I'm currently preparing my application for various M.Fin and M.FE. programs, with the MIT M.Fin. program being my first choice.
As a part of the application, I have to write a 500-word essay with the following instructions:
Please discuss past academic and professional experiences and accomplishments that will help you succeed in the MFin program. Include achievements in finance, math, statistics, and computer science as applicable.
Although I place great emphasis on originality, I'd be grateful for any advice on my essay. It is obviously a tremendous challenge to fit all that information into mere 500 words. Obviously I feel that it's quite a waste of words to count all the classes that they can find on my Transcript, but they still ask for "achievements in finance, math, statistics, and computer science as applicable," which raises a little dilemma. But here is my first draft, all help is greatly appreciated:
My Economics degree from the University of Iceland has given me a solid foundation for further academic success in finance. I achieved my goal of graduating at the top of my class from a rigorous program, acquiring a strong quantitive skillset and a good understanding of the fundamentals of economics and finance. Furthermore, I had the honor of being selected by my university to participate in Stanford University's International Honors Program in 2014, where I got to experience the benefits of studying at a distinguished educational institution. I feel more than adaquetly prepared for the MIT MFin program having taken STEM-level Linear Algebra and Probability&Statistics courses, two econometrics courses, three mathematics courses and almost every available finance elective. Additionally, I chose to deepen my understanding after graduation by taking graduate courses in Financial Mathematics and Statistics alongside programming courses. I'm glad that I tick all your boxes when it comes to suggested background and I believe that I've studied more finance than many finance majors and similar mathematics as engineering majors. I also have the experience of writing an extensive Bachelor's thesis about the global hedge funds who acquired distressed debt on the Icelandic banks following the financial crash. I consider the thesis one of my finest achievements and the results were published in a book written by my professors.
I've gained invaluable insight into the world of business and finance as a journalist for Iceland's leading business newspaper, Viđskiptablađiđ. I was offered the job without even applying as the publisher was impressed with my work as editor of the annual magazine of my university's Economics students. I've enjoyed the privelege of interviewing some of Iceland's most prominent figures in finance, business and politics as well as performing thorough analyses on the Icelandic economy and stock market.
I look forward to pursuing a career in the world of finance and my aim is to work in asset management after graduation. Although I'm happy to have learned the fundamentals in Iceland, the MIT MFin program is the perfect opportunity to take the next step. I hope to get work at a leading financial institution following graduation and in the longer term, I wish to bring my knowledge and experience back home and help develop my country's financial market.
There are many reasons for MIT being my first choice, besides the institute's prestige. The program is more diverse and flexible than a financial engineering program, the faculty is outstanding and many courses seem tailored to my ambitions. The proseminar in capital markets and finance research practicum provide a precious opportunity to bridge the gap between academics and practice and I'm fascinated by the student clubs, where I'll undoubtedly meet new people who share my enthusiasm. I'm also delighted that MIT places strong emphasis on ethics and social responsibility, as I feel it's essential for the financial sector to regain people's trust. Overall I feel that I have the qualities and skills to get the most out of the MIT Sloan MFin program and hopefully I can share my unique perspective with my classmates.
I achieved my goal of graduating at the top of my classWHAT WAS YOUR EXACT RANK? SPECIFICITY PREFERRED. from a rigorous programWHO OR WHAT DESCRIBED YOUR PROGRAM AS RIGOROUS? BE SPECIFIC. , acquiring a strong quantitive skillsetSPELLING ERROR and a good understanding of the fundamentals of economics and financeHOW SO? .
..., where I got to experience the benefits of studying at a distinguished educational institutionWHOM DID YOU STUDY WITH? WHAT NOTABLE THING DID YOU LEARN? . I feel more than adaquetlySPELLING ERROR prepared for the MIT MFin program having taken STEM-level Linear Algebra and Probability&Statistics courses, two econometrics courses, three mathematics courses and almost every available finance electiveGOOD. YOU GAVE SPECIFICS. HOWEVER, DOUBLE CHECK GRAMMAR, SPELLING, AND PUNCTUATION. . A
... after graduation by taking graduate courses in Financial Mathematics and Statistics alongside programming coursesWHERE? FOR HOW LONG? .
... suggested background and I believe that I've (...) as engineering majorsSUPPORT THIS CLAIM WITH EVIDENCE .
... finest achievements and the results were published in a book written by my professorsGOOD. IT'S ONE THING TO SAY YOU CONSIDER YOUR THESIS A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT; IT'S ANOTHER TO HAVE YOUR PROFESSORS PUBLISH IT. IN WHICH JOURNAL(S) WAS YOUR THESIS PUBLISHED? PROVIDE THESE SORTS OF DETAILS. MAKE SURE YOUR PROFESSORS NOTE THAT IN THEIR LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION .
... world of business and finance as a journalist for Iceland's leading business newspaper, ViđskiptablađiđGOOD. FOR HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE? .
... was impressed with my work as editor of the annual magazine of my university's Economics studentsGOOD. FOR HOW LONG? . I've enjoyed the privelegeSPELLING ERROR of interviewing some of Iceland's most prominent figures in financeWHO? WHEN? , business and politics (...) and stock market CITE SPECIFICS.
... and my aim is to work in asset management after graduationWHERE? .
... experience back home and help develop my country's financial marketVAGUE. REQUIRES MORE DETAIL.
The program is more diverse and flexible than a financial engineering programHOW SO? , the faculty is outstanding and many courses seem tailored to my ambitionsWHO IN PARTICULAR IS OUTSTANDING? . The proseminar in capital markets and finance research practicum provide a precious opportunity to bridge the gap between academics and practiceGOOD. and I'm fascinated by the student clubsWHICH CLUBS? , where I'll undoubtedly ...
... it's essential for the financial sector to regain people's trustWHY DO YOU FEEL THIS WAY? .
... hopefully I can share my unique perspective with my classmatesWHAT UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE ARE YOU REFERRING TO? .
Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your straight-to-the point advice. Of course I'd love to be much more specific, but I just don't have the words to do so! Unless I leave something else out, which is probably possible.
I've actually done some reviewing since I posted this. However, I'm going to take all your advice into account and I'll post the results as soon as I'm done. Again, thank you very much for some really good points!
You're welcome. The inordinate amount of feedback was to help you weed out the nonessentials. You should now be able to revise and make your 500-word essay more compelling.
@EditorPal Here's a revised edition. I really appreciate your honesty, so feel free to critique at will! :) Thanks a lot!
Hello, let me give my correction for you
I feel more than
I've enjoyed the
... MIT places the strong emphasis... (this sentence need article "the")
@EditorPal Thanks A LOT, again!
I feel like we're improving, hopefully this edition is even better. Hopefully you'll get the chance to comment on this as well, thanks a lot.
One extra question: Am I leaving something really important out? [...]
Perhaps what you're missing is an answer to the following: Share personal qualities that will enable you to contribute to the advancement of our mission. What is their mission?You could address this in one or two sentences, more specifically in the final paragraph.
at the top of my Economics class at the University of Iceland , developing a strong quantitative skillset andwith a good understanding of the fundamentals of economics and finance. Besides"BESIDES" MAY NOT BE THE RIGHT WORD TO USE HERE intermediate macro- and microeconomic theories I enjoyed learning aboutreveled in derivatives, bonds markets,I PERSONALLY PREFER THE SERIAL COMMA and time series analys ie s using ARMA- and ARCH/GARCH models. I first realized that I wanted to pursue a career inmy passion for asset management after I had taken classes at Stanford University in 2014 taught by professors with real professional experience . Professor Alex Gould, who taught me Financial Economics, ran his own venture capital fund in Silicon Valley, and Professor Peter Woehrmann, who taught me Investment Science, ran his own hedge fund. Their expertise and insights inspired me to take every available finance electivewhen I returned home . GOOD PARAGRAPH; HOWEVER, THERE ARE TWO THINGS TO CONSIDER: (1) DID THEY INSPIRE YOU TO TAKE ONLY FINANCE CLASSES, OR DID THEY HAVE A BIGGER INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE BESIDES TAKING CLASSES (I.E., SHORT AND LONG-TERM GOALS), AND (2) YOU NEVER MENTIONED THAT YOU HAD LEFT HOME, SO CONCLUDING WITH "WHEN I RETURNED HOME" FEELS OUT OF PLACE CHRONOLOGICALLY .
Uu niversity 's decision to nominated me for Stanford's International Honors Pr ogram was based on my academic performanceMOVE THIS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SENTENCE . Among my peers, I have consistently been amongstrank in the top 95th-90thBE MORE PRECISE; IF YOU'RE NOT SURE, USE 93 AS THE AVERAGE. DOING SO SAVES VALUABLE WORD COUNT percentile in courses on finance, mathematics, and econometrics, besides receiving the highest grade for my Bachelor's thesis on the global hedge funds who invaded Iceland's economy"BESIDES" MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE HERE. MOREOVER, THIS SECTION OF TEXT CAN BE ON ITS OWN, SEPARATE FROM THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE . The results were compelling enough to be included in a book written by my instructors, "The Icelandic Financial Crisis, " ,a work created by my instructors and published by Palgrave Macmillan in late 2016. BY INSTRUCTORS, DO YOU MEAN DR. GOULD AND DR. WOEHRMANN?
CHRONOLOGICALLY SPEAKING, THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH REFERS TO SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN 2016 AND THE ONE FOLLOWING CITES AN EVENT THAT OCCURED IN 2015. ANOTHER SUGGESTION FOR IMPROVEMENT IS TO REARRANGE THE SENTENCES/PARAGRAPHS SO THAT YOUR ESSAY STARTS FROM THE EARLIEST AND FOLLOWS THE ORDER IN WHICH EACH EVENT OCCURRED.
In 2015 I
was offeredaccepted a job as athe position of journalist at Iceland's leading business newspaper, Viđskiptablađiđ, without even applying, asAlthough I did not formally apply for a job, the publisher was impressed withhired me based on my workperformance as editor of the annual university's Journal of Economics. *** The journalpublication received much applause and earnedwon a historical $10,000 profit through advertisement revenue. ***THIS PART MAY NEED FURTHER REVISING SINCE IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER YOU HAD ANY ROLE TO PLAY IN THIS HISTORIC EVENT. ENSURE THAT THIS SENTENCE CLEARLY CONNECTS TO THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES --> This experience helped me developREVISE strong leadership skills as I had to make sure articles were submitted on time and advertisement deals were closed. As a journalist I 've gained invaluable insight into the world of business and finance [by interviewing some of Iceland's most prominent figures in finance, business and politics, such as the Minister of Finance, the president of the Central Bank and numerous CEOs]CONSIDER PUTTING THIS SECTION OF TEXT AT THE FRONT OF THIS SENTENCE , besides performing thorough analyses oncritically analyzing the Icelandic economy and markets. <--REVISE THIS SENTENCE FURTHERThrough my work I've developed strong critical thinking skills and learned to better handle stressful situations.THIS SENTENCE DOES NOT SEEM TO CONNECT TO THE REST OF THE PARAGRAPH; CONSIDER DELETING IT OR FINDING A WAY TO FIT IT IN. I see the MFin program asIS a crucial step intoward my academic and professional careergoals . Following my graduation I hope to get a positionplan to work at a leading asset (...) start my own fund , perhaps back in Iceland. I value the program's flexibility andmany the chanceopportunities to learnstudy from the pioneers of modern finance theory from pioneers in person, such as Robert Merton and Andrew Lo to name a few,
itMIT my absolute first choice. I believe I have the qualities (...) of this program , but more importantlyalso be an active member of the MIT Sloan community. ***YOUR ESSAY CONTINUES TO IMPROVE. CONSIDER REVISING THE FINAL PARAGRAPH FURTHER. TRY TO INTEGRATE ONLY THE ESSENTIALS SO THAT YOUR DESIRE TO ATTEND MIT IS UNEQUIVOCALLY CLEAR TO ADMISSIONS. IN ADDITION, YOU MAY WANT TO REFINE THE CHRONOLOGICAL ORGANIZATION OF YOUR ESSAY.
As always, GREAT advice. My essay is now just over 450 words, and I'm pretty sure I haven't dropped anything significant! I understand where you're going with the chronology, but I felt better trying to first start in academics and then moving over to the professional life.Obviously I've cut out a lot of things, but hopefully the message is still strong. I understand if you're getting tired of going over it for the zillionth time, but all further help is always appreciated. I want to thank you so much for taking your time to help me, you truly are a saint!
Anyways, here it goes:
I graduated top of my Economics class at ...
Scratch that.. THIS one instead (Can't delete the other one):
I graduated top of my Economics class at the University of Iceland with a good understanding of economics and finance as well as a solid quantitative foundation. My favorite subjects alongside traditional macro- and microeconomics included derivatives, bonds markets and time series analysis. I discovered my passion for asset ...
- I graduated (...) with a
goodwell-developed understanding of economics and ...
- My favorite subjects- alongside (...) microeconomics- included derivatives, ...
- ... passion for asset management [...] on the subject after ...
GOOD. HOWEVER, IF I MAY MAKE A SUGGESTION, THE FIRST PARAGRAPH SEEMS TO JUMP FROM ONE TOPIC TO THE NEXT-THAT IS, IT LACKS UNITY. BY UNIFYING YOUR IDEAS, YOU MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE READER TO FOLLOW ALONG WITH WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. I, AS THE READER, CAN EXPECT THAT THIS PARTICULAR PARAGRAPH (OR ANY OTHER PARAGRAPH FOR THAT MATTER) WILL DEAL WITH ONLY ONE MAIN TOPIC. AND WHEN YOU START A NEW PARAGRAPH, THAT TELLS ME YOU'RE MOVING TO A NEW TOPIC. DO THIS WITH THE REMAINING PARAGRAPHS (I.E., DESCRIBE, EXPLAIN, AND SUPPORT A SINGLE TOPIC SENTENCE). IF YOU NEED FURTHER CLARIFICATION, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
... International Honors Pr ogram based on
PS: YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO START OVER. I'M SIMPLY SUGGESTING THAT YOU RE-WRITE EACH PARAGRAPH IN A WAY THAT BRINGS EVERYTHING TOGETHER.
Hey man, I've gong through you revised one, here are some suggestions
top (top 3 or top 5%, I think the officials like that way )of my Economics class at (...) solid quantitative foundation(ground maybe? ).
... leaving me hungry to learn more about
financeif you already said asset management, why not stick with it and go further? and prompting me to ...
... Bank and numerous CEOs, which has given me ...
personal thoughts, maybe team work spirit also?
The Sloan MFin program is a crucial step [...] Sloan with much more than just a degree. This para is almost perfect but there could be betterment if you keep digging
Excellent job. Much of what you need to write a good essay is already here. Here's an example of what I'm referring to when I say unity. Please keep in mind that this is only an example of how I took pieces of your essay and unified them into a simple narrative. It took only a few minutes out of my day, so it's far from perfect.
My ability to succeed professionally in my field requires not only a solid quantitative foundation but also a well-developed understanding of finance and economics. As an inductee of the International Honors Program (IHP) at Stanford University and a Summa Cum Laude Graduate from the University of Iceland, I have worked tirelessly to master the technical skills of an investor and the in-depth understanding of a leader by working alongside fund management entrepreneurs like Dr. Alex Gould and Dr. Peter Woehrmann who helped deepen my knowledge of bond pricing, derivatives, and financial markets. In 2016 I put into practice this newly acquired expertise to my senior thesis titled "The Icelandic Financial Crisis," which garnered a favorable response from my professors. In addition to awarding me the highest grade of any other thesis, they also submitted it for publication to the global academic and trade company Palgrave Macmillan.
However, my success is not limited to academic achievements. In fact, ...
I have graduated top of my Economics class
i would prefer to use prefect tense ( has/have) to show an achievement
With my excellent academic performance , I have been nominated for Stanford University's International Honors Program in 2014
based on my academic performance
it could be emphasized on "you have been selected because of the excellent result "
Thanks a lot EditorPal. I feel very close to being fully satisfied with my essay but I'll take your latest advice into consideration and I see if I can improve even further. I'd like to express my deepest gratitude for all your assistance. The essay has kept improving with each point you've made and I'm truly grateful that you've given so much of your time to help me achieve my dreams, I really don't think I can put it into words.
I hope I'll succeed getting into this program and if I do, your advice and help absolutely played a big part. Thanks a lot for everything, you are awesome!