Prompt: Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led to your decision to pursue an MBA at the Wharton school this year. How does this decision relate to your career goals for the future?]

Throughout my life I have observed two distinct career paths, my father’s and my uncle’s. My father completed his engineering degree and secured a government job in India, which he continues to hold to this day. My uncle’s path began similarly; like my father, he earned an engineering degree. My uncle, on the other hand, continued his education by moving to the United States to earn an MBA, then started his own venture and became a successful businessman in Los Angeles. Evaluating their experiences helped me understand what I wanted from my life and create a ‘master plan’ for my career. While I appreciate the excitement, flexibility, and independence my uncle has in his life, I value my father’s proximity to his family and culture. I now realize that a career as an entrepreneur in India could provide me with the “best of both worlds.”

With the objective of learning about business, I completed my bachelor’s degree in Commerce and joined KPMG in the Audit & Business Advisory Department. I believed that a career with an accounting firm would serve me in two ways: first, by enhancing my knowledge of accounting — the language of business — and second, by providing me with an excellent introduction to the business world. My decision seemed to be a sound one; in my first two years at KPMG, I worked on a wide variety of assignments that not only strengthened my analytical and problem-solving skills, but also taught me how large businesses managed their sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution functions. After enjoying this productive and educational experience for two years, I decided I wanted greater opportunities than what the audit department could offer.

Thus, when the Management Assurance Services (MAS) practice was established in India, the challenge of working in a new service line and the opportunity to help improve the risk management mechanisms of businesses influenced me to join it. In the last three years, I have improved risk management capabilities of clients by addressing strategic, enterprise and operational risk issues. I have also assisted the MAS practice in tailoring our international portfolio of services to the Indian marketplace by conducting risk management surveys, interacting with professionals in other developing economies, and conducting interviews with senior client management. Besides becoming skilled at process risk consulting, I have also significantly improved my project management and ‘new service’ development abilities in the last three years.

During my tenure with the MAS department, I have encountered challenges that have motivated me to seek a management degree. For example, last year, we conducted a process risk review for a cash-starved Indian auto ancillary that had expanded capacity without assessing sources of competitive advantage. It was clear that the company needed to rethink its business and operational strategy. Since the MAS department lacked the necessary skills to execute the project, we hired consultants to assist us in the assignment. Their approach of reviewing both the strategic and operational aspects of the business was an eye-opener for me. The pair of consultants used their knowledge of international business and macroeconomics to evaluate key industry trends and identify new markets for the company. In addition, they employed their understanding of supply chain management to benchmark key capabilities with competition and identify opportunities for improvement. As I witnessed the progress made by these two consultants, I realized that in order to achieve my long-term professional goals, I needed to return to school to expand my understanding of the fundamentals of corporate and industry analysis.

I also believe that management education can help me develop other vital skills essential to my standing as a professional. For example, I will benefit from the opportunity to further polish my public speaking ability and hone my skills as a negotiator. Also, I have had limited experience working outside India, and I feel that an international education will equip me with the skills necessary to deal with foreign suppliers and customers.

After graduating from Wharton, I will seek a position in a strategy consulting firm in its business building/growth practice. In addition to providing me with an opportunity to apply what I have learned, a position in the ‘growth practice’ will expose me to the practical issues of new business creation. Three to five years after earning an MBA, I would expect to establish my own business venture. In the short-term, however, I may explore exciting business ideas and examine ways to build a sustainable business with the help of the Wharton Venture Initiation Program.

The ideal education for me includes the Wharton Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management majors coupled with unique experiences like the Wharton Business Plan Competition and the Wharton Technology Entrepreneurship Internship. Perhaps even more importantly, I look to benefit from the Wharton environment — an environment of boundless innovation. Wharton will give me the opportunity to apply the theory, models and techniques I learn in the classroom to the real world. I intend to join the ‘entrepreneurs club’ and ‘consulting club’, which will not only help me form lifelong friendships with fellow students, but also give me exposure to top consulting firms and successful entrepreneurs. I would be proud to be a part of the Women in Business club and contribute to the 125 years of women at Penn.

After five years of business experience, I believe that I am ready to take the next step toward my dream of being an entrepreneur. I also am confident that I am ready to participate actively as a member of the incoming Wharton class. At this point I am looking to gain the requisite skills and relationships to grow as a professional; I know that Wharton is the right place for me to accomplish this objective.