If you want to apply for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) course at any university, you will need to complete a statement of purpose (sop).
This is an academic essay where you can explain why you are a good fit for the course and the institution you are applying for.
For many students, writing a sop can seem like a tough task. However, a good first step before getting started on your own essay is to figure out how to structure it and to see some good examples.
Here, we give you some helpful tips on how you write your own sop for MBA courses. In addition, we share some important things to include in your statement to help you make a strong first impression of your preferred university.
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Statement of purpose for MBA: Must haves
Generally, a sop is around 500-1,000 words so choosing what to include from your education, work experience and personal life is a challenge.
But, it is worth prioritising some elements of your life and experiences to include. Before you begin your sop, take some time to consider how you want to structure your essay. Often, it is best to put the most relevant and engaging elements early in your statement to hook the admissions officers.
Below, we outline a structure you can use as a general guide to complete your statement and you should look to include these parts in your essay. Although, you may want to move parts around and make it your own, personal structure for your own sop.
- Introduce yourself: First, you want to explain who you are and why you are applying for an MBA course. Be clear and pick one or two key stories that emphasise your motivation to complete the degree.
- Relevant Work and Education Experiences: Focus on how your work and education experience have shaped you and your interest in business. Also, use this area to pick relevant life examples and topics of specialism that influence you to pursue an MBA.
- Extra-Curricular: Universities like to know about your life outside of education and work too. Therefore, use this section to explain more about your passions, such as sports, music, art, literature, volunteer work or clubs.
- Closing statement: Finally, conclude your essay with a few sentences about why you would be a good fit for the course and the institution you are applying to. Explain what you can bring to the course that someone else might not be able to.
Successful MBA statement of purpose examples
It is worth spending time planning how you want to structure your sop before starting. Then, when it comes to expanding your statement, you should have plenty of ideas and lived experiences to include.
When you have your preferred structure in mind, read through our sop for MBA examples below for some inspiration. Each one focuses on two students with different educational, work and family backgrounds. But, each student uses unique experiences to make a case for why they want to complete an MBA.
As part of my undergraduate degree, I spent my Erasmus year in Paris. During the Easter holidays, some friends and I travelled the country and in provincial, rural villages in France. Here, we saw the hard work and lifelong commitment of small shop owners. After a conversation with a small bakery owner, I learned how every penny counts for a small business, but also how creativity can drive customer sales. This baker had hand-crafted hundreds of easter cookies that were personally made for some children in the village and he planned to hand them out for free over Easter weekend. While he would incur a loss in profits, he knew the act of generosity and humility would be repaid in customer commitment from parents in the town.
Since this interaction, I have been mindful of how marketing is central to any successful business and thinking about how one action can provoke a reaction and increase sales is creative, not just linear.
As a result, I decided to find out more about local businesses and I took a part-time job at a local clothes shop whilst finishing my undergraduate degree. Here, I learnt more about the foundations of a small business, such as stock checking, financial short-term, medium-term and long-term planning, customer service and advertising. However, I also put my communication skills from my French and English Literature degree to good use. I also learnt quickly that being customer-facing and personable was one of the key drivers in revenue and repeat sales. But, I also asked the shop owner to think of some marketing strategies to try and bring in new customers. As a result, we promoted a buy one item, get an accessory free promotion on a day that coincided with the town’s monthly farmer’s market. We promoted the offer for two weeks before the day with flyers and through word of mouth by telling our customers. It was a success and we boosted profits for that day.
I was filled with joy and genuine excitement that this idea paid off for the shop. In addition, the success fed my desire to be creative but also confirmed my belief that good businesses achieve through solid marketing and advertising. The experience was key in inspiring me to take my first big career step into business after university. I secured a Marketing Manager role at a start-up company that sells recyclable clothing and accessories.
Although the role is not directly linked to my degree, it is a position that I take pride in and where I can feed my creativity. In addition, I love helping the company to grow, bring in new customers and be successful. Ultimately, this drive to better the organisation and help it become the best it can be inspired me.
However, I have aspirations to start my own company someday and I want to improve my all-around knowledge and skills in business management, which is why I am committed to completing an MBA degree next year. I believe I can be a proactive student in the MBA course by sharing real-life business experiences and knowledge of marketing, effective communication and small businesses. But, I am eager to learn more from experts in areas where I want to progress, such as finance, human resources and people management. If offered a place on this course, I would bring genuine passion and dedication to excel in business.
This student does not mention their undergraduate degree much. But they make up for this by using strong examples from their university life that are useful in an MBA course.
First, they hook the admissions officers with an inspiring story that influenced ongoing decisions that led to their eventual career in business. This is also vital because it explains everything that influenced them to apply for an MBA course.
Also, in the closing statement, this student states that they can offer unique knowledge from their work life that someone else cannot. This is an excellent way to end your sop because it shows this student wants to give something to the course as well as learn something new.
From a young age, I learned the value of hard work and committing to work. I worked with my dad as a landscape gardener in my teen years. Whilst working with him, I learnt that he started as a labourer, but never really enjoyed it so changed his career when he could. Now, he runs his own successful business with many clients who value his work and custom.
Having this early experience inspired me to pursue my dream to start my own clothing brand, which I have had a passion for since my childhood. I knew then that a blend of education and work experience would be the perfect combination to give me all I needed to create a successful business. After finishing school, I went to university and studied for a BA in Business Studies. My learning here was invaluable as I learnt the value of creating a unique business plan and found out all about the core features of running a business, like finances, accounting and legal procedures.
But, one area where I excelled was in project management and planning. In one module, we worked in groups to form a project plan for a struggling business and presented our vision to improve the situation to our group. Through this task, I led the communications and people management section and created a way to improve direct customer communication and staff training aspects of the business. This showed initiative and it was a helpful experience to get a real feel for the possible problems I could encounter as an aspiring entrepreneur.
Whilst on my course, I also took a proactive approach and worked part-time at the local student newsagent. Even though this started as a job to help fund my living costs, I learned more about how a small business runs and how important the small details like taking stock and talking to regular customers are to keep a business running smoothly. With hands-on experience and working with the store manager, I learnt the value of customer service and the breakdown of costs and expenditures in different business forms.
Having recently graduated with a 2:1 in Business Studies, I feel ready to progress to the next stage as I continue to plan for the future of my clothing brand company. With real-life experience, course knowledge and a determination to succeed and get my business running, I believe I can bring plenty of strong credentials to the MBA. In addition, I have regularly shown my ability to learn, grow and develop which I feel gives me strong grounds to succeed in this course.
Here, this student frequently refers back to his main motivation for wanting to complete an MBA. Their desire to set up a future business does not appear like a one-off idea, but a genuine, lifelong dream that they have worked towards for years.
In addition, they show commitment to learning and developing their knowledge of business so it can be used in real life. Showing how you have applied what you have learnt in a previous course or subject demonstrates that you have a goal to use your course material outside of the university.
One of the strengths of this student's sop for MBA is through the skills and knowledge gained on their undergraduate course. The student picks a few strong examples that show his growth and ability to perform at a degree level that shows they are ready to move on to an MBA.
Now, you have all the tools you need to impress the admissions officers with your MBA sop and secure a place on your dream course.
Before you submit your statement, it is worth reading back a few times. Firstly, this will help to ensure your essay is grammatically perfect and well-structured. Second, re-reading will also help you get a feel for your story and experiences as if you are reading as the admissions officer.
Remember, this is your chance to make a lasting first impression on the staff at your preferred university. If you are positive, honest and hook the officers reading your statement, you will be in a good position to complete the rest of your MBA application.