History, Politics and Economics Personal Statement
In my IB History course I was particularly interested in topics such as the effect of the Wall Street Crash on Hitler's rise to power or mercantilist policies as a cause of the American War of Independence; the areas where History and Economics come together. I could see the instant benefit of a combined study when I attended a lecture on Karl Marx at a masterclass taster day. Learning about different interpretations of Marxist theory by Mensheviks and Bolsheviks gave me better understanding of what caused the split between them and what impact it had on the course of the Russian Revolution.
I began exploring aspects of Eastern European history; an interest stimulated by my Polish and Ukrainian family background. The inspiration I drew from chapters on 20th century Polish history in Norman Davis' "God's Playground" led to my choice of topic for the IB Extended Essay, which focuses on the communist take-over of Poland. In the context of my research, I spent a few days at the Warsaw Uprising Museum. The volume of photographs, film archives and artefacts gathered there was staggering and gave me a genuine feeling of history coming alive. The talk on Thomas More's "Utopia" I attended during a residential at Cambridge University made me think about the relationship between ideas and their often dystopian realisation such as the Soviet communist system or the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I believe modules offered in the course will let me explore these themes in greater depth. In my studies, I often found that changes in the interpretation of historical events can be as interesting as the events themselves. I particularly enjoyed exploring the evolution of historians' views on the origins of the Cold War.
My interest in economics was sparked by the documentary series "Masters of Money" by Stephanie Flanders in which she examined how the global economic crisis of 2008 would have been interpreted by Keynes, Marx and Hayek. Books like "The Ascent of Money" by Niall Ferguson introduced me to historical aspects of economics, such as early currencies and the origins of modern financial systems while Sylvia Nasar's "Grand Pursuit" provided a fascinating insight into the lives of creators of economic thought. I particularly enjoyed the chapter 'Europe is Dying: Keynes at Versailles' which illustrated Keynes' ironic thoughts on how the Big Four took into account all possible results of war reparations except for the economic future of their own states.
During the week I spent in the Thomson Reuters newsroom, I gained valuable insight into financial reporting and was impressed by the way journalists translated bare figures into meaningful economic analysis. I contacted a journalist from the Wall Street Journal on whose article I had written a commentary and received valuable feedback from him. The Young Enterprise competition gave me an opportunity to see how economic principles work in practice. A problem I encountered as Managing Director of the company was decreasing productivity levels among participants. In my search for a solution I came across the concept of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and emphasised the kind of rewards I believed would most appeal to members of my team.
I have taken part in a number of extracurricular activities such as Model United Nations and Bar Mock Trial which helped me develop public speaking and debating skills. As Deputy Head Girl, I gained leadership, organisation and communication skills which I had an opportunity to improve throughout the McKinsey&Company Leadership Course I attended this summer. Working for Joshua, a charity in Malawi, made a significant cultural and ethical impact on me. The video I filmed there and edited on my return was used on the charity's website for promotional purposes. I believe my skills and enthusiasm can contribute to university life and I am looking forward to participating in debate clubs and societies.
UCL - History, Politics and Economics