This is not your traditional essay - and in fact I am not your traditional student. I tend to do things a little differently from the norm. I am a risk-taker, and I try to use my creativity to back it up. In retrospect I have learned from my experiences. I would like to share what I have learned so far.
What I Have Learned So Far.
First and foremost I believe in the KISS method. Keep it short and simple. So I shall:
My first job - I was fourteen. I realized I wanted to do more than study. I was a freshman in high school. My dean announced a position interning at an interior design firm. I knew it had to be me! I passed the interview. People asked me how old I was when I ordered carpet samples. They were amazed when I answered them.
My mom bought me nice work clothes. I dressed to the nines and had established a small sense of professionalism. I learned how to make a good impression. But I did not compromise my opinion even then. When my boss asked me my opinion of how two swatches looked together I told her they clashed. "No, don't you see, plaids and florals always, always, always! I learned how to make blueprint copies on the blueprint machine, but I still don't think plaids and florals go together. Nevertheless, it was the prime of my life and I was a hopper - a job hopper, at that age!
I started stuffing envelopes for a small company after school. I would get paper cuts on my hands. But I worked hard. One day my boss showed me a trick to open the envelopes faster, and I realized it wasn't just about working hard, but also working smart.
Once I worked in a farmers market selling various fruits and vegetables around Halloween. A woman suggested to my boss he had too many scarecrows blocking the produce. The next day I noticed a few scarecrows missing. It was then I learned that the customer is always right.
In the winters my friend and I shoveled driveways. It was helpful to the community members, and good pocket money for us. We walked around with our shovels door to door, asking for work. People would make an offer and we would try to get them to raise the amount. It was there I learned negotiating.
I loved working more than going to school. Inevitably, to make a long story short, I would change schools - even there I washed tables. There was value to work, I could feel it. It kept me busy and engaged. And I learned - To pay attention to details.
In the east coast jobs are all over the place - but I would soon learn it wasn't too easy to land a job everywhere.
Tucson sure was hot. A lot hotter that the east coast. I applied for work at a nursery. I was watering plants. I had water up to my knees. I hated it. I was wearing long sleeves to protect myself from the heat. It was below a low paying job. I lasted three hours and quit. I learned I have choices.
I thought about graduation. I had studied Biomedical Science in college and that is the degree I was handed. But few people know I began my studies in Christ College, Bangalore, India. I started as a business major, with the hopes of opening an advertising agency. I was working for all the small firms, and even designed billboards for a state bank and held an art exhibition. The brochures through the company that sponsored the exhibition cost too much. So, I had designed my own brochures for that exhibition and got them screen printed myself- I learned that persistence is the key to success.
When I came to Michigan I opted for Food Marketing. I had a wonderful professor who
believed in me. I was acing all the exams in my first marketing class, getting the topmost score for each and every one. I started a small job at a telemarketing agency at night. The final exam came. I bombed it. Too much too soon? I was able to cut one exam from my average. So I still had a good grade. In a flurry I left the telemarketing job. But I came away with one important lesson from tha job - Smile and Dial.
I applied for a Coca- Cola scholarship and won it. I was in a competition for Robert
Mondavi wines. We designed a "butterfly cork" so the wine could be opened more easily. We showed ads that wine could e for any occasion not just celebrations and romantic getaways. We placed 2nd in the national food marketing competition. I learned the value of teamwork. It was a true achievement. But I wanted more, something "challenging".
I decided boldly to change my major. I wanted to be a Doctor, business was too easy for me, I thought. I was averaging a 4.0/4.0 in business, was the team leader for most projects undertaken in college, and it just felt too easy. I didn't realize it then but I was a "natural".
The major change was tough for me. I overloaded myself with science classes and many times wanted to give up. I thought of my professor's lesson on SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I felt threatened by my own choice.
I managed to graduate with honors, Cum Laude. I was invited to be a member of Golden
Key International Honors Society and Phi Kappa Phi. I learned networking is key.
I ended up in Tucson living in my mother's home. This was not what I wanted, I wanted to be independent. I posted my resume online. And the phone rang.
The person on the other end told me about the company. I wasn't really listening I was just too excited. I was emailed a "script". Oh telemarketing, I can do that I thought. I learned to never underestimate your opportunities.
I was in the home of a small business owner. I didn't know if I really wanted to be there, in fact I didn't want to be there at all. I was interviewed. And I passed. Much later my mentor would tell me, "Do you know why I hired you?" I shook my head "No". He apparently had asked me: "Most people say they will work hard. Most people say they will do a good job. Tell me why I should hire you?" I replied "I will work hard", he raised his eyebrow as this was not what he wanted to hear. "I will work harder than anyone who's worked here before." That is what impressed him.
It wasn't telemarketing, it was an assistant project manager position. A little bit of everything - training agents in India via phone, making your own calls, reviewing pipelines, updating dashboards, meeting service level agreements. I was having a blast. I started working under my mentor and learned the meaning of pipeline and dashboard. I am quick to learn and was put through the Salesforce.com training, and managed to manipulate Hoovers.com for company research. I started making reports on my own, just for fun. Initially I thought that metrics need to be shown visually - I didn't realize how right I was. I made a report for one client. All of a sudden, all the clients started requesting my reports I learned that data should make sense to the layman.
I moved into my own apartment, and could afford my own lifestyle. I learned there are rewards in being self-made.
It was time for us to get acquired by an Indian company. However, things weren't going so smoothly. I took a hiatus to join a teaching job, I was a high school science teacher. I will never forget my boss offering me more money, but I told him everything is not about money. Just let me try this.
Even my teaching experience was like going to business classes. Our students are the "customers". Our "service" is education. I learned how to relate to different people in the "company", different levels of "management", from the superintendent to the faculty. I was still working at my Project Management job as a Trainer from 5:30 am -7:30 am prior to my teaching job. I loved the way the training in the morning gave me confidence to take on the kids questions in my environment. I learned I could get along with people. I was promoted to lead teacher within the same year I was hired. I loved it. It was more like a management position - and I knew where my heart really was - Project Management.
I came back to my "home"- business - and we had been acquired by an Indian company by then. I was working there one week when our boss announced he would have a position open in India and they would be hunting for that person. I decided it would be me. I was sent to India on business as the link between project managers in India and USA. I would be a Global Delivery Specialist! I learned you have to visualize your goals.
I stayed in India two months, brainstorming solutions to HR, Quality, and Training and Management issues. I interviewed new hires on the phone and in person. I asked various questions but I always ended the interview asking the same question my mentor asked me - I learned it's important to have a mentor.
But after a month I had an upper respiratory tract infection followed by laryngitis. I had laryngitis for a whole month in India before I came home.
In that time I reflected a lot on my journey so far. I knew I would love to study to be a project manager specifically. I just wished they offered such a degree.
I thought about it when I returned to my mother's home in Vegas. Here I was back at home nurturing my voice. My forced meditation made me realize that I can achieve even more with higher studies - why let my dreams stop here.
What I Aim to Learn.
I would love to be admitted to the program - learn the terminologies, collaborate with peers, and take some risks. Brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of peers, selecting the best solution and mitigating risk. I have experience in lead generation, demand generation and executive leverage - but I need an overall understanding of how to successfully tie the loose ends together. I need a foundation for growth. I want a chance to further my education.
I have been successful and I have failed in life - but I have been passionate whether succeeding or failing. My mother calls it spunk. I like to think of it as being a "multi-dreamer", like a multi-tasker but more vision oriented.
I have a good foundation to pull knowledge from, and my varied experience is my asset. I realize I have been all over the place, but it's where you go from here that matters. I may even sound like a jack of all trades, but now it is time to be a master. Do admit me to your masters program so I can achieve mastery.