pursue their dreams and take up STEM careers.
McGill Sample Essays 2
McGill Essay 1: Why do you intend on pursuing an MBA at this point in your life? Describe your mid-term and long-term visions for your post-MBA career path and how will the Desautels MBA program add value to your future career?
My immediate post-MBA goal is an Operations and Supply-Chain Management role with a prominent firm like GE Power. In the long-term, I will grow through the managerial hierarchy to take up a strategic leadership position in the operations domain in similar firms.
The first four years of my career in NTPC’s Operations domain enabled me to grasp on-field operational and technical competencies including crisis management skills. As part of the commissioning team in my latter tenure, I handled several pre-commercialisation activities and evolved to a people’s manager role. In due course, As I grew in my profession, I developed a fascination towards strategic aspects of operation management and the larger spectrum of functional planes that must cooperate to make the business viable and robust. Moreover, being a part of the commissioning team of the 1600MW-capacity Lara project, I have realized that the criticality of the supply chain function in the success of an enterprise. The Covid-19 era has strengthened this conviction in me while it has also exposed the scope of optimization in this domain. Hence, I see tremendous potential in this domain. Also, while working with sophisticated consultants from Doosan, Hitachi, and Yokogawa during the erection phase of the Lara plant, I was inspired by their higher order thinking, finer people-management and decision-making skills.
I believe I have absorbed the maximum technical and operational skills and team-management and client-facing skills to the best of my ability during my 7 years tenure at India’s biggest Thermal Power corporation. This is an opportune time, when the economies are recovering from the COVID setback, to invest in my future goals and aspirations. Hence, to successfully transition to higher order operations management roles, I must learn the holistic financial, strategic and sales aspects of an enterprise. I believe that a formal MBA can best address these gaps.
After extensive research, I have found a fit in the McGill Full-Time MBA with its cutting-edge curriculum. A comprehensive plethora of modules, with electives such as Global Strategy and Leadership taught by stalwart professors like Smer Faraj and Robert J. David will introduce me to the several business administration nuances while the International Economics and Strategy module taught by well-known international faculty will be the touchstone to my strategic-skills growth. I plan to leverage the International Study Trip to learn different cultural and community perspectives. Moreover, the Real Time Decision Classes will allow me to get an in-hand experience of the industry. Besides, the Integration Classes will help me to immerse myself in the real world business problems. The Student clubs will nurture my intellectual abilities while giving me an opportunity to connect with people from different countries. The McGill Case Competition Association is a unique platform where I will be able to sharpen my analytical skills. The diverse cohort, esteemed faculty and alumni base set McGill apart as an exceptional brand which I want to earn. Hence, I am convinced that the McGill MBA can help me achieve my career goals.
McGill Essay 2: What qualities would you look for in an MBA classmate when working on a team project and describe how your background and leadership skills will enhance the experience of others?
“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.” ― Roy T. Bennett. I believe this describes the best my journey which I have embarked on.
My NTPC career started with a lot of surprises. I started my career with NTPC as an Operation Executive, and after 7 years of tenure and 2 promotions, I think it could not be better if I would have been posted in any other department. Firstly, I got acquainted with the philosophy of the thermal power plant and secondly it helped me to develop my leadership potential as well as my analytical skills. During the first four years in the Farakka project I got several opportunities to sharpen my technical expertise. In 2015 and 2016 I was in the renovating team of two 500 MW units, which I believe was a golden opportunity to grasp the automation and logics in my early days in NTPC. Besides, as NTPC is a public sector undertaking company, I was appointed micro-observer for two polling booths in a Bangladesh-bordering village during the general elections in 2016. It was one of the most memorable experiences I ever had in my career which further helped me realize my people management and organize skills.
My transfer to Lara, Chattisgarh in 2018 became another milestone in my people-skills learning. In the commissioning phase I witnessed several unseen problems that contributed to my individual and professional growth. While laying the pipeline for the water-pump house, approximately 40km away from the main plant, the local villagers rose in severe opposition fearing damage to their farmlands. I took my team and demonstrated to them that there would be no harm done. Parallely, training and working with the inexperienced local workers and from different parts of India helped me expand my horizon.
Thus these seven years with NTPC have taught me to interact with different demographics, inspire change, adjust to circumstances and derive creative solutions. And now I want to expand my horizon by having a degree with a batch consisting of people of different nationalities and professional backgrounds. Besides, while working with several agencies such as Doosan and Hitachi I have realised that to reach the solution to a particular problem there may be several approaches, but to achieve the best result in a fixed timeframe it is also necessary to have a holistic idea of the entire project. Moreover, to successfully complete a team-project it is also necessary to sum up all the efforts from each team-member. However, to thrive in a leading multinational company it is also necessary to have a clear idea of the finance and strategic operations. I want to propel my career in my domain while having a 360 degree view of the business world and that is only possible if I can gain the in depth practical knowledge of these two areas of an enterprise, and for that my batchmates need to be empathetic, open minded and they should also be ready to share their own experiences. Also, they should be supportive and also willing to take responsibilities. I believe that the diverse cohort that I will get in McGill will surely help me to enrich myself and my multidimensional experiences will also help my batchmates to learn about the problems of a developing country like India.
McGill Essay 3: Describe a difficult decision you made and the process that you went through to make it.
In 2013, during the final year of my undergrad in Jadavpur University, one of the premier institutes in India, the on campus recruitment opened the door for several opportunities before me. I was selected in Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant, Tata Chemicals and Indian Oil Corporation through campus recruitment process.
However, I further challenged myself by taking the highly competitive national level Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering after my final semester, and among ~30000 applicants, I secured All India rank 4th, that helped me to secure admission into Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (2 of the best technical institutes in India), and also to get a job in NTPC Ltd. (the electricity powerhouse of India).
I felt confused that time because on one hand I could opt to go further in my academic career and on the other hand I could start my professional career. Moreover, I had options for two different core sectors- Oil and Electricity. I had always dreamt for a degree from the IITs. Hence, I was lured towards getting my Masters done from IISc or IIT Bombay. This was my chance to live my dream. However, my family lacked the resources to support my higher studies. Instead, I was expected to support my family financially.
After spending numerous sleepless nights, finally, I made up my mind to join NTPC on 12th August, 2013, and that decision I do believe changed my life forever. NTPC was the fastest growing among the public sector undertaking companies. The new-found struggles of staying in a remote location in NTPC’s hostel at Singrauli, the simplicity of village-life changed my perception towards life and I became more self-reliant and confident.
For example, when I joined the Farakka Barrage in 2015, the laborer’s staged a massive agitation for wage increase, forcing us to stop three 500MW capacity-units. I initiated an empathetic conversation with the workers, to which they responded positively to understand their main issue was the maximum number of days for which they could earn wages. I raised with the senior management and finally the number of working days per month raised from 22 to 26. Within two years I got the opportunity to be a part of the renovating team of two 500MW units, and that experience truly helped me to shape my career trajectory. Thus the first four years in Farakka helped me to develop my people management skill as well as my technical expertise.
My transfer to Lara, Chattisgarh in 2018 became another milestone in my people-skills learning. Handling the resistance from local villagers during the plant construction and ultimately befriending them was a major lesson in empathy. These struggles made me more grounded and people-oriented.
Hence, that game changing decision seven years back has not only enabled me to recognize my capabilities but also helped me to build a holistic idea of how the business of a large corporation is growing amid several challenges of a highly competitive market.