• Personal Statement:Actuarial Science 2

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Actuarial Science/MORSE Personal Statement

Statistics tells us that risk is real and unavoidable. This subject also gives actuaries the skills to make informed decisions enabling the reduction of uncertainty, based solely on past occurrences, which is fascinating. It is this art of numbers that enticed me to a career involving Mathematics. I first learnt of the applications and importance of the subject whilst reading R. Eastaway's "How Long is a Piece of String", where I discovered the way a "pyramid selling" scam ruined the Albanian economy in 1996. I was surprised to discover that so many people were manipulated by this con. A better understanding of Maths or Economics would have seized the breakdown of that economy and avoid needless losses. This made me aware of the fragility in finance and the necessity of actuarial analysis.

My interest in probability stemmed from the documentary "The Joy of Stats". I was impressed by H. Rosling's animation of a health vs wealth graph of many countries over 200 years. It highlighted a clear trend that every country was heading towards high income and life expectancy, but did not talk about ways of predicting which countries will prosper next. To answer this, I read D. Hand's "A Short Introduction to Statistics", in which I discovered that understanding statistical methods is a bigger problem in today's world than computational power. This stimulated an appreciation of the importance of Actuarial Science and therefore, the idea using statistics to evaluate financial risk appealed strongly to me.

The topic of Hypothesis Testing particularly interested me in the A level syllabus as it provided a simple way of testing ideas, which could lead to models for forecasting of financial risk. I am especially looking forward to learning about complicated, specialist statistical skills, such as stochastic processes and survival models, to make financial sense of the future. Further Maths has made me accustomed to a logical approach to solve problems, which I feel will help me vastly on this course. Furthermore, studying Chemistry has developed my analytical skills and attention to detail via complicated graphs, which I appreciated as an important skill for statistical analysis. My enthusiasm for Maths led me to join the Maths Society to improve upon my problem solving skills, where I enjoy challenging myself to difficult problems outside the syllabus, hence helping me think creatively.

I gained valuable communication and presentation skills from taking part in the Speak Out challenge and these skills are developed and demonstrated on a weekly basis through my role as a Peer Supporter where I run tutorial sessions in a team for first year students. I am a keen member of the College council which provides me with the opportunity to effectively articulate my opinions regarding the college. Through partaking in many target shooting competitions, I have earned my position amongst the top 100 shooters of the cadet forces, reflecting my versatility. My college presented me with a volunteering award for my commitment to Mount Vernon Hospital, where I help care for patients with visual or hearing impairments. This has enhanced my interpersonal skills and therefore I find this a very rewarding experience. My work placement at RAF Northolt allowed me to observe a strong sense of team work, security and attention to detail which I realised were important qualities for an actuary.

Exceedingly motivated by Mathematics, I’m determined to succeed by developing strong statistical and analytical skills. With this degree I hope to contribute to the financial world by helping to avoid disasters such as the 2008 economic crash and in turn, aid in financial growth. Admission into your course is most certainly the correct step in my life, and I would be thrilled to undertake this opportunity.

Universities Applied to:

  • London School of Economics (BSc Actuarial Science) - Firmed - Conditional Offer (AAA)
  • University of Kent (Actuarial Science) - Insurance - Conditional Offer (AAB)
  • City University London (Actuarial Science) - Conditional Offer (A*[Maths]AA)
  • University of Warwick (MORSE) - Conditional Offer (A*[Maths]AA or AAA with Grade 2 in STEP)
  • University of Southampton (Maths with Actuarial Science) - Conditional Offer (A[Maths]AB)

Grades Achieved:

  • Biology A2 - A*
  • Mathematics A2 - A
  • Further Mathematics A2 - A
  • Chemistry AS - B


General Comments:

I hope my P.S. helps any Actuarial Science applicants.

Comments (15/9/14) :

  • The opening statement is a bit naive. Statistics do not actually TELL you anything. Its the interpretation of those statistics that tell you things - and then you have to know how/why those statistics were gathered, by whom, for whom and for what purpose. That the applicant doesn't realise this fundamental fact about statistical analysis probably means that he/she doesn't have much idea about this subject. The admissions tutor is now on edge to find all the other silly comments in the rest of the Statement.
  • 'Exceedingly motivated by Mathematics.' Clumsy and a bit naff. You don't get out of bed in the mornings thinking 'Oooooo, how shall I have my breakfast mathematically?', or 'Mathematically I will be motivated to run for the bus'. What do you actually mean here - 'I enjoy Maths'? - then say that.
  • However - this is otherwise a good PS. It addresses the question - 'Why do you want to study this subject at Uni?', it explains his/her activities outside school in a relevant way that explain the skills gained, and doesn't 'show off'. The only thing missing is some relevant work experience - has this applicant got a clue what Actuaries actually do?

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