SOP length and structure : Ph.D in Business
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# SOP length and structure

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Senior Manager
Joined: 23 Jun 2006
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09 Jul 2006, 00:25
hi,

I intend to apply for org behavior phd in a top tier school.

my profile includes:
GMAT: 770
B.Sc. mathematics top 5% (very well known university outside the US)
M.A musicology top 5% (same university)
few publications in both technical and academic contexts
and 6 years work experience in senior role.

the big minus - my age (will be 37 when i start my phd)

i will need to use my SOP to both "minimize" the effect of my age (i.e explaining why not doing the phd until now), and also to explain why going for org behavior and not the disciplines i'm already involved in (math, music, software development).

i believe i have good answers to both issues, but would very much be happy in hearing your recommendation about how to present it, how long should the SOP be, how it should be structured, and any other tip you can give in that matter.

Senior Manager
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09 Jul 2006, 04:33
For a start, you can visit the schools' website and see the essay topics that they have. Generally, the topics are similar but not the same. Some also state the word limits.

I am also considered as a "old" applicant, though not as old as you. All the best in your app. I hope that you will get what you want and show that age is not a barrier in the pursuit of a phd.
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SOP length - Age barriers.... [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2006, 09:27
hobbit,

See another thread in the same Forum titled "Too old to get admitted..."
You can see how others in your age group have overcome any apprehensions on the age factor. I have read some interesting post by someone older than you who got admitted to PHD this Fall.

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/search.ph ... r=banjaran

Check his posts which will give you some guidance.

In addition, in Business week forums there is a whole thread talking about older candidates. At this point, all you will need is the patience to read through them all !!!

Good luck

Deeps
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Re: SOP length and structure [#permalink]

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04 Jan 2007, 12:35
hobbit wrote:
hi,

I intend to apply for org behavior phd in a top tier school.

my profile includes:
GMAT: 770
B.Sc. mathematics top 5% (very well known university outside the US)
M.A musicology top 5% (same university)
few publications in both technical and academic contexts
and 6 years work experience in senior role.

the big minus - my age (will be 37 when i start my phd)

i will need to use my SOP to both "minimize" the effect of my age (i.e explaining why not doing the phd until now), and also to explain why going for org behavior and not the disciplines i'm already involved in (math, music, software development).

i believe i have good answers to both issues, but would very much be happy in hearing your recommendation about how to present it, how long should the SOP be, how it should be structured, and any other tip you can give in that matter.

Intern
Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 9
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06 Jan 2007, 19:19
There is excellent advice on this forum and the BW forum about overcoming the age hurdle.

Here is my take. Do not approach your age with a defensive mindset. All you have to do through your application and SOP is demonstrate that you have the potential to do quality academic research. My suggestion would be to position your interest in academia as a consequence of questions which got triggered through your work experience and then got reinforced through reading of recent issues of top tier academic journals.

Here is what I did. Way before the deadlines, I read recent papers from top tier marketing journals( UTD Dallas research rankings will help you to identify these journals) I then used these papers , my experience and a study of faculty research interests to write to faculty with specific research questions in areas of my interest. Cannot elaborate too much on this without giving away my identity completely, but consequence of this was that I ended up working on a collaborative research project before my application and this was a substantive way to demonstrate research interest.

My experience suggests that the age issue is over rated. Yes, all other things being equal, a younger candidate will be preferred. The thing is this: can you show from your application that you understand what academic research involves and have some understanding of the academic literature in your field of interest.

I am not an expert on the process(if we are completely honest, very few people are) I will however say that I applied to six well ranked research univs in marketing(top twenty ish) got three offers and 1 waitlist. I will also say that you should not put too much store in popular perceptions of univs which are not age friendly. One such univ waitlisted me(and I was 39 at time of application)

Hope this helps
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07 Jan 2007, 22:26
Very inspiring article. Thank you so much.
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08 Jan 2007, 01:32
now, after 4 SOPs are behind me (but no decisions... so i don't know if it works or not) - here is what i did:

i indeed didn't regarded my age in defensive way or as any kind of disadvantage. i was also told that the age thingy is a bit overrated, so it can be ignored completely as long as i show potential...
however - while not explicitly talking about my age, i talked about my experience and how different non-academic experiences provided me with skills and insights that can be used in research (and showed that i know how to put them in practice in that context).
also, i tried to write about the advantages that usually come with age: maturity, focus, introspection and self awareness... although these can be found in anyone at any age, they are still likely to develop over time.

all this done without speaking directly about age as a factor.
08 Jan 2007, 01:32
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# SOP length and structure

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