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Mai Lai (LSE, Econs)

Growing in an urbanising
countryside, I perceived how environmental
issues risen together with economic
development. In 2009, during my work
experience in Vietnam, I recognised the
loose pollution control in Third World
countries from my direct observation of
neglectful waste treatment process of a
foreign building material firm. It was hurtful
observing my home-town being
environmentally damaged, motivating me
to analyse the economic reason for these
consistent negative externalities.

Not until Development Economics was
introduced to me, was my question
satisfied. I was specifically interested in the
movement of pollution density flowing into
developing country, having read 'The
Armchair Economist' by Steven Landsburg.
In a very small detail, he mentioned
controversial decision of reallocating heavily
polluting industries to the Global South.
That is, the locals ignore the opportunity
cost of inferior air to secure higher income
and employment; the firms pollute despite
the unsustainable production due to the
illusion of cost minimising. The persistent
question in me was suddenly answered; my
conclusion was that people rationally react
with incentive even if it is sometimes
morally wrong. This analysis, interestingly,
coincided with the main thesis throughout
'Freakonomics' by Steven Levitt, which I had
a chance to read later.
Having decided to major in
Economics, the more I get into it, the more
my passion was intensely consolidated. In
March 2010, I went on a field trip to the
Jaguar Car Factory where I witnessed both
automation and mechanisation first hand. I
was also able to make comparisons
between the British and other car markets
from developing countries with reference
from 'Are China's car manufacturers ready
to compete in the US and EU?', a research
paper by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
With many similarities to China, the key
deficiencies of the Vietnamese auto-industry
that I concluded were mainly the lack of
safety concepts, technological R&D and the
loose intellectual property protection.
Economics has taught me that there is no
such thing as black and white situation,
which I have learnt via a salutary lesson
referred to the potential global currency
war recently. I used to believe this potential
breakdown of globalization was caused by
BRICs group, predominantly China, with
currency manipulation forcing a tendency of
protectionism of America. Yet my mindset
was changed; having read "Globalization
and its discontent" of Joseph Stiglitz, I
ponder the role of America and global
organisations such as IMF or WTO in
tackling the issue; however, my economics
knowledge is now still deficient to satisfy
this curiosity myself.
Besides, my strong mathematical
background has helped me in approaching
modern Economic theories. I was ranked
2nd over 1,200 talented candidates in Hai
Duong Province's Maths Olympiad 2008 in
Vietnam. In November 2009, I achieved the
Bronze Award in the UK National Maths
Challenge. The 12300 scholarship brought
me to UK education to foster me study
Further Maths and Economics as these are
unavailable in Vietnam up to year 13.
Outside of academia, I participate as
a founder of Student Representative
Committee in which I gain time
management, risk control and team work
skills via, for example, organising a one-day
football tournament in April 2010 which
raised about 1,000 to build schools for
rural children in South East Asia. I am also a
journalist in the Newsletter Team, which has
improved my written English and ability to
evaluate and criticize the latest events.
Besides, I attended a weekly Art Club to
pursue my creative interest, whilst playing
guitar has given me with some quiet time to
balance my busy lifestyle.
In summer 2011, I wish to join the 'GO
GREEN' voluntary program in Vietnam to
help solve the environmental issues that I
have previously observed. The immensity of
economic knowledge, both in academics
and practice, drives my deep passion and
research-based career prospect toward this
rigorous discipline

Economics and Mathematics Personal
Statement
Economics is at the forefront of the many
decisions made by politicians, investors and
even ourselves as consumers, every day. I
am thoroughly fascinated by its application
to the modern world; Economics is relevant
to everyone, be it a large world-wide
corporation or a small-scale business.
Reading newspapers and books such as 'The
Bottom Billion' and 'Globalization and Its
Discontents' highlight that the gap between
rich and poor countries is widening at a
rapid rate. Currently, we are facing
mounting problems such as poverty, a
growing world population and the
appropriate allocation of limited resources. I
am only just beginning to understand the
nature and the proposed solutions to these
problems, such as introducing thorough and
unique economic reform in these poorer
countries but ultimately the creation of a
level playing field that allows all countries
to compete in the market should be the aim.
My appreciation for Economics has come
from its significant effects on society and
how the choices of others can influence
activity in markets.
Mathematics is a pivotal subject,
which I believe complements and integrates
into Economics. It is the language that
Economics is written in, and mathematical
models are the most effective way of
demonstrating complex economic
processes. It is this simplicity in
Mathematics which I love. Whilst reading
'The Logic of Life', I became interested in the
concept of game theory. The application of
mathematical ideas to discover patterns in
strategy games and to predict sequences in
human behavior, make it an important area
of Mathematics which combines with
Economics. This is one of the reasons I wish
to continue to study Mathematics at
university. This summer, I was fortunate
enough to gain an internship at an
investment management firm, where I
shadowed their in-house economist. The
work of an economist; analysing graphs of
economic trends and using the information
to suggest new behaviour in the markets
taught me the importance of graphs in
economics and that the skill to interpret
them is vital. Fuelled by my interest, I have
taken up AS Further Mathematics because
as well as developing problem-solving skills,
I have enjoyed the topics in Pure Maths, in
particular calculus, which is useful in
microeconomics. Statistics is another branch
of Mathematics which is closely associated
with Economics. The development of
statistical methods to analyse the economy
will improve economic policy as well as our
general understanding of Economics. As the
importance of Mathematics and Statistics
increases, studying its uses in Economics will
reap many benefits in the future.
Studying two languages at A2 level has
prompted me to consider the prospect of
living in Europe. It has improved my
speaking skills as well as my understanding
of other cultures. Within school, I am a
Senior Prefect and a Head of House and
take an active role in organising house
events and participating in school life. Music
is a keen interest of mine outside of school. I
play the flute to Grade 6 standard and I
have been a member of the ********
******* Concert Band for over 9 years.
Music can assist learning, which led me to
write a physics 'rap' song called '*** ******
****** *****' for a film explaining
radioactivity. The film won 3 Sci-Cast
awards and was featured in the Evening
Standard newspaper. Starting and running a
student business, a sweet shop for students
at my school, for the NFTE scheme enabled
me to learn about managing finances and
working as a team and to also see the way
in which Economics affects the real world in
the way of businesses.
Being able to contextualise parts of
Mathematics into the way the economy
works is something that interests me and I
am eager to learn more at degree level. I
believe that my love and command of
Mathematics, my passion for Economics
along with my dedication and hard-working
attitude will make me successful in higher
education and beyond.

Universities Applied to:
Warwick (MORSE) - Offer AAAa Firm
Queen Mary (Economics, Mathematics,
Statistics) - Offer AAB Insurance
(Declined)
University College London (Statistics,
Economics and Finance) - Offer A*AAe
King's College London (Mathematics
with Management and Finance) - Offer
AAAe
London School of Economics
(Mathematics and Economics) -
Rejection


Economics personal statement
Examination of any quality
newspaper will probably
demonstrate that more of the
headlines address economic
problems than any other topic. The
importance and relevance of
economic related disciplines to the
modern world have led me to want
to pursue the study of the subject at
a higher level. I am particularly
interested in the behaviour of firms
and organisations from an economic
point of view and I have based my A-
level coursework in this field. During
my study, I have come across many
real life complexities and while
attempting to explain these theories,
I have developed a keen interest in
analysing and understanding how
the world of business is influenced
by economics.
I have created an economics revision
website for A-level and GCSE
students. It is primarily intended to
help younger students gain an
understanding of core economic
principles but has also helped me
improve my own computer and
presentational skills. I regularly read
newspapers and economic
publications to keep up to date with
economic developments and I am
able to use my mathematical and
analytical skills to apply different
economic theories to a range of real-
life economic situations.
Last year, I took part in an
economics and business project
called Young Enterprise in which I set
up a small company and sold
products to students at our school. I
enjoyed the chance to put some of
my business economic theory into
practice and was able to enhance
my management and
communication skills. I also gained a
distinction in the associated exam.
To gain practical experience in the
workplace, I worked for two weeks
at a small software company
specialising in financial software. I
currently have a part time job and
this has taught me much about
teamwork, responsibility and time
management in the workplace.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading,
swimming, sketching and solving
puzzles and logic problems. I have
redesigned and been responsible for
the maintenance of my schools
website.
I believe that I will gain a highly
marketable set of skills from the
study of economics at university. I
have found economics to be a
challenging and diverse discipline
and I am interested in both macro
and micro economics. It is this
variation of perspective, combined
with its real world importance, that
makes economics an appealing
subject to study at university.
Profile info
This personal statement was written
by Loftx for application in 2003.
Comment on this personal
statement
Loftx's university choices
Oxford University
University College London
London School of Economics
The University of Warwick
The University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
Green: offer made
Red: no offer made
Economics and MMORSE Personal
Statement
I have always had a love for subjects that
demand logical, critical thinking. At school,
Mathematics was the main academic outlet
for this passion; however studying
Economics A-Level has enabled me to see
the world in a different light and has
inspired me to increase my awareness of the
current world issues, through regularly
reading the Economist and keeping up to
date with current affairs. I see that
Economics touches and changes the lives of
everyone and with a true understanding of
Economics I will have the ability to achieve
my goals.
From reading The Undercover Economist
and A Free Lunch, which contextualised the
world in simple terms of supply, demand,
and competition, I find it interesting that
many big issues in the world can be brought
back to those simple theories. Yet what
fascinates me more is that every theory or
policy has two sides. I derive great
satisfaction from spotting the weaknesses in
economic policy, identifying, analysing and
evaluating the secondary effects and
unintended consequences.
Currently, I am thoroughly enjoying being
involved in the Bank of England Times
Target 2.0 challenge as an enrichment
activity. In our team we are analysing and
evaluating information from a number of
sources, i.e. using different data sets to
establish the extent to which the economy is
running up against capacity constraints on
the supply side. We are also keeping up to
date with economic developments in the UK
and world economy in order to assess what
should be done to interest rates in April.
Working in a team of four, we must present
our decision and be questioned by a panel
of Bank of England representatives. This
challenging work has developed my
communication and data analysis skills.
Given the importance of Mathematics, in
particular Statistics, in Economics today, I
believe my passion for Mathematics will be
highly beneficial. Always having a natural
ability for Mathematics, I have strived to
nurture it through taking AS Further
Mathematics this year. In particular my
favourite area of pure maths, calculus, will
be particularly useful in microeconomics, for
example, to derive individual budget
constraint curves. As Mathematics and
Statistics prove to be increasingly vital in
business, finance and the economy,
studying and understanding its applications
within these areas would be very rewarding
for me.
It is one of my main aspirations to speak a
foreign language fluently and ultimately to
live and work in France. When I participated
in the French Exchange last year I was
captivate by the culture and way of life. My
knowledge of the French language
improved vastly, and I gained confidence
and developed people skills. I feel that full
immersion in a language is the most
beneficial way to learn about that language
and culture, and I would like to expand my
knowledge of French by taking
studying/work abroad options. Throughout
my academic career I have participated in
school life fully, taking on several roles that
developed my sense of responsibility and
maturity such as peer mentor, school
council representative, and Deputy Head
Girl. Outside school I am taking part in the
Duke of Edinburgh Award, and have nearly
completed my Silver Award, which has
taken dedication, perseverance and
commitment as we have faced many
struggles organising and completing it. I
have been an assistant athletics coach for a
group of under 11s which improved my
confidence and patience. I developed
entrepreneurial skills and an awareness of
how Economics links with business on the
smallest scale from my venture on EBay,
buying and selling stock, and from working
with my mother to set up and run her
payroll business.
I feel that my past academic performance,
work and other experiences outside school,
as well as my personal qualities of
determination, ambition, and commitment
will help me to succeed at university. I relish
the opportunity and challenge of playing a
full part in a thriving university department.
Universities applied to:
Warwick (MMORSE) - Offer accepted
Comments
General Comments:
Overall, this is a strong personal statement
in terms of content. Theres a lot of reading
material and outside ventures from the
applicant to bolster their statement and
they have related their experiences to the
course very well. In places characters could
be saved and there is potential to get a lot
more out of what they have done so far. Its
also very important they get a unique and
interesting opening sentence.
It's worth discussing more varied texts on
economics and giving a personal opinion
into what they have read. Space could be
saved by spending less time on the
applicant's desire to participate in a year
abroad which does not require a whole
paragraph.
A minor point is the use of capitalisation
which is consistently wrong in the
statement. They've constantly capitalised
mathematics, economics etc when it isn't
needed; it is a normal, common noun and
has no more need for a capital letter than
the word cat or dog. The only case where
capital letters are needed for subjects in PSs
is when the applicant is referring to A level
Economics or BA History. If they are simply
saying "I like maths" then it isn't needed, its
no different to saying "I like cats"
Comments on the statement:
I have always had a love for subjects that
demand logical, critical thinking. The use of
the word always here is somewhat of a
clich in personal statements. Perhaps an
explanation as to when the applicant first
enjoyed these subjects, or an explaination
as to why would be more appropriate,
perhaps because of the consistent nature of
them, or their useful applications in
society. At school, mathematics was the
main academic outlet for this passion;
however studying Economics A-Level has
enabled me to see the world in a different
light and has inspired me to increase my
awareness of the current world issues, how
has it? Applicants will often write "A level X
has enabled me to do X and now I feel X"
without actually saying why or giving an
explanation of how this has happened; it
isn't good enough just to state something
without backing up the reason behind
it. through regularly reading "The
Economist" and keeping up to date with
current affairs. This is a good sentence as it
not only explains why the applicant would
enjoy his or her degree but also gives the
applicant a chance to mention their outside
reading. The only criticism here is that the
Economist is a very commonly cited
example of outside reading and perhaps the
applicant should try reading something else
instead/as well. If applicants are using the
Economist in their PS it would be best to
discuss a particular article they've read in
the same critical manner they'd discuss a
book I see that economics touches and
changes the lives of everyone and with a
true understanding of economics I will have
the ability to achieve my goals. This is a
mixed sentence and the two clauses don't
really follow on. Its good because it shows
the applicant likes economics because they
realise it affects everybody, but its also a
perfect opportunity wasted to tell the
admissions tutor what his or her goals are
and further explanation is required. Telling
the admissions tutor one has goals after
university shows motivation to complete
ones degree.
From reading "The Undercover
Economist" This is another great clich of
economics applications; there is very little
that applicants can say about this text
which isn't also being said by thousands of
other students. It's always best where
possible to discuss books that are slightly
different or unusual as this will better
interest the reader. and "A Free Lunch",
which contextualised the world in simple
terms of supply, demand, and
competition, Applicants will often provide a
summary of the book which is not the point
of mentioning reading. The admissions
tutors will be well aware of what is in the
book, what they do not know is what the
applicant actually thought about it so
summaries etc are irrelevant and it is much
better to discuss the book with a personal
view on the contents I find it interesting that
many big issues in the world can be brought
back to those simple theories. Yet what
fascinates me more is that every theory or
policy has two sides. I derive great
satisfaction from spotting the weaknesses in
economic policy, identifying, analysing and
evaluating the secondary effects and
unintended consequences. This is very good
as one can tell the applicant is passionate
about the logical as well as practical nature
of economics and how complex real world
situations can be modelled. Maybe the
applicant could build on this by citing
specific real world examples or perhaps they
could go into more depth about a specific
theory and their opinions from one of the
texts they have read.
Currently, I am thoroughly enjoying being
involved in the Bank of England Times
Target 2.0 challenge as an enrichment
activity. Its good to have extracurriculars in
ones personal statement but precious
characters could be saved here with the
ommission of thoroughly and as an
enchrinment activity In our team we are
analysing and evaluating information from
a number of sources,i.e. avoid contractions
in personal statements using different data
sets to establish the extent to which the
economy is running up against capacity
constraints on the supply side. So what has
the applicant learnt from this? how have
they built on their existing
knowledge/interests? We are also keeping
up to date with economic developments in
the UK and world economy in order to
assess what should be done to interest rates
in April. Working in a team of four, we must
present our decision and be questioned by a
panel of Bank of England
representatives. Universities will be well
aware of what actually happens in this
contest This challenging work has
developed my communication and data
analysis skills. Good but the applicant could
expand on this, Its also built on their team
working skills, ability to work under pressure
and time management skills. Mentioning
"we" all of the time weakens the applicants
own contributions, they'd be better to say
"I" as this implies they're doing it of their
own accord rather than following the group.
Given the importance of mathematics, in
particular statistics, in economics today, I
believe my passion for mathematics will be
highly beneficial. This is stating the obvious
slightly and is not really relevant Always
having a natural ability for mathematics, I
have strived to nurture it through taking AS
Further Mathematics this year. The
admissions tutor knows what subjects the
applicant is taking so this isn't necessary to
include. Also, natural ability might be
considered somewhat arrogant. Perhaps
natural enthusiasm might be a better
choice of words. Leave it to the referee to
comment on how amazing they are. In
particular my favourite area of pure maths,
calculus, will be particularly useful in
microeconomics, for example, to derive
individual budget constraint curves. Good.
This shows the applicant looks ahead
beyond the normal A level maths and
economics and is able to recognise the
relevance of what they have learnt in
maths As mathematics and statistics prove
to be increasingly vital in business, finance
and the economy, studying and
understanding its applications within these
areas would be very rewarding for me. This
is a good sentence in explaining why they
want to study the subject and the
relationship between maths and economics.
It is one of my main aspirations to speak a
foreign language fluently and ultimately to
live and work in France. When I participated
in the French exchange last year I was
captivate by the culture and way of life. My
knowledge of the French language
improved vastly, and I gained confidence
and developed people skills. I feel that full
immersion in a language is the most
beneficial way to learn about that language
and culture, and I would like to expand my
knowledge of French by taking
studying/work abroad options. Fair enough,
but not all the degrees the applicant is
applying for actually offer a year abroad
and this is a lot of words spent on
something not directly relevant to their
chosen degree. The applicant could always
take advantage of a year abroad without
this in their personal statement. Unless it is
a compulsory component of the course then
a sentence is entirely sufficient
Throughout my academic career I have
participated in school life fully, taking on
several roles that developed my sense of
responsibility and maturity such as peer
mentor, school council representative, and
Deputy Head Girl. Outside school I am
taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award,
and have nearly completed my Silver Award,
which has taken dedication, perseverance
and commitment as we have faced many
struggles organising and completing
it. Good. The applicant could also try linking
this to how their university life would
benefit from the experience gained I have
been an assistant athletics coach for a
group of under 11s which improved my
confidence and patience. I developed
entrepreneurial skills and an awareness of
how Economics links with business on the
smallest scale from my venture on EBay,
buying and selling stock, and from working
with my mother to set up and run her
payroll business. This seems like the best
extracurricular achievement the applicant
has by far and perhaps more words should
be spent on it and it could be discussed
earlier in the paragraph
I feel that my past academic performance,
work and other experiences outside school,
as well as my personal qualities of
determination, ambition, and commitment
will help me to succeed at university. This
sentence is a bit list like and it feels like
they're trying to cover a bit too many
attributes I relish the opportunity and
challenge of playing a full part in a thriving
university department. It's always good to
have a decisive conclusion to round off the
personal statement but if they could link this
into maths/economics etc it would be better