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Everything You Should Know About Statement of Purpose For MBA and Phd



A statement of purpose is a document centered on the applicant. It is that one opportunity given to an applicant to explain why he (she) should be given a seat in that esteemed college (or university). It is a real chance to demonstrate what the certificates or work experience don’t state directly. As the name says, the assessor wants to know the reason behind an applicant choosing a particular university and why he (she) is a good fit.

So, in this article we will discuss everything that an applicant should keep in mind while curating his (her) SOP for MBA and Ph.D. Let us first understand some of the common things that should be taken care of while writing an SOP:

  1. It should be within the word limit mentioned in the application

  2. It should be original and error free

  3. All the facts stated in it should be authentic

  4. It should emphasize only the most important achievements

  5. It should be written in a manner that is easy to comprehend, is coherent and reflects the maturity and perspective of the applicant

Once the above factors are taken care of, it is critical to understand that Statement of Purpose (SOP) for every degree needs to be customized as per the requirement of the course. Hence, an SOP written for MBA would be different in some ways than that written for a Ph.D. course.

Let us begin to understand some of the key aspects that should be given more importance when an SOP for MBA is being created:

The course on business management is taught with the objective of creating people leaders who would manage and effectively lead teams and organizations and help them achieve their true potential. This course is different from any other master’s degree since here the focus is helping students understand and experience people management. So, one of the key criteria of selecting students for this course is to identify potential candidates who either know people management or have been in situations and have had exposure of people management in some form (either being a team player or leader). So, when an assessor looks at the SOP of MBA applicants, this is one of the key aspects that he (she) looks for. Hence, as an applicant we should focus on the following points while writing an SOP for MBA:

  1. Ability to connect our professional work experience and education with our future goals

  2. Any special welfare projects that we were part of (in personal or professional life) and what impact did it have on ourselves and others

  3. One’s expectation from the course

  4. How well-crafted are the grey areas (gaps in education or career or frequent job changes) in one’s career explained that creates a synergy between these areas and the rest of the career so far

  5. Ability to talk about our strengths and weaknesses in a manner that showcases experience, wisdom and a broadened perspective

  6. Ability to talk about opportunities when we faced a conflict and how we dealt with it (this would speak about our capability to deal with people and managing conflicts)

When it comes to writing an SOP for PhD, it is important to understand the kind of mental acumen required to pursue this course and become a successful scholar. A SOP should reflect the passion which the applicant has for research and how closely is it aligned with his (her) goals. Following are some of the things that should be taken care of:

  1. SOP for PhD should talk about the reasons for pursuing this course with a strong inclination towards research.

  2. An applicant should try to show a synergy between his academic achievements and professional career.

  3. An applicant should also talk in detail about his (her) research interest. This should include writing about the experiences he had in his academics and professional front that motivated him to pick this area as his research interest.

  4. Projects done which show case his (her) ability to analyze data, observe patterns, draw conclusions and question status quo. Such a comprehensive detail would help the assessor to get a glimpse of the research oriented thought process of the applicant and thus would help the applicant stand out.

  5. An applicant should also talk in detail about the reasons for choosing that particular university for his PhD and how he (she) thinks he (she) would be able to contribute to his chosen field.

  6. An applicant should also talk about his future plans of contributing (through his research work) towards human welfare and making this world a better place to live

After reading all of the above, one may say that writing an SOP is no easy job. At times, it’s hard to talk or write about our own selves. Though we may have so many things to write about, so many talents to showcase, so many achievements to relate to but putting them in a cohesive way takes time and is definitely an art. It is a beautiful combination of creative storytelling and concise presentation of facts. It also showcases our ability to make a winning case. It is often advised that writing an SOP requires a lot of research, introspection and editing. All of this requires time, patience and an expertise in writing beautiful essays. Some applicants choose to do it on their own and a lot of others seek professional guidance from experts. Whatever is the case, it is important to understand the intent of an SOP especially for highly specialized courses like MBA and PhD before one begins to start writing.


It all starts with a dream. A dream to pursue a particular interest, to study at a particular college and to be in the hall of fame of a particular university! A well-crafted SOP can make this a reality provided the points discussed above are all taken care of. How do you wish to begin your SOP?


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