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The Godfather Film Summary Essay

1. In the movie The Godfather, Consigliere Tom Hagan captured the essence of my legal practice: “I have a special practice. I handle one client. ” Basically, I run a small law firm of government attorneys that represent a single state-agency client. Specifically, I supervise a division of the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office that represents the State’s Department of Health and Human Resources in state and federal court and administrative tribunals. With five bureaus and over 5,000 employees, the Department is West Virginia’s largest state agency.

And because it serves a vulnerable population, provides a broad number of social services, and annually receives billions of federal dollars, the Department frequently confronts complex and potentially very expensive legal issues. It is my job to see that those issues are resolved. In this position, I routinely interact with the Department’s cabinet secretary and her senior staff, as well as members of the Governor’s office. I also play a central role in the decisionmaking in the Attorney General’s office as a whole as one of only five division directors and the leader of the office’s largest division.

I have routine interaction with the Attorney General and other high-level attorneys in the office. I decide issues of process, personnel, and long-term strategy. An MBA from Kenan-Flagler will help me achieve both my long- and shortterm objectives over the next five years. Long term, I will continue seeking opportunities to lead and serve, whether they are in my current job, or in another position in state government. West Virginia is blessed by natural beauty and resources. But it is suffering. The economy and the population are unhealthy.

More than anything, the State needs people to get involved. I believe that if young, educated people take the simple steps of choosing to live in West Virginia, raise their families here, and start their businesses here, then the State will grow and thrive. The [email protected] education will allow me to understand and consider vital financial and business issues, which is critical to creating successful public policies and programs in West Virginia. Short term, I see myself continuing to improve the division linherited just eight months ago.

Last December, the Attorney General asked me to turn around the largest division in his office. I encountered an organization that was struggling in various ways. Although I have done a lot to improve the division I have implemented internal processes to improve internal communications, client responsiveness, and the quality of legal work product—there is more work to do. An MBA from Kenan-Flagler will give me the business skills I need to lead a large division in state government, whether I stay in my current position or take another job.

The Navy gave me a great deal of “soft skills. I gained invaluable experience in dealing with human nature, learned to work in teams, and discovered how to motivate others. But in many ways this leadership training was like learning music by ear. As a 23-year-old ensign, I learned through a lot of trial and error, seeing what works and —more often—what does not. To be a more complete leader, I need a formal business education. Just as my law degree, judicial clerkships, and law firm experience have prepared me to effectively advise and guide my clients, my MBA will improve my knowledge of business and improve how I lead strategically and organizationally.

An MBA will give me the tools I need to improve my skills as a leader and broaden my knowledge to improve any organization I am a part of. It will teach me the language of finance, the intricacies of strategic management, and the nuances of entrepreneurship. Kenan-Flagler is the perfect place for me to get this education. I want a top-level education, but as the father of two young children in a demanding job in Charleston, West Virginia, time constraints and geography rule out most, if not all, other top MBA programs for me. The convenience of the [email protected] program will allow e to obtain this top-level education while allowing me flexibility to fulfill my responsibilities at work and home.

2. Self-awareness is a benefit of repeated leadership positions. Leaders make hard choices that directly affect the daily lives of others, and effective leaders must constantly re-evaluate how they deal with people and approach problems. For better or worse, I have developed a keen sense of knowing where I am strong and where I need improvement. Through the [email protected] program, I hope to refine these strengths and shore up my weaknesses. Instinct and empathy are two of my greatest professional strengths.

Years of pressure-filled decision-making have helped me instinctively identify solutions to thorny problems. Early in my career, the Navy often required quick decisions and creative thinking. Few situations are more stressful than simultaneously standing watch over an 18,000-ton warship in confined international waters, travelling in a formation with other ships, resolving an engineering casualty, launching helicopters, and watching for small boat threats, all while foreign diplomats are on board. I learned to assess situations calmly and to mindfully make decisions in chaos.

Likewise, my current position in state government requires me to make organizational decisions, often times under time constraints and with limited information. I must accept the problems of my lawyers as my own and continually learn what motivates each individual. And as a lawyer, solving my clients’ problems requires me to think analytically and to rapidly identify and assess risk. I’ve seen that empathy has become an essential acquired skill of mine. This became particularly true during my service as an elected city councilman in Charleston, West Virginia.

Running for and holding public office in a state capital of 50,000 people was a profound learning experience. As a candidate, I walked various neighborhoods on weekday evenings after work and on Saturday mornings, knocking on doors to meet potential voters. I also attended countless community meetings to answer questions, and stood on street corners, waiving a yard sign to garner name recognition. Running for office was humbling. It is a universal truth that no matter your achievements or successes, once you are a candidate for public office—at any level-people challenge you.

It takes effort to convince strangers that you want to hold public office for the right reasons. Once elected, I had to remember those people, see the world from their view, and make the best decisions I could. Although I often had to make hard choiceswhether to close a fire station or to raise taxes- I remembered the people I represented. Empathizing with them was an invaluable decision-making tool. Notwithstanding these strengths, however, I realize that I need formal business skills if I am going to effectively lead a large public organization.

An MBA from UNC would allow me to acquire those skills directly, not just from the greatest business professors in the world, but also from the experience of my classmates. I want to learn how to market effectively, how finance markets operate, and what makes entrepreneurs successful. I am looking to further develop my management and leadership skills and understand how to develop strategy in an organization. I believe these skills are essential to achieve my goals, and I am confident I can develop them through the [email protected] program.

3. My experiences and perspective will differentiate me from my classmates and enhance the Kenan-Flagler virtual classroom. For one, my path has been unique: naval officer, lawyer, city councilman, and deputy state attorney general. Since graduating from college, I have guided a warship through the Suez Canal, launched helicopters off the coast of Africa, clerked beside two federal judges, represented individuals charged with crimes, prosecuted crimes on appeal, run for and won elected office, and litigated cases worth tens of millions of dollars.

These experiences have shaped my view of the world and will set me apart from my classmates in our classroom discussions. Perhaps more than that, however, I will bring a different perspective to Kenan-Flagler than a typical business school student. Though I was raised in southern California, chose to raise my family in a small city in a rural eastern state. Unlike many people in my adopted home state, I chose to live here, and that has made me appreciate the fulfillment that my city and State provide. I’m often asked why I made that choice, and the answer I give is simple: I wanted fulfillment. Places like California will be just fine.

But places like West Virginia need smart people willing to make a difference. After finishing law school and my judicial clerkships, I could have worked anywhere. But I wanted more than a big paycheck. I realized that West Virginia is a place where I can make a difference just by choosing to raise my family here. And, selfishly, I derive enormous professional satisfaction seeing my efforts improve the way people live. Quality of life is vital to a city’s health and success. If cities like Charleston can attract residents with a high quality of life, then businesses and jobs will follow, and growth and innovation will spark renewal.

An example of this is my efforts to allow outdoor dining in downtown Charleston. One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Charleston was that no restaurants had outdoor dining that allowed alcohol to be served. The reason for this abnormality was the State’s archaic liquor laws that prohibited outdoor dining without specific fencing and seclusion from public walkways. Soon after my election to city council, however, I worked with several of my colleagues to break through these regulations and draft an ordinance that would allow outdoor dining in the central downtown area.

Now, several years later, Charleston’s downtown streets are full of people enjoying food and drink outside in the summer months. As a result, new restaurants appear, bring even more people to a now-vibrant downtown. It was a small achievement, but it is symbolic of how vision can create change. These experiences and perspectives will make me unique among my cohorts. I’ve seen the way that creativity and action can impact lives, both at work and in the community. Tam eager to begin my time in the [email protected] program and learning equally from my classmates.

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