Rotterdam MBA Application Essays 2023-24
Rotterdam Essay 1: Share how you’ve already been a force for positive change in your world. Your example can be large or small, global or local, but must highlight the positive impact you’ve had through your efforts. Tell us your story. (500 words)
Rotterdam Essay 2: Discuss how the RSM MBA will prepare you to become a force for positive change, either in your personal or professional life. (500 words)
Optional Essay : Please feel free to supply any additional information that you believe would be helpful to the Admissions Committee in making the final decision on your application. (50 words maximum)
Rotterdam Winning Sample Essays-1
1. Why are you applying to the Rotterdam MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the Rotterdam MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? 500 words
My fascination for healthcare and analytics began when I worked on a healthcare initiative in India in 2016. Since then, I have been involved in Global Health and Analytics projects and large Supply Chain transformative efforts- working closely with C-suite executives, managing new initiatives, and pursuing data-driven process improvements. (could you add one or two achievements here?)
Having assumed many responsibilities during this time and checking off significant accomplishments in professional growth, I am in a place where the learning curve has been stagnant. Therefore, an MBA at this point is a crucial step for me to learn the holistic needs of business and provide me with the opportunities to grow from a Strategic Technical Consulting to a Strategic Management role in the Healthcare industry.
Post-MBA, I want to continue working in the Healthcare Industry in a Strategic Management role. Additionally, I want to grow from a Project Manager to a Strategic Lead and use my learnings and experiences to coach and mentor individuals in their professional journey. Long term, I aspire to work with Indian policymakers to make healthcare more accessible to India’s rural population. About 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas, and access to affordable and quality healthcare has been a challenge. I want to use my Rotterdam learnings and my experiences in the healthcare industry to bridge this gap.
Rotterdam’s curriculum caters to my interests in strategy, data, and healthcare and will help me grow as an effective leader in a global context. In particular, I am very excited about the Strategy Specialization to augment my learnings in strategy and business analytics and catapult my career to become a Strategic Lead. Moreover, the school’s TEC, The Executive Committee on campus, and Saint-Cyr Outdoor Leadership Seminar are unique ways to build and hone leadership skills. I would love to make the most of these rare opportunities and grow as a leader.
The school’s proximity to the culturally rich and vibrant Paris and Versailles appeals to me. As a travel enthusiast, I am eager to explore the region’s food, arts, and culture. Additionally, having been a school and varsity athlete for over ten years, the school’s MBA Tournament represents an excellent opportunity for me. I would love to participate and also be responsible for overseeing the event.
Immersion into the Rotterdam community through the student clubs is critical in broadening my network and achieving my career goals. Apart from the brilliant Healthcare and Consulting Clubs, I would like to engage in the Impact Club to network with socially responsible leaders and share my experiences as the founder of two impactful social projects.
In summary, the Rotterdam culture of engagement will be instrumental to my development in facilitating my career progression and offering a lasting, lifelong community.
I have twin sisters, and we are three girls in our family. The late ’80s and early ’90s was a very rough period for a girl child in India. I was born and raised at a time when patriarchy was deeply rooted in the society and female foeticide was very rampant in the country. Despite these challenging circumstances, my progressive father provided me with quality education and professional sport experience.
While my academic and athletic achievements were fulfilling in many ways, they were frowned upon by our extended family and friends. As girls, we were supposed to obtain basic education and then get married off to become homemakers. Besides coping with day-to-day challenges, I have battled these societal norms for many years.
I wanted to set an example and inspire many young girls from my community to pursue their dreams and passion. The past decade has been particularly magical for me because I was able to coach and mentor many young girls from my community who picked professional sports or a career of their choice. I’ve come a long way since switching to a career in the US at 27. At 31, I’m now chasing my MBA goal. But my most significant life achievement has been playing the role of a trailblazer for young girls to break the rules and barriers set by our society and inspire them to follow their dreams.
3. Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. 250 words
In early 2020, the widespread COVID-19 virus forced India into a complete lockdown, and as a result, many individuals lost their jobs. During this time, I ran the COVID-19 Household Rehabilitation Program with a small team to provide relief to the affected middle-class families impacted by the unforeseen crisis.
We created a dedicated fund to help the affected families with basic groceries and essential food items. We controlled the procurement and distribution of these products and ran a tight end-to-end supply chain.
Two weeks into the program, a few families tricked us and began hoarding the items to ensure they had enough supplies for the next few months. I realized that this had stemmed from a fear of uncertainty, as most of these affected families lost their primary source of income. We faced an ethical dilemma between supporting fewer families for a long time and supporting more families which are in immediate need of help.
Despite the several pleas from the distraught families, I decided not to encourage the hoarding practice and set up a thorough user verification mechanism to avoid the repetition of the instances. Additionally, we worked harder to increase the size of our fund and made the program more scalable so families could again be provided in the second and third months of the lockdown.
This experience taught me that people might overlook the defined ethical boundaries when faced with an unexpected challenge. However, responsible leadership calls for responsible actions, especially during the hour of crisis.
Badminton was a big part of my childhood. Having competed at the state and national levels for many years and trained alongside some big names, my decision to hang up my boots surprised many. Because sports careers typically have a shorter shelf life, I chose the academic route. Therefore, if there were an alternate life, I would probably play in the international circuit and represent my country in the World Badminton championships.
My life as an international athlete would be very different from my current corporate life. My daily routine would encompass vigorous physical training, a strict well-balanced diet, a few sacrifices in terms of social life, a lot of international travel, and maybe a few injuries as well. But I would be incredibly proud to play the sport I have always loved at prestigious international tournaments.
Besides the recognition and glamor, playing international sport would give me a wealth of opportunities to give back to the Badminton community. I would coach and mentor young players and also provide scholarships to the talented and yet financially disadvantaged players. Eventually, I would open my own Badminton Academy with a world-class sporting infrastructure to produce some of the finest Badminton players from India.
My life in this alternate universe would have a completely different vibe, filled with adrenaline rush and eight to ten hours of Badminton every day. However, the one thing that would remain the same is my family and the beautiful memories I would make with them over the years.
5. Please choose from one of the following essays: 250 words b) Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyse it.
The Blind Side is an American sports drama, based on the true story of NFL star Michael Oher. It has received international recognition and won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Coming from India, I was oblivious to the quietly racist things showcased in the movie, which became glaringly apparent after I moved to the US. My recent watch of this movie made it an unsettling experience, and I believe that the success it achieved was rather undeserving.
Michael Oher’s character in the movie is that of a simple and kind teenager. By defining his role in this way, the film built its core narrative of a kind but poor Black teenager who needs help. Additionally, given his big Black personality, the new parents and coach essentially designed Oher’s career in football and NFL. The movie does not throw any light on Michael Oher’s interests, dreams, or ambitions. According to the real Michael Oher, he was already participating in basketball, football, and track before the Tuohys adopted him. He also had middle-class friends who helped him get a better schooling and living situation. However, the movie leaves out all these details, despite being based on a true story.
While many movies have highlighted white saviors, The Blind Side mainly sticks out because of its insensitive narrative that Black people are destined for lives of crime unless they meet white people. Its subdued racism can go unnoticed. However, in my opinion, the film’s accolades and success are undeserved.
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Rotterdam Winning Sample Essays-2
1)Share how you’ve already been a force for positive change in your world. Your example can be large or small, global or local, but must highlight the positive impact you’ve had through your efforts. Tell us your story. OR Discuss how the RSM MBA will prepare you to become a force for positive change, either in your personal or professional life.
I’ve always been a passionate musician. Music has always been more than a hobby to me. During my graduation, I was a part of the rock band ‘Incendium’ as the lead vocalist and the rhythm guitarist. We performed at a lot of events and competitions. We were also part of Asia’s largest college cultural fest, Mood Indigo.
Post Graduation, I was invited to be a part of a unique 100 membered band ‘The live 100 experience’. As the name suggests, the band had 100 musicians from all over the country performing together in synchrony. We performed live in front of Mr. Amit Trivedi, (a renowned Indian Music director). Our video for the performance also got 1.4 Million views on youtube. After almost a year of being a YouTube sensation, the band then decided to take it further and appear for one of the biggest reality show franchises in the world, ‘India’s Got Talent’.
India Got Talent’s audition and the rehearsals were planned in a different city than mine, and managing such frequent travel with a full-time job would have been really hectic, therefore I started contemplating whether I should opt out of the band. But as Jackson Brown has said: “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity” and so I decided not to let go of this golden opportunity.
I decided to travel, post my work hours. I traveled, Pune – Mumbai every day to be a part of the rehearsals and come back. It was a hectic plan post 8 hours of work, traveling for 3 hours, practicing for another 3 and returning back. But it all paid off in the end, as unique the idea of the band was, it was very well accepted and appreciated by both the audience and the jury, the band made it to the Grand Finale of India’s Got Talent Season 8 and became a national sensation overnight.
After being an integral part of the band which went from a YouTube sensation to the Finale of a famous television franchise, I met a lot of young music enthusiasts who wanted to make a difference in the field of music but were somehow struggling. With my experience being on YouTube and later on Television, I decided to counsel them and help them to start their own YouTube channel. Now, I am an integral part of the music community, ‘Muziclub’ which encourages and promotes upcoming musicians. We organize a lot of campaigns including open jam sessions to nudge the hidden creative instincts of these artists. This is my way of giving back to other aspiring musicians who are looking for that 1 lucky break and I am glad am able to contribute and make a positive change.
Not only that, as an aspiring but struggling artist, i am all too familiar with the challenges of finding employment. Luckily I have a full time job at accenture to support my passion but not everyone is fortunate enough. Since 2015, I have been part of rotary-clubs Professional development team for underpriviledged section of the society.
I initially volunteered for fund-raising campaigns for the underprivileged. During the course of association, I found that a huge part of the underprivileged youth in India was unaware of the job prospects out there for them and I started helping out the professional development team of rotary club to spread the awareness. I lead a team of 30 people and we conduct seminars and educational campaigns to make this section aware of all the government job opportunites and schemes to help themselves. During this attempt,. I personally assessed their profiles and conducted sessions to equip them with the necessary skills, making them job-ready. As a result, I was able to help 91+ young diploma holders acquire a job within the next 6 months. Over the years, as a recognition of my efforts, I was appointed as the Professional-Director of the Club.
I believe, overall I have been able to make postive contribution to the small section of the sociaty in which i live.
2)Describe how the socio-economic environment in which you live/work impacts your business decisions. (+/- 500 words)
During graduation, I and my friends started working on our own idea Fixea360 in the field ‘Layout Design & Planning’ with VR. We 3 worked on the idea for almost 2 years and 1 year after graduation we made a successful exit by selling it to a larger competitor. Working on a technology startup in the field of virtual reality was a great learning moment both personally and professionally. Working with real estate developers, construction crews and home buyers gave me deep insights into how the lack of technology and it’s exposure to people is still a barrier in India’s socio-economic development.
From my own socio-economic exposure to the infrastructure sector, I saw how students from underprivileged backgrounds are not even aware of the internet and were struggling to fill up basic forms for job applications. Students are not even aware of all the job opportunities available to them and most of them joined construction work because of a friends recommendation. In 2015, this experience motivated me to join the rotary club which was trying to help in the professional development of youth. In the last 4 years with the rotary club, I have personally assessed profiles and conducted sessions to equip youths from underprivileged backgrounds with the necessary skills to make them employable. Simple vocational training and sessions on how to look for latest jobs on the internet and how to apply have created a big impact on their lives. In these years our team at the rotary club has been able to help 100+ young diploma holders acquire meaningful jobs and as a recognition of my efforts, I was appointed as the Professional-Director of the Club.
On the personal development front, working in my startup made me acutely aware of the lack of leadership experience in our founding team and our personal shortcomings in scaling up the idea. That’s why after making a successful exit from my start-up, I wanted to work in a big corporate and that’s why I joined Accenture as a tech consultant. At Accenture, I was fortunate to work for 2 of the biggest names in their respective industries, Volkswagen, and British Telecom where I got immense exposure to international cultures and inner workings of diversified teams. I have observed how experienced leaders built teams from scratch and delivered projects after projects on a short turn around times. Combining these observations and learnings from community work, especially working towards mentoring and employing young graduates, has helped me become a better mentor and grow as a team lead in my professional career.
My workings with the rotary club in the social domain taught me how to effectively communicate your message to the masses with limited resources and my experience from my startup taught me how to achieve desired results on bootstrapped budgets. I believe, these learnings from my socio-economic environment outside of Accenture has made me a better professional consultant and continues to provide inputs to my business decisions.
One of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my life was to sell my startup Fixea360 within 2 years of its inception.
During the final year of graduation, I observed how despite having tremendous potential, Virtual Reality (VR) was confined to be a mere technical concept. Seeing the scope for VR in the markets, I and two of my friends decided to initiate our own startup. We started “Fixea360”, which aimed at incorporating ‘Layout Design & Planning’ with VR, wherein people could plan and virtually see how their homes, offices, etc. are going to look.
India being a developing nation, an idea as niche and based on VR is not readily accepted by the masses. In the initial days of Fixea360, we found a large section of our target audience were not at all ready to invest their time & money in a technology which has not yet fully arrived. We tried educating our customers about VR. We took workshops on how VR works and we can incorporate it to affect their experience of layout designing. We also collaborated with a local real estate giant to organize free trials for their customers. We gave potential residents of the society a free consultation and showed them how they can better plan their places using VR.
With the passion to bring a change through technology and sheer perseverance of the team, we finally started to break even. As a result of our efforts, we saw a total number of 71+ clients being converted within the first 6 months. We’d worked blood and sweat for months to see ‘Fixea360’ becoming a legit startup company out of a mere concept.
However, the virtual reality as technology in infrastructure and real estate sector was still very limited to big corporate boardroom meetings and not well known or accessible to the general masses. Due to this big awareness gap and resistance from the market, Fixea360 was facing an untimely fall. So when we were approached by one of the giants in the VR industry, ‘Spectra VR’ for acquiring the startup, we faced one of the most difficult decisions of our life.
We were too passionate and were not ready to let go off our brainchild. Initially, we were in denial to even have a conversation regarding this. After some time spent studying market trends, we realized we needed to invest a lot in educating our target customers and we had the passion to do it but due to our bootstrapped budget, we were limited to invest the budget in marketing and education of our customers or technology development for our business. Taking all the above factors into consideration, it made sense to sell the whole venture to a much bigger and better-funded competitor.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end “
We sold Fexea360 but I got a vision for my future. Working in the VR consultation company, I developed an affinity towards real-life problem-solving. Analyzing a complex situation to come up with tangible solutions for the same became something that really intrigued me. And that is when I started to work towards becoming a Strategy consultant. I consider it the toughest decision of my life and it has made me discover where my passion lies. Today I am more than ever resolute to fulfill my dream of becoming a successful consultant.
Rotterdam Winning Sample Essays-3
1)Describe a situation in which you failed as a leader. What did you learn from it? (Word limit 300)
I work for Hindustan Aeronautics limited and lead a team of 60 technicians. I am responsible for manufacturing and supply of Aero-Engine blades for various fighter aircraft projects.
In the year 2015 a batch of blades manufactured by my team had a minor manufacturing snag (defect). The snag was within the tolerance limits as per client requirements and considering the tight deadlines we approved the final product and dispatched for assembly. Unfortunately one of the blades from the aforementioned batch failed in service of aircraft and luckily the pilot’s life and the aircraft were saved.
Due to the failure of the blade our customer, the Indian Air force, constituted an investigation to find the root cause of the failure. Since I was the lead engineer of the project, I underwent a thorough investigation for 2 years which were the most stressful 2 years of my professional career. It was a monumental leadership failure to pass a defective product and the situation took the toll of me affecting my performance. The investigation concluded and the failure was attributed to the manufacturing team. But since everything was documented and the error was within tolerance as specified in client requirements there were no charges or damages incurred by my organization or me personally.
After the investigation, the client tightened their requirements and I reconstituted my team. That day I learned the importance of “Quality over Quantity” and this incident taught me a “lesson for my life”. I understood how my one bad business decision although within client requirements could have cost a pilot’s life. It is true that failure is indeed a stepping stone for success and this entire episode tested my mental strength and defined the leader I am today.
2)Is there any additional information that is critical for the Admissions Committee which has not been covered elsewhere in this application? (i.e. re-application, health, grades, etc.) (Word limit 50)
I would like to bring to your notice that I was unable to take my GMAT test in time because of the effects of COVID-19. Since a graded exit from lockdown has been initiated at my place I would take the GMAT and submit the scores as soon as possible.