FMS application deadline ends on 31 December 2020 (Thursday). With just over two days to go, the applicants might especially want to concentrate on the four questions in the FMS application form that require descriptive answers.
For a primer on the FMS Delhi selection criteria for the Batch of 2021-23, click here.
The FMS application and the four questions
- Experience details
- Statement of Purpose
- Extra-curricular Activities/Hobbies
- List of Academic Honours, Prizes, Scholarship and Other Awards
These are the four questions that take the majority of the time while filling up the FMS application.
Why is this a problem?
Good question. Though “problem” is too much of a word to be used to attribute to the FMS application process as such, there are certain issues. Broadly, they can be categorized into some buckets.
1) The idea of Statement of Purpose (SoP)
We are so used to writing an SoP where we talk about our lives, challenges, achievements, extra-curriculars and the underdogs we are, and how we also belong to the rags-to-riches club braving all odds that were once stacked up against us.
The FMS application process poses a difference here.
Just like in the SPJIMR application process (the selection criteria of which you can find, here), which required us to give tweet-sized (I am exaggerating, obviously) descriptive answers for a couple of questions, there is a difference in the FMS application as well, which manifests in the form of those four questions which we listed earlier.
2) The word limit
When we are told to write a Statement of Purpose usually, there is a fixed word limit or page limit. This makes it easier for us to plan how to compensate for being verbose in the “awards and achievements” by being frugal while explaining our “interest in MBA”. In short, a normal, single-question SoP is like XAT; just like there is no sectional time limit in XAT, there would be no sectional word limit in our usual SoP.
By the way, reminder: XAT is four days away. If you are wondering where to focus on to ace the QADI section, head here.
The FMS application transforms the SoP process from a XAT-esque format (if I may) to a CAT-esque format.
Yeah, you got the drift!
Just like CAT has sectional time limit, the FMS application has sectional word limit.
What are the word limits?
The following table gives the details of the word limit for each of the four questions that need to be answered.
|Work experience details||500|
|Statement of Purpose||100|
|List of Academic Honours, Prizes, Scholarships and Other Awards||100|
The constraints are, in all probability, tougher to fathom than the ones that were given in the DILR sets of at least two of the three slots in CAT 2020 (you can take a plunge and have a look at all the questions from all the slots of CAT 2020, here).
Which brings us to the next and most important part of this article.
What are the things to have in mind while answering the four questions?
Let us ponder a bit on this idea question by question.
1) Work experience details (500 words)
This is the question for which you can delve into details on specific job roles, challenges, achievements during the course of the job, how your work contributed to the overall success and progress of the team and so on and so forth.
Remember, this is the answer where you have room to write in detail. The other three answers do not give enough leeway for explanations. This works well for the candidates with relatively less experience, as well as those with more experience.
If you have worked in an organization for a year or more
This is your lottery. Even if you have worked less than a year, you can use this question and the word limit to your advantage. The 500-word threshold gives you the edge of going into detail about every milestone, some of which you might normally disregard as trivial.
If you got the job through campus placements, you have a chance to talk about the transition – the relevance or mismatch of your course of study and you are faring well because of/despite that relevance/mismatch.
If you have worked for more than two years in a single/multiple organizations
You have every reason to knock this answer out of the park. Take some time to think about what have been the specific learnings and achievements, and how your role has trasformed/progressed in all the years you have worked.
If your work experience spans beyond one organization, you have an even better chance. You can include why the transition from one workpace to the next was essential in the larger scheme of things.
Do not keep this answer generic. Go into specifics as much as possible, because this is your only chance to that extent. In other answers, this may not be the case, with the 100-word limit.
2) List of Academic Honours, Prizes, Scholarships and Awards (100 words)
There is a reason we have skipped talking about the Statement of Purpose. It is purposeful and fully intentional; read ahead.
Coming to this question that asks you about your accomplishments, you need to be careful about two aspects.
- The word limit (which I will keep reiterating time and again)
- The order in which you list the awards and honours
Both factors are actually tied to one another. Since you have a constraint with respect to the number of words, you should be careful in the order you mention the awards, in case there are too many.
Category – Academic awards, co-curricular accomplishments, extra-curricular achievements
Level of achievements – International, National, State, District, Institution
Do not try to write descriptions for each and every award/recognition. Make sure to mention only the necessary details so that you get adequate space to mention some more, if there is a need.
3) Extra-curricular activities/Hobbies (100 words)
Any activity or hobby for which you have documented evidence takes precedence over that which is more like a pure pastime. For example, if you blog and play basketball as a pastime, you are likely to have tangible evidence for blogging (in the form of your blog page) than the latter.
Keep this in mind as you prioritize your list of extra-curricular activities and hobbies.
4) Statement of Purpose (100 words)
Now comes the most important part, the one which we have intentionally left behind. This part rises the most crucial question.
What do I write here?
Now that you have mentioned almost all the aspects of your career and academic track record in the other questions, it is quite natural to wonder what you will write here. And, there is a rationale behind one question being pegged at 500 words, and the rest at 100 words.
Make the “Purpose” part of the SoP the crux of your write-up for this question. Some of the broad categories on which you can base this on are:
- Your academic and professional background, and how it naturally leads up to an MBA.
- The challenge(s) you have faced in your job role, or during your education, and how in those times, you acted to the best of your abilities. Make sure this part reflects your managerial/leadership capabilities but also include how you wished an MBA could have been so much more beneficial.
- Your upbringing and personal experiences and how they have shaped your wanting to become an entrepreneur/manager, and thereby why you want to pursue an MBA.
What should I not write here?
Of course, there are a bunch of don’t-dos as well.
- Do not repeat specific details about your work experience or academic accomplishments. Those (must) have been mentioned already in the relevant answers.
- Do not be pompous. If you write something that might sound like you are already a know-it-all, that could backfire. It is always a good rule to mention your abilities, but add how an MBA could be a value-add to those abilities.
- Do not make it data-driven. The data, numbers and everything else has been presented. Like Rajesh often mentions, this is a chance to pitch yourself and let the evaluators know who you are. Ensure you have that in mind as you write your SoP.
- Last but not the least, be conscious about the word limit.
Write/type several drafts. Do not be satisfied with your first draft. More often than not, you might have forgotten to mention the most important milestones in your first draft.
Give it enough time. Do not rush into writing an SoP (or the answers for the other questions as well). Make sure you jot down the outline, and then build on it. Discard the points that come last on your priority list. Make sure to push the most significant points in your writeup.
Best wishes for your FMS application process.
Written by Giridharan Raghuraman