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How To Write a SOP

The Statement of Purpose (SOP henceforth), is one of the most important documents that you will have to create for you MBA admission journey. The admissions team at top B schools come across many similar profiles like yours and it becomes very hard for them to decide who to call for an interview. Under these circumstances, a well written SOP may become the deciding factor for getting an interview call.

I will take you through the process of how to write a stellar SOP that increases your chances of getting an admission interview. Let us start with a basic question.

What part does the SOP play in an admission application?

Think of an MBA application as a three-course meal. It is an made up of your GMAT score, the CV you send and your SOP. Each has a different and unique part to play in your application.


As highlighted in the above infographic, you can clearly see the purpose of the GMAT Score and your CV. The admission panel at the B school you have sent the application to, use you GMAT score to understand your quant & verbal abilities. They use your CV to get an idea of your career progression.

Then what does the SOP highlight in your application?

The SOP conveys, in brief, the reason why you want to pursue an MBA degree. It needs to clearly communicate to the admission team, why you are the right candidate for the program. It should highlight you career path, the significant achievements you have made in your life and why you feel an MBA education is the right choice for you. This brings us to our next question.

What should the SOP contain?

Consider the SOP to be a story. It should amalgamate both your past achievements and your future goals. The SOP should be used to clearly communicate how your achievements, which could be anything from academic, extracurricular or otherwise make you stand apart from the other applicants. It should also highlight what your short term and long-term goals are and why you feel an MBA education is necessary to achieve them. The infographic below will help you to understand the components of a SOP.


Now that we have seen what the SOP should contain let us understand how to write a SOP.

How to go about writing a SOP?

As you have seen above, the SOP will contain inputs from three parts of your life. Your past, present & Future. Thus, you now need to brainstorm to find relevant experiences in your life you can include in the SOP. You also have to figure out what is the motivation that is driving you to go for an MBA program and how you plan to leverage the MBA degree to progress in you career.

I suggest you to conduct three separate brainstorming sessions in the sequence as suggested below.

Aspirations session:

You should spend some time reflecting on what is the motivation behind you wanting an MBA. You may want to be an entrepreneur, or may wish to change your industry or domain. It could also be that the MBA shall boost your career and help you secure a better position in the corporate hierarchy. Focus on the reason behind why you want the degree.

This exercise will help you frame the structure of your SOP. It will later help you to focus on the relevant experiences and achievements to include in your SOP that will support the reason behind your desire to get an MBA.

Research session:

            Once you are clear about your aspiration, I would suggest you to research the B schools you are planning on applying to (if you have not done so already). Most B schools have campus tour programs that you can experience before you enrol in them. If you have taken such a program for the school you are applying to, include what you have learnt or why you have found the school to be relevant for you. If you can highlight specific reasons why the school would suit you, it would show your added interest, which is always a plus.

Self-Reflection session:

            This should be the last session you undertake before you start writing the SOP. Remember the first session where you found the reason behind your aspiration. We shall use it as a guide during the self-reflection session.

You should now reflect on your past achievements in you academics, career or extracurricular activities that help to highlight the reason behind your aspiration. As an example, say you wish to pursue an MBA because you want to be an entrepreneur. You should try to think of examples from your past where you have displayed entrepreneurial acumen. It may be that during your college, you came up with an idea of selling t-shirts to your batchmates.  Make a list of such example that helps highlight your interest.

If you have held leadership positions in the past you can use them as examples to justify your desire for an MBA. After this session you should be able to list out such situations or examples from your past.

Writing the SOP

            If you have followed my guideline, you now have all the necessary information to write a fantastic SOP. You shall now use the examples you brainstormed during the self-reflection session to bolster the reason behind why you want an MBA. Do not forget to include elements you found during the research session. They will act as support, and strengthen your case. Combine all the elements to create a SOP that is easy to read, clearly conveys your motives and flows like a story.

I am sharing a few bullet points to remember when you write the SOP. If you follow the process mentioned and use my guidelines, you will be able to create SOPs that increase your chances of getting an interview call manifold.

Wishing you all the best!!!


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