Personal Statement for Finance & Mathematics
The method of reducing complex phenomena to basic building blocks, and of looking for the mechanisms through which these interact, is deeply ingrained in our culture and has often been identified with scientific methods. It is the use of these scientific methods which involve deductive and mathematical reasoning, that make the study of finance appeal to me. From a young age, I realised I had an affinity for tackling challenging math problems and identifying patterns in statistical data. As I explored my academic interests beyond my books, I found a beautiful harmony between finance and mathematics, one I wanted to explore further.
Being interested in expanding my horizon into the financial world, I took online courses that explained the role of financial markets and the working of banking systems around the world. I also read articles published in The Economic Times and blogs on the internet which spoke in-depth about global financial crises. Intrigued, I proceeded to read Irrational Exuberance, a book on inscrutable investor behaviour written by Robert Shiller. Through the ideas explored in this book, I came to believe that the cause of most financial crises is price bubbles, whose creation is illogical and contrary to the fundamental economic assumption of rationality. I was instantly curious to learn the cause of such logical fallacies and it was only when I read the theories of behavioural finance, that I stumbled upon the answer. What interested me was the ease with which age-old economic assumptions and subsequent financial inventions were discredited by these theories.
It is widely believed that most financial innovation is accretive to past invention. I was actively involved in an investment competition in which I made use of my knowledge in mathematics to develop an outline of an investing model across various securities, inspired by Harry Markowitz's portfolio optimisation theory. I honed the skills I learned while studying higher mathematics at school and applied it to redevelop my initial model. While analysing stock prices of various companies, I realised that as laymen, it had been ingrained in us to associate the information we cannot comprehend with it being 'random' and, therefore, irrelevant. To know that we could lose out on so much knowledge because we pass it off as 'random' troubled me to the extent that I decided to look up any explanation to the same. This was when I came across the Fibonacci retracement theory. I read research papers that stated how the Fibonacci sequence helped to predict the reversal of stock prices from its short term trend, and negated the idea that short term fluctuations in stock prices were 'random'. With this, I developed an innate sense of curiosity to learn more about the application of mathematics in finance and proceeded to learn about the use of statistical tools such as linear programming as well as binomial and probability distribution. Eager to apply my knowledge in mathematics, I took a course on Python and statistics for financial analysis in which I learned how to build and test popular trading strategies. However, I realised that my curiosity was never fully satisfied, and it is in hopes of fulfilling this curiosity that I am looking forward to studying this mathematically vigorous course.
I believe that I would be a good fit for this program as I am a dedicated individual with a strong knack for research and application. Through my efforts of making myself well versed with the subjects I intend to pursue, I have developed a strong attention to detail and honed my problem-solving skills. Backed with the knowledge I will gain while studying this course and the extensive research facilities available at your university, I hope to make a significant contribution to the financial sector. Moreover, I believe a deep-rooted knowledge of the underlying principles of finance and mathematics is essential for grasping a clear understanding of how the modern world works.
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