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Sample Personal Statement for the Master's Degree in Financial Engineering

My interests and formal studies in the fields of control engineering and computer science together with those of economics and finance form, I suppose, an unusual ‘mix’. I have a strong academic record in these several disciplines and wish to fulfil my considerable potential and maximise my utility. Having carefully considered how I might best develop and apply the various strands of knowledge, skills and professional experience acquired, I conclude that this will be most effectively done by pursuing a Master’s degree in Financial Engineering. I am currently studying for a bachelor degree in Computer Science and am due to graduate in 2018.

Once I have obtained the Master’s degree, my plan is to continue to pursue the CFA designation (I am currently a level 2 candidate) and then to seek a financial analyst position in the investment banking/asset management field analysing risk. My long-term goals are to lead a technical team to incorporate artificial intelligence and big data technologies to create innovative models offering efficient solutions to improve performance in the areas of investment, risk management and ‘back-office’ operations in the investment banking/asset management industry.

I have held various part and full-time posts since 2008. After graduating from UXX, I became staff accountant for a public accounting firm. This was a short but very useful exercise in applying learned theory to practical applications. I undertook all the routine work required of an accountant which was an excellent supplement to my graduate studies. However, I was very soon offered the opportunity to work for XXXX Global Asset Management at their Canadian HQ and this exposure is the most relevant to my application. I worked as a Mutual Fund Specialist in the Operations Department.

One of my main responsibilities at XXXX was ‘trouble-shooting’ data discrepancy issues for the risk control of mutual fund operations which mainly involved solving or adjusting system errors which is closely related to trading risks or other operational risks. One example of a problem solved may serve to clarify my role and approach to it. I was designated to investigate a failure in a system adaptation relating to mutual fund trading inputs. An update allowed some specially appointed dealers to cancel or reverse trades. The problem was that some internal platforms were not correspondingly redesigned. This failure resulted in deviations in trading data and cash flows in multiple systems. The implications were enormous, there was potential for the fund operating accounts to become overdrawn and inapposite investment/asset allocation to be applied. The worst outcome could have involved huge losses.

I obtained the raw data in CSV format from multiple sections in the system processes. Then I programmed a testing file and compared the processing results of these data at each controlling points. Through the data analysis based on multiple techniques from different fields (Accounting, Finance, and IT), the origin of error was discovered. Then I provided a temporary solution through programming an Excel file to offset all the effect of this issue. Moreover, a clear guideline about making further adjustments in the systems was compiled by me to IT department for a long term consideration. According to my knowledge, the department is still benefiting from the Excel file and adjustments I designed and suggested.

I believe that this experience of being called upon to find urgent solutions to sometimes serious problems together with my academic background has provided an excellent foundation for the program. However, I am aware that technical expertise alone is not enough. I recognise that my goals can only be met developing my ability to think creatively and originally, by demonstrating exceptional determination and commitment and by working collaboratively across several disciplines, so being aware of the expertise available outside my own skill and knowledge sets and how those of might be applied in specific circumstances. I understand that the roles that I shall be seeking in the future will call for the exercise of outstanding leadership skills. I believe that the characteristics of a good teacher overlap considerably with those of a good leader and I have carefully observed the techniques applied by the good teachers that I have had the privilege of meeting. They are approachable and they are excellent planners who have clear aims and measurements of success. They exhibit calmness and positivity and show a readiness to praise success and even unsuccessful, but sincere, effort. I shall seek to emulate them in my future work.

I believe that I have exceptional I.T. skills having had training in, and professional exposure to, a very wide range of computer applications and programming languages which will provide an excellent base for work within the program.

I believe that the emerging trend of development in AI technology and Big Data/Data Mining is very significant in the specialty and will further support the applications of well-designed models and create other useful and fascinating possibilities.

To summarise: My academic and professional careers provide an excellent foundation for study of the specialty and have equipped me to ‘add value’ to the program; I believe that I have the personal characteristics that will fit me to excel in my studies and in my career beyond. I can promise the reader that I shall apply myself with exceptional diligence and enthusiasm.

Thank you for considering my application.

Sample 1st Paragraph Financial Analysis, China, Taiwan, Malaysia

I am a young Chinese man who could not be more highly motivated to succeed in my chosen professional area: Finance, Information Management, and Financial Analysis. My professional focus is on emerging markets, especially China and Taiwan but also Malaysia. This regional focus is a natural choice for me since I speak, read, and write Taiwanese, Cantonese, and Malay as well as Mandarin and English. Now an experienced portfolio manager, I manage investment in products coming from emerging markets, analysis, research, monitoring trades and compliance. 

Can Financial Engineering Cure Cancer?

Great Accomplishments in Financial Engineering

It’s still challenging for most people to talk about the great accomplishments of financial engineers. So this time, we’re looking to the future.

The rebirth of financial engineering that has occurred over the past few years has been every bit as striking as the returns once promised by some of the discipline’s most daring adherents.

Not that long ago, it looked like it was game over for the field of study that produced the mortgage backed security, the credit default swap and all manner of other exotic derivatives that exploded spectacularly in the crisis of 2008.

Now, financial engineering theory is being touted by several academics as the key to curing cancer faster, reducing the impact of climate change and imposing better risk discipline on the same banks that were once almost crushed by the discipline’s creations.

Graduates are flocking to specialist courses in record numbers. Columbia received more than 1,200 applications for a course that has fewer than 90 places; Cornell attracted more than 1,000 applications for a course with just 55 spots.

“It was Warren Buffett who said derivatives are financial markets’ weapons of mass destruction,” says Andrew Lo, the MIT Sloan finance professor and hedge fund manager behind the pioneering work on how financial theory can help cure cancer.

“Uncontrolled use of these kinds of weapons can be extremely devastating and create nuclear fallout for decades. If we use these powerful tools responsibly and in a controlled way, the power they can provide is virtually unlimited.”

Lo has literally spent years looking at how the principles of financial theory can be applied to fighting cancer. “Because the risks of failure are so high in cancer drug development that the probability of success goes up quite dramatically if you create a portfolio,” says Lo.

He adds that the historical probability of success for developing a single anti-cancer treatment is around 5%, but the probability of success shoots up to 99.59 per cent in a portfolio of 150 cancer drugs with statistically uncorrelated successes. That 99.59% is not just the probability of one drug succeeding, it is the probability that two or more end up approved by the US’s Food and Drug Administration.

With financial pay-offs for each success potentially yielding billions of dollars, Lo believes investing in cancer drugs on a large scale is safer than focusing on one long shot.

Lo bases his research on binomial distribution—a probability theory that looks at the distribution of outcomes from a repeated test—and basic portfolio theory, which advocates the benefits of holding a group of complementary assets. Lo cites UBS’s recently launched $470m oncology fund as a real-life example of this theory.

Another good example of financial engineering put to broader use is Bob Litterman’s work on climate change. Mr Litterman, Goldman Sachs’s former head of risk now works at hedge fund Kepos Capital. He has studied how asset pricing theory can be applied to the true price of carbon, and has concluded that carbon is massively underpriced, and that we are on course for a sharp, painful correction. He also believes more work between climate scientists and financial modelers is needed to understand how carbon should be priced very soon.

“Economists haven’t taken the science very seriously in projecting damages and in particular in projecting the full possible distribution of damages from climate change,” Mr Litterman says. “The bottom line is that these economic models can give us the social cost of carbon from $2 a tonne to several hundred dollars a tonne,” he adds, citing a report from an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Certain investors are already positioning for the correction, including the World Wildlife Fund, of which Mr Litterman is a director. The fund has bought forward a derivative that swaps the total return on an index of carbon-heavy assets like coal, tar and expensive sources of oil for the total return on an index of the S&P 500. The value of the swap has risen by 73% since it was created in 2014 by the WWF’s advisers, Cambridge Associates.

Peter Carr, chair of New York University’s finance and risk department, says that financial engineering can be applied to anything systemic or pervasive. He cites the examples of predicting weather patterns and human responses to drugs.

Carr’s students are using financial engineering to look at the systemic risk of banks. “Financial engineers are already trained to understand what values are going to be in the future,” he says. “That’s valuable for banks that need to staff up to deal with additional demands from regulators.”

Victoria Averbukh, director and senior lecturer at Cornell’s financial engineering department in Manhattan, says more of her students are considering working in risk management now than before.

“The financial industry comes back for financial engineers when they need to solve risk management problems and analyze the data,” she says. “There was a backlash against engineering—but now it’s moving on.”

Interesting in joining the engineers with a positive mindset and the good of humanity within their vision? Let us know how we can help you.

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Sample 1st Paragraph, MS in Mathematics and Finance

XXXX University’s MS Program in Mathematics in Finance is my first choice for graduate school not only because of its location, but also your focus on my areas of special interest, harnessing the beauty and unlimited power of Mathematics to the service of financial analysis, strategy, development, etc. Your location in New York City, which I see as the leading world capital of financial markets, is another reason why I have my heart set on attending XXU.

Degree sought, field, or place of origin!

Sample 1st Paragraph Financial Engineering Masters, Chinese Woman

Captivated by the financial world, I have spent most of my life preparing for a career in Finance by mastering numbers and statistics, especially everything having to do with Financial Engineering. Still only 20 years old, a determined young Chinese woman with a cool, analytical, and creative mind, I thrive on Finance, data analysis, machine learning and distribution. I seek special lifelong expertise in the area of risk analysis. It would be a profound honor, in particular, to be accepted to your especially distinguished program in Financial Engineering at XXXX University due to my profound admiration of the research track record and areas of interest of your faculty.

Engineering and Finance: A Spiritual Journey