Master of Finance Personal Statement
Explain your short-term (immediately post MSF) and long-term career goals. Combined with your background and interests, how will the Vanderbilt MS Finance degree help you reach these goals? (no more than 500 words)
I would like to pursue a career in investment banking or capital markets immediately post MSF. Currently, mergers & acquisitions is the division that I want to go, although I do not hold any preferences for groups or industries yet. A few years after my graduation, I can visualize the scene of starting my own financial advisory business, or getting promoted to a Vice President or even higher positions. Unlike many other people who start to find ways out of investment banks the moment they step in, I enjoy the thought that I can work for a company for a very long time, and grow to be a senior-level employee. And all of this shall be done with the help of Vanderbilt MS Finance.
The first thing I like about the program is its small size. Communicational and networking skills are essential in the business world. The small class size creates the environment where students can know all his/her classmates, interact with them, build connections and friendships with them, and help each other professionally in the future. The small class size leads to the intimate, but versatile alumni network that Owen has. Furthermore, MS Finance students have chances to take classes, interact and get peer coaching from MBA students, which is extremely conducive to their professional growth, both as job market candidates, and people. Some of them might have had investment banking experiences to share with me, enriching my knowledge and understanding of the industry. The second specialty I like is the course structure. I have perused the websites of many MS Finance or MS Management programs. Most other programs allow students to take elective courses, to enrich the student's knowledge with a tinge of customization, but Vanderbilt MS Finance gives students two entire mods to take elective courses. This differentiates Owen from its peers because the program really awards students with opportunities to build their own course structure, choose their professional paths, and become the individuals they want to be. I can visualize an exciting prospect where I have the freedom to take courses that are intimately related to investment banking, especially financial advisory and capital markets, to prepare me for my technical knowledge.
A career-oriented program is good for graduate students who need powerful assistance into the job market. But a career-oriented program that has career center staff who focus on helping students perform mock interviews, organize workshops, hold networking trips to major financial hubs, know each of the students and customize career goals and plans, is even better. That is the third forte that I like about the program. In order to know the career services and the program better, I had the pleasure to speak with Jimmy Hu, a student ambassador of the program, through a brief phone call. Jimmy was very patient and helpful. He strengthened the unparalleled, one-on-one career guidance, a networking trip to the New York City, strong network in the NYC and Atlanta area, and alumni panels. What impressed me more was about the alumni response rate. Jimmy mentioned that when an MS Finance student reaches out to alumni with well-crafted emails or courteous phone calls, most of the times the student will receive quick and amiable responses from alumni. In the world of investment banking, networking is indispensable. Despite its small class size, Vanderbilt MS Finance perfectly illustrates the point that, it is not about how many alumni a university has, but how many alumni are willing to help.
However, none of those three points appears to be the program's most impressive advantage to me, but the story of Ms. Vanessa Arndt strikes my mind the most. She first thought corporate finance was the path she wanted, but then with the navigation of career center, she turned to the investment banking industry, where Owen has a great many alumni. Nevertheless, investment banking was not her destination. She switched her orientation towards management consulting, and eventually landed a job at Bain & Company, one of the top three management consulting companies in the world. The story of Ms. Arndt was not only about the fact that students coming out of Vanderbilt MS Finance have abilities to procure their dream jobs in top investment banks and consultancies, such as Goldman Sachs, Lazard, Jeffries, Bain, and McKinsey, but it is more about the possibilities and potentials of people the program help them to explore. It is about making it pellucid to a student: which path is best for you.
Thank you in advance for your help.
This essay has a ton of unsubstantiated claims. You speak in such generalities that it is hard to gauge if you have actually done any real research into the degree program. Whenever a prompt asks you to discuss your short and long term goals, you need to draw parallels from your past experiences and the program itself and connect it to your future goals. You state that you will like IB and you will stay for the long term? How do you know this? IB has a notoriously high burn out rate in less than 5 years, myself included. You need to show and back up this claim. What have you done in the past that is remotely related to IB that you absolutely love that can convince the admissions committee that you will stick it out for the long haul?
Furthermore, this essay would be improved greatly if you talk more about the unique qualities of the actual program and draw parallels to your future. Talk about an options course or an arbitrage course that is available and how that will uniquely enhance your knowledge allowing you to be competitive in the IB world. The adcoms want to see specific ways that this program will help you achieve your goals. - Admissions Track
Hey man, thanks a lot for your comment and advice. (Just FYI I have done a couple internships in the past and present.) Yes I need to change a lot regarding the structure of my essay. I went to my university's (non-target) writing center today and the tutor gave me a lot of helpful advice too.
About the unique qualities of the program, I know maybe it seems that I was not talking about the Vandy MS Finance, but the points I listed are truly unique. For example, more electives. Their program has way more electives to choose (students pick their own classes. so basically you get to choose what you are taking extensively, for half a year). Other programs, in comparison, has fewer. And for other points about the program, I really did my research, and I didn't speak on general terms, but perhaps I wrote it in a way that looked like I didn't. I need to draw parallels to my future indeed.
I have an internship interview at a small PE shop tomorrow. I'll update my thread tomorrow evening when I re-write my essay. Thanks again.
Holt Educational Consultant - / 10,535 3447
Hu, if I am not too late, I would like to offer my own take on how you can better improve your work in relation to this prompt. I believe that the problem with your essay is that you focused too much on your future thoughts rather than properly establishing the academic and experience related facts in relation to the development of your interest in the MSF program. In my opinion, you don't have to focus solely on the MSF studies in relation to Vanderbilt in a highly focused manner. The essay would be better served if you redirected your writing towards the purpose that a Personal Statement is used for. That is, you must highlight the development of your interest in the program through personal insight and short academic references. I feel that majority of the discussion that you present here should be used mostly in your statement of purpose. Which is why this essay has run this long and is somewhat misdirected. Focus more on your college studies and how these experiences helped to increase your interest in the MSF Finance degree. Remember, you need to show the development of your interest and save the rest of it for the SOP instead. That way, this essay becomes shorter, better focused, and informative for the reviewer in reference to the development of your finance background.
Hi Holt, thank you for your precious advice ! You gave me very clear suggestions, which I will follow. I have another ten days until the application due and I will re-write the draft for a few times until I feel it's polished enough. Their program only has 1 essay like this. The other essay is optional, which aims to explain anomalies in a student's experience (e.g., didn't go to school for 3 months, very poor GPA, felony, and others, which I don't have so I won't submit this optional essay).
I will update my essay once I re-write it, and if it is convenient for you, please come back and check my work. I'd really appreciate that.