I have applied for the Msc in Accounting and Finance for the LSE, and have to write a personal statement. a
A personal statement that describes your academic interests and your purpose and objectives in undertaking graduate study. If you are applying for a master's or diploma programme this is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the selectors.
Please can I have some feedback?
We live today in a multi-polar world where immense financial and economic activity has resulted in wealth being amassed and destroyed on an unprecedented scale in different parts of the world. This dynamic has been driven by the effects of globalization and the structural shift between developed and emerging markets. The recent crisis in financial markets and the global geo-political situation has brought with it challenges which will require increased depth and understanding for the changing dynamics of markets and economies, which will present opportunities to build a more robust rigorous system and institutions. I believe this backdrop provides for a great opportunity to further my academic studies in the area of finance.
My interest in finance started from a young age when I was given the opportunity to shadow a broker for a week. I was able to gain a firsthand experience in the markets. It was the fast-paced environment, the ability to analyse large amounts of information that first sparked my interest in finance. It was from this experience that I felt studying finance at an undergraduate level would satisfy my interests and provide me with a solid foundation for my future career. My desire to pursue further academic studies is fueled by the enriching experience I have had at Cass Business School. Being surrounded by intellectually engaging individuals from diverse backgrounds and an academically rigorous course has stimulated a passion of finance as an academic study. Further studies in finance especially one that is more mathematical will deepen by understanding of the financial markets, which I believe is going to be crucial to succeed in the financial services industry going forward.
Within the field of Finance, I am most interested in topics ranging from valuation, security analysis, and portfolio management. I am particular interested in investments, and I find the different valuation techniques from discounted cash flow models, relative valuation, and contingent claim valuation stimulating to study from both a theoretical and practical level. I also have a deep interest in portfolio theory, and portfolio asset allocation. This interest was developed from the numerous summer internships I undertook within the investment management field, my undergraduate courses in security analysis, company valuation and also my involvement in the trading and hedging society at university which together gave me invaluable insights into the global markets and the valuation techniques used by some hedge fund managers. It is with this interest that I seek to deepen my knowledge in the above areas.
A Masters in Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics will help build upon my existing knowledge in an environment which is international, one in which I can be challenged intellectually and socially, and one where I can develop and think independently. Also from past experiences I have realised that having a strong grasp of accounting is vital, since financial statements provide the fundamental information that is used for valuation purposes and is crucial for the investment process. The modules provided in the Accounting and Finance course such as "financial reporting in capital markets" and the "valuation & security analysis" will equip me with a strong foundation in accounting.
My long-term career plan is to become a successful portfolio manager or a hedge fund manager. I have always had a deep passion for investing, and I have read many books such as "The Intelligent Investor", "One up on Wall Street", " Money Mavericks" , and the numerous summer internships I have done within investment management have led me to pick this career path within finance. I hope to achieve this goal after a number of years of experience as a successful analyst. I believe that the Accounting and Finance masters programme at the LSE will firstly, provide me with the ability to think independently. Being able to think independently and having a view which may be contrarian is extremely important within the investment management field, one's ability to come up with new and fresh ideas allows one to identify missed investment opportunities and generate high returns. As mentioned before the course content will be vital for a career in investment management as a strong understanding of company accounts and particular asset classes will be crucial.
I also believe that I can contribute a great deal towards the programme and to the university as I am highly committed and focused to my chosen area of study finance. I have been working already on a finance website which seeks to connect ideas about investments amongst professionals, finance enthusiasts and students. I have also been an active member of societies at university, and wish to be a contributing member to a number of societies at the LSE.
LSE Masters in Accounting and Finance will provide me an opportunity to deepen my understanding of finance and accounting in a more meaningful way, and in an environment which will be academically challenging and allow me to develop further as an individual. Also, being surrounded by like minded individuals who share the same passion and desire about the subject will allow for an exchange of views and ideas that would benefit all parties.I appreciate your taking the time in considering my application and I hope that the information I have shared has demonstrated both my academic ability and my passion to form part of your prestigious academic institution as an MSc student.
Hey I would definitely appreciate it if someone could please take a look at my personal statement and tell me if it is relevant and if theres anything i can do to improve it.
Here's LSE's website's info on the way to write the statement:
"Your personal statement (Question 26) should describe your academic interests, ambitions, research interests and explain the reasons why you undertake graduate study in the subjects you have chosen.
There is no fixed word limit but in general your statement should be up to 2-3 typed A4 sides."
Here's my essay:
I am P T Abilash, and I am currently a third-year economics student at University College London (UCL). I attended school entirely in Singapore up to Junior College level, where I took my A levels. I then came to UCL to do my undergraduate course in economics.
My first experience of economics came when I enrolled for my undergraduate degree. However, although I was new to studying economics at an institution full-time, the subject matter itself never seemed daunting or arcane. As it turned out, not doing economics as an A Level subject gave me an opportunity to explore the subject in my own time, and eventually get a feel for its intricacies and nuances at my own pace.
I am drawn towards economics as it is able to provide logical explanations about inconspicuous daily observations. I can analyze and explain observations using mathematical or quantitative models and correlate it to what I have learnt. This now means my interest in economics growing year on year and I feel the next progressive step in my development is to pursue a master's degree as there is much yet for me to learn.
The first time my interest in economics was piqued was in the first year of my junior college. An economic weekly 'The Economist' carried a particular article that really intrigued me- 'The Big Mac Index'. It had never occurred to me to consider why the same ubiquitous item being sold the world over was priced so differently across countries, even with the currency exchange rates considered. I then continued to read the rest of the magazine to see how economics related to the world around me. I was fascinated, and have hardly missed an issue till today.
I subsequently increased the expanse of my reading on the subject, taking in established works like Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" as well as modern literature like "Freakonomics". Within a short time I progressed to formal textbooks to ensure I clearly understood the implicit concepts in articles I read, and that was when I really found that I was gaining a deep interest in economics. I was able to use my basic knowledge to form opinions and arguments about economics, and I became consciously aware that this would be my eventual field of study at tertiary level simply because it mattered to me personally and explained events I was witnessing.
In the field of economics, I am most intrigued with the areas of financial economics and theory of the firm with regards to types of competition. I enjoy learning about markets and their constituent entities - the firms and the consumers - and how they interact with one another in different scenarios. Equally interesting is the econometric analysis involved to determine the different levels of competition in markets. I have taken courses in my last two years in university that allow me have a slight emphasis on these areas of interest, yet maintain an expansive enough variety to keep my knowledge base deep. The real world applications motivate me to learn more about these areas, as well as others in economics in order to complete my education in this field.
The financial aspect of economics appeals to me differently since I have always found an innate fondness for mathematics and statistics. Financial economics appeals to my more mathematical background prior to and during university and allows me use those skills. Econometrics and Finance modules I have taken have allowed me increase my knowledge in this area. The econometrics aspect allows me to use my quantitative skills while still using strong economic theory. My interest in econometrics and its importance in an Economics Master's course make me believe I will derive much benefit from it. I have always actively taken modules to prepare myself for a master's course throughout my undergraduate degree.
My eventual career path once I finish my studies is of vital importance. I have refrained from overtly narrowing my career aims to simply becoming an economist alone although this is my preferred career path. However, I am just as eager to become a financial analyst. Studying a master's course in economics is a definite requirement and a foundation I will eventually need to build upon. I have a clear picture about the roles and responsibilities of an economist and a financial analyst, by virtue of my experiences in the UCL Economics and Finance Society. By attending events by companies and job fairs, I have gained insights into what tasks either party performs and the educational qualifications required. I have also become acquainted with the variety of prospects that a further qualification provides. This provided added motivation to pursue a Master's degree.
I am a flexible and pragmatic person and am prepared to take the initiative in order to distinguish myself from my peers. With my career goals in mind, I enrolled in the ACCA professional qualification programme (An accountancy programme) during my summers after the first two years in college. I have finished five out of the fourteen examinations required to gain the professional qualification thus far and am fully committed to finishing the course during my summer breaks. This will definitely be a wonderful complement to my master's degree in economics and prove my worth as an individual with a wide range of abilities. In view of the goals in my career, I feel that this opportunity to study economics at a master's level is definitely a great benefit. Combining economics and accountancy will give me an edge in a competitive and ever-changing job market.
I sincerely believe I can contribute significantly to the programme and to the university in many ways as I am a focused and driven individual. Through learning economics at a higher level and interaction with lecturers about the topics I aim to become well-versed in this field and apply that knowledge when I start to work. My determination to learn is shown by never giving up on understanding concepts which at first were a little demanding, as I believe that everything I am learning will accrue a strong foundation for me to build upon in the future. Economics has now become a part of my everyday life, and I am always trying to expand my knowledge base.
I have an opportunity here to, in effect, improve not only my education, but also myself as an individual. Having an opportunity to learn in an environment with others as passionate about the subject as myself would mean that an exchange of views and ideas would benefit all parties. I have always strived to be the best at what I do, and I am sure the academic environment at LSE is conducive to my progress and will allow me to explore economics at a deeper, more meaningful level. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. Thank You.
EF_Sean, thanks for your comments. I have checked with LSE's admission department (when i went to their graduate drop-in sessions) and they require 2-3 pages on A4, and their estimate of the word requirement is 1000-1500, although they are quick to claim there is no minimum or maximum. However, that being said, there were some parts in the essay(paragraph 4 amongst them) that upon re-reading did feel rather superfluous and i took you advice to try and change those and the sentences which were too general and added some points in as well. Please help read and advise on any changes needed. Thank you.
The standard estimate for word count tends to be about 300 words per page, and in any event, shorter is always better, given how many of these the admissions officers have to read.
The problem your essay has at the moment is that much of the length seems to come from simply writing verbosely, which is never good. For instance:
"My economics course thus far has been a truly enjoyable journey and I want to continue reading economics at a higher level. The fact that economics is able to provide logical explanations about inconspicuous daily observations reinforces my passion for the subject."
Obviously you enjoy economics, and obviously you want to study it at a higher level. You are applying for a Masters degree in the subject. The entire first sentence is just a waste of time. The second sentence is better, but it could be cut down considerably without any loss of meaning, thusly:
"I am drawn to economics because it provides logical explanations for everyday occurrences."
So, all told, you've taken 42 words to say what you could have conveyed in 13. Most of your essay is like this. Even if you are determined to have 1000-1500 words, you don't want to get them by taking 400 or so words of real content and artificially inflating them. That makes for dull reading, and the admissions officers will probably stop after the first 100 or so and toss the essay in the trash bin. So, go through and cut ruthlessly. You can always make it longer later on by adding more actual material to it.