Sofiah Sidqi is currently studying BSc Financial Mathematics and Statistics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She completed her A-Levels in Oxford International College and will be graduating in 2022. This personal statement was part of her successful application to LSE, UCL and King’s College London for Financial Maths and Stats.
The number system embedded in nature is so orderly yet wears a mask of mystique. From the infinite Golden Spiral seed pattern in sunflowers, to the fractal perspective of our universe, mathematics never fails to enthrall me. As a fashion enthusiast, seeing the application of William Thurston’s low dimensional topological concept collide with the Japanese fashion brand, Issey Miyake’s 2010 collection was a eureka moment. I combine my passion for mathematics with art as I attempt to understand the evolving definition of mainstream aesthetics, driven by proportion, patterns and shapes. The struggle for an answer brought me to statistics which taught me the importance of data interpretation in retrieving insights from human decisions. Enticed by the endless possibilities that Mathematics and Statistics brings, I am determined to explore further the applications of mathematics in our everyday life.
To grasp a deeper understanding about big data, I researched work conducted by WGSN – a trend forecasting powerhouse that advises growing businesses. Their approach of taking into account a broad range of factors in predicting trends serves as a powerful tool in both understanding and influencing people’s perspective of the world. Fascinated by the potential applications of data, I chose to complete an introductory course on data science and machine learning to understand their respective roles in deciphering patterns and trends. I learned that besides statistics, linear algebra and matrices are two vital components in making inferential techniques and discovering characteristics in a data set. I also yearn to learn about stochastic processes which are the back bone in evaluating probability and determining a propitious investment strategy and asset pricing theory. Venturing deeper into asset pricing, I was drawn towards the Fokker-Planck equation which deals with the probability distribution of the price of an asset in the future. The emergence of statistics and financial instruments has undeniably played a crucial role in not only driving the innovation of financial markets but also in aiding firm’s decision-making. This realisation echoed what I have learned in school where Bayes Theorem and Hypothesis Testing came into life. I am excited to explore further the concepts of Bayesian statistics and stochastic processes at university level to understand the science behind deducing probability.
Attending the Young Investment Banker programme at UCL provided me an opportunity to explore the role of finance as I pitched business strategies to Pepsi’s executives. During my internship at Maybank, I gained insight into the basics of securities analysis and financial reporting, while I took the initiative to learn about the application of stochastic processes on price fluctuations over time. At the national finals of the ICAEW BASE Competition, I needed to deal with data sets where I led my teamto interpret both accounting and market data in producing an actionable strategy to optimise the growth of a wearable technology company. Our efforts were rewarded when we received the ‘most commercially aware’ award.
As a Queens Guide and the recipient of the Oxford Scholar’s Award, I learned to manage my timebetween school work and extracurricular activities and persevere when the going gets tough while my experience as Vice President of the Student Council enhanced my communication skills. I discovered that challenging problems excited me while competing in the Singapore and Asian schools Math Olympiad, which pushed me to solve mathematical problems beyond my school syllabus.
Seeing the diverse possibilities of mathematics in unexpected places such as fashion design, it is evident to me that mathematics and statistics will continue to play a vital role in shaping our society. By learning the underlying language of mathematics, I wish to be a part of the boundless potential of mathematics and uncover new, and exciting applications of it.
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