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Statement of purpose SoP for MBA admissions

While most international business schools include a set of MBA essays in their MBA admissions process, some ask for a Statement of Purpose (SoP) for their undergrad / post-grad (masters) global business management courses.

What is a statement of purpose? How does an MBA SoP differ from an MS SoP? Are there any examples and samples of MBA SoP to use for reference? We tackle these questions in this article.


Statement of purpose SoP for MBA admissions

What is an MBA Statement of Purpose (MBA SoP)?

Think about the elements that make up the first (pre-interview) phase of any international MBA application. You’ve got your MBA entrance exam scores (GMAT / GRE / TOEFL / IELTS), your resume, a couple of recommendations and some general information that you include in the application form.

These are all rear-view mirrors telling the Adcom officer what you’ve done in your illustrious past. None of them really tell the admissions council why you want a business management degree.

What’s your ‘purpose’ in life? Or to make it a less philosophical and more focused, what’s your career goal?

This is the big question that your MBA statement of purpose is expected to answer, along with several other sub-questions that we’ll soon list down.


MBA SoP vs MS SoP | What are the Differences

While they may share the same name (SoP), the way to approach an MBA SoP is different from what you might expect for a Masters (MS) SoP. The big difference between an MBA and MS SoP is apparent when you compare the profiles of MS vs MBA applicants.

Masters of Science (MS) applicants are usually freshers. MBA applicants are older and more mature, having spent 3-4 years working in the industry. So, there’s much more for them to include in their MBA SoP. This makes it more challenging to write a good MBA SoP.

While an MS SoP can be more technical in nature, the MBA SoP has to do a balancing act of building upon the technical roles you’ve been in and the managerial potential that draws you to international MBA universities.

As a seasoned executive, your professional maturity and academic clarity should reflect in your MBA SoP.


Format of the MBA SoP

Some MBA schools may provide some hints about what they’d like to see in the SoP. Others will keep it open ended assuming you’ve got a crystal ball to read their mind and know what to do.

Unlike your bullet-point riddled resume, your MBA SoP format will have a more free-flowing format with your key messages spread across logical paragraphs.

These sub-sections can be used to tackle some of the following questions.

  • What’s your background?
  • What have you accomplished in your professional life?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Why MBA? Why do you feel the need to go for higher education now?
  • Why do think our university is the best one to achieve your dreams?

Keep in mind that the MBA admissions team already has your resume. So you don’t need to waste the SoP ‘real-estate’ repeating what they already know. However, it’s fine to share a quick summary to set the context.


Length & word-count of the MBA SoP

Many MBA colleges don’t specify the word count for MBA SoPs and leave it to the applicant’s discretion.

Some applicants look at it as an opportunity to spread their wings and soar.

But they end up pumping in too much data that makes the Adcom’s eyes sore.

[Aadab arz hai!]

Others who are too lazy or impatient, write a few general statements for the sake of formality and submit the application.

Both approaches aren’t good. If the university doesn’t specify the length, you could aim for 1000 words in the MBA SoP.

More importantly, it’s the structure, content and presentation that matters more than the word-count.


Sample statement of purpose (SoP) for business management

While it may be very tempting to download some PDF samples of MBA SoP, shortlist one that sounds impressive and change a few words here and there to write your own SoP, it’s a very bad idea.

If you are completely clueless about where to start, it’s fine to look at MBA SoP examples. But do NOT re-use any of that content.

Universities abroad take plagiarism very seriously. If you falsify the information or misrepresent your achievements or submit someone else’s work, expect to pay the price for it.

If you are working with an overseas counsellor who’s helping you in writing MBA SoPs, it is still your responsibility to ensure that the final product is original and honest.

With those disclaimers, here’s a list of sample MBA SoPs that we found on other websites. We have no inputs to share on their quality or effectiveness.

Download these MBA SoP Samples – link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7, link 8, link 9, link 10

As you’d notice while browsing through them, the quality varies quite a bit (that’s a nice way of saying the samples suck!).

Who knows, maybe they were created by amateurs or some content marketing team. So be careful about what ideas you decide to pick (or reject) from each of these SoP examples for MBA and related business courses.

A better approach is to start from scratch and create an SoP that truly reflects who you are.

Learn how to write a good and effective Statement of Purpose (SoP).

If you need high-quality, professional help to create a great SoP, send us an email:
info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

Also check out our Free SoP review software.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

4 thoughts on “Statement of purpose SoP for MBA admissions”

  1. Hi sameer ,

    You site provided me a breakthrough insight into MBA details.

    However i want to ask this plain & simple question .

    Does the post placement programmes in top 30 US mba institutes , provide work visa & job for indian students in past & if so , is the placement oppurtunity good for foreign students particulary Indians ?

  2. Hello Sameer,
    I’ve completed post higher secondary “Advance diploma” of 4 years from IGTR, a central govt. technical institute. Have around 8 years of industry experience with some of the reputed multinational engineering and consulting organizations. I’m willing to pursue a management program preferably an MBA from US. My question is will US universities consider my profile as mine is not a graduation course but an advance diploma in tool & die making [mechanical engineering]?. Technically, I’ve 16 years of formal education. I’ve heard some EU & Canada universities provide relaxation against the work experience but have no idea yet about any such US school. I was suggested to get my course evaluated from WES. Any help/opinion would be highly appreciated.


  3. Hello Sameer,

    This is Ankit, I am planning for MBA next year, and giving my GMAT next month August 18th.

    INSEAD is my top priority, followed by NUS, Nanyang and Canadian B-schools.
    Wanted to take your consultation on the following issues :

    1.Work ex : I am working for L&T, started straight after college since 2013, was deputed Malaysia, Malaysia has been my first job location. L&T has acquired a switchgear industry named Tamco, I am part of it. I will be completing 3 years of work at the time of joining b school. My work profile is of a senior sales engineer,solely responsible for sales of mv switchgear in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain market. And responsible for a budgeted sales of 50MUSD a year.

    Though most of the B-schools say 5 years is the avg work ex, will my work ex of such level of 3 years be sufficient to get me my choice of B-School.

    2. US vs Non US schools : The situation is tough in USA to get work visas specially for non STEM applicants. Thats why I am hesitant to keep US an option, since I will be taking a loan to study and would like to work in abroad only.

    I am scoring 720 consistnetly in my Mock GMATS and hopefully I will score around 730 in GMAT.

  4. @Amit: MBA colleges will not provide any help for work permits. It’ll be done by the post MBA job provider, if they think your skills are valuable to their company.

    @Yogesh: Business schools abroad have their yardsticks to decide which degree qualifies (or doesn’t). Reach out to a few you are interested in and ask them if you are eligible to apply.

    @Ankit: Lower but high quality work experience can work for some schools. Don’t leave out the US just because of the work permit challenge. You’ll face that issue in all countries (except Canada).


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