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How to Write a Statement of Purpose

BeforeyoustartwritingyourSOP,answerthequestionWhatdoyouwanttodoREALLYandwhyareyou
optingforthisparticularBschool?
Agoodanswertothisquestionshoulddothefollowingthreethings:
1. demonstratethatyouintendtobeanagentofchangeinwhatevercareeryoupursueafterMBA
2. lendcredibilitytoyourcareergoals
3. clearly and effectively explain why the program being offered by this particular Bschool is the ideal
programforyoutoachieveyourgoals
Youressayhastobeconsistentwithyourbiography:theremustbesomefactsinyourpastexperiencethat
makeyourgoalsbelievable.Forinstance,ifyousayyouwanttobecomeasocialentrepreneur,butyouhave
no history of getting involved with nonprofit organizations, lack significant recent volunteer experience
and/orhavenosignificantentrepreneurialexperience,yourSOPwilllackcredibility.

WhilecreatingyourSOPusetheGap,SWOT(Strengths,Weaknesses,Opportunities,Threats)andROI(Return
onInvestment)matrixgivenbelow.

Your

Presentcareer

PostMBA

Gapbetween
presentandfuture

Organizational
Role

Industry:
Function:
Responsibilities:
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3

Industry:
Function:
Responsibilities:
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3

Industry:
Function:
Responsibilities:
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

ROI(whatskillsor
otheraspectsofthe
MBAwillhelpyou
achieveyourpost
MBAgoals?)
Industry:
Function:
Responsibilities:
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3

Howtousethismatrix:

Step1:Beginbyanalysingyourpresentcareer.Whatrolesandresponsibilitieshaveyouhadatwork?Ifyou
haventstartedworking,thenmentionwhatrolesandresponsibilitieshaveyouhadatclubs,parttimejobs,
internships, volunteer activities, etc.? What were/are your functional roles? What were/are your
responsibilities?
Step 2: Next, analyse your present strengths and weaknesses for succeeding in your present career. In
particular,someofyourgreateststrengthsmayhavebeendemonstratedoutsideofwork,somakesureyou
areaccountingforthem.
Strengths:Whatareyougoodat?Wheredoyouaddvalue?Whatareyoupraisedfor?Whatareyouproudof?
Weakness: What are you bad at? What are you criticized for? What do you try to avoid due to your own
limitations?Whatdoyoufear?

Step3:Next,analyseyoursituationrightnow.Whatopportunitiesexistforyourgrowthandsuccess?What
threatscouldlimityourcareergrowth?
Step4:Now,repeatthefirstthreestepsforyourpostMBAfuture,afteryouwillhaveearnedyourPGdegree.
As far as weaknesses and threats are concerned, you will need to visualize which weaknesses will you
overcomeandwhichthreatswillyoueliminatebythen.Ifyoucannotcompletethisstepyouwillhavetodo
moreresearchandthinkmoreaboutit.Seekexternalhelp(ofmentors,careercounsellors,seniors,familyand
friends,etc.)ifrequired.
Step5:Onceyoucompletestep4,youwillseethegapbetweenyourpresentandyourfuture.Whatskills,
knowledge and other resources do you need to close the gap between your present and future
responsibilities,strengthsandopportunities?
Step6:NowneedtodeterminehowanMBAwilladdvaluetoyou.Itispossiblethatanincreasedsalaryasa
resultofjobchangewillbesufficientROIforthePGdegreetojustifyitself,butyoushouldshowhowadegree
willallowyoutoreachyourcareergoals.Howwillthedegreeenhanceyourskillsandopportunitiesandhelp
youovercomeyourweaknessesandexternalthreats?
OnceyoucompleteStep6,youwillbereadytoexplainwhatyourgoalsare,whyyouwantadegree,whatthe
relationshipbetweenyourpastandfuturecareeris,andwhatyourstrengthsandweaknessesare.

WhyXBschool?

YourobjectiveintheSOPistodemonstratewhyyouwouldgreatlybenefitfromanMBAfromthisparticular
Bschool.So,youmusthavecareergoalsthatrequireanMBAfromthisparticularBschool.
On its part, the Bschool will have to determine that you are someone who will make the best use of its
resources,beforegrantingyouadmission.
Whethertheessayis1,000or500wordslong,theselectionpanellooksforapplicantswhoofferfullydefined
longtermandshorttermcareergoals,putforwardsoundreasonsforpursuinganMBAatthispointintheir
careers,exhibitawellinformedinterestintheBschoolandhavespecificplanstocontributetothecampus
communityiftheyareadmitted.
The key to successfully tackling each of these components is specificity. In presenting future goals and
explainingyourmotivationforseekinganMBA,itiscrucialtopresentwelldefinedandfeasibleobjectives.
TheentireBschoolexperienceisorientedtowardspreparingforthepostMBAjob,sospecifyingaparticular
industryandfunctionfortheshorttermisoftheutmostimportance.Yourinterestinyourchosenfieldmust
alsobeclearandyoushouldoutlinewhatyouhopetoaccomplishinyourtargetpositions.
Theselectionpanelunderstandsthatsuccessfulstudentsarefocusedintheirambitions,andoneofthebest
measuresofthisiswhattheyhavedonesofar.Noteveryschoolasksforthisexplicitly,butinmostsituations
anSOPismorecompellingwhenitincludesabriefbutcoherentcareerhistorysummarizingtheapplicants
workhistorytodate.Thisshouldrevealthecontinuitybetweenonespreviousprofessionalexperiencesand
goalsforthefuture.
A great essay manages to thoroughly and efficiently address each of these elements, with a nice balance
between the career progression section, the career goals/why MBA section and the why X Bschool
section.
Anothercriticalpartofthisessayistheexplanationofyourinterestinagivenprogram.Individualswhoname
specificclassesthatarerelevanttotheirgoals,recounttheirimpressionsofthecampusculturebasedona
class/campusvisit,orsharewhattheyvelearnedfromdiscussionswithalumniandstudentswillbeingood
shape.Theaimistoconveythefactthatyouhaveconductedextensiveresearchandaremakinganinformed
decisioninapplying.
Beyondconvincingtheselectionpanelofyourgenuineinterestintheprogram,itisalsoimportantforyouto
keepthefollowingconceptinmind:Anyfairtradenecessitatesmutualbenefit.Inotherwords,inadditionto
showingthatXBschoolisthebestMBAprogramforyourneeds,youshoulddemonstratetoXBschoolthat
you will enrich its community. You could describe insights you could contribute in class and offer detailed
intentionsforgettinginvolvedincampusactivities.
These general pointers should set you on the path towards crafting a great SOP, the centrepiece of any
compellingcandidacy.

Note:IfnowordlimitisspecifiedfortheSOP,500wordsshouldbesufficienttoexpressalltheabovepoints
clearlyandsuccinctly.