Cedric Teoh is currently a first year undergraduate reading BSc in Actuarial Science at The London School of Economics and Political Science. This personal statement was part of his successful application to The LSE (Actuarial Science), City University London (Actuarial Science), Imperial College London (Maths & Stats) and the University of Warwick (MORSE).
I enjoy analytical subjects that require me to think creatively. I like how Mathematics involves logical chains of thought and I find it exciting to use fundamental skills to solve complex questions. Applying mathematical rules, while pushing for a creative outcome, is a challenge I relish. I enjoy finding alternative routes to a solution and solving more challenging questions, such as those in the STEP papers. My enthusiasm for the subject stems from its wide range of applications, giving me the option to apply my knowledge in a myriad of fields. Statistics is the field of mathematics for which I have the greatest affinity.
My early encounters with statistics came from watching football. Sports analysts use statistics to reduce the occurrence of injuries and to transforms players’ traits into data, allowing comparisons to be made. Bookmakers also rely on statistical methods to set their odds. After reading Goldman Sachs’ paper on the recent FIFA World Cup, I found it interesting that through regression analysis they could convert many variables, such as home advantage, into statistical parameters. These were then used to carry out Monte-Carlo simulations to predict the outcome of matches. Their model predicting Brazil would win the trophy turned out to be wrong. I think they overplayed the advantage of being the hosts, as statistically host nations had more than a 50% win rate in the past, provided they were a top football nation. However, we can observe that host nations have not won the World Cup since 1998 and 3 of the last 4 winners were not even from the home continent.The applicability of confidence intervals appeals to me as they are widely used in various industries, accounting for natural variations in research. Actuarial science, a field I wish to explore further, uses it extensively in risk analysis. As actuarial scientists estimate the potential losses of company investments, confidence intervals are used to render the value at risk with greater certainty. This helps prevent crises, such as banks failing during the Great Depression, from happening. I am amused by how simple topics we learnt can greatly impact the financial sector.
‘The Great Mathematical Problems’ by I. Stewart introduced me to many theorems and conjectures. When reading about Goldbach’s Conjectures and Euclid’s propositions on prime numbers it seemed that this was a very theoretical area which lacked applications. So I was amazed when I discovered their significance in public-key cryptography, which is widely used in internet security. Mathematicians essentially exploited the lack of an effective algorithm in finding the prime factors of composite numbers to create a trapdoor function for cryptography. Discovering applications of theoretical mathematics makes it practical and interesting.
Mathematics competitions help stimulate my creative thinking. I won a Gold certificate in the UKMT Mathematics Challenge, ranking 2nd amongst my peers. At a local university’s Engineering Competition, the team that I was leading finished 2nd. Despite early disappointments we persisted in making a model car of the desired quality. I honed my problem solving skills as we managed to develop a way to improve the explosiveness of the nozzle which allowed our model car to move much further.
As Vice President of the Mathematics Club, I help to prepare my juniors for competitions and to develop more interesting quizzes. I have volunteered to be a personal tutor, developing my ability to communicate and to simplify technical problems. As a prefect I built my leadership skills and learnt to be dedicated, spending time mentoring my juniors. Working as a sales assistant at Apple’s premium retailer had improved my interpersonal skills greatly. I also represented my boarding house in basketball competitions.
I am excited about seizing the opportunities the Central Bank of Malaysia scholarship has given me and about learning in a stimulating environment in the UK.
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