So I'm thinking about b-school and found this book on HBS essays. And of course they're all great and inspiring, but there does tend to be a trend toward 1) high powered finance/consulting and 2) non-profit, third-world work. It's almost cliched - I'm nearly surprised when someone doesn't write about leading/managing a case/analysis team which outperforms/impresses a client/target or describes the saving of a thousand starving Burundi children from an onslaught of marauding Eskimos.
Here's an essay which will be sure to either get me admitted or possibly arrested.
When I first heard about "BetterCons" I was sure it was the copycat of the Bridgespan Group or New Sector alliance, consulting firms providing strategic expertise to a variety of non-profits. But being involved with BetterCons proved to be so much more - instead of reforming criminals and helping them adjust to "normal" life which usually meant distrustful employers, poor wages, and social stigma, BetterCons chose to help current criminals improve their practices to better support themselves. Through a variety of strategic frameworks and best practices designed around specialized industries as money laundering, drug dealing, and armed robbery, we helped these non-law abiding citizens realize higher profits, less (or more, depending on client) violence, and more effective escape routes.
Why, in one case example, we helped turn a generic counterfeit scam into a full fledged racket, with pyramid schemes, bookkeepping, and "enforcement." It wasn't just planning but doing, from finding underage customers for heroin to literally "breaking kneecaps." Sure, sometimes our strategies didn't always work, which would result in the client being arrested, but even then we added value by planting evidence on unsuspecting innocents and bribing key judges and law enforcement personnel. There's really no greater feeling of accomplishment than seeing a guilty, hardened criminal receive a suspended sentence, with the full intent of resuming his illegal activities upon release (I get goosebumps remembering that day in court :-).
When I think back on my experience with BetterCons, I'll know I made a difference. Like their motto says, "If you can't change them, it's too late! :-)"