This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to LSE, University of Warwick, Durham University, University of Leeds and University of Bristol for Accounting and Finance.
It might seem slightly odd for a teenager to confess finding discussion of financial statements around the family dinner table interesting, but oddity can be a good thing. My enjoyment of those early, formative conversations is what sparked an interest that now drives me to study Accounting and Finance at university.
Reading “Adaptive Markets” by Andrew Lo has reaffirmed my belief that my field of study will be both exciting and challenging. The assumptions of perfect rationality and perfect information that underpin the efficient markets hypothesis, and lead to financial markets following a “random walk”, are flawed. Imperfect information and less than perfect rationality mean that we should instead consider markets in Darwinian terms of adaptation and evolution. My understanding of this contentious area of financial theory is limited, but it is this limited exposure which drives my passion to learn more.
In July 2017, I interned at JB Lau & Khoo Associates where I experienced the tax and audit branches. Working in the tax department led me to conduct research on Alphabet. Google’s “Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich” method of channelling overseas profit to foreign shell subsidiaries has sheltered it from U.S. tax liabilities. This raises ethical concerns as Google’s research is mostly funded by taxpayers. This case involving Google illustrates a potential conflict that exists between the goals of profit maximisation and ethical practice. Studying Accounting and Finance will enable me to delve deeper into this important issue and attempt to discover whether or not the two goals can be reconciled.
During my internship, carrying out vouching, which involves establishing the authenticity of journal entries, introduced me to the intricacies of producing accurate financial information. The existence of such traditional auditing methods startled me as modern IT can do this menial work much more efficiently. This made me question the significance of future IT development within the practice and its impact upon the value of human effort. I conclude that having strong IT skills has become more vital than ever.
My learning of the programming language, C++, was prompted by my realisation of the inefficiency of accounting software – UBS and SQL. The rigid software lack customisation, resulting in time wasted on irrelevant columns. Through my grasp of programming language, I am preparing myself to play a part in developing more efficient software. I am learning to adopt a structured approach to answering questions with a deep understanding and a logical mindset. The importance of being proficient in programming languages became apparent to me during my internship, especially in the field of data security and retention, as well as in forensic and merger accounting. Being trilingual enables me to liaise and work closely with people across cultural and linguistic barriers – crucial skills in a globally integrated industry.
My involvement in St. John Ambulance Grand Prior Award has made me a more rounded person. My team and I analysed our mistakes after defeat in a state level first aid competition and found that we were not being meticulous with details. This taught me the need to be extremely conscientious, a lesson that I believe will be valuable in handling complex financial information. Being the Treasurer of the Science Invention Society of my college has had a profound influence upon me. Whilst the funds for which I had responsibility were relatively small, it is just as important to uphold the principles of honesty, integrity and transparency as in large organisations.
As a Petronas Scholar, my first obligation upon completion of my degree will be to help Petronas navigate an unpredictable and challenging world. Beyond Petronas, my degree will open a door to an exciting and uncharted future in business and enable me to contribute to society and make a real difference to the world.
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