Maths and Statistics Personal Statement
Mathematics and statistical data are fundamental to understanding the world. Being able to see how things as simple as numbers can be arranged into mathematical models that can describe everything from the stock market to the flight of a ball both excites and fascinates me. For example, how is it that mathematicians can create models and strategies to price securities and predict the market with minimal risk, and therefore make banks and hedge fund millions of pounds? The power of maths is such that where there were once shouting men on the trading floor, there are now mathematicians overlooking algorithms that perform 70% of buy/sell orders on Wall Street. The reason for this is that maths describes to us how the real world works, whether that be in the trading squares of London or in nature.
This intrigue has stemmed from a great enjoyment of studying both A level maths, further maths and physics, as well as an AS in geography and an EPQ. Whilst I have greatly enjoyed all of the modules I have tackled in maths, I particularly enjoyed the statistical module (S1 and S2), and relished in the challenge of using models, such as the normal distribution curve, to calculate the probabilities of events and then using hypothesis tests to see if this result was significant. I then used many of the techniques I learnt from stats and applied them to my geography coursework (analysing data from around groynes), using both Spearman's rank correlation and the Mann Whitney U test. I have found that what I have studied in maths also complements physics, which involves graphs and equations to model scientific ideas
As my school does not teach S3 module, I have taken it upon myself to teach it to myself and am enjoying linking Poisson and Binomial into the chi squared distribution. Completing this not only demonstrates my passion and enhances my ability, but also shows great time management skills.
Whilst school teaches me the foundations of maths, TV programs and books really opened my eyes to the beauty of maths, statistics and finance. I have watched multiple episodes of Horizon on topics such as infinity and Fermat's last theorem, as well as documentaries and books on the roles Quants have played on using their mathematical skills to revolutionise Wall Street. I particularly remember a quote from Emanuel Derman's 'Life as a quant', which read: 'The capacity to wreak destruction with your models provides the ultimate respectability', which really brought home the importance of maths.
I enjoy tackling a mathematical problem and I relish in the feeling of finally succeeding. I love being able to put a value to a real life situation, such as the chance of an event occurring or the distance of an object in flight, as well as seeing how it can be used to build the world we know, such as using numerical integration to work out the area of a tunnel. I believe a degree in a mathematical field would be both enjoyable and challenging, and provide me with an excellent platform for life, teaching me a logical and efficient way of thinking, perfect in the stressful world of the city.
I also enjoy applying an analytical approach to my training, for both running and cycling. In athletics/cross country, I create training plans detailing everything up to an event, such as long run split times, recovery time, intensity of sessions and fatigue, which I then use to put into excel and create a value for form at the end of each week. This means I can attempt to peak at given events, which I used to finish a career high of 8th at this year's nationals. In cycling, this statistical obsession is used to calculate 'zones' for my power/hr as a percentage of my functional threshold power, meaning I can use the bike to compliment my running and build my cardiovascular endurance.
I would love to pursue a career in the world of mathematical finance, and I believe the choices of institutions I have made will be perfect to guide me towards my aspirations.
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