Stanford MBA Essay – Challenging Goal Or Task

Tell us about a time when you tried to reach a goal that was challenging or frustrating.  

I can relate to a high-value deal made during my first job right after my M.B.A. I was handling modular office furniture sales at ABC Inc. As a part of the pitch for a large-scale project at ABC, an enterprise customer, we had installed a workstation (product) demo unit at the company’s bid office.

Our closest competitor DEF, had greater entrenchment in the market. To add to the challenge, one of the key decision makers, a family member of the ABC  group (customer), was a close friend with one of the DEF family members (competitor). In project of this size such relationships and comfort did matter. The enthusiasm at my company towards this deal was thus minimal – at a time when I was “newbie” in the market.

My only ray of hope turned out to be an architect from the UK, a key decision influence. During the product demonstration, the response and interest from the entire assessing team was minimal – we seemed to have lost the deal. Determined as yet, I managed to get a few minutes with the architect during lunchtime. I brought in the salient technical features that differentiated my product and in process the architect examined it in greater detail. We were called in the next day for technical and commercial negotiations. And by evening the largest deal ever for the business unit was concluded!

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