Rochester University, Simon School of Business – Optional MBA Essay Sample

Share any additional information that you think is important in the evaluation of your application 

I request the admissions committee to consider the following factors while considering the gap between Secondary Schooling and the undergraduate degree (B.B.A):

Immediately after completing my Secondary Schooling, I had enrolled for an undergraduate degree in Electronics Engineering with the University of Mumbai in August 1996.  Within the first four semesters, I realized that while being an engineer is a prestigious career path – my passion definitely lay elsewhere. At the age of 18, the choice was primarily influenced by peer pressure. Halfway through the course, I dropped out of the program in October 1998. Such a move is highly unconventional in India and resulted in significant disapproval from all fronts.

The early week of December 1998 was a fissure in my career that had so far been a smooth ride.  The fact that I had dropped out halfway through engineering represented an entire two years of “downtime”. It took me an entire month to come out of the situation and gather courage: If I was not the best at engineering, I had to be best at something – and I just had to find it. The problem had opened this door of opportunity.

By January 1999, I was running a small-scale transport business with seven “auto-rickshaws”.  Each day in the business taught me powerful lessons in business and man management. After 18 profitable months, I sold all seven rickshaws in 2000 and made a career decision to join the ABC Inc. . I wanted to experience working in established companies and learning about big-business.

In India, it’s extremely difficult to get a job without a bachelor’s degree. This really hit home on two occasions – in 2000 while looking for my first job and in 2002 after ABC Inc. , my then employer, closed down and I was jobless in a city that I was not too familiar with. After losing multiple opportunities that I was clearly suitable for, I decided to enroll in a distance learning BBA program in July 2002 while continuing to look for work. I achieved a breakthrough when I was hired at ABC and I have regularly crossed growth benchmarks ever since.

In retrospect, I realize that my interruption in education could have been averted by a more rational approach. I also realize the importance of quality higher education – the potential reflected so far in my career graph can only be fully realized with a thorough grounding in the principles of management. However, the consequences of my choices did teach me extremely valuable life-lessons of handling adversity, having faith in my abilities and judgment and being resilient.

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