The paper “ Why Do I Need to Pursue an MBA at Wharton? " is a exciting example of a personal statement on management. Throughout my career, I have developed a niche for myself as an integrator. Multi-functional Integration: It could be traced back to my first and second job in Lenovo Han Consulting (Beijing) and BearingPoint (Shanghai) respectively, which helped me build a solid understanding of multi-functional business processes. There I took the initiative to work with the sales, finance, purchase and warehouse departments, developing a holistic view of the business. I leveraged this knowledge to become Lenovo’ s youngest project manager. Multinational Integration: One year later I joined the SAP Global Best Practices Team.
For me, it was an important shift from multi-function integration to a multinational one. This period helped me to understand the cultural, managerial, and financial contexts and diversities of countries like the United States, Germany, Japan, Singapore, India, Pakistan and so on. I have had the chance to lead multi-cultural teams – a profound challenge in itself – of people from all around the world. It was an elevating and, at the same time, humbling experience. Multi-competing products Integration: Seeing the limits of conventional inter-firm competition, I explored new collaborations— that of competitors.
I realized the possibilities of integrating the best features of competing companies to offer specialized solutions to counter the unique problems of clients. I won major contracts for SAP from top steel companies by integrating a solution that used the resources of IBM and Accenture who were considered fierce competitors. Multi-industrial Integration: It was followed by a new approach, achieved through multi-industry integration. Addressing the unique challenges of Shenhua Group, the world’ s No. 1 supplier of coal, I approached the implementation maximizing its business potential across four industries by a single solution. The same multi-industry strategy enabled me to lead the mining industry domain team to pitch four global fortune 500 companies in one year and became the strongest growth-engine of SAP China. Multi-competing companies Integration: There are several competitors for SAP in the ERP arena, each of these companies having their own strengths.
For instance, PSI, a company that I had briefly worked for, had strong domain expertise in the steel industry whereas SAP had none.
But SAP had landed a huge project in a steel company, purely based on its reputation. This predicament forced me to explore creating the concept of a “ project-to-project understanding of sharing of resources and revenue between competitors” . I called it an “ ecosystem” and upon my initiative, PSI and SAP arrived at a consensus on this particular project. I motivated several other firms to make an ecosystem to share their respective strengths to supplement the strengths of individual companies. It enabled the implementation of projects easier and quicker.
It was a perfect world, where no matter who took the order, every body got their share of revenues and work. Corporate Venture Capital based integration: I have developed a revolutionary concept of integration on an entirely different plane. An equity-based partnership where companies like SAP could initiate a corporate venture capital (CVC) and invest in several small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). I presented the concept with SAP management and SMEs. But despite initial enthusiasm from the line of business owners such as commercial banking and manufacturing, and a detailed proposal that drew interest among SAP China’ s top executives, the project never took off. I have reason to believe that this setback was due in part to the conventional mind set of SAP China, and to my own lack of hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge on the domain. My short term goal is to join one of the pioneers of the CVC field such as Microsoft, Intel, Motorola Ventures, NEC, Kodak, and Siemens VC.
There I intend to learn the nuances of the business from their experiences, generalize their best practices, and understand their strategies.
In China, the concept of CVC is yet to take off on a large scale. The short-term preparation will help me to achieve my long-term career goal, that of building a Corporate Venture Capital department for a Chinese high tech company. I will build the new department from scratch in terms of team building and practices, and eventually craft my own philosophy, process, and methodology. Once established, I intend to realize my dream of implementing a CVC based integration concept to build ecosystems with SMEs. I realize that at this point my career, to “ do more” and “ be more” , I must “ learn more” .
As I have experienced on several occasions, I lack the theoretical background required to present my ideas. When I represented SAP China in negotiations with PSI, I was frustrated by a lack of familiarity with CVC, including issues of shareholder structure, exit strategies, and risk management. I find it a must, to build expertise that I currently lack, enhance my change leadership skills, and transform myself into an expert in the field of corporate venture capital. To pursue an MBA at Wharton is a smart one-stop solution for me to accomplish these tasks.
Two years is a long time and I wish to put it to the best possible use. I will double major in Finance and Strategic Management to lay down a solid foundation of fundamentals; my favorite courses include Venture Capital and the Finance of Innovation and Competitive Strategy and Industrial Structure. Moreover, I can gain hands-on experience by taking the summer internship at the Corporate Venture Capital Department, such as Intel or Microsoft. To move from outsider to insider of corporate venture capital, I need access to the network that Wharton provides through its alumni and faculty members.
I will be an active member of the Wharton Venture Capital Association. Moreover, I can benefit from Private Equity and Venture Capital conferences where I hope to find mentors. For example, the New Enterprise Associates co-founder Dick Kramlich spoke at Wharton's Private Equity and Venture Capital conference in January 2008, that he sees some of the best opportunities in China. Continuously being an integrator, I aspire to lead like an entrepreneur and build best practices of Corporate Venture Capital for Chinese companies, integrating firms with shared strategy benefits into a stronger ecosystem.
At this point, I see myself poised to embark on the next leg of growth, a step that involves bringing together the various parts of my past and fusing them into a single, focused career path, through what I learn at Wharton.