SOP Preparation Worksheet
SOP Preparation Worksheet
The Statement of Purpose (SOP) in your application packet requires you to not only to be extremely clear about yourself and your goals but also concise and eloquent about them. The SOP is also a great opportunity for the University to assess specific periods from your past, your social background, and your value system. In other words, your SOPs are your chance to “talk to them”.
To get started on your SOP, the “BEST STRATEGY” would be to first gather Points, so to speak prepare a raw material, and then use these (points) in your SOP. For this You will need, do a lot of introspection and collation of events and experiences over an extended period of time and when ready you can pick out the points from that for your SOP. The SOP writing process becomes much faster, richer and far more coherent this way.
The worksheet given below contains the necessary questions that need to be answered to prepare this ‘raw material’. Please take your time in answering these questions and introspect over them in depth. REMEMBER – The time spent on this will help you not only in preparing a quality SOP but will also be useful in drafting letters of recommendation, besides lending focus to the application itself. Treat this worksheet as the sole foundation on which you will build all your application packets.
*NOTE: Pointers provided at the end of the doc for drafting your SOP
All the Best!
Mention and State reasons for choosing you Bachelor degree specialization. What / who inspired you to finalize on it?
|I was introduced to computers by my father back in 2010 before I was about to sit for my first ever public exam in school (10th Boards). He had the vision and intuition of where the world was headed with computers even though he was not from a science background. The machine itself intrigued me so there was no doubt that the intrinsic workings inside the machine would have a mammoth impact on me.|
When did you first find this subject interesting? (it may be more than one event / person / project / lecture / book / etc.) Why this field -your interest in this field how it was developed (background , discuss an incidence etc)
|The first time I realized that I was more interested in understanding the flow of data within a computer code than the writing the code itself is when I was assigned my first project in college. The project was an end to end development of a management system which required linking of the frond end to a database. I was tasked with building the connection from UI to database. This gave me an opportunity to understand how the database works and the circulation of data within the system. This incident made me a raise a lot of questions within myself and I realized I wanted to study further on this.
It is when I was assigned to be an ETL developer in my current organization, I realized that technology and business processes went hand in hand. I worked on tools which are built for providing solutions to business requirements of my client. However, these solutions were not accurate, missing a few of the client’s important business prerequisites and the feasibility had to be done manually. I wanted to optimize these solutions and also automate the feasibility process so as to minimize any manual work and provide the inch-perfect business solutions. The interaction with clients helped me understand the what and whys of my work from a business perspective. I realized if I approached data optimization from a business perspective it was much easier for me to understand why the data was flowing in a particular direction or what was the need of the requirement in the first place. This incident made me ultimately decide that I want to learn more about how I can be the bridge between technology and business with both my analytical and technical skills.
Why work experience? Mention reasons for taking up a job after your bachelor’s .
|I had contemplated going for higher studies after my bachelors but I realized I knew nothing about how all my technical knowledge gained during bachelors can be applied in the real world. I wanted to work on and around databases to feed my knowledge thirst for data optimization and accurate interpretation. I was fortunate to have been assigned as an ETL developer to a Datawarehouse team where I absorbed both technical and business knowledge in order to boost my career towards Information systems.
What is the Course/ Program you intend to pursue for your Master’s? Also specifically mention the specialization or area of interest you wish to pursue.Eg.- CS with specific interest in Algorithms
|The program I want to pursue is Masters in Information Systems with specific interest in business intelligence and data analytics.
Why you as a Candidate? – Mention-how you have honed this interest through and mention your learnings –
Explain your role in the following:
- Academic subjects and Projects-projects (or technical papers) have you worked on in this area? Clarify which of them was a part of the curriculum.
|I completed my undergraduate degree in Computer Science Engineering with Database Management system, Data structure and Algorithm, Principles of Management, Computer Architecture, Project Management which were part of my curriculum and elective subjects included
Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing. (these are only a few of the subjects, I had other subjects as well but I mentioned only the relevant subjects here).
Each academic subject played it’s role in shaping my learning curve. It was important to learn about computer science as a prerequisite before diving into the specialized domain of database and associates. Database Management System was the subject which introduced me to the intricate relationships between data and how proper analysis and operations would fetch us synthesized information which will help in decision making in the real world.
It was subjects like Principles of Management, Project Management which gave me in insight into the lifecycle of a corporate project and how business decisions play an important role in smooth execution of a particular project.
I purposely chose electives like AI and NLP as we are surrounded by artificial intelligence in every aspect of life even with something as trivial as switching off room lights which is now possible through voice control. NLP is also a prime subset of AI which I knew would augment my career since every business or corporate is in motion towards AI.
The most important subject which sharpened my analytical skills was Data structure and Algorithm which helped me in understanding how to approach a problem , how to optimize the solution , how these problems reflect the real world issues and how I can implement my solutions pragmatically.
My first project in college was developing an inventory system where I was working on UI to DB linking.This project first introduced me to a database and I learnt about how we can fetch data with various operations and optimization of these operations have an impact on the data generated.
My internship at ValueProcure Technology Services Private Limited was crucial in helping me realize than I was not inclined towards UI. I was primarily interested in the database development and was extremely excited when I was assigned the task of feasibility check. This meant that the whole outcome of the project depended on my shoulders so saying no to any particular feature of the application due to incorrect feasibility check would cost the entire team. This was also where I first learnt .Net technology. I purposely decided to work for a smaller firm rather than an MNC was because these firms have less employees which means the work is more for each employee. Even though I was an intern I was not limited to one part of the application but got to work from front end to backend.
My Design lab project was a delivery application where I learnt about android development, Python , first learnt how to design use case scenarios and how these impact unit testing which is essential for any development. I worked on the payment gateway integration using HTML and Python and also learnt about the Paypal REST API which is what is mostly used in the real world delivery applications as payment gateway. Even though our application was just for a lab, we tried to gather as much information of how real world applications work and our mentor helped us through the entire process of building an app from scratch guiding us towards the next step every time.
In today’s world everyone needs accurate results fast. We use filters in apps to optimize our search based on our preferences .My final year project year project on user-centric optimization or constraint web service composition using a fuzzy guided system was based on the same principle of search optimization based on users preference. We designed a travel application where user could input just his flight details and other details like nearby hotels, cab bookings would be displayed to him based on previous trends and membership functions price, distance, people and rating. This data fetching was based on fuzzy logic which resembles human reasoning and is not based on definite YES or NO logic of humans but ranges between this YES or No which produces much more accurate optimized results for user’s choice. We used MATLAB and Fuzzy Tool box to define the membership functions and fuzzy logic and SQLite for database to store history data of users.
- Technical papers/ Publications-
- Co curricular activities –
|I was a part of the Interact club in school where we organized the annual fest , annual sports event or made sure Pratt Memorial school was on the map for any social events in and around Kolkata, India .
I volunteered to be a part of sponsorship team during Innovacion, the annual technical fest of Institute of Engineering & Management, Kolkata.
I am a part of women council, CSR team and Toastmasters club in my current organization. As a part of CSR team we get to help unprivileged schools within close proximity of our office location. As a part of women council, we came up with issues faced by women at location level and what can be done to eradicate the same. To improve on my communication skills and get a reality check on what was happening around the world,I joined the Toastmasters club which held numerous debates on ongoing issues in the world and we came up with solutions that can be implemented to resolve them.
I am an ardent lover of Agatha Christies’s work. Every story of hers speaks volumes about her extremely vivid imagination. I always try to predict who might be the culprit finishing the entire book.I am especially in love with her Murder on the Orient Express as it was one such book where I could never predict in any universe.
I am also a huge fan of Coldplay on music fronts and Strawberry Swing has to be my favourite song of theirs from Viva La Vida album.
- Work Experience –
|I am working as an ETL developer at Tech Mahindra, India for 31 months currently responsible for all offshore ETL activities as a part of a Datawarehouse team for a Telecom company called STC based out of Kuwait.
1. I have extensive hands on experience on SQL, PL/SQL as I have worked on various adhocs based on clients business requirements.
2.Oracle Data Integrator v12c (ODI) was the first tool I worked on where I performed all ETL related activities such as data loading , integration of load plans and mappings. There was an incident where one of our production servers was no longer viable as the Agent got corrupted. This is when I along with my team were tasked with entire installation of ODI , starting from Master and work repository creation till application deployment. I am solely responsible for the entire Data Loading process which is incremental daily and has serious business impact if dependent reports are not available to concerned users on the following day.
3.I have learnt server level scripting to automate all file migration process into our Datawarehouse.
4.I have hands on experience on OBIEE 11g and 12c platform starting from RPD development to dashboard deployment in production environment. I have developed all kinds of dashboards based on business users requirement and also suggested ways regarding optimization of the data which was appreciated by them.
5. I have worked on Tableau and deployed various graphic visualisations and interactive dashboards for business users.
6. Once I started interacting with clients I understood that there was a gap between technical understanding and business perspective. I thus liaised between business users and my technical team to help achieve all the business decisions. I realized that if we understand the business perspective and what the business user wants to achive, it is much easier to structure the backend code so that the data fetched will give us the accurate result.
7. I was assigned the responsibility of imparting my knowledge to the new recruits of the team irrespective of their previous work experience. I loved to be on the receiving end of questions and doubts , this kept both of technical and analytical skills sharpened.
8. There was once a requirement for our marketing team where they had to deploy some dashboards using Oracle Visual Analyzer, since I had already worked on reporting tools before, my manager asked me to help them with their issues. This was my brief interaction with the tool.
- Any other –
After working for n+ yrs why do u NOW feel the need to pursue a Masters?
|While working as an ETL developer for almost 3 years now, I realized that I do have the skillset to understand how we can develop our codes to meet user requirements but I lack sufficient knowledge to help my team optimize this code in a standardized manner so that every business requirement can follow the same steps in getting optimized and inch perfect solutions to business users. This is the reason I want to pursue Masters in Information systems to understand how I can bridge this gap between technology and business and help users with the best decision making solutions .
What is the Objective of pursuing your Master’s degree? Mention your short term goals and how this will lead to achieving your long term Goal.(Specifically mention : Short term- immediately post MS & Long term- 7-10 years down the line? (explain in detail if changing fields)
|My short term goal after MIS would be to join an organization as a data or business analyst so that I can study the data of the organization and predict on the best business solutions. This is in sync with with my long term goals which is to be in a decision making position in a company where I have the power to decide how the provided business solutions will impact the company ,whether we should implement the solutions or discard them altogether.
Why ——– University for ————–field :– how the program suits your short term goals (what after MS) and then the long term goals
Any other aspects /uniqueness that u need to bring out abt the program – course structure , internships , pedagogy, Faculty, Research area, Specific Labs etc
About Your Personal Self
List down three of your strengths
- Extremely dedicated towards work. If I’m assigned a task, I will complete it with utmost precision at any cost
- I believe I have good interpersonal skills which helps me effectively communicate with my clients or peers. This also makes me approachable and gives me a lot of pleasure when I’m able to resolve someone else’s issues.
List down three of your weaknesses
- I believe there should be a balance between work life and personal life which I am trying to achieve as I lose out on a lot of important personal events due to work.
- I lack on the spontaneity front and my work is better if I am prepared from before hand.
List down the 10 most important events in your life in chronological order. Please state your reasons for choosing these.
Any initiative that you took at your college/university or workplace?
|I was a part of the annual technical fests at college , volunteering every year for the sponsorship team. I was appointed the class representative helping students with the course work and later I was assigned to be part of the Placement Council working with Professors to charm the HRs of corporates.
At work as a part of Women’s council I suggested that the current 5kmradius for office transportation to women be extended to 10km as I found out that most women in office live outside the 5km radius. This suggestion was taken up by the seniors of the team and ultimately implemented at location level.
I took the responsibility of re-introducing the Tech Mahindra chronicle at location level as part of the Toastmasters club.
Have you done any internship or project abroad? Any other international exposure that you wish to mention?
What is your greatest dream in life?
What extra-curricular activities / interests pursued? Any notable achievements in any of them?
You can NOW start drafting your SOP by answering these questions given below . Use the information in the worksheet as your reference /for inputs –
Answer these questions in the order given will help you get the “RIGHT FLOW for your SOP”
* MUST HAVE examples/incidents
- Why this field -your interest in this field how it was developed (background , discuss an incidence etc)
- Why you as a candidate – how you have honed this interest through projects, research ,seminars , work experience etc ..
- Why this University for this field — how the program suits your short term goals (what after UG) and then the long term goals (you can keep the 1st deadline univ in your list for reference and can change accordingly for all).
- Any other aspects /uniqueness that u need to bring out abt the program – course structure , internships , pedagogy
Later the same can be modified based on the guidelines / question asked in the university application form if any.
All the Best!!