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Politics, History and Economics - SOP- for Masters in Public Policy in the UK


amruta 1 / 1  
Feb 12, 2010   #1
Hi. this is my SOP for a Masters in Public Policy in the UK. Please let me know your feedback!

Had nature not intervened, I would have been a ballerina in a dance troupe, a geologist studying obscure landforms in a faraway land, a botanist or an actor. "You have a 50% inclination towards the Social Sciences and 50% towards a technical education." said my career counselor after I had scored top marks in both math and social sciences in my high school exams. I was elated. Now I could choose between pursuing Engineering or read subjects like political science, economics and history.

Though I've kept my interest in Politics, History and Economics by reading the relevant books and periodicals and tutoring middle and high Schoolers in these subjects, looking back, I feel that Engineering has been the best thing that's happened to me. Now I have an analytical mind, strong reasoning skills, ability to work on an extremely tight schedule and meet a deadline, and yes, loads of patience, thanks only to my training as an Engineer. For a person with an artistic bent of mind the discipline imposed by the 9-5 lectures, daily assignments, submissions and rigorous classes was overwhelming. Add to that the enormous course work, project submissions and the grueling exams every six months. Initially I faltered. But later on, I realized that if I had to survive, I should be more pragmatic. After great personal strife and suffering the loss of a person close to me, I bounced back in Engineering in my third year. I knew then that I had to be the best at my chosen field of study. I was better at understanding subjects like Project Management and Management Information Systems than most of my peers. Group studies with friends were really helpful. With a desire to excel, I secured a distinction in my final semester exam.

Throughout my pre final and final year of bachelors' degree, I was associated with Symphony ïa development and motivational organization aimed at improving quality of peoples' lives through attitude and behavioral change. I have undergone training in ontology, and applied it to my own life with phenomenal results. Later, I assisted my former coach and mentor, in conducting seminars and organizing interactive workshops for school children and adults. The joy on children's faces at the end of the workshops and the former participants' success stories further inspired my desire to be a cause for it.

After Engineering, initially, I worked as a software developer and handled each stage of the software lifecycle from requirement gathering to product documentation. Sensing that I delivered excellent presentations and had good analytical skills, I was conferred the additional responsibility of working on project acquisition by my seniors. Eager to validate my bosses' trust, I worked hard and managed both roles my roles efficiently.

While working in this field, I have honed my analytical, project estimation and presentation skills to a great extent. I have come to recognize that behind any success, hard work, patience and team spirit play a very important role.

Now, I am a pragmatic, research focused yet result oriented individual. But, the seeds of giving back to the society had taken root in childhood itself. Therefore when I decided to go for tertiary education, I wanted to make my mark in a field which fascinated me and enabled me to be a catalyst in social change. After much research, I decided to apply to your Institute.

To be able to reach the highest level in the public sphere and to influence lives around me, I need to have a firm grounding in the various factors that cause social change. My studies at your Institute will equip me with just that. Your School's world class facilities and faculty who are all experts in their respective fields attracted me to it. Located in the United Kingdom, it will be the perfect place to understand the highly dynamic global political scene.

While pursuing my masters, I intend to learn the theoretical and practical aspects of governance, statecraft and administration along with economics and politics. This will help me in expanding my horizons and will enable me to make informed decisions. The faculty and visiting experts through their lectures, seminars and talks will certainly satiate and invigorate my hunger for knowledge. Further, they will encourage me to find new and innovative solutions to existing and future global crises.

After having acquired the necessary skills and knowledge through a Masters degree, I look forward to work as a project leader in a national or international organization. If such an opportunity comes my way, I'll definitely put all my efforts in making the project successful. My aim is to work with an organization having a strong development focus, especially in the field of education and environment. After gaining global experience, I intend to return back to India to work constructively for alleviating the problems it faces.

Your Institute attracts the best talent from all walks of life to learn and share their expertise, experiences and culture. Such a diverse group is rarely found in academic campuses. If offered a place, I'm sure my study at your Institute is going to be a life changing experience.

-Amruta Ponkshe
0mkar 1 / 13  
Feb 12, 2010   #2
Hi Amruta,

Firstly, your english is excellent and your essay has a really convinving tone. Try structuring your SOP into well defined paragraphs.

Lets review it --

Ummm.. I am not too sure about this statement:

Had nature not intervened, I would have been a ballerina in a dance troupe, a geologist studying obscure landforms in a faraway land, a botanist or an actor.

I don't question its sincerity, but its appropriateness in this context; Makes it look like you were never sure what you wanted to be, and you are what you are simply because you had not been left with a choice! Very weak statement to start your essay with.. you may want to consider changing it.

The paragraph about how engineering has helped you is good stuff! You may want to build a little more on the part about you working for Symphony (since you briefly mention, that is what inspired you to take this course).

Don't use tautologies like

I have come to recognize that behind any success, hard work, patience and team spirit play a very important role.
It is entirely obvious, and completely unnecessary to mention it. It also suggests that before working in this field, you never appreciated hard work.

At some places one gets a feeling that you start off with a promising statement and end it abruptly without elaboration.

But, the seeds of giving back to the society had taken root in childhood itself.
How? What were the factors that influenced you?

After much research, I decided to apply to your Institute.
What did you find out about the institute and the course? Not general statements like "world class facilities", "expert professors", "international exposure". You have to mention the specifics, why this university, why this course?

Located in the United Kingdom, it will be the perfect place to understand the highly dynamic global political scene.
Why is UK the perfect place? Why not US, China or Australia?

This will help me in expanding my horizons and will enable me to make informed decisions.
What are these horizons and what decisions would you be making?

The faculty and visiting experts through their lectures, seminars and talks will certainly satiate and invigorate my hunger for knowledge.
"satiate and invigorate" is a contradiction!
Try:

I look forward to attending seminars by visiting experts, which is certain to further invigorate my hunger for knowledge.

Further, they will encourage me to find new and innovative solutions to existing and future global crises.
Don't preempt what they will do, you can only be certain of your own response to them. You may rephrase it,

Their insight and experience will inspire me to find new and innovative solutions to existing and future global crises.

After gaining global experience, I intend to return back to India to work constructively for alleviating the problems it faces.
What problems does it face and how will the course help you in solving those?

Forbidden statements:
Such a diverse group is rarely found in academic campuses.
I was better at understanding subjects like Project Management and Management Information Systems than most of my peers.

As a matter policy, try not using "comparitive" and "superlative" degrees. The first statement is blatantly false as well as unnecessary, and the second one is borderline arrogant.

The latter can be rephrased
I excelled in subjects like Project Management and Management Information Systems.
Conveys the same meaning without coming on too strong.

Overall, you have really good command over the language and plenty of subject matter that you can build on. Try not to leave any unanswered questions in the mind of the reader when you include a statement. Also, very sentence you write must have a definite purpose.. either in stating your motivation for taking up the course or in establishing your suitability for the course. I always tell people not to turn their SOPs into a running commentary on their résumé.

This is just honest feedback, please don't take it as criticism. I am sure you will make a fantastic SOP and get an admit to the University, All the best!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Feb 12, 2010   #3
I am pretty impressed, Omkar! Please check out the EF_Contributor page!
this needs a comma:
...towards a technical education," said my career...

Now I could choose between pursuing Engineering or reading subjects like political science, economics and history.

we need a set of dashes to manage this long, complex sentence:
Though I've kept my interest in politics, history and economics by reading the relevant books and periodicals -- and also by tutoring middle and high schoolers in these subjects -- looking back, I feel that Engineering has been the best thing that's happened to me.

:-)


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