You have decided to apply to data or business analytics and have narrowed down your list of schools. Now it’s time to complete a statement of purpose (SOP) as part of your application. Although it is becoming increasingly popular for schools to require additional essays, the SOP continues to be the most important (and lengthy) of all. What makes a great SOP?
5 must-have elements for your data/business analytics SOP
To write a great SOP, you need to address each and every part of the question while being specific and concise. In short, your SOP should contain these 5 elements:
- Describe your academic background, reasons for pursuing your undergraduate degree, meaningful academic projects, particularly those related to data analysis, and your most influential learning experiences. Expand on any research projects you worked on as an undergrad, particularly if it involved quantitative analysis. If your undergraduate degree is unrelated to data analysis, discuss the biggest learnings from it and how it has shaped you to be the person you are today.
- Discuss any relevant internship or work experience. List a couple of your most impressive accomplishments, particularly focusing on those relevant to data. While you need to avoid repeating word for word what’s on your resume, it’s important that you describe your work or internship experience, concentrating only on the most important and relevant accomplishments or those experiences that are most relevant to the question you are addressing.
- Be specific about your career goals. Describe in particular why you need a graduate degree in data analytics to achieve them, both in the short-term (1 to 5 years post-graduation) as well as in the long-term (5 to 10 years out).
- State your reasons for preferring a particular program and university. What do they offer that no one else has? What particular features are just right for your plans? Again, you need to be specific, detailing unique coursework, resources, faculty, and benefits that this program, in particular, has for you and for your career. Describe succinctly how this program will help you achieve your goals given your experience and education to date.
- Finally, state your intended contributions in the classroom and for the school’s community. Why are you a good fit for them? This can be in relation to your past experience, unique background, academic expertise, or diverse perspective. Honestly and specifically, write about how you plan to contribute to the program, while acknowledging that you will benefit from your peers’ diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Why is your graduate statement of purpose so important?
The statement of purpose helps the admissions committees determine the true interest of the applicant in their program. They have seen your stats, they have reviewed your transcript, and have your GMAT or GRE. The SOP is the one item of your application where you have the chance to tell them not only how you stand out, but also how much you fit in at their program. It should never be taken lightly. It is often the most critical part of the application, the one that can make it or break it.
Do you need help crafting a statement of purpose that demonstrates your unique fit with your target data or business analytics program? Check out our Graduate School Admissions Consulting & Editing Services and get the assistance you need to create an SOP that will get you ACCEPTED.
Esmeralda Cardenal is a Former Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, Director of MBA Admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the UK. Since 2014, she has guided Accepted clients to acceptance in various graduate programs including MBA and master's in finance, business analytics, data science, sustainability, and public policy. Want Esmeralda to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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• Want to Study Data Analytics But Don’t Have Relevant Experience or a Quantitative Degree?
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