My Yale Essay that Worked

Yale SOM was the first admissions essay I wrote.  So I think this is one of my weakest; however, all that matters is it WORKED!

“The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization—as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent. (500 words maximum)”

In 2009, ABC Company’s Selling, General, and Administrative expense amounted to 51% of our revenue, which placed us near the bottom of our peer group. This unsustainable position alarmed our financial leadership and alarmed me. When I was asked after one year with the company to reduce ABC’s administrative footprint by reorganizing the accounting process of our $1 billion of annual Capital spend and $8 billion of Fixed Assets, I accepted.

I started with processes. ABC used a labor-intensive accounting process, which required two forms and several emails between Finance and Engineering even for small projects. I lobbied our Chief Accounting Officer for authorization to employ an automated accounting procedure I created for smaller projects. With his support, I implemented this rationalized method, saving ABC $250,000 annually.

Next were systems. ABC had over 40 affiliate countries disconnected from our central accounting system, Systems Applications Products (SAP). Each affiliate country maintained detached procedures, controls, and, most importantly, resources. My task was to partner with each country’s leadership, implement SAP, and supervise the data migration of 35,000 Fixed Asset records. However, Fixed Asset accounting is one of the most tightly regulated parts of the financial statements. The most complex requirements, such as property tax reports in Japan, inflationary accounting in Venezuela, and fair-market revaluation in Colombia, require significant effort to comply with. These specifications posed major difficulties to meeting deadlines. Unable to lead the team to a fair-market revaluation solution in SAP, I was forced to choose between hiring additional consultants, delaying the launch, or going live without an automated solution. Ultimately, I elected to go-live without an automated report and asked our Colombian accountants to maintain a manual process. However, despite these challenges all affiliates went live on time and all the systems I designed are in use today. These systems enabled the hardest step, organizational structure reform.

With one global accounting system ABC’s leadership chose to reorganize our accountants into regional hubs. These hubs facilitated the application of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act financial controls, which I designed the year prior. With my training, each hub increased our service level by allowing sharing of best practices across regions and reduced our operating cost by centralizing. We reduced ABC’s administrative expenses by another $1 million annually.

Accepting this position required me to perform at a mature level early in my career. I was the youngest member of a 200 person team and, moreover, the lowest ranking process leader. However, I saw this as my best opportunity to make a lasting impact. Through my success in this role, I upgraded the processes, reduced the administrative expenses by $1.25 million, and increased the industry competitiveness of ABC. I believe my commitment to progress, tough decision-making, and individual assiduousness will contribute significantly to SOM’s class of 2017. With a SOM MBA, I hope to complement these qualities with general management dexterity and leadership ability.

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