Session 10

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Session 10

  1. 1. Session 10 Statement of purpose: on matters of current interest to trade, commerce, industry & profession, statement writing from given facts & data.
  2. 2. Writing Your Statement of Purpose
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>What is a Statement of Purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Important things to know about statements </li></ul><ul><li>How to write a statement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Important dos and don’ts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The process of writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Readers’ pet peeves </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some examples of how to ‘frame’ statements </li></ul><ul><li>Answers to your specific questions </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is a Statement of Purpose? <ul><li>A written essay (usually 2-5 double spaced pages) that addresses a variety of topics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Past experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Future goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reponses to specific application questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A reflection of who you are and where you are headed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Likely the most important part of your graduate application… so take your time </li></ul>
  5. 5. How are they used? <ul><li>A narrative format for your experiences (but not simply a narrative of your CV) </li></ul><ul><li>Assessing whether you are a good fit </li></ul><ul><li>Assessing your excitement for their specific program </li></ul><ul><li>A place to (briefly) explain deficiencies </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation of your writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>A note on the process of how universities often review applications … </li></ul>
  6. 6. Important things to know about statements <ul><li>Mentorship model </li></ul><ul><li>Do I need to write separate statements for each job? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Only if you want to be accepted </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can I just change the last paragraph to say ‘company X and profile Y is a great match for my interests because …’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No  </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Important things to know about statements <ul><li>Mentorship model (continued) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good statements tell a story, theme, or focus on an idea/concept throughout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excellent statements tie that theme to a specific mentor’s research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This, of course, means that those who write excellent statements write several different statements </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Important things to know about statements <ul><li>General model programs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Similar to mentorship programs although: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OK to focus on ideas that may or may not relate to a specific faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very important to speak to interests and match with the goals of the overall program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your goals should match with those of students who have recently graduated from that program </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Important things to know about statements <ul><li>Remember your reader! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reads dozens of these </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probably overworked, tired </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wants you to excite them about you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good writing requires good editing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay within the requested limits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Editing does NOT include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Changing the font size, margin or spacing (11-12pt TNR!) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If it is ‘a little long,’ something needs to be cut </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Important things to know about statements <ul><li>Balance is the key to good statements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excitement but professionalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Detailed but not jargony </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unique/creative but not disturbing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be ‘humbly boastful’ (don’t minimize or overstate experiences) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excitement … not hyperbole </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. How to write a statement <ul><li>Tell your story </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Grab the reader in the intro – you have only a few sentences to do this </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is unique about you & your interests? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What got you interested in this field? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create a theme or story that weaves in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unique aspects of yourself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your goal in their program & your career direction (e.g., academia) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. How to write a statement <ul><li>It is OK to write a linear narrative but: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is not a place to re-write your CV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep it interesting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the narrative a theme – focused around unique aspects of your experience and interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write about IDEAS & concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider cutting anything that diverges from this theme, except: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frame ‘tangential’ experiences (clinical or research) as creating a foundation </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. How to write a statement: General format <ul><li>Introduction – opening paragraph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Grab the reader’s attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin the main theme of your statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Program & career goals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Middle section </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiences, how the program fits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentor fit (for mentorship programs) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Concluding paragraph – wrap up themes </li></ul><ul><li>Note: This is just a guideline – It’s OK to be creative! </li></ul>
  14. 14. How to write a statement – Other important points <ul><li>Be specific – Depth over breadth </li></ul><ul><li>All research (& sips/ojts) experience is good experience (even if it doesn’t fit your theme) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., “This research helped lay the foundation for my understanding of…” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., “This sip/ojt experience broadened my understanding of …” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Express your excitement about all of your research (and sip/ojt) experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OK to express excitement about what you learned in a course (especially about ideas) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. How to write a statement – Other important points <ul><li>Self-disclosure – Do I do it? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generally not a good idea in research oriented programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be necessary for practice-oriented programs that ask for an autobiography or for some form of self-reflection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But, be: judicious, thoughtful, and insightful… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Should reflect growth (not an endpoint of enlightenment) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have others read this closely! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. How to write a statement – The process of writing <ul><li>Good writing is difficult </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember this is a statement about you. It is not you. Let it go. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask as many people (professors, friends, family) to read it as possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask someone to read it who does not know you well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read other successful statements (people will be flattered that you asked) </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. How to write a statement – The process of writing <ul><li>Good writing is difficult (continued) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reward yourself (internally & externally) for even a little progress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put it away for a week or two and come back to it later </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to ‘start over’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In fact, good statements require several completely different versions </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Statement readers’ pet peeves <ul><li>10 point font or less, small margins </li></ul><ul><li>Rambling, directionless statements </li></ul><ul><li>Statements that are vague and/or filled with undefined jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Mentorship model programs: No real interest or statement about working with a specific faculty member </li></ul><ul><li>Not responding to specific questions </li></ul><ul><li>Typoes </li></ul>
  19. 19. Some examples Write a candid description of yourself, stressing those personal qualities, assets, and liabilities that you feel will influence your graduate work. Describe what you consider to be your most important professional and / or academic achievement to date. If one were to ask my friends to describe me they would describe me as a very pleasant, diverse, active and intelligent woman. I think one of my most distinguishing characteristics is the diversity of experiences I possess. I am a science student with a flair for the arts. I am a woman with technical aptitude and an interest in management. I also have a passion for traveling and understanding different cultures of the world. All these elements have given me a very broad outlook, with varying degrees of knowledge in a range of topics. I strongly believe that although some are not related directly, all these qualities will influence my graduate work.
  20. 20. SAMPLE STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: MBA India is home to thousands of entrepreneurs. I want to be one of them. My country needs more skilled innovators who can create and launch cutting-edge products and services to keep India at the forefront of the technological tide. But we don't have many first rate entrepreneurial studies programs like those that have produced the top Silicon Valley leaders. XXXX University has exactly the kind of program I am seeking. The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies holds exciting events with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, offering networking opportunities and first hand experience that I plan to take full advantage of to extend my learning. I’m also very excited by the Global Business Plan Competition. Your business incubator encourages students to launch their own businesses, something that I aspire to myself. I grew up in a family of medical practitioners. My parents are both doctors who hoped I might follow in their footsteps. Although I heard my parent’s wishes, business has always
  21. 21. fascinated me more than medicine. I have followed with great interest some of India’s pioneering business leaders such as XXXX and XXXX who created successful technology companies from scratch. I look forward to studying in the heart of Silicon Valley where many Indian-born entrepreneurs have launched start ups and others have opened U.S. offices of their India-based companies. If I were accepted by your program, I would aspire to pursue an internship such a company during the summers. Since I completed my studies at XXXX, where I focused my studies on finance and marketing, I have worked at two successful Mumbai software start ups, XX and XX, where I was responsible for marketing new products to local companies. There I learned what makes a young, ambitious company succeed and how to work with a team to develop innovative products. As I said, my future goal is to launch my own software company, and the best way to achieve that goal is to get an MBA with an entrepreneurial focus like your school offers. I am especially interested in studying with people like <NAME OF PROFESSOR> who teaches entrepreneurial studies. Also I look forward to learning from other students with entrepreneurial ambitions like mine. I believe my experience at XX and XX, coupled with the solid education I received at XX, will give me the grounding to excel in your program. I hope that the committee will look favorably on my application.

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