Whether talking about a recent news story, how you meet targets in your weekend job, or simply why you want to study business at uni, that spark of genuine motivation and enthusiasm will get you noticed. That's what business admissions tutors told us when we asked them what they look for – and here are some more of their top tips.
Find out everything you need to know about writing your personal statement, including how to write a killer opening and our top tips.
Dr Pam Croney, admissions tutor at Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University, is especially looking for evidence of:
- an independent learner
- a thinker and doer
- an innovator or potential entrepreneur
- a good communicator who likes giving presentations
- an interest in what's happening out there in the business world
Can you demonstrate any of these?
She also likes it when applicants give their own views on a topical issue, like why you think a particular company crashed, what sparked the revival of a vintage brand, or whatever else gets you fired up. Admissions tutors love to know what you’re genuinely enthusiastic about!
- Structure and organisation: to study management, you need to demonstrate that you are capable of managing yourself. Your personal statement needs to be structured, organised, and free of spelling or grammatical errors.
- First impressions count: Sue Blything-Smith, Business and Management Admissions Tutor from University Campus Suffolk, says 'you should aim to be unique and original and provide a good opening line that reveals something about your aptitude and enthusiasm’. She really likes to see statements that demonstrate personality and flair but don't go too over the top: keep it formal and remain objective.
- Examples of your relevant skills: Sue is also impressed by applicants who describe situations where they’ve demonstrated relevant skills like good communication or teamwork, problem-solving, initiative, leadership, or achieving goals.
- Research the course: London School of Economics is keen to know things like why you want to study management, what specific aspects of their course interest you, how it relates to your academic studies, and what additional reading or other activities have led you to apply.
- Entrepreneurial flair: Bournemouth likes its business studies applicants to show they are 'self-starters' who enjoy identifying and solving business problems.
It’s not just what you've done but how you've reflected on it. If you work-shadowed the CEO of a multi-national company, that's great, but it will have zero impact unless you spell out what you personally gained from it.
Similarly, if your part-time supermarket job or role in a Young Enterprise programme has helped you develop your skills and confidence, that’s great too. But it will only have an impact on your statement if you explain how or give an actual example.
It's the "how" that brings your statement to life and makes it interesting and personal. So try to think of specific occasions or unique ways you have demonstrated your potential, or maybe something you've observed about customer behaviour, management styles or an effective (or ineffective) marketing campaign.
It's even better if you can then link it to something you've learned in your business, economics, or psychology studies, or read in the Financial Times, The Economist, or on the BBC website.
Or consider the transferable skills you've gained through extracurricular activities and how they can show what the University of Bath describes as 'an active interest in understanding people, work, and organisations'.
Check out our guide to business, management, and administrative studies to find out what courses are available, areas of employment, and where to find out more about careers.