In this article, we look at MBA personal statement examples for graduate applicants.
How does a focus on challenges enhance your application? Keep reading to find out how a passion for finance, experience of diversity and a dream of running a social enterprise inspired three candidates to apply for an MBA.
Applying to MBA programs can be a challenging task. To be successful, you need to make sure that you have everything in order, from your transcripts to your test scores.
One of the most important parts of your application is your personal statement, which can help you stand out and get into the program of your choice. We have tips on the 8 key elements to include in your statement, as well as some example MBA personal statements.
Table of Contents
- What is an MBA personal statement?
- What to include in your MBA personal statement?
- Focus on the challenges to make your personal statement stand out
- 9 Steps to writing your best MBA personal statement
- Examples of effective personal statements for MBA applicants
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- More Personal Statement Tutorials
What is an MBA personal statement?
It’s an essay that is required when applying to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program after completing your undergraduate degree. It is a summary of your qualifications and experiences, goals, and reasons for applying to your chosen MBA program.
It’s your chance to demonstrate the skills, experiences, and fresh perspective you can bring to the program. It is also a way for the selection panel to learn more about you.
Overall, a personal statement is an important part of an MBA application as it allows the candidate to demonstrate their strengths and suitability for the program.
What to include in your MBA personal statement?
This is your ‘why’ – why are you applying to this program?
- Be specific: Instead of simply stating that your goal is to advance your career, be specific about the type of role or industry you hope to pursue after completing the program. For example, you might state that your goal is to become a marketing director for an international non-profit.
- Connect your goals to your past experiences: Highlight how your past experiences have prepared you for your future goals. For example, you might discuss how your experience in sales has given you a strong foundation for a career in marketing.
- Show how the program will help you achieve your goals: Explain how the MBA program will help you achieve your goals, whether that’s through providing you with new skills or knowledge, expanding your network, or giving you access to new career opportunities.
- Discuss your long-term aspirations: While it’s important to focus on your immediate post-MBA goals, it’s also helpful to discuss your long-term aspirations. This can show that you have a clear sense of direction and are committed to ongoing professional growth and development.
A strong background for a personal statement should include a description of your academic qualifications, particularly your undergraduate degree.
Other knowledge and skills, professional and personal goals, and experiences that have shaped you as an individual are also useful. The challenges section will help you out with some ideas!
It should also include an explanation of why you are the right fit for the program you are applying to.
I am particularly interested in learning more about how to manage a diverse global team, many of whom are still working online and may have never met in person.
Examples of interests that can be included in a personal statement include business acumen, leadership, problem-solving, strategic thinking, and research.
Leadership involves inspiring, motivating, and managing others. Problem-solving requires critical thinking, analysis, and creativity to identify solutions to issues and challenges.
Strategic thinking is the ability to anticipate the long-term implications of decisions and plan appropriately.
Research involves being able to effectively search for, analyze, and utilize information.
When writing a personal statement for graduate business school, it is important to showcase your commitment to academic excellence.
Additionally, it is important to demonstrate your ability to take on challenges, your creative problem-solving skills, and your ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Soft skills such as decision-making, time management, and people management are also extremely important.
Furthermore, an understanding of the goals and objectives of the program and how they align with your own goals and objectives will be beneficial.
5. Learning Experiences
I remain committed to setting the example of lifelong learning as a leader and entrepreneur.
When crafting a personal statement for graduate business school, it is important to include various types of learning experiences. These can be divided into three categories: academic knowledge, work experience, and personal growth.
Academic knowledge refers to the facts and theories you have learned throughout your education. It is important to mention the classes you have taken, the books you have read, and the research you have done in order to demonstrate your commitment to learning.
Work experience is also essential to include in a personal statement for graduate school. It is important to share your experience in the field, highlighting any applicable skills you have gained and any challenges you have faced.
By including these different types of learning experiences in your personal statement, you can demonstrate that you are prepared for the challenges of graduate school and are ready to make a positive contribution to your chosen field.
Including your motivations in your MBA personal statement is crucial to demonstrate how you are a good fit for the program. Here are some tips to help you include your motivations effectively:
- Share your story: Use your personal statement to tell a story about why you are motivated to pursue an MBA. For example, you could talk about a challenge you faced in your career and how an MBA will help you overcome it.
- Connect your motivations to the program: Make sure to explain how the specific program you are applying to will help you achieve your goals. For example, you could talk about the program’s focus on entrepreneurship and how it aligns with your goal of starting your own business.
- Be authentic: Don’t try to write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Instead, be honest and authentic about what motivates you and how an MBA will help you achieve your goals.
Remember, your personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your motivations, goals, and unique qualities to the admissions committee.
Including your achievements in your MBA personal statement is an important way to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have the skills and experience to succeed in the program. Here are some tips to help you include your achievements effectively:
- Use numbers and metrics to quantify achievements
- Show your role and impact
- Provide context (You can briefly use the STAR model – outlining the situation, target, action and result)
- Be humble and make it clear that it was a team effort
Use your achievements to demonstrate your skills, experience, and potential for success in an MBA program, but also make sure to include other elements, such as your motivations and goals, to provide a well-rounded picture of who you are as a candidate.
I am an experienced coach and mentor, with a particular passion for mentoring and supporting other BAME women.
Strengths are an essential part of any successful personal statement and should be included to show any potential employer or academic institution the skills you possess.
Highlighting your strengths in your MBA personal statement is important because it helps the admissions committee understand what you can bring to the program.
Here are some tips to help you highlight your strengths effectively:
- Identify your strengths
- Use specific examples to demonstrate your strengths
- Connect your strengths to the program
- Be authentic
Focus on the challenges to make your personal statement stand out
Writing about your life’s challenges is a powerful way to demonstrate resilience, determination, and personal growth. Here are some tips to help you include your life challenges effectively:
- Choose a challenge that is significant, relevant, and has had a meaningful impact on your life.
- Be honest and authentic when describing your challenge. Don’t try to sugar-coat or exaggerate your experiences.
- Explain how your challenge has impacted your life and motivated you to pursue an MBA. Describe the specific ways in which you have grown and developed as a result of your challenge.
- Connect your challenge to the program and explain how your experience will make you a better candidate. For example, if you overcame a difficult personal situation, you can explain how that experience has taught you resilience and determination, qualities that will be valuable in an MBA program.
- While it’s important to be honest about the challenges you’ve faced, avoid dwelling on the negative. Instead, focus on how you overcame the challenge and the positive impact it has had on your life.
Some examples of life challenges that are relevant to an MBA personal statement include:
- Explaining the need to migrate as a political refugee and how that experience has shaped your views on business.
- Overcoming previous personal and professional failures in business. I learned more from a failed business than from 10 years in the industry.
- Describing how you have embraced evolution and responded to the changing needs of society and the world.
- Demonstrating an understanding of business ethics and customer service.
- Articulating your strategy for success and how it has positively impacted your business.
- Highlighting the importance of innovation and how it can move a business forward.
- Displaying your understanding of process improvement and how it can help a business become more efficient.
- Discussing how facing failure can be a learning opportunity. Watching my uncle fight back after a plant closure was inspiring to me.
9 Steps to writing your best MBA personal statement
- Step 1: Start early
Make sure to give yourself enough time to work on your personal statement. You can never be too prepared!
- Step 2: Show your passion
Approach your personal statement with enthusiasm and show your passion for the MBA program you are applying to.
- Step 3: Keep it concise and pleasant
Choose to write only what is relevant and needed and stay away from being overly wordy.
- Step 4: Write within the recommended length
Stick to the word limit specified – check carefully, every program is different.
- Step 5: Write a separate statement for each program
If you are applying to multiple MBA programs, make sure to create a unique personal statement for each one.
- Step 6: Follow the guidelines
Carefully research and read the admission instructions for the university you are applying to.
- Step 7: Highlight key elements
When writing, include content that admissions committees are looking for and keep the reader’s attention with your writing.
- Step 8: Maintain authenticity
Be honest and genuine in your writing. It is important to sound like yourself and not try to be someone else.
- Step 9: Proofread and edit
Make sure to go through your personal statement one last time to make corrections and improvements.
Examples of effective personal statements for MBA applicants
Below we have outlined examples of personal statements for MBA applicants to help you understand what is required.
MBA Personal Statement Example 1 – A Passion for Finance
I am passionate about pursuing an MBA at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business to reach my professional goals. I have always dreamt of having a career in finance and making a meaningful contribution to society by supporting individuals to build individual portfolios of low-cost index funds. My ambition has been fuelled by my experience in the financial sector and the close relationships I have built with mentors and peers in the industry.
I am driven by the idea that I can use my knowledge and skills to create financial solutions that will benefit the wider world. To me, the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in finance at the University of Virginia is an invaluable opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge I need to make a positive impact in a developing sector.
My passion for finance is bolstered by my commitment to delivering the highest quality of service in my work. I strive to make sure that each decision I make is one that will benefit the client and make them feel secure in their financial decisions. I believe that navigating the world of finance requires a great deal of knowledge and patience, as well as a keen eye for detail and an entrepreneurial spirit. With the right set of skills, I am confident that I can make a lasting contribution in the field of finance.
Steve Jobs said that “you have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right” if you want to stick it out. This statement has resonated with me deeply, and I believe that my passion for finance is precisely what will give me the motivation to stick it out during my studies and beyond. As more and more people embrace the idea of early Financial Independence, they need well-qualified independent financial advisors to support them to achieve their dreams. My ultimate goal is to make a lasting difference in the world of finance and to create meaningful financial solutions that will benefit a broad range of people by setting up my own online consultancy. I am confident that this course will be the perfect stepping stone into this world.
MBA Personal Statement Example 2 – Diversity and Leadership
As a first-generation college student from a multicultural background, with Scottish and Nigerian heritage, I have experienced the transformative power of diversity. Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, a community that celebrated and valued diversity, I learned to appreciate the unique perspectives and experiences that individuals from different backgrounds bring to the table. Attending the North Carolina Highland Games and leading a volunteer team annually has led to a wealth of experiences which make me proud to represent my heritage and my community.
My experience with diversity has taught me to be empathetic, open-minded, and adaptable, skills that I believe are essential for success in today’s global business world.
Throughout my academic and professional journey, I have taken on leadership roles that have allowed me to put these skills into practice. For example, in my current role as a project manager at Smithron Company, I lead a team of individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures. As a leader, I strive to create a culture of inclusivity and mutual respect where every team member feels valued and heard. I believe that by embracing diversity, we can achieve better outcomes and make a positive impact in our community. I am an experienced coach and mentor, with a particular passion for mentoring and supporting other BAME women.
My experience with diversity and leadership has motivated me to pursue an MBA program that will provide me with the tools and knowledge to lead in a complex and ever-changing business environment. I am particularly interested in the program’s focus on global leadership, as I believe that the ability to lead effectively in a global context is essential for success in today’s interconnected world. I am particularly interested in learning more about how to manage a diverse global team, many of whom are still working online and may have never met in person, as this seems to be a growing trend in hybrid businesses.
In addition to my experience with diversity and leadership, I bring to the program a strong academic record and a track record of success in my professional career. I am confident that my unique background, skills, and experience will make a valuable contribution to the program’s community.
Overall, I am excited about the opportunity to pursue an MBA program that aligns with my personal and professional goals. I believe that the program’s focus on diversity, leadership, and global perspective will help me achieve my full potential and make a positive impact in the business world.
MBA Personal Statement Example 3 – A Social Entrepreneur
As a creative and independent thinker, I have always been drawn to new and innovative ideas. My passion for originality has led me to pursue a career in entrepreneurship, where I have had the opportunity to create and grow businesses that make a positive impact on people’s lives. My first successful enterprise was an organic food cooperative which partnered with our local women’s shelter and has consistently donated 20% of profits to supporting community charities.
I believe that entrepreneurship is a powerful force for good, and I am committed to using my skills and experience to create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
In addition to my entrepreneurial pursuits, I am also deeply committed to giving back to my community. I have volunteered with several non-profit organizations that focus on education and social justice, and I am passionate about using my skills and resources to make a positive impact on the world. While I admire the Microloan model and have seen it have a massive impact in many developing countries I believe it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone is entrepreneurial in nature and it’s also important to provide stable jobs where possible. I feel that by combining my entrepreneurial spirit with my commitment to social responsibility, I can create businesses that not only generate financial returns but also create social and environmental benefits.
My goal in pursuing an MBA program is to gain the knowledge and skills needed to take my entrepreneurial ventures to the next level. I am particularly interested in the program’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, as I believe that this will provide me with the tools and resources needed to create businesses that make a positive impact on people’s lives. I am also drawn to the program’s emphasis on social responsibility, as I believe that this is an essential aspect of creating businesses that have a meaningful and lasting impact on the world.
Overall, I am excited about the opportunity to pursue an MBA program that aligns with my personal and professional goals. I remain committed to setting the example of lifelong learning as a leader and entrepreneur and believe that my originality, creativity, and commitment to social responsibility make me a strong candidate for the program, and I look forward to contributing to the program’s community of diverse and innovative thinkers.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Some of these questions were already covered in this blog post but I will still list them here (because not everyone carefully reads every paragraph) so here’s the TL;DR version
How long should my MBA personal statement be?
An MBA personal statement should typically be between 400-1,000 words so we have kept our examples on the lower end.
Ensure you are answering the prompt and focus on the specific program you are applying for.
Taking the time to craft a well-structured, thoughtful essay will make sure you stand out from the competition!
What format should I use for my MBA personal statement?
The most common format is the essay format, which should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
In the introduction, the reader should be engaged, and the body paragraphs should present information about the applicant’s career aspirations and commitment to the profession and social responsibility.
The conclusion should be a concise wrap-up of the statement that leaves the reader with the impression that the applicant is the right fit for the program.
What should I write about in my MBA personal statement?
When writing your MBA personal statement, it is important to focus on the questions that the school has provided, as these will help you understand what they are looking for.
Be sure to stay on topic and provide relevant information to answer the prompt. Additionally, make sure to mention any experiences, skills, or goals that are relevant to the MBA program you’re applying to.
To truly make your statement stand out, provide specific examples of leadership skills and other successes. When you are done, make sure to read your statement over and ensure that you have answered the question thoroughly.
As above, we believe that focusing on challenges as well as what you are most passionate about is a great place to start!
What are some examples of successful MBA personal statements?
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for writing an effective MBA personal statement, but there are several examples of successful essays that have helped applicants gain admission to some of the world’s best business school programs.
Examples of compelling MBA personal statements include stories of resilience, introspection, and initiative. These statements should reflect the applicant’s personality and writing voice in order to make an impression on the admissions committee.
In this article, we have provided three MBA personal statement examples for you to review.
How important is my MBA personal statement in the application process?
It is important to remember that all parts of your application are significant, but there is no doubt that the personal statement is the most significant factor when it comes to making a lasting impression on the admissions committee.
While a high GPA and GMAT score may help you stand out amongst other applicants, it is the personal statement that gives you the opportunity to show who you are, what you are passionate about, and why you are the ideal candidate for the program.
The personal statement is your chance to shine and make a statement about what you have to offer the institutions.
In short, an MBA personal statement is absolutely essential in the application process. It is an opportunity to make your mark and show the admissions committee that you are the kind of individual they are looking for.
And finally…what are the qualities that make a good MBA personal statement?
Good MBA personal statements should have the following qualities:
- Grammatical accuracy: it should be free of spelling and grammatical errors.
- Readability: it should be engaging and easy to read.
- Honesty: it should provide an honest story.
- Uniqueness: it should present a unique story without any cliches.
- Initiative: it should show evidence of initiative or an original idea.
- Leadership: it should exhibit positive qualities of unselfish leadership.
- Authenticity: it should feel authentic and make a strong case.
- Goals: it should outline the writer’s goals.
- Promise: it should demonstrate promise for success as you are an excellent candidate and deserve the chance to shine!
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