How to write an SOP for MBA Program versus an MS Program

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Srishti
Srishti Chatterjee
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jul 8, 2022 16:43 IST

Ideally, a Statement of Purpose is a 1000-word long essay that describes your intent and goals to the university, where you have applied for your admission. Further, it illustrates the reasons to apply and lists in-detail some specific qualities that make you an eligible and sound candidate for the program applied for. As a general practice, most of the top-ranked management schools have a set of long and short essay questions. Other courses, traditionally, have a requirement of a Statement of Purpose or an SOP. But what happens when a university asks for a Statement of Purpose for admission into its MBA program? Should you write it in any manner different from that of an MS program or an MA/MSc program? The answer here is yes.

Essentially, the structure or sample format of an SOP remains the same, in terms of word-length and the purpose of writing the essay, which is to justify your candidature to the admission committee by sharing your motivations, goals and more important, your skill-set and abilities that distinguish you from the rest. Then, what is so different in an SOP for an MBA course? Listed below are some basic differences and how they must be approached.

Understanding the Theme

A student writing an SOP for an MBA vis-a-vis a student writing for an MS or an MA/MSc program are distinguished by the respective profile. Largely speaking, a candidate applying for an MBA degree from a university abroad would have a work experience of at least two years or more. This, on the other hand, may or may not be the case for other programs. Often, students can and do apply for a graduate degree with minimal or no experience at all as it is not an eligibility criterion. However, an MBA aspirant is a candidate who has professional work experience. This will effectively change the general theme of your essay.

Also, what a student must remember is that the intent and the objective vary. An MBA program seeks leadership potential within you, your decision-making ability and your communication skill-set at large. Remember, as a manager, these are the key differentiators and are important for your success. For an MS course, for instance, the intent may be commercial or may be purely academic and research-oriented. In those aspects, the skills being searched for are extremely different. Accordingly, what you must include in a MS SOP would alter from things you must include in your MBA SOP.

With such differences in the person writing the statement of purpose, the structure would be different accordingly. An MBA aspirant ought to focus on showcasing the aforementioned abilities by sharing relevant events. Also, while an MBA aspirant would have and should highlight the work experience, an MS student need not to worry about it. What is required in the latter case is to highlight the knowledge of the subject and how you have enhanced the same.

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Using Technical Jargon

I often come across students applying for MS programs and writing generic Statement of Purpose and I guide them to be comfortable with using technical language. For instance, a student applying for a Master’s in Biotechnology or Microbiology can use words like ELISA, SDS PAGE, and Immunoblotting. These words, need not to be explained as such, but if they are to be included in an MBA application, they must have a bit of a background as to what they are.

A student needs to understand that a MS program’s admission committee will comprise of experts of your subjects, which may or may not be true for an MBA program. Moreover, the admission committee need to see the intent behind your life choices and how they present you as a worthy candidate for a management program, and not how you excelled in your physics lab. The key to writing a good SOP for an MBA program is to keep it self-explanatory and use technical language in moderation and never without a brief explanation. For an MS program, technical language is all okay. They know what you are talking about and hence, there is no need to waste precious words on explaining what they are!

Avoiding Duplication

Often, an MBA SOP would be a long essay question asking for all the specific information the university seeks from you. For instance, a university might ask you to provide two long essays: one about your career aspirations and the other that talks about how you would add value to the program. While the first might be asked as a Statement of Purpose, the second need not be an SOP. However, what a candidate needs to remember is that both the essays will be evaluated by the same admission committee, therefore, avoid duplicating the information.

The intent of asking the second question is to give a student enough space and leverage to extrapolate on his/her goals and ambitions. They have given you another 1000 words to talk about how good you are in extracurricular activities and to portray yourself as a value addition to the institute. Use the words judiciously! Do not repeat the information unless and until the university suggests that you can. While there are many differences, remember there are a few things that you should not include in your SOP, irrespective of which course you are writing your SOP for.

Keep the above pointers in mind while writing your Statement of Purpose, demonstrate your uniqueness and original-self in it and you are sure to find success. Therefore, take your time and understand what the university wants to know about you and more important, what you would want the university to know about you. Keep the word limit in mind, the language crisp and the message clear.

Note: This does not apply if you are applying for MS in Management or other related subjects that do not require work experience.

About the Author
Srishti Chatterjee
Study Abroad Expert

Srishti has spent six years in the Education industry helping study abroad aspirants draft their application documents for their dream universities. Experienced in creating impressive SOP, LOR, and Essays, she knows... Read Full Bio

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