Economics Personal Statement

When I was twelve, I made my first tentative steps into finance by investing in the stock market. I did not realize it at the time, but what seemed to be an exciting game turned out to be my first foray into the multifaceted world of economics. As I matured I came to realize that the discipline straddles an almost limitless number of themes, from the allocation of resources to the processes of human decision-making, not to mention the workings of our political and social structures.  Much like the vision put forward by Diane Coyle in Sex, Drugs and Economics, I have a tendency to view the economic side of virtually all things in life. A thread of economics runs through virtually every aspect of human activity, and this in part drives my ambition to study the subject at university. In the current global climate of instability, it is perhaps unsurprising that I am interested in the wider implications of economics. The interplay between politics and economics particularly interests me. The times we live in demand a comprehensive understanding of world politics, as well as the ability to question economic decisions and understand the underlying mechanics of social behaviour that shape our world. The ethical implications of economics also fascinate me. Whilst carrying out charity work in India, where I was involved in a construction project at a school for underprivileged girls, I witnessed the shocking effects of the poverty cycle, sex bias and social exclusion, as described in Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom. The existence of such inequalities provokes in me myriad questions about the ethical basis of current economic systems and the philosophical underpinnings of economic activity.

Whenever possible, I try and immerse myself in the current affairs that generate these economic, political and philosophical issues. I regularly read publications such as the New York Times. Such literature offers great insight on world decisions and allows me to forge an informed opinion on them. I participated in Harvard’s Model United Nations (MUN) as the representative of the WTO. This eye-opening experience further fuelled my interest for international economics by allowing me to take a hands-on role in politics, policy making and regulation to benefit social welfare. It gave me invaluable insight in to why some policies fail, and how economic theory sometimes has implicit assumptions which, in some situations, do not apply to the actual motivations of people. Participation in the MNU therefore stimulated my thinking on a whole range of questions, such as the relationship between economics and human nature. I agree with the views of minds such as Adam Smith, which illustrate how the beauty of free market lies within the human self-interest of the ‘homo economicus’, as opposed to Marxist schools of thought, which paint an erroneous picture of selflessness.

During my years at school, I have engaged in a mixture of roles to further the skills that are required for the career path of finance that I intend to follow. Through the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and as a school prefect I coordinated a team and provided swift decision making under pressure. I also held a leadership position within my school’s Peer Mentoring Program, which was established to help guide younger students with learning difficulties. The role developed my ability to devise solutions based on the specific characteristics of a situation and tackle problems from different angles.

Due to my final examinations finishing in November, I have a six-month period of freedom between the end of secondary school and the beginning of the next UK academic year. During this period I am going to further my interest in the financial world by working as a trainee at the Bramer Banking Corporation. I hope that the experience will both satisfy my intellectual curiosity for economics and give me a practical insight into the fields of portfolio assessments and offshore banking.