Admission Essay Example

As I propose myself for the Stony Brook University Ph.D program, it occurs to me that my background as revealed on my resume may generate something like confusion. More specifically, the facts of my life and of my career thus far do not indicate an obvious trajectory, as it were. Years devoted to securities work might certainly point to an impetus to achieve greater standing and knowledge in the realm of mathematics, yet there is as well my extensive employment with a design firm. Consequently, it strikes me that these seemingly contrasting endeavors could be perceived as indications of a nature undecided as to ultimate career, or goals. My purpose here, then, is to make sense of this past and convey it to the university as I have come to see it myself.

I confess, and at the outset, that a degree of indeterminacy has played a part in both my academic and employment pasts. It is not that I have ever evinced a lack of energy or concentration in whatever pursuit, scholastic or otherwise, I engaged in; rather, it was more a case of my involvement in these spheres being so intense as to preclude any long-term planning. For example, during my years as Financial Manager at the design firm, my attention and my efforts were by no means restricted to the parameters of my job. I administered the financial duties required of me in, I believe, an exemplary fashion, yet I was also keenly aware of the nature of the business itself. This in turn, and in an unforeseen way, provided me with insights into aspects of economics. Placed within the operations of the design company, I saw that models were built with balsa wood carefully pinned according to the plans along a pre-printed arc, to obtain the appropriate curvature before producing the complete products. The models, naturally, were smaller than the real products; they were lighter, as they were made out of totally different materials. This entire process generated in me ideas for how economics must benefit from similar approaches, wherein working models may be developed which can be expanded to address vast market concerns.

My years with a leading securities company in Korea demonstrate a perhaps more obvious inclination to pursue the concepts and ideas I explored with the design firm. Most essentially, I discovered a new and compelling interest in quantitative finance. Employed as a junior researcher in the investment strategy department, I observed daily market conditions and devised investment strategies to maximize opportunity and minimize risks. As was immediately evident to me, a lack of expertise in investment options translates to financial losses; it is therefore crucial to employ planning and instruments that prioritize pricing, trading, and proper portfolio management. In the midst of this simultaneous learning and employment opportunity, I began to understand that computer modeling and advanced mathematical skills would be invaluable tools, to further the ideas and prospects developing within me. The research I conducted greatly improved my innate knowledge of the field, yet it also fostered a visceral desire to acquire more. Moreover, these ambitions began to take on far less of an abstract aspect. Simply, I realized that I had to equip myself with a set of quantitative skills to tackle real problems and, if possible, to advance the frontiers of the domain. This awareness, combined with and fueled by my experience in the design firm, is chiefly what has encouraged me to pursue a doctoral degree in quantitative finance.

As I trust is now more clear, the duality of my background actually serves to fully support and explain my ambition to attain this specific degree. I believe that there is an intrinsically organic element to any education, in that what is gained is viscerally enhanced by all the learning already absorbed. Having come to understand the enormous advantage of model construction at the design firm, it was a natural evolution of sorts, that I would apply these principles to my interest in finance and economics. While at the securities company, in fact, I often used to construct financial models to address the many changes inherent in an economic market environment. This conviction that structuring models is the key to a far greater understanding, and subsequent control, of markets is one I strongly maintain. In financial accounting, models can be used and applied to a wide variety of disciplines, including stock prices, experiments, computer simulations, and mathematical proofs. Through these strategies, we can gain a scientific perspective and basis for discerning how the accounting profession affects the capital markets. I am now convinced that improvement in our understanding of quantitative finance, and of its impact and influence on related disciplines, is essential for establishing integrity in financial markets. To be a constructive part of this, I now seek to pursue my passion for quantitative finance as a researcher at a university or a financial institution, after earning my doctoral degree.

I am as well convinced that the Ph.D program at Stony Brook University is the best avenue by which to attain my goals. The curriculum of the program consists of various courses for relatively short periods, including mathematics, statistics, programming, and mathematical finance. This educational structure would provide me with an opportunity to bring the whole of my knowledge and experience to fruition in a manner that complements the life and demands of a working adult. Moreover, I have “done my homework”, and I am assured that the resources provided by Stony Brook University’s rigorous doctoral program, and the quantitative methodologies imparted by its leading faculty, will equip me with the tools necessary to succeed in the profession. The realm of economics has faced some troubling times in recent years, and I wish to be instrumental in ameliorating current crises and preventing future issues. My career and education thus far has set me in the proper direction, and a vital element in pursuing this course lies in understanding what further skills I require. Hence, my application and my commitment. With my background, mindset, and focus, my aim is to be an asset to Stony Brook University, a promising addition to the incoming class, and a graduate whose future work will reflect well on the university itself.

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