Cass MSc Admissions

Advice and Information from the MSc Admissions team

Tips for Writing your Personal Statement and CV

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Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed the seasonal break and are ready for the exciting year ahead. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application over the Christmas period – we are busy processing your applications now.

For those who have not yet submitted an application, this post aims to provide some advice on writing your personal statement and CV.

Along with the application form and other supporting documents, the personal statement and CV play an important part in the decision-making process. A coherent statement of purpose and well-constructed CV not only make the review process a lot easier for the panel, they can enhance your application by clearly demonstrating your interests and achievements. Below we give a few suggestions for when it comes to preparing these documents. Please remember that they form part of your full application file, and a successful application will also require a solid academic background that meets our requirements.

 

Personal Statement

  • Be concise

We are often asked how long the personal statement should be. Ideally it should be around 500-600 words. It is better to be concise so the admissions panel can easily pick out the key points.

 

  • Look to the future

The admissions panel use the personal statement to determine whether the course you have applied for is right for you. You should therefore address why you want to take the course, and what your future career aspirations are. If you can, demonstrate how particular modules will help you in the field you wish to enter after graduating.

 

  • Do your research

Find out about the School and the course before writing your personal statement. Is there anything that particularly catches your eye or interests you? Mentioning something that is specific to Cass Business School or the course, and explaining how it will benefit you, will show the admissions panel that you have taken the time to read and learn about the School or course.

 

  • Tailor your statement

We expect that you are submitting applications to other Business Schools. However, do not make the mistake of sending the same statement to every School. It is often obvious when an applicant has not tailored their statement for their application to Cass Business School. Following from the above point, ensure that you are writing your statement specifically for the course that you wish to apply for at Cass.

 

  • Sell yourself!

The personal statement is the only document where you can really sell yourself to the admissions panel. Other supporting documents such as the degree transcript are the hard evidence of your achievements, but they cannot convey a passion for a subject. Use this opportunity to tell us about yourself – what makes you stand out? How do you think the course will help you in your future career? If there are any discrepancies in your academic background you can provide an explanation here. Above all, your career ambitions should comprise the greatest part of your statement.

 

CV

The Curriculum Vitae (or resumé) serves as a snap-shot of your profile. In one place it shows your academic, professional and extra-curricular background. It is therefore important to ensure that it is well-formatted and easy to understand.

Whilst in some countries there is a set format for a CV, in the UK there is some degree of flexibility in how to lay it out and what information to include. As a rule, CVs should be no longer than two sides of A4. It is better to be concise and write bullet points rather than large paragraphs of text. The tips below are merely suggestions and are intended as guidance for the School application process only. The CV you submit for job applications may need to contain different information.

 

  • Personal details

The CV should include at least your full name and an email address. Please ensure the email address is typed correctly. It is often better to put a personal email address here, in case your academic email account expires.

 

  • Academic background

You should provide at least your higher education here. Ensure you put the start and end dates of the degree, and if you have done any exchange programmes be sure to input these along with the dates. If you have completed  your degree, ideally you should state your final grade, and specify the grading scheme (such as out of GPA 4). You do not need to list modules or grades achieved as these will be listed on your transcript. If there is anything unusual about your degree (for example, if you transferred university half-way through your degree) make sure it is clearly stated. You should also use the Personal Statement to clarify any situations like this. Including this information will make it much easier for the Admissions Team to understand your academic background, and will reduce the chances of a delay in the progress of your application.

Details of secondary education, including the results of ‘A’ Levels (or their international equivalent) can be useful if they are in subjects relevant to your chosen Masters degree.

 

  • Professional background

Please include details of any relevant work experience or internships. These should include the name of the employer, your job title, the country in which you were working, and the dates of employment. If you were working part-time, please mention this.

 

  • Other qualifications and skills

If you hold any other relevant qualifications, such as ACCA, GMAT or an English proficiency score, please include these along with the date taken. It is likely that you will also need to upload the documents with your online application. If you are a candidate for a professional exam, provide your intended test date. You may also wish to briefly add details of your interests and key skills.

 

Before submitting your application, check your personal statement and CV for spelling mistakes or inconsistencies, and make sure there are no gaps in the information. If you already have a CV that you intend to upload, ensure that it is up-to-date.

 

We hope that this guidance is useful, and look forward to receiving your applications. As always, if you have any queries please let us know!

20 Comments

  1. Great advice! Many helpful and excellent tips can be found via: http://sire-search.com/candidates/top-tips-create-a-cv/. Creating a CV needs to be done carefully , since it a very important self-marketing tool. Therefore many handy tips and other related advices are provided on the website of SIRE Life Sciences. sire-search.com/candidates/

  2. thank you for your advice! Who should I address my personal statement to (I mean in the heading)?
    Thank You!

    • Hi Andrea, thanks for your message! You don’t need to address the personal statement to anyone, but if you wish you can address it to the Admissions Panel for the course you are applying for. The content of the personal statement is the most important part.
      I hope this helps!
      MSc Admissions Team

  3. What title or heading can be given to a personal statement for msc

    • Hi Qasim
      Thanks for your question! There is no set title – you can just call it Personal Statement for [name of course]. Make sure your name is on it somewhere. The most important part of the personal statement is the content!
      I hope this helps.
      MSc Admissions Team

  4. This blog is old. I have made personal statement and was curious to know what is the number of words should it contain.

    • Hi
      Thanks for your question. The information in the post is still relevant for 2017 intake, so around 500-600 words is adequate. We do not have a set word limit, but a succinct and relevant statement will help the admissions panel when they review your file.
      I hope this helps.
      MSc Admissions Team

  5. Hi there,

    You say that I should tailor my personal statement to the specific course I am applying for, but that you will use only one set of documents if I apply to a second/third choice course.

    Will it count against me if I tailor a statement to one course, mentioning specific modules etc, but fail to get into this course, and have my application sent to a second department, which I have been unable to have tailored my statement to?

    Any help appreciated!

    • Hi Alexander
      Good question! In this case you can write personal statements for your second and third choices and upload them as supporting documents with your application (just be sure to make it clear which statement is for which course). If your application is not successful for your first choice course it will be passed to your second choice and the relevant personal statement would be added. This would not count against you. Alternatively we might contact you to request a new personal statement for the second choice course if you were not successful for your first choice, particularly if your alternative choices were in different disciplines to your first choice.
      I hope this helps. Good luck with your application!
      MSc Admissions Team

  6. Im applying to the MSc in Entrepreneurship and I have a question regarding the personal statement. I already started a company and have done a few internships so should I discuss my start up more than the internships, vice versa or should I keep it balanced and discuss both experiences.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sam, thanks for your question!
      It is up to you how much emphasis you put on the start-up versus the internships – I’m afraid we aren’t able to advise on those details, as the personal statement should be about linking your own experiences with the course you are applying for (i.e. did one of them have more of an impact on why you want to take the course?). Remember that when you apply for MSc Entrepreneurship you also have to fill in the additional online form about why you want to do this particular course. The link to the form can be found here – http://www.cass.city.ac.uk/courses/masters/apply/online-application

      I hope this helps. Good luck with your application!
      MSc Admissions Team

  7. Hello,
    I am applying for the Masters in Management degree. I would really love to study this course and believe I am an excellent fit. However, I checked out my transcripts and discovered that I had C grades in all four management courses I took in the university.

    Although after graduation, I got a scholarship to study at the Lagos Business School for a mini-MBA program.

    Can my university scores act as an impediment to my admission?
    Is there anything I can do to prove to the admissions committee that I would still perform excellently in this course?
    What should be my explanations if asked reasons for the poor grades in all management-related courses?

    I hope to get a response from you soon.

    Regards!

    • Hi Adesegun
      Thanks for your question! The admissions panel will be looking at the grades you achieved in your degrees, so they would expect to see high grades in relevant modules. You are welcome to submit an application with all your supporting documents, and the admissions panel will make their decision based on the documents you submit. All decisions are made by the admissions panel, so I’m afraid we are not able to give you any indication as to the potential outcome of your application.
      I hope this helps.
      MSc Admissions Team

  8. Hi Team,
    I have written my personal statement and that is around 1000 words and I do not want to cut short it as it will then miss out certain important points.
    Need your guidance wether 1000 words statement is eligible or should i make it 500-600 words long

    • Hi Yousuf
      Thanks for your question! The admissions panel will read all personal statements regardless of the word count, but it is important to keep the statement concise. We do advise applicants to keep their personal statement to a maximum of two sides of typed A4 paper so that the key points are easily identifiable.
      I hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any further queries!
      Kind regards
      MSc Admissions Team

  9. Hello Admissions Team,

    I am wondering whether the personal statement of MSc courses have any recommended structure?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Ziwen
      Thanks for your question! There is no set structure for the personal statement, but you can use our guidance in this blog post to help you structure your statement.
      I hope this helps!
      Kind regards
      MSc Admissions Team

  10. Hello Admissions Team!
    When listing professional experience in a CV, should a blurb also be included to detail what the role entailed and examples of work undertaken (particularly if they are relevant to the programme being applied to), or should the CV be kept simple with this sort of explanation instead provided in the personal statement?

    Thank you!
    Clara

    • Hi Clara
      Thanks for your question! On the CV we would recommend that you include a short blurb or bullet points about the duties of the role, especially if it is relevant to the course that you are applying for. If the role is not relevant you can provide a briefer description. It is also useful if you can state if the role was full-time or part-time. The personal statement should be more forward-looking (i.e. why you want to do the course and how it will help your career goals), but you are welcome to mention your work experience there, too, if it is relevant.
      I hope this helps!
      Kind regards
      MSc Admissions Team

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