The following essay was submitted to the INSEAD MBA program by our client. The client was accepted to the program.
Several names and details in this essay sample were changed to protect client privacy.
The application essay question / topic:
Question: Describe a situation taken from school, business, civil or military life, where you did not meet your personal objectives, and discuss briefly the effect.
I recently failed in leading negotiations to sell my company's Enterprise Division to one of the largest industrial groups in my country. This failure directly resulted in the loss of 20 people's jobs.
During the initial meeting between the parties, we concluded the price and date of transfer. The CEOs left the room and left it up to us, the lawyers, to settle the details.
Throughout the meeting, a rivalry emerged between the legal parties. The situation eventually turned into personal animosity, to a point where the group’s CEO requested that we remove our external counsel. What made the situation even harder was the rising tension amongst the division’s employees. Productivity and morale dropped with rumors of a buy-out circulating.
After a month of discussions, the deal fell through. Twenty of the forty division’s employees were fired immediately with the rest scheduled to be fired within the upcoming weeks.
We failed by feeding off each other’s suspicions leading to spiraling negative dynamics. Most importantly, I failed to consider the extent to which my actions affected the division’s employees. Once the deal became too complex to be executed, I should have gone back to the drawing board or defused the situation by restraining, or even replacing our external counsel.
With this failure resonating in my mind, I have actually been given a second chance with an additional offer from a new party. This time around I'm determined not to allow personal rivalry get in the way of the company’s best interests. I constantly think about the job security of the remaining twenty employees, who have been with the company for over 15 years, people with families, who will have difficulties in finding new jobs.