MBA statement of purpose examples can be beneficial when you are trying to write one yourself or just wanting to understand exactly what they are. That’s why we’ve provided a couple of them for you in this blog. In addition to that, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about grad school statements of purpose, such as the MBA statement of purpose. You will learn about their importance, content, format, and how to use them to contextualize your other application components, such as your reference letters or MBA personal statement.
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What is an MBA statement of purpose?
A statement of purpose (SoP) is a short academic essay often required for graduate school applications. It’s an essential part of your application that is supposed to tell the admissions committee why you are interested in their MBA program and why you are the perfect fit for it. Furthermore, it gives you the chance to contextualize the statistics and numbers in your application and present yourself to the graduate program in a more well-rounded way. The admissions committee already knows about your work experience from your MBA resume and your academic performance from your transcripts. The statement of purpose allows them to assess your suitability for their institution, and more importantly, their program.
Every school is different, so you need to check the specific requirements of the program you are interested in. Some schools may require a statement of purpose in addition to other essays. In contrast, other schools like the Wharton School of Business for example, may not ask specifically for a statement of purpose but have a prompt that essentially asks why you are a good fit for the school. Either way, you will need to respond with a strong and compelling essay to improve your chances of getting in.
How to write a strong MBA statement of purpose
The format and content
You should always check the specific requirements of the program you are applying to, as each school is different. Your chosen program could have an exact word count, a page limit, or a prompting question that you need to answer. If your program has given any instructions, it is imperative that you follow them. Unless otherwise specified, your statement of purpose should:
- Follow the general structure of an academic essay
- Be between 500 and 1000 words
- Be grammatically correct
- Be organized and easy to read
In keeping with the format of an academic essay, your statement of purpose should have three clear sections: an introduction, main body, and conclusion. You can choose to have these sections clearly labeled in your statement, or you can opt to have your statement be more free-flowing like a letter. Either way, structuring your letter with an introduction, body, and conclusion will make it easier for the reader to follow, and it will make things a bit easier when it comes time to write your statement of purpose.
TIP: If you are not responding to a specific prompt for your MBA statement of purpose, then use the following questions to guide you: Why are you interested in the program? Why would you be a good addition to the program? How will this degree help you achieve your career goals?
Before you write
Give yourself time: Writing a strong statement of purpose isn’t unlike preparing the rest of your application; the key is preparation. We recommend giving yourself at least six weeks to write your statement. Give yourself enough time to thoroughly research the program or faculty, gather all the information that could be helpful to you, and draft, redraft and finalize your statement.
Research the program: The purpose of your statement is to convince the admissions committee that you are the perfect fit for their program in particular and to do that, you need to know what kind of candidate they are looking for. You should spend time on the institution’s website and talk to alumni if possible. Try to get a sense of the school’s academic culture. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the research specialties of various faculty members, and keep track of those whose research interests align with yours.
The more you know about the school and the MBA program, the better equipped you will be to write a strong letter that showcases the values or qualities that the school is looking for. For instance, if you are preparing an application to Kellogg business school , your research will probably lead you to find out that their MBA program aims to create leaders who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and find creative solutions. In that case, you might want to make sure your statement of purpose showcases your creative problem-solving skills.
Seek expert advice: You may also want to consider investing in a graduate school admissions consultant or MBA admissions consulting. Preparing an MBA application is no easy feat, especially the essay portions. The truth is that admissions consultants have more experience reading and writing these types of essays so they can see things that you can’t. Their constructive feedback might just be what you need to write a statement of purpose that will stand out.
Common mistakes to avoid
Being too impersonal: Your statement of purpose is supposed to put the rest of your application into context. You should avoid just listing your accomplishments or your reasons for wanting to attend the school. People are more likely to remember a story, so instead, focus on creating a narrative around your experiences and why they make you a perfect fit for the program. Additionally, research-intensive MBA programs may require you to discuss your research interests. In these cases, many students confuse the statement of purpose and research interest statement. Both essays are about the candidate’s relevant past academic & professional experiences, long-term goals in the field, and research interests when applicable. However, while a research interest statement is a formal academic document, a statement of purpose is more of a personal essay meant to describe your journey and overall suitability for a program.
Jargon-heavy statements: Even if you are applying to a business school, you should try to avoid jargon and acronyms that are not well known outside of your field of study. The admissions committee will read your statement, and they might not be experts in your particular field. We understand that you want to come across as knowledgeable, but it is equally important that your statement be easy to follow and read.
Generic statements: We highly recommend that you write multiple statements of purpose and tailor them to the MBA programs you are applying to. A common mistake that applicants make is writing one generic statement of purpose and sending it to all the business schools they are applying to. This usually backfires because each school and each program is different. First, various schools may have different format requirements for the statement of purpose. Secondly, the academic culture and the kind of candidate each school is looking for can be very different.
For example, a student might send the same letter to Harvard business school and Stanford business school, assuming that they have similar requirements because they are both prestigious institutions that aim to form tomorrow’s business leaders. However, Harvard business school makes it clear that they look for candidates with an analytical aptitude and desire to be engaged in the community. If these qualities are not showcased in the letter to Harvard, the candidate might not get called for an interview (so don't forget to review MBA interview questions as well). This is why it's so important to review Harvard MBA personal statement examples - you must understand what the admissions committee of this renowned institution expects.
Ignoring guidelines: This tip is quite self-explanatory, but we feel it is worth mentioning again because it’s a very common pitfall. Many institutions will give clear instructions for the application documents, including the statement of purpose. It is crucial that you follow these instructions. If there is a word count, stick to it. If there is a prompt, answer the question in the prompt and stay on topic. Do not use your essay to address something in your application that is completely unrelated to the question that you were asked. Following the guidelines set by the program will show the admissions committee that you take your application seriously and that you know how to follow instructions.
Need to work on your MBA resume too? Check out this infographic:
MBA statement of purpose examples
Now that you know what is expected from a strong MBA statement of purpose, here are a few examples that can help inspire your own.
MBA statement of purpose sample 1
I often joke that I speak three languages: English, French, and consumer. I have been saying this since I took an introduction to marketing class while completing my undergraduate degree and learned about talking to customers in a language they understand. It resonated with me because I practically grew up in my mother's small dry-cleaning store. I watched her relay the same information to different people from various walks of life in many different ways. It was always in English, but her word choice and tone would change so much that my siblings and I would joke about it. Since then, I have been fascinated by communication. The effect that it has on people and businesses. This fascination led to my dual degree in business management and psychology, and today, it is one of the things that drive me to apply to the X business school MBA program.
Over the past five years, I have used what I learned at university to expand our family business and help grow many others in my community. The experience taught me that no matter how good your product or service is, introducing it to the market is indeed half the battle when it comes to business. My goal is to create a marketing firm that will help small local businesses maximize their reach and full potential. I understand that a big part of this is marketing, and that is why I want to study it further.
The X MBA program is uniquely suited to help me achieve this goal. In today's Business landscape, small businesses need different strategies to survive and compete in the world of big companies that can deliver things overnight. The X MBA program is one of the very few curriculums that offer courses specifically designed for small businesses and the latest marketing strategies, such as social media as a marketing tool.
As a person with ambitions to become an entrepreneur, there are also many other aspects of business management that I wish to understand better, such as accounting Tools, Logistics, and Supply-Chain. My initial assumption was that I would need to find two separate programs to be completely immersed in the two fields that I wish to study. However, your holistic approach to business management would actually allow me to master marketing and communications while learning to be a better business owner.
Beyond the fact that this curriculum is perfect for what I want to learn and eventually use in my career, X business school is also as community-focused as I am. In Undergrad, I spent two years working with other members of the Student Union Association to organize and help with the green initiative that the school was launching. I noticed that the X student union has a branch dedicated to something similar, and I would love to be a part of it if given the opportunity.
My passion for community building and marketing makes me a perfect fit for this program. Furthermore, my academic background and practical experience have given me the tools to succeed in this MBA program and beyond. I am hardworking, dedicated, and eager to learn. I hope you give me a chance to do so at X University.
This statement is particularly strong because it clearly communicates the applicant’s fit for the program. Notice the fact that the applicant gives clear examples of the claims that they make about themselves. For example, they mention that they are very community focused and make it evident by sharing that they volunteered in college and that their long-term goal is to work for the businesses in their local community.
MBA statement of purpose sample 2
X university prompt: Why have you chosen to pursue an MBA program and why have you chosen to do it at X institution? (Max 600 words)
I was a writer before I was a businesswoman, and studying business isn’t a life-long dream that I harbor. Still, it has become a necessity at this juncture of my professional career.
I was born in a liberal and educated family that stressed the importance of following one’s dreams and passions. I can appreciate how amazing that is now that I am an adult, but as a confused teenager who had no dream and didn’t seem to have a hobby, let alone a passion - it was a nightmare. I attempted many different things, from team sports to theatre, but nothing ever really stuck until I discovered my love for the written word in high school. I am grateful for that journey today because it has taught me to be comfortable with change and given me the ability to adapt quickly. These abilities have served me well in my professional career so far, and I hope that they will continue to do so if I am given the opportunity to attend X business school for your MBA program.
I’m sure you’re wondering why a person who seemingly has no interest in business wants to attend a reputable business school such as yours. Most people do not associate a Master of Business Administration degree with the writing profession. When one thinks about an MBA, more often than not, the first thought that comes to mind would be that a person who undertakes an MBA aspires to get a better job in banking, finance, or business consulting. However, business actually affects many different areas of a writer’s profession. I have come to the conclusion that to succeed as a writer, I must gain systematic knowledge about the workings of a business, and your program is the perfect place for me to do so.
Whether you are a freelance writer like I have been in the past or an author like I am now, you are essentially an entrepreneur with a product to sell: your art. The holistic approach of the X MBA program is designed for entrepreneurs like myself who are ready to take their business to the next level. I am particularly interested in learning all about the statistical and programming tools used in the Business Analytics domain. These tools will help me make generalized sense of data and gain valuable insights to help me figure out who my target audience is and how I can better reach them.
I fervently believe that my communication skills, academic background, and entrepreneurial spirit have prepared me for success in this rigorous MBA program. Additionally, as a person who was born and raised in X city, I have seen the significant impact that the school and its alumni have had on our great city and would love to be a part of it. I am particularly passionate about making tertiary education more accessible to the less fortunate and would love to join the group of students and alumni who coordinate the fundraising efforts of your Access Tuition Fund.
In short, I believe that this program is uniquely suited to help me gain a holistic understanding of the functioning of entrepreneurial businesses and mold me into a well-rounded professional. My hope is that you will see that my academic background, work experience, as well as my passion for my craft, and how it interacts with business logistics make me the perfect candidate for your MBA program.
Pay particular attention to the fact that this statement of purpose manages to communicate fit and provide a few details about the applicant’s abilities but it does not stray from the question that was asked by the prompt.
Wondering what kind of courses you should take during your MBA? This video has some helpful advice:
After you write
Before you go, we just want to remind you of a few questions that you should ask yourself before submitting your statement of purpose.
Once you have your final draft, step away from it for a little while and come back to look at it with fresh eyes. You should ask yourself the questions above as you read and make the necessary adjustments. You can also opt to use an application review process where an expert would go over your statement of purpose draft and work with you to get it to the best version possible.
1. What is an MBA statement of purpose?
It’s a short essay that tells an admission committee why you are a perfect fit for their MBA program.
2. What is an MBA statement of purpose supposed to communicate?
An MBA statement of purpose should tell the admissions board why you are interested in an MBA, why you’ve chosen their program in particular, why you’d be a good addition to the program, and how the MBA will help you achieve your career goals.
3. How long should an MBA statement of purpose be?
Unless otherwise specified by the business school you are applying to, you should keep your statement between 500 and 1000 words.
4. How do you start an MBA statement of purpose?
The beginning of your statement needs to be attention-grabbing. We recommend starting with a quote, an anecdote, or an interesting personal fact.
5. How should my statement be structured?
Your statement should be structured like a general academic essay with an introduction, main body, and conclusion.
6. Is one statement for all the schools I’m applying to enough?
In short, no! You should always tailor your MBA statement of purpose to the school you are applying to. One generic statement for many different schools will not be enough to make your application stand out.
7. Why are my future plans important for an MBA statement of purpose?
Your statement of purpose is meant to show the admissions board that you are a good fit for their program and your ambitions are part of who you are. In other words, your plans tell the school a little bit more about who you are.
8. How can I make sure my MBA statement of purpose is compelling?
The best way to make your statement more compelling is to research the school you are applying to thoroughly, find out what kind of candidate they are looking for, and ensure that your statement of purpose reflects the qualities that the school seeks. It is also best to give clear examples for every claim you make about yourself.
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