Episode 5: Economics & Management Personal Statement For Oxford
This is the final Personal Statement in the series so we thought we’d make it a good one.
This is a real Personal Statement that was used to apply successfully to the University of Oxford on one of it’s most competitive courses. With just 6% of applicants getting their place for E&M, your Personal Statement must stand out amongst a crowd of exceptional applicants.
There are the stats for the Personal Statement – no surprises to see that the candidate squeezed as many characters as possible into the document.
The universities this candidate applied to were the following;
THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
Economics is the study of now. I view it as the study of the psychology of the people who dictate our lives. The world around us is shaped by the fundamental concept of supply and demand, wants and needs, goods and services. What grips me is that everything I have studied I can apply to real life. Discussions about inflation, for example, are so applicable since its current status is active in the world of pricing; the price of a Big Mac and “Burgernomics” is something to which I can relate from my travels.
The statistical aspect of economic analysis is closely linked to my interest with Mathematics, thus I will take an Econometric route on option modules. This scientific approach to what is otherwise a field based solely on individual theories and concepts interests me, as I find quantitative analysis much more accurate and reliable than qualitative theories. As an example, I relish analysing more Econometric models on the A Level Course: like Profit Maximisation calculations.
Despite this, Economics intertwines both Maths and Philosophy on a regular basis. I recently read an article from the Guardian by George Monbiot, which discussed the cost-benefit analysis model and whether nature could be quantified as a tangible asset, and how this would benefit neo-liberals in their perpetual quest for profit. This is just an example of how Econometric analysis does not always deliver such verisimilitude where the figures given are ambiguous. This is what is unique about Economics: there is no right answer to the question ‘Is there a right answer?’ The concept of there being methods of analysing the psychology of and nature behind the way that the interface between consumers and producers operates seems to exceed all other subjects in terms of interest.
I find it peculiar that a subject that has such a ubiquitous undercurrent in our society is so undefined and obscure; it is undoubtedly this which draws me to it. Consequently I strive to keep up with Economics in the modern world by reading the “I” and “Guardian” newspapers, and “The Economist” magazine regularly. For wider background reading I have read Marx’s “Communist Manifesto”, Tim Hartford’s “The Undercover Economist” and “Too Big To Fail” by Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Sorkin’s book provided a gripping, in depth insight into the world of investment banking and entrepreneurship – I finished the book in a matter of days. His book has inspired me to enter the investment sector. Upon graduation I would like to become an investment banker or negotiator, hence I am in the process of trying to arrange some work experience with the London Metal Exchange.
I completed a programme of work experience with Linden Homes this summer, through the Career Academy Programme on which I am enrolled. It was a six week internship during which I gained a firm understanding of a construction company’s place within the national economy. I enjoyed spending valuable time in a variety of departments within the firm. I also have work experience planned in Belgium 2013.
Additionally, I participate in a multitude of extracurricular activities. My team and I finished second in the national UMPH Business Competition; in Year 11 my team set the school record for the Enterprise Day Challenge and for three consecutive years my team won the Grimsby Inter-School Quiz without loss. Furthermore, I am part of both the Franklin College Debating Team and the weekly “Blue Sky Club”, where students meet to discuss current affairs.
Recently, a particular subject of interest has been the US election. We frequently discuss the debates and the candidates, covering subjects like their political viewpoints and how it will affect both our lives and those of the American public – plus the potential Economic ramifications of the possible outcomes. With a genuine zeal for the subject and an ability to relate my studies to the real world, I am convinced that I will thoroughly thrive at degree level Economics.
GOOD POINTS OF THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
The student gives a good insight into their academic interests and what’s inspired them to develop over time. They also demonstrate a passion for the subject, not only by stating their interest in it but by further explaining what interests them and why they would make a good candidate to study it at university. The student is already accomplished and explains well what they’ve gained from their various extra-curricular activities.
PERSONAL STATEMENT BAD POINTS
The writing is weak and, at points, unnatural. The forced interjections of examples and unusual adjectives make it read like a student attempting to write a formal and formulaic exam essay. They would do better to write in their usual style, even if it is somewhat informal; this will allow them to better express themselves and they will come across as more interesting to those reading it. More importantly than this, however, at times, the student fails to keep up their otherwise good level of detail, and the writing becomes list-like.
This is particularly prominent when they discuss books they’ve read to develop their understanding of economics. Although they expand on one of these, they do so in little detail. Interviewers are unlikely to be impressed by simply mentioning that you’ve read a book – any student applying for degree-level economics is able to read The Communist Manifesto, for instance – but they will be impressed by your response to it and what you gained from the experience of reading it. Unless you expand on these details, a list of books you’ve read does nothing to contribute to the statement.
UNIADMISSIONS OVERALL SCORE: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This statement is strong, except where it discusses academic work. The detail here was likely sacrificed in favour of expanding further on their extra-curricular activities and their particular areas of interest. However, they have limited discussion of their study of various classic economic works so severely that it fails to add anything to the piece. The statement would, therefore, benefit from a more balanced approach to the various areas of the student’s life.
We give this Economics Personal Statement a 4/5 as they have clearly projected their passion for the subject onto paper – the most important part of a strong Personal Statement – albeit this was at the cost of other factors that should have been covered in more depth.
Getting your passion onto paper truly is what makes Oxford admissions tutors tick – they are admitting a student into their university, not just to study, but to become a part of the university and carry on it’s strong tradition of shaping the minds of the future. Because of this, passion for the subject ranks very highly on admissions tutor’s lists.
This was the fifth and final instalment in our Personal Statement series! We hope this series has been useful in helping you write your Personal Statement.
Going back through the series you’ll find that none of the Personal Statements we covered scored 5/5. Writing the “perfect” Personal Statement is almost impossible as you’re applying to up to five different universities, each with different approaches to teaching, learning and with vastly different cultures.
The strongest Personal Statements will be able to provide an insight to the reader about what the candidate is like, whilst also appealing to each of their university choices.
Just click the buttons below to visit the earlier episodes if you missed them!
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