Economics personal statement
Born into the week-old ex-Soviet state of Armenia, I have grown up in a time of huge political upheaval. Surrounded by an-ever changing economic environment, I remember asking my father what exchange rates were. In return, when presented with an analogy of supply and demand that involved an array of farmyard animals, little did I appreciate that I had come across the basis for economics. I have since observed Armenia's rapid development, but also evidence of poor macroeconomic management, such as the lingering presence of monopolies - crippling to the country's global competitiveness. Over the years, my initial childhood curiosity has grown into a passion for economics.
As a Physics and Maths student, I derive great satisfaction from solving problems that initially seem impossible. Representing my school at the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge, as well as the national finals of the Science and Technology Challenge, I built up a keen open-mindedness for new ideas. Game theory, and its applications in economics, are of great interest to me and have helped me better appreciate the sheer scope of the discipline. I find it particularly interesting how oligopolists use game theory to anticipate competitors' actions, comparing the risks and potential benefits of certain business strategies, because this inevitably involves a degree of psychology and philosophy - a testament to the diverse nature of economics, which is beautifully demonstrated by the prisoner's dilemma.
My mathematical grounding is complemented by my experience with languages, which continually helps me develop a more balanced and well-rounded outlook on the world around me. Fuelled by my great interest in development economics, I enjoy discussing related issues in German, with my class. I am fascinated by the sheer number of theories behind alleviating poverty in the third world, and how some directly contradict each other. For example, I agree with William Easterly's view that initiatives like debt-relief, which I find to be analogous with bank bailouts, have often been counterproductive. While they may be necessary in some cases, I believe that both practices tend to align the involved parties' incentives in a way that is in fact detrimental to the economies and societies concerned. The April anti-capitalist protests are a very real testament to my point and coincided with my work experience at a London fund management firm. More recently, the Conservatives' plans for public sector cuts have already been met with criticism from the public; this illustrates the challenges faced by economists, as they search for socially viable solutions to inherently economic problems. The opportunity for extensive study and analysis of such issues attracts me to economics at university.
Involving myself fully with my school has really helped to transform my educational experience; I was recently elected Head Boy by staff and students, following a campaign that helped develop my interpersonal skills, not to mention the capacity to take on criticism, as I worked with a wide range of people. Working successfully with others continues to be a key feature of my school career. In particular, helping younger pupils in my free time and being able to contribute to their development has been a rewarding and invaluable experience. The latter is especially true now that I work as an assistant tutor at a learning centre, where I am directly responsible for up to six children. In my role as Head Boy, I have demonstrated my ability to lead; just recently, I organised and performed in a theatre sketch that was presented to a panel from Investor in Careers - an award that the school then won. Outside school, I enjoy taking part in a variety of sports, and am currently setting up inter-form tournaments to be held in the sixth form. I look forward to the rigours and challenges of an economics degree and would hope to be able to contribute fully to the university community.
This personal statement was written by FiveStarGeneral for application in 2010.
Good luck to anyone and everyone applying to uni. It has been a long but rewarding process for me and I'm grateful to (among many people ) everyone who contributes to sites like this and makes such resources available. Thought I'd upload my PS, if it helps anyone in any small way, it'll have been worth it!
Offers from Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Warwick and Bath, have firmed and met my Cambridge offer and I'm really looking forwards to going there next year.
My thoughts: work hard at it, may as well not stop until you think it's perfect. Share it with others, be open to advice and ideas (teachers, family and even friends can have an input - I'm really grateful to those who helped me). But obviously, don't go overboard with either of these things, otherwise your statement might stop being as personal as it should. I tried to convey my passion for the subject, being specific with some things that interest me. Tried to show that I've done some research off my own back and mentioned current events that were relevant to Economics and tried to make a clever point on it.
The last paragraph is for my extra-curriculars - from what I understand, this isn't all that important for the "prestigious" unis or at least for Oxbridge, but I wanted to make the statement as balanced and possible and show that I'm a rounded person.
Again, all the best to future applicants, hope this helps you.