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Personal Statement for UCL Masters Financial Risk Management - why this program and school?


Hi all, my personal statement for the mentioned program. I still left with "where you would like to go professional with your degree". I was wondering if i should be specific (company, graduate programs, specific field etc) in what i would like to pursue right after graduation? or should I give a generic career goals?

appreciate any feedback (:

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

why you want to study Financial Risk Management at graduate level
why you want to study Financial Risk Management at UCL
what particularly attracts you to this programme
how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
what programming experience you have
where you would like to go professionally with your degree


the optimal career path



As the financial complexities of the corporate world continue to burgeon, so have the mechanisms and solutions which aim to manage financial risks. In particular, techniques in computer science have emerged at the forefront in quantifying financial risk, and efforts of risk management have become inextricably intertwined with these ever-advancing technologies. As a passionate student of both technology and finance, I find myself suitably positioned to pursue a Master's in Financial Risk Management at UCL, particularly drawn to the appeal of a dual emphasis on programming skills and professional exposure.

Fundamentally, in my pursuit of further studies, I am hugely motivated by the desire to develop expertise in quantitative risk management. Specifically, I trust that pursuing this program at UCL is especially crucial to developing a well-rounded perspective of the trends and development in quantitative risk management. This is in part due to the diversity of modules available across various departments, such as applied computational Finance and statistical computing. Personally, I strongly concur with the need for integrating programming languages like MATLAB and Python to handle complex computations and perform data analytics operation. Such skills are especially crucial for risk modelling and quantifying risk, both of which form the core of financial risk management. As a world-class academic institution of computer science, UCL is the place I seek to develop and strengthen new programming skills for a future career in the field

Furthermore, I am strongly drawn to the emphasis which UCL places on providing exposure and valuable opportunities for the students. Undoubtedly, crucial to the success of any organization is its capacity to manage risk exposure. However, such success cannot be guaranteed by mere theoretical modelling and knowledge-transfers independent of the real world; academic pursuit has its pragmatic limits. As such, I believe that an active participation in the industry vis-à-vis a specialist masters' education is the optimal way in which one can be thoroughly equipped to apply techniques of financial risk management. The UCL program provides just that. With its summer placement tied a dissertation, this opportunity is, to me, the ideal way in which I can steer my learning towards an effective outcome.

My strong technical foundations have been crucial in providing me with the professional advantages in my past working experiences, which have continued to steer me towards pursuing a long-term career in financial risk management. My journey of opportunities first began in the risk monitoring department of XXXXX where I was tasked with daily and weekly risk reporting. Despite an immense stress from having to manage full-time studies and working part-time, my growing interest in risk kept me constantly motivated at work. It was supplemented by further experiences in XXXXXXXXX, where I ran daily Mark-to-market for traders and management reporting as a risk management intern. Moving on, I started as an intern within the Market Risk department of XXXXXXXX and was subsequently offered an Analyst role. As an analyst, I was tasked with analyzing risk profiles and monitoring utilization against various risk limits. Moreover, I play the crucial role of maintaining efficient dialogues with key stakeholders such as the Head of Treasury, and would very much like to believe that my vital contributions as an intern and analyst were commensurately recognized, having been awarded the Employee of the month award for my exceptional work and dedication.

Academically, I have sustained strong records throughout, having obtained a First Class Honors and attaining distinctions for various quantitative modules such as Mathematical Economics, Elements of Econometrics, Mathematics2 and Statistic2 during my undergraduate studies. Graduating as one of the top students in my cohort, I was subsequently awarded the SIM Bronze award of 2016 for my excellent results. I have also made significant efforts to broaden my knowledge in the risk field via pursuing the Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) designation, of which I have passed and managed to obtain 1st quantiles in all topics for the level 1 examination. In addition, I find myself already equipped with technical expertise such as Visual Basic Application (VBA), which have allowed me to develop and improve existing risk reporting infrastructure in my current role. Equipped with a solid foundation in mathematics, statistics, finance and financial risk, I believe I am sufficiently prepared to take on the thrills and challenges of the Master's program, and to contribute to the rich environment of finance/computer-science academia prevalent in UCL.

Looking forward, I am strongly convicted that pursuing Financial Risk Management at UCL will set me on the optimal career path. In the immediate future, after graduation...

Hi, I think the overall content of the essay is fine. I have a suggestion about " what particularly attracts you to this program". Your description of the UCL financial risk management is not specific enough. It is better to include some details, like a course or seminar that particularly interests you. This will strengthen your aspiration to enter the program.
Dec 7, 2017   #3
Joe, there are a number of problems with this essay that do not make it an effective personal statement. For starters, your responses do not really tally with the questions being asked. For example, when you are asked about why you want to study FRM at the graduate level, the response should not be theoretical, descriptive, or leading into a response as to why you chose UCL. Rather, it should explain what professional reasons you have for the study. What motivates you to study FRM at a higher level aside from these academic reasons? What work related reasons do you have? Reasons such as wishing to pursue promotions on the job or starting your own company will be more impressive than simply saying you want t build on your theoretical knowledge.

Now, I can understand why you want to study at UCL but you have not really been specific about what attracted you to the program. Try to respond in a manner that showcases the type of professional growth that you will have through the training you will receive at UCL. That means, you need to emphasize the summer placement programs and how you plan to use that to increase your professional qualifications. Everything else that you said in this essay is just word filler. It does not really tell the reviewer anything that will increase his knowledge about you in response to the listed questions. Your response to why you want to study at UCL and what attracts you to this program should be merged into one extremely strong response.

While your response to the academic and professional background is sufficient, your indication of your programming background is not. You do not really depict a familiarity with specific programming languages as indicated in the question. You have to indicate specific programs that you have used in your line of work and what other related software you have learned to use during your off time in relation to FRM.

With regards to where you would like to go with your degree, this is a response that should tie in directly with your reasons for wanting to study this course at the graduate level. Close the essay with your 5 year plan or immediate plans for your career soon after graduation. Think forward, say, six months into your future after you graduate if you cannot plan ahead by 5 years.
Dear all,

thanks for the valuable feedbacks. I will amend my statement accordingly and i hope that i will still have your support by then.

Thanks
Joe
Dear all, please find below my revised personal statement. As always, greatly appreciate any feedback to improve my statement.

Statement

As the complexities of the financial world continue to burgeon, so have the mechanisms and solutions which aim to manage financial risks. In particular, techniques in computer science have emerged at the forefront in quantifying financial risk. While a degree in Economics has helped to lay a solid foundation in Statistics and Mathematics, I find myself at a disadvantage and also ill-equipped to pursue a long-term career in the field of financial risk management due to the limited exposure to programming at under-graduate level. Fueled with the desire to develop expertise in the quantitative aspect of risk management, I found myself suitably positioned to pursue a Master's degree that will adequately prepare me to be a subject matter expert in financial risk management.

UCL's MSc in Financial Risk Management stands out to me for various reasons. First of all, born and raised in Singapore - one of the world's most culturally diverse country, I have always enjoy the cross-cultural sharing among my peers of different races and religions. UCL attracts passionate individuals from all around the world, and pursuing the MSc provides an opportunity that allows me to interact with like-minded individuals, immerse in cross-cultural sharing and get to learn and understand more about cultures that can't be found in Singapore. All of which, I believe, will help foster a long-term relationship between me and my peers.

In addition, I find that the flexibility in the curriculum caters specifically to my needs. Although the core modules focus more on the theoretical aspect, the breadth and diversity of electives available across various departments will allow me to work on the technical stuff as well. I am particularly attracted to modules such as Statistical computing and Machine Learning with application in finance, both of which will allow me to gain exposure to statistical programming softwares that are heavily utilized in the industry to quantify risk and perform large data analytics operations. More importantly, I am particularly drawn to the summer placement that forms the basis of the dissertation. My working experiences so far have led me to realize that I am more of a "hands-on" person. The summer placement is ,therefore, the perfect learning opportunity for me. Equipped with newly acquired skills and knowledge, I will be given the opportunity to learn from leading industry professionals and also be able to work on real-world projects that I hope will not only benefit the company alone, but also on an industry-wide basis. Hence, the summer placement is, to me, the best way in which I can steer my learning towards the most effective outcome.

My strong technical foundations have been crucial in providing me with the professional advantages in my past working experiences, which have continued to steer me towards pursuing a long-term career in financial risk management. My journey of opportunities first began in the risk monitoring department of xxxxxxxxx where I was tasked with daily and weekly risk reporting. Despite an immense stress from managing studying full-time and working part-time, my growing interest in risk kept me constantly motivated at work. It was supplemented by further experiences in xxxxx, where I ran daily Mark-to-market for traders and management reporting as a risk management intern. Moving on, I started as an intern within the Market Risk department of xxxxxxx and was subsequently offered an Analyst role. As an analyst, I was tasked with analyzing risk profiles and monitoring utilization against various risk limits. Moreover, I play the crucial role of maintaining efficient dialogues with key stakeholders such as the Head of Treasury, and would very much like to believe that my vital contributions as an intern and analyst were commensurately recognized, having been nominated and awarded the Employee of the month for my exceptional work and dedication. To add on, part of my nomination came from my demonstration of strong enterprising capability throughout the process of developing new risk reporting tools. I utilize VBA programming, which I have self-learned, to automate many of the processes and also to handle a substantial amount of computation on Excel. Through the use of loops and nested loops: for-loops, do-while, I applied multiple conditions to the raw data and was able to reduce much of the time needed to populate the raw data into working data.

Academically, I have sustained strong records throughout, having obtained a First Class Honors and attaining distinctions for various quantitative modules such as Mathematical Economics, Elements of Econometrics, Mathematics2 and Statistic2 during my undergraduate studies. Graduating as one of the top students in my cohort, I was subsequently awarded the SIM Bronze award of 2016 for my excellent results. I have also made significant efforts to broaden my knowledge in the risk field via pursuing the Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) designation, of which I have passed and managed to obtain 1st quantiles in all topics for the level 1 examination.

Looking forward, I am strongly convicted that pursuing Financial Risk Management at UCL will set me on the optimal career path. Upon graduation, I would like to join a graduate associate program under the risk division. Through a structured program, I will get to develop myself in an environment where I can realise my full potential and gain an accelerated path to becoming a leader in the organisation. Furthermore, the rotation among various teams/departments will allow me to move into an area that best suits my skills and interests. Specifically, i would like to join the quantitative risk team where i hope i will get to work on tasks such as pricing and risk models validation. Within the next 3-5 years, I see myself attaining the FRM designation, becoming a risk manager and spearheading impactful projects. Eventually, I aspire to find myself in a position such as Regional Head of Risk, where I can utilize years of valuable experience to groom and mentor the leaders of tomorrow.

Equipped with a solid foundation in mathematics, statistics, finance and financial risk, I believe I am sufficiently prepared to take on the thrills and challenges of the Master's program, and to contribute to the rich environment of finance/computer-science academia prevalent in UCL.


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