My fascination with mathematics has led me to read about the subject widely. In doing so, I have gained insight into how mathematics can be used to interpret real life events in ways that offer rational explanations. After reading, among others, ‘Seventeen Equations that Changed the World’ by Ian Stewart, I have learned that mathematics has greatly changed the way in which the world around us functions. It has given growth to many areas of study and shaped our ability to reason and come to decisions. Through mathematical equations and models, we can precisely communicate ideas that might otherwise, with words, be influenced by our own biases. Specifically, I am eager to learn more about mathematics’ relations with modern day economics, and how we are affected by its uses.
I am keen on learning the techniques of modeling real life situations using mathematical concepts and language, and on finding out the extent to which the results from such modeling are used in decision making within firms and government. In particular, what has piqued my interest is the application of the Nash equilibrium, a concept within game theory and which allows economists to assess the competing behaviors of rational, interacting agents and in doing so predict future economic/business trends and events. The strategic thinking required to recognize a Nash equilibrium is part of what drew me towards economics and encouraged me to research further into the field. While I find the prospect of mastering mathematical modeling at university very exciting, I also wish to know the practicality of modeling real life situations with assumptions that go beyond the scope of mathematics. Should economists always remain faithful to mathematics or at times trust their own intuitions? Questions such as this have risen due to the financial crisis in 2008, which gave reason to doubt the reliability of mathematical models. I believe there’s perhaps a need for more refined approaches or rather economists should look to other fields such as anthropology to complement the current models being used. When dealing with uncertainties within the ways human societies produce, distribute and consume goods and services it’s a great risk to overlook the assumptions that cannot be accounted for in mathematical terms.
I believe that the expertise available at university will allow me to delve into these and related matters, requiring a study of either economics or of economics joint with mathematics. My grounding in A-level mathematics, chemistry and business studies provides me with strong foundations for pursuing either pathway. I have enjoyed doing calculus, and will readily differentiate to optimize functions to see relationships between different variables such as supply and demand. Chemistry has equipped me with the skills necessary to plan an experiment methodically, to gather data that is fair and reproducible, and to draw sensible conclusions from my findings. Business studies for its part has given me knowledge of both the internal and external factors that influence the decision-making of firms, which is an important aspect of behavioral economics.
Also, I will bring to the course the experience of working for a week at Nielsen, a global data analytics company, where I gained insight into how data about what people watch, listen to and buy is collected and analyzed. I should add that as a member of my school’s and local youth football teams I have participated in many competitions and won trophies. Sport has taught me the value of teamwork and instilled in me a sense of community. These values will support and benefit me during my time at university, as I’ll be capable of balancing academic work alongside any sport or recreational activities.
Finally, a degree in economics or one combined with mathematics will provide me with the skills and knowledge necessary for future postgraduate studies and a career in banking and finance.