Hoi Lee Yang is currently studying Bsc Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is graduating in 2021. This personal statement was part of his successful application to LSE, University of Warwick, University of Bristol and Durham University for Accounting and Finance.
As a child, I was enamoured with the same questions that would have plagued any questioning child’s mind. Like any aspiring engineer or doctor or lawyer, I yearned to know more about how the world, in all its intricacy and sophistication, functioned. I savoured my opportunities to learn about the breakthroughs of physics in creating our modern comforts, and relished the study of history: of how every nascent today is inextricably linked to past events. I have been thrilled by the knowledge of anatomy, learning so intently about what I was, and how I functioned. Despite all this, the world appeared insistent in showing me that the true key to understanding its machinations lay not in any of these fields. The surest way to make sense of the world, it seemed, was in a certain field without which all human activity would not function. It manages us, as much as we try to manage it: money.
I am interested in accounting and finance due to its sheer ubiquity. I realise that every economic entity, from the big corporations and governments down to local sundry shops or even households, relies on the management of finances and planning for the best future outcome. Accounting has always been a deep-rooted industry, charting a colourful history from the clay envelopes used for bookkeeping in 5000 BC Mesopotamian temples, to the double-entry ledgers of Medieval Venice. Regardless of what general perception might contend, though, I am convinced the field of accounting is also one of growth and vibrancy. Looking to the recent proliferation of financial technology, or Fintech, I am particularly keen to follow the advances in the field as I make my journey into accounting at university.
March 2017 saw HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, partner up with an online commerce platform, Tradeshift, to offer an online alternative for financing and paperwork. This is part of a broader phenomenon of big finance companies collaborating with Fintech startups not just in the UK, but around the world. On the ground, we see the business world evolve, just as it did when manufacturing first took root in the Industrial Revolution. A KFC outlet in Beijing now accepts payment through facial recognition, and the Singapore government is working on a standardised QR code system for all monetary transactions. Bitcoin, despite price volatility and initial hostility from banks had, by the end of August 2017, octupled its market value in a year, pointing to its increasing use as a medium of transaction. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin also follow suit. At university, I am eager to refine my knowledge of the current framework of finance, and alongside a group of equally-curious peers, enrich myself with a better understanding of how the status quo will adapt to these technological advances.
I am drawn to accounting and finance due to the promise of challenge, not only arithmetically but also in tackling complex problems. A-Levels also marked my first exposure to the world of Economics, allowing me to enrich my understanding of accounting with a background context in how the business world worked. The course compelled me to pick up books such as Daron Acemoglu’s ‘Why Nations Fail’, which intrigued me with the idea that governments must strive to maintain inclusive economic activity that incentivises every party to work hard. The copious examples of failed civilisations which could not ensure a reward for parties to take risks and adopt new technologies had also sparked my interest in management, realising how similar the running of businesses are to that of entire civilisations.
I feel I am a dynamic, curious and highly-motivated student who is very excited about the prospect of studying Accounting & Finance at a first class university in the UK. I eagerly look forward to the challenges I will face on an academically rigorous and complex course. And hopefully by the end of my degree, the machinations of the world will be a little less elusive.
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