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SMU Singapore MBA Sample Essays

SMU Singapore MBA Sample Essay 2023-24

  1. Explain in 500-600 words your career and personal aspirations, and your motivation for pursuing the Master of Business Administration Programme.
  2. Discuss in 500 to 600 words one of the following topics:
    • Describe your greatest weakness and how you have tried to overcome it.
    • Describe your outstanding talents, skills and inherent abilities that are not reflected in your academic qualifications and records.
    • Describe the situation with the greatest ethical complexity that you have faced in your professional or academic life, and how your input helped resolved it.

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SMU Singapore MBA Sample Essay – 1

Essay Topic 1: The prominent southeast Asian businessman and philanthropist, Lee Kong Chian, once said, “He who wants to harvest good rice, must also plant good seeds.” As a leader, your decisions will have a tremendous impact on a great many others. Please provide an example of when you realized this in your career.
Essay Topic 2: There are many great companies and excellent managers in the world. Please provide an example of a well-run and well-managed company and why you think this is so. Be sure to explain what you believe are exemplary instances of their performance, policies, culture, and/or social impact.

I believe a savvy leader is not only one who leads a team to deliver results but also teaches and mentors the team members to achieve success individually. I have been fortunate enough to have multiple mentors who have guided me in my journey: from the slums of India to studying and working in four countries, and from waiting tables to fund my own education to handling multimillion-dollar client portfolios. Learning and then passing on that learning is what I believe to be the equivalent of planting good seeds for a good harvest. 

I started my career in the hospitality industry and later transitioned into the Investment Management field. One skill that I learned from my mentors is the impact of communication and building relationships. When I transitioned, I started at the bottom of the ladder as an analyst, where my role required communicating with different stakeholders on a daily basis. It was my communications and networking skills that helped attract more assets in our firm, earning recognition and paving the way for a promotion to Vice president of Investments.

However, the seeds for this success and my good communication skills were planted way back when I was working in the hospitality industry with Hyatt hotels, which is one of the most luxurious hotel chains known for exceptional client service. The hospitality industry taught me the real meaning of customer service, team management, and the power of communication. At Hyatt, I was leading a multicultural team of Americans, Russians, Europeans, and Africans. 

My team used to have regular conflicts due to a lack of cross-cultural understanding. For instance, Russians by nature are very direct and casual in the way they communicate, crossing the limit sometimes, but that is how they build trust and relationships. By contrast, Somalians are a little reserved and viewed directness as disrespectful, and they gave more importance to mutual respect and politeness.

The conflicts presented a window of opportunity for me to learn and then teach my team about how to overcome the cultural barrier. First, I acquainted myself with both cultures and then I mentored both the parties to help them understand the difference in each other’s social norms. I also created small teams with mixed nationalities, giving them a greater chance to interact and learn about each other’s way of communication. This helped my team create a strong bond amongst themselves, and then they applied the same learnings to serve our international clientele at Hyatt. The improvements within the team and outside the team helped Hyatt Regency Denver be recognized as the # 1 hotel in convention services across the Hyatt group of hotels in North America.

This one experience really cemented in me the belief that as a leader you should learn and then pass on the learnings for a greater impact. This fundamental belief has helped me lead in a better way, deliver better results, and acquire skills to progress my career as well as the career of my team members.

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