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Personal statement advice: business and management

Business admissions tutors explain the importance of reflecting on your business or management interests and demonstrating your motivation, skills and enthusiasm in your personal statement.

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.

For more personal statement advice, see our article on 10 things to include, as well as our tips for talking about work experience in your personal statement

A spot-on business personal statement in a nutshell

We want to find out information that gives a personal insight into the applicant, something that goes over and above their academic achievements and includes their motivations, their ambitions, how they have chosen their university course, what they feel they could contribute to our community and what it is they seek from their university experience. Dr Trevor Bolton | Pro Vice Chancellor & Dean Of International Business School - Anglia Ruskin University

Dr Pam Croney, admissions tutor at Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University, is especially looking for evidence of the following: 
  • 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!

What business and management tutors are looking for

  • 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.

Making your business experience count

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. We've got tips about making the most of work experience in your personal statement here.

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 that 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 the BBC website.

Or consider the transferable skills you've gained through extra-curricular activities and how they can show what the University of Bath describes as 'an active interest in understanding people, work and organisations'.

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