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Tips On Crafting Your MBA Personal Statement
Your GMAT or GRE score, your college transcript, and your résumé are all critical components of your MBA application and, taken together, tell a story about you. But the more compelling story — the one many admissions officers are most interested in — is revealed in your MBA personal statement. A thoughtful, well-written, and genuine portrayal of yourself and your goals and motivations could very well be the thing that clinches your acceptance.
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In contrast to an essay, which answers a specific question asked on an application, a personal statement informs the reviewer about you in a more direct way. The essay and the personal statement have similar goals — essentially, to show why you’re an excellent candidate for the program — but the personal statement gives you plenty of freedom as to how you’ll go about doing that. Its open-endedness sometimes makes it trickier to write, but a little additional thought and preparation is really all you need to craft a successful personal statement for your MBA application.
Tips On Writing A Winning MBA Personal Statement
We asked a member of the Bentley admissions team, Senior Assistant Director of Graduate Admission Can Ahtam, for advice on how to write a personal statement based on the hundreds of applications he reviews every year. In talking about some of the more successful MBA personal statement examples he’s seen over the years, here are some strategies that will make your statement stand out.
Choose a meaningful goal.
Ahtam is surrounded by business-hungry students every day, and that’s good — it’s the reason they’re at Bentley in the first place. But he also hopes every student wants more than just money and a high-ranking career. Ahtam likes reading a personal statement, for example, written by someone who is inspired by a member of his or her community or by some element of their unique background — a person who wants to give back.
Ahtam himself, originally from Turkey, graduated from the Emerging Leaders MBA program in 2013. His own application told the story of his Turkish family’s hardships and his hardworking father who managed to start his own business in spite of it all. He also wrote about how he continues to be inspired by Muhtar Kent, the Turkish-American CEO of Coca-Cola. The fact that someone who shared his heritage was able to make a significant impact on one of the most recognized companies in the world gave him the motivation to succeed as well.
How have the people and circumstances in your life and community impacted you? How will your success enable you to help others? Your partnership with the university will be more valuable if you can give meaning to your goals.
Focus on just a few points.
Every good essay is made up of just a few major points that are then expanded upon. Before you even start writing, stop and think. What skills and motivations do you have that are a good match for the program? Then, what life experiences can you use to demonstrate those? Look through some MBA personal statement samples and see how many major points you can identify. Though there might be many points you’d like to cover, choose only the most significant. Trying to cover too many things diminishes the importance of each, diluting the overall effect you’re trying to achieve.
Going in-depth on your chosen points not only makes a more powerful statement, but it also shows the admissions team that you are passionate about the subject. Ahtam notes that some applicants include references to back up any facts they present — this is a good indicator of the writer’s interest in the subject and shows he or she has spent a fair amount of time and effort researching it. An additional bonus: Being able to support your ideas with facts is an exceptionally useful skill in the business world.
Use specific examples.
Ahtam has seen too many students say, “I want to work for a Fortune 500 company,” or “I want to work for one of the Big 4 accounting firms.” Who doesn’t? Do your market research and choose a business you admire, then write about that. “Saying that you want to work for XYZ brand because they’re innovative or socially responsible or adaptive shows not only that you’re aware of the market, you’re also attuned to yourself and what you want,” he says.
Another example: If you’re interested in leading a corporation, say why. Stories are a great way to add specifics and interest at the same time. Examine a successful (or unsuccessful) group project you’ve participated in or a challenging work experience, and tell how it impacted you. Details and anecdotes make your MBA personal statement more memorable.
Be purposeful in your writing.
Avoid empty talk. If you find yourself filling the page with a list of things that attracted you to the university, you’re wasting words — the reader already knows the school’s selling points. Instead, choose one thing about the program and use a portion of your personal statement to tell why you’re interested in it. The admissions officer will be impressed with your knowledge of the school and feel good about the fact that the program can offer you what you need to reach your goals.
To enroll in one of Bentley’s three MBA programs, visit our website for the requirements, deadlines, and online application forms. Or, reach out to a member of our graduate admission team for additional information about the admission process or our programs.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.