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How To Write An MBA Personal Statement

It’s true. Your MBA personal statement really is the gateway to your future.

Get it right and you should secure an MBA interview, gain a place on your MBA course and improve your career prospects. But how do you get it right?

You want to be passionate, articulate, stand out and be noticed but what’s the best way to do this?  

Do your research

Once you’ve decided where you want to study your MBA, focus intently on the institution and their MBA courses.

Spend quality time trawling all over their website and pay particular attention to their business schools and MBA programmes.

Read and inwardly digest how they describe their MBAs. What’s their written style, and tone of voice? This can give you a clue to the ethos of their MBA programmes and you can mould your personal statement to fit this. Check to see if they publish example personal statements.

If not, call and chat with the MBA admission tutors to find out what they’re looking for on personal statements and ask the tutors if they can provide any (anonymous of course) from previous year students to help you.

Be personal

Once you’ve completed your research it’s time to get personal. Your personal statement is not a ‘copy and paste’ job from your CV.

It’s not about your achievements; it’s about how the subject matter of your MBA relates to your work and personal life and how you can connect to and immerse yourself in your MBA.

By all means use personal and work anecdotes, just ensure you link them to your MBA subject. They need to be relevant, honest and thought provoking all at the same time.

It’s also worth including why you want to study at the university/business school you’re applying to and why this particular MBA.

Be very specific and personal but please don’t over flatter as the tutors want to understand your real motivation.

Do be specific and don’t generalise or waffle. If you make a statement, be able to back it up with evidence and if possible stats. 

If you’re going to use quotes, make sure they’re from papers you’ve properly researched and grasped, not just ones you’ve skim read.

You’re very creative and imaginative so put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about who is actually going to read your personal statement. What would they want to read that makes them sit up and take notice, that’s unique and highlights your strengths.

Do obsess over the detail...it matters

It’s a must to make sure you build in enough time to reread, proof, sense check and tweak your personal statement, until it’s the best it can be. Focus on great content, grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Please ask family and friends to second check it for you. A fresh pair of eyes is a necessity.

You need to be able to quantify and expand on everything you mention as it is very likely you will be asked about your personal statement in your interview.

Be social

Read as many other MBA personal statements as you can find for ideas, advice and inspiration.

Social media sites, online forums and online MBA course reviews are essential references.

Search out friends on social media (or friends of friends) who are or were MBA students and can provide hints and tips on personal statements.  You can also check out Studential MBA statements as great examples to steer you in the right direction.  

And finally

Don’t be backwards at coming forwards. Sell yourself. We’re all the best in the world at something and very good at lots of other things as well. Let the tutors know this on your personal statement because they won’t know otherwise; they can’t read your mind!

As you can imagine MBA tutors read hundreds of personal statements year after year.

Yours needs to be the one they remember for the right reasons: well written and researched, from start to finish full of really relevant examples linked to your MBA subject and with your commitment and desire centre stage.

This is your opportunity to shine and showcase your talents. Seize your moment in the spotlight and be inspirational.