This week I found out that I’d been accepted into the EDHEC to study an MSc in Finance; so next year, for the second time in two years, I’ll be saying goodbye to England and bonjour to the South of France.
I’m convinced that one of the main reasons I got into the school was my motivation letter. I spent hours researching it, writing it, and getting it checked and re-checked by friends. I strongly believe that a good motivation letter will have a significant effect on the overall stance of your application, so I’ve put together a few tips on how to write a successful motivation letter:
This is VERY important. Have you ever heard of the saying people decided within 11seconds of viewing a house whether they like it or not? I believe it’s the same with reading a letter. When you first open it, you want to see that the writer has taken the time and care to make it look presentable. That also leads me on to…
Have A Brilliant Opening Paragraph
Like above, I believe the first few lines will determine how the reader views your letter. Most people say “Thank you in advance” at the end of the letter or email. However, I always put it at the start and then repeat it again at the end. I believe this makes the reader feel welcomed and a little bit special, and will make them want to read on with intent.
A good structure is crucial to your letter flowing well. Making a plan means you can easily see how to split information up and also ensures the content remains relevant to whatever it is you’re applying for. Here’s how I set up my letter:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- Explaining what I am applying for
- Thanking them for giving me the opportunity to write the letter
- Explaining why I want to study at the university/work at the company and how this will help progress my career
- Explaining why the program/role appeals to me
- Details about my undergraduate degree and the skills I’ve learnt that are applicable to the program/role
- Details about my work experience and how this will aid me in my degree/role
- Extra-curricular things I’ve done/Positions of responsibility I’ve held, what skills I’ve learnt from them and how they are applicable to the program/role
- Showing my understanding of the challenges of the program/role and explaining how I can over come them
- Repeating thanks
- Signing off
As you can see, this structure can also be applied to job and internship application letters. Remember, everything you say has to lead back to why you should be accepted onto the program, and how it will help you in your career!
Don’t be too complicated with your language. You want your letter to read as smoothly and easily as possible in order for your message to be conveyed clearly. Get your English teacher, friends, wife, whoever it may be, to read over your letter. My friends were fantastic when it came to this, as they came across spelling/grammatical errors that I hadn’t previously spotted (even after hours of thorough checking), and often came up with much better ways of wording things than me. Furthermore, if the program you are applying for is in English, then most schools, wherever they are in the world, will require it to be written in English. If the program is in another language, you will be required to write it in that language.
Throw In EVERYTHING
Remember that paper round you did when you were 14? That was the beginning of your excellent time-management and prioritising skills, right? Or that school play you helped out in when you were 16? That taught you how to be organised and how to plan successfully. If you don’t have much relevant work experience to the field of study, you need to throw in everything that you’ve done, no matter how small it is. Even if you do have work experience, all your other experiences help tell the story of what type of person you are. Explaining what you learnt from them, and how it applies to your progression in the program, is invaluable and the more things you have, the more well-rounded you will come across.
Lastly, be as honest as you can. If you’re really passionate about the program, it will come across anyway, but when you’re writing about things you’ve done or why you want to study at the school, be honest. If the school appeals to you because it’s in New York, mention this. If the university appeals to you because 90% of it’s students are international, mention this. But also say why these things will help you in your career and future goals.
If you’d like more posts about applying to Master’s programs (such as taking the GMAT, scholarship applications, good references to get etc), please comment below and I will be sure to write about them!