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I think it's that time of the year when many of you are busy writing Statement of Purpose while filling the form of reputed B-Schools for the second phase of the admission process. While we are up to reviewing many of your Statement of Purpose every day, there are certain areas in general which we have observed where most of us need improvement while writing Statement of Purpose (SOP). So, to make your work easier and your SOP more impressive, we will be addressing some of the most commonly observes gaps in the SOPs of many candidates, through our Pointers to write an impressive SOP for MBA Admissions.
So now, what are the most important points B-Schools expect in Statement of Purpose?
♦ Strong Conviction to pursue MBA, backed with a reasoning and understanding of what an MBA degree brings to the table
♦ Vision to see MBA fitting into the career path
♦ Determination and focus to pursue MBA
♦ Need of MBA in your long-term career goals
♦ Last but not the least, Value add you will bring to their MBA Class
Pointers to write Statement of Purpose
Now since we know the expectations of a B-school from an SOP, let us have a look at the pointers to write an impressive SOP for MBA Admissions.
Introspect to the best possible extent
Many of you wonder how to start writing an SOP. Well to do that, you must introspect first. Because the key to writing an SOP is to know himself or herself because if you can't convince yourself first, then how do you expect to convince the admission panel. And this conviction comes through introspection.
Now you may wonder what to write? Well, start by writing each and every event in the document. You may not need everything that you are writing, but do write everything and then filter it later. In this way, you will not miss out o any event. You never know what happens in your life could become a clear differentiating and the winning reason for you. After you are done introspecting, you should be able to answer these four questions at least:
1. What do you want in life?
2. Why do you want to do MBA to achieve the same?
3. Why a particular B-School and/or particular programme?
4. Why should the B-School select you?
You should be very crisp and clear with the introduction of the SOP.
In the introduction, you should be focusing on your central idea so that the reader gets an idea about your self-belief and determination to pursue MBA and should be excited to see what awaits him in the body of the SOP. Talk about what sparked the desire in you to pursue MBA. Be specific and wrap up the introduction in 5-6 sentences to leave an immediate impact on the reader as stronger the introduction, more will be his interest to continue reading. You may even briefly explain who you are, what you want to achieve and why you think MBA and the respective B-School is meant for you.
Body of SOP
How to proceed in writing the body of the SOP? Now an important note is that you should always write in paragraphs. Break the body in different paragraphs, with every paragraph revolving around a central idea. The flow from one paragraph to another should be consistent and in sync. Structure it clearly, logically and carefully. And don’t just state the fact, support it by some figures or recognition. Backing them makes them look more accurate and true. This way the reader starts believing in you and this strengthens your SOP.
Major points that you can cover here include:
♦ Projection of your overall personality
♦ Academic and Work experience background/achievements
♦ Strengths and Assertive discussion (emphasize positively) of weaknesses
♦ How you see MBA as a fit in the continuity of your career
♦ Commitment and Motivation for MBA and for long-term career goals
♦ Communication Skills
♦ Leadership Skills, including the ability to handle the pressure
♦ Strengths as a team player
Conclusion of SOP
While there is no sure shot way to conclude, but do end the SOP with a couple of statements which further strengthen your image in the mind of the reader – make him confirm his thought that you are meant to be in a class of MBA of his B-School. Challenge him to avoid thinking about your candidature and win it when he gives you a good score in SOP.
Do not forget to differentiate your SOP from that of others.So for that, In addition to writing the regular stuff on academic background, work experience, extra-curricular etc., try to mention the points about yourself which will differentiate you from rest of the crowd. Because everyone writes about the internship, or what kind of work they did in office or that they were chairman/president/head of some society or event in their respective college. But, no one can be you, so mention things about yourself that really differentiates you from the rest.
Put forth a perspective of your personality which will actually differentiate you from others. This can either be a not so common strength, quality, expertise or achievement . and while mentioning don’t forget to back it up with facts/ figures/certification etc. to strengthen your case. And introspection is the best way to do this. So again, before starting with your SOP, sit calmly in a room and let your life run in flashback. Do not miss out on anything even though you think its small. Remember, write everything first and then filter it later.
Get your SOP reviewed by 2-3 experts, as we tend to make some minor or major mistake which we seem to not notice and cannot identify with. So, the best way to arrive at the best possible SOP is to get it reviewed by at least 2-3 experts who have experience in guiding people with SOPs for reputed B- school or who are from the same B-school you are targeting. Keep reviewing it and making changes unless the reviewer cannot find any more scope for improvement.
Do not use the same SOP for every B-School
The most common mistake most of you do is by using the same SOP for every B-school. Don’t forget, each B-school is unique in its own way and so while writing an SOP, you should not be missing on that. Your SOP should be in sync with what a respective B-school looks for and hence it should be different for each B-school.