The statement of purpose carries a huge weight in the MBA admission process. Your GMAT or other test scores will reflect on your analytical and problem-solving skills. Other aspects of your application such as your profile and resume will reveal details about your past academic and professional achievements.

SOP – Statement of Purpose

Your SOP is one component which talks about your short term and long-term goals, your future plans and, how will you reach there and why doing an MBA is important for you. Hence, SOP will give the admission officers insight into what you have planned for your career.

How to structure your thoughts in your statement of purpose:

You might have a lot of information and ideas that you would want to mention in your statement of purpose but you need to give a structure to your thoughts and maximize the utilization of real estate provided to you. Here are a few aspects of your statement of purpose that you need to take care of:

  • Format:  Every B-school has its own way when it comes to the statement of purpose. Where few B-schools like to give structured questions with sub questions in it others like to give open ended questions and see what applicants do with it.

Though your statement of purpose is necessarily an SOP, it needs to have a structure in place so that all the important elements about you are covered in the SOP.  You can broadly divide your SOP into different sub-section each one explaining a different aspect of your personality or life. You may further divide it into the various broad and sub categories.

  • Length:  B-schools generally don’t mention a word count of sorts for the statement of purpose.  It is up to the students to decide the length of the statement. However, the absence of a strict word count doesn’t mean that you would write a very lengthy SOP with all the details of your personal and professional life.

It is important to edit your SOP and keep only the parts that are absolutely important and add the maximum value to your application. The length of the SOP needs to be crisp and healthy. You cannot write an SOP which runs to tens of pages and at the same time you also can’t write an SOP which is only about few important points without any enhancing examples or writing flow.

The standard recommended word count for an SOP is 1000 words in case the B-school doesn’t provide you with the word count.  Make sure your SOP has a natural flow. Try to use transitional words to weave an interesting story. Remember the admission officers might be reading tons of SOPs in the admission season, hence, make sure your SOP is not painfully long and at the same time is interesting to read.

A good yardstick can be – 2 page long with double spacing.

  • Important points: No matter which B-school are your applying for and what is your background, there are a few points that you need to absolutely mention in your SOP. If you leave out any of the points, your SOP might seem incomplete. Here are a few crucial points or aspects that you should mention:
    • Your personal and professional background.
    • Professional experience and achievements.
    • Career goals ( long term and short term)
    • Why do you want to do an MBA?
    • Why do you want to do your MBA from that particular B-School?
    • How will you utilize your newly earned knowledge to bridge the gap between your current state and your goals.
  • How to customize SOP for every B-school:  It is not a good idea to write only one SOP and send it to all the schools. Every B-School is different and though most of the schools look for a few of the standard qualities in their applicants, there would certainly be a few differences in expectations of each business school.  It is essential for you to customize every SOP you submit according to the b-school you are sending it out to.

Customizing the SOP means that you need to research about the school and see what characteristics stand out to you. Then you should incorporate those in the SOP and present a coherent picture of what you intend to learn from the B-School.

How to decide what to write in your SOP:

It can be a daunting task to edit your SOP as you might feel that every point you have is important and should make it to the final draft. However, to manage the length of the SOP, you need to condense your points and put in maximum information in a limited word limit.

  • Points you need to write in the SOP :
    • The basic information about your academic profile and professional prowess.
    • Special and distinct skills you possess.
    • Your goals and career plans.
    • How an MBA would help your career.
    • Facts and figures regarding your achievements which would validate them further.
    • A clear understanding of how you would utilize your newly earned skills through your MBA towards enhancing your career.
  • Points you should not keep in your SOP:
    • Don’t repeat the points you have already mentioned.
    • Don’t write about similar points or achievements. Pick the best one and highlight it.
    • For example:  If you have won many prizes for SOP writing competitions. You might want to mention a national- level prize you won and write a side note about winning many other prizes too rather than mentioning every prize you have ever won.
    • Don’t make the whole SOP about your academic background. B-schools would be majorly looking for your professional experience, hence, give it enough or bigger weight on your SOP.
    • Don’t be ambiguous. When you write about your short term and long term goals don’t be vague about your plans and goals. B-schools appreciate and value quantifiable goals. This shows you have clarity on your career plan.

 If it gets too cumbersome for you to edit your SOP, you could always get professional assistance to edit your SOPs.

However, if you do enough research, writing an impressive statement of purpose is not that difficult at all.

All the best for your MBA admissions!