I have made it a habit, to post and share some of the essays that I’ve written from the “heart”. Below is my response to the first essay question on the application to the IBS MBA program at Brandeis University:
What international/cross-cultural experiences will you bring to Brandeis International Business School and how will this contribute to the classroom?
Keep in mind that I have written my answer from the heart, it is the only way to provide an authentic response for the Admission Council…
Having grown up in Moscow, Russia during “Perestroika” (Restructuring), I have witnessed the collapse of the former Soviet Union, as well as the collapse of cultural norms, severe unemployment, pre and post Soviet Union anti-Semitism, sever inflation and devaluation of money, and two civil wars.
I grew up in single parent household, and I have personally tasted and experienced real hardships including occasional & frequent hunger, humbling poverty, fear, discrimination, and anti-Semitism.
From my very early childhood, I became aware of the significance & importance of social fairness. I have also made a profound and deeply felt realization that a small business and entrepreneurship is truly necessary in order to foster some growth during tough economic times.
I have started out my small business ventures by selling ice cream on the commuter rail trains in Moscow. I was only 12 at the time. I would be walking the train, and selling ice cream to the people taking the commuter rail train to get home after work.
For me this was an after school entrepreneurial activity and a test of character. Moscow was a dangerous city, and I desperately needed some money to buy a pair of wrestling shoes in order to be able to participate in the official wrestling tournaments in Moscow. At the time, it was my coveted dream to make a name for myself as an amateur wrestler in order to escape poverty and hopelessness, which has been surrounding me ever since I can remember.
As a youngster, I did not do well in school due to the lack of parental supervision and involvement. Later, I also came to learn that I am right brain dominant, which requires a much disciplined approach to learning on my part. I have also suffered a severe head trauma in accident as a young child.
Needless to say, school was a real pain for me from my early days. I was poorly dressed compared to my classmates, slow at learning, and generally discouraged by the whole atmosphere surrounding me at my school in Moscow.
Thus, a shot at becoming a high level athlete held a lot of promise for me, and I relentlessly pursued my dream. Until, I fell a victim to my own inability to deal with the fact that I was poor, and did not have a Mom. It was when my wrestling coach, made a well-meaning comment praising me in front of other kids as a “hardworking kid who helps his Dad and works hard in the wrestling room despite being poor and not having a Mom…” At the time, hearing this in front of other kids really hurt and embarrassed me… Regretfully, I quit the sport on that fateful day.
Without a doubt, it was a tough loss for me. Wrestling was the only thing I had going for me at the time, and quitting meant that I have abandoned my dream. However, I persevered and graduated from the middle school.
When, I was 16 (almost 17) my Dad moved our family to the US. My brother and I started high school in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. We learned English and started a new life in the states.
Now, having co-started two small companies in the US, I continue writing my story and work hard every day to build upon successes and failures that define my life.
They say, a champion is a person who has lost a lot. I am not a champion, but I never stop trying. I would bring my international experience, tenaciousness, compassion, courage and passion to the IBS MBA program at Brandeis University.