I will post mine:
Dear Admissions Committee,
My goal is to be a professor of finance at a top US university or a leading European business school, such as LBS or INSEAD. Below I will outline why the unique combination of my personal characteristics, education, and research experience makes this objective realistic, and why obtaining a PhD from UCLA Anderson will be an essential step towards the target.
Diligent in school
Already in high school I got used to hard work: two_country_specific_achievements. By that time I was interested in mathematics and was pretty successful in my endeavors, for instance, winning the regional round and placing third in the final (i.e. third nationwide) of the country_name National Competition in Mathematics. Consequently, applying to study mathematics to the best_university_in_the_country was a natural choice for me.
I applied and was accepted to study finance at the best_business_school_in_the_country a year after starting at the best_university_in_the_country. By then I was not interested in finance as a separate field but merely as an application area for mathematical methods. However, while taking coursework, my attitude toward the subject shifted from technical to more sociologically oriented, as I got interested in topics such as XXX and YYY. These specific areas attracted my attention because the best_business_school_in_the_country is traditionally very strong in them: while attending courses taught by professors doing research on the topic, I also got interested in their works. As the result, finance now inspires me as being both socially evolved and mathematically analytical.
To summarize, for three years (from September 200K to June 200L), I had been concurrently studying full time at two universities while being employed as a RA (see the next paragraph). As the outcome, I graduated (am graduating) from both places a year in advance of recommended schedules with more than solid grades, and there was an article published based on my RA work. I have not found this schedule hard, just the opposite, I have enjoyed the experience as all activities I have been involved in truly interested me. Thus, I am fully confident about my ability to successfully overcome challenges of graduate school and academic career.
Excited by research
Since elementary school I have been interested in investigating new things. My first exposure to research occurred at the Department of Computer Science at the best_university_in_the_country, where I had been developing probabilistic models for comparative analysis of sparse high-dimensional time series under supervision of Professor lor_1 (see letter of recommendation). Later my Masterís thesis on the topic was published as a part of an article in a prestigious general-interest journal, which I now see as one of my greatest accomplishments to the date. During my two years at the the best_university_in_the_country, I had been involved in all phases of research from mechanical coding to responding to refereesí comments. I enjoyed doing cutting edge science in creative environment and understood that academic research is what I want to do. However, as work I did there was applied, I gradually realized being much more interested in phenomenon research than in method research. This became especially clear in context of my studies at the_best_business_school_in_the_country. Thus, although based on my work I received an offer to continue as a graduate student of computer science, I quitted my job at the_best_university_in_the_country and am now looking forward to pursue a PhD in finance.
The idea about doctoral studies in finance developed gradually along with my research experience. My first independent research project in finance was my Bachelorís thesis on 2_sentences_describing_the_thesis. While working on the B.Sc. thesis, I got more familiar with ongoing financial research and my interests moved from XXX to more YYY oriented topics. Taking this into account in my Masterís thesis, which I did under supervision of Professor lor_2 (see letter of recommendation), I have been modeling (both theoretically and empirically) 2_sentences_describing_the_thesis_and_future_plans . These projects provided me great intellectual pleasure and strengthened my passion towards the field. I am completely sure that financial research is what I would like to commit for the rest of my life.
Currently my primary area of interest is same_area_for_all_but_slight_adjustments_depending _on_the_school, from both (game) theoretical and empirical perspectives. The subject attracts me because it combines school_specific_fields. As you can see, the interest is also supported by my research experience. More specific topics I would like to conduct research on include, but are not limited to 4_lines_of_specific_research_questions_slightly_sc hool_specific.
In addition to broad research experience and efficient time management skills, I have acquired several other competencies which make me a distinctive applicant to a top finance graduate program. First, having strong mathematical background, I am well prepared to complete rigorous proof-based course work in subjects such as microeconomics or metrics. More importantly, I am already now relatively well equipped to write theoretical models. In this connection, I would like to point out that at the_best_university_in_the_country I took an extended proof-based sequence of fundamental mathematics courses (see attachments to the transcript). Also on top of the courses already on my transcript (such as graduate level game theory, decision making, and stochastic processes), this year, as a part of my Masterís program, I am taking a course in graduate_IO_or_theoretical_asset_pricing taught by Professor one_of_third_lors (see letter of recommendation).
Second, after working for almost three years in statistical modeling, I master programming and data processing, which has benefited me greatly in empirical work with financial datasets. Last but not least, I have been fortunate to grow up in two different cultures, study in two different universities, and participate in multidisciplinary projects with international collaborators, which helped me to develop comprehensive communication skills.
Although Anderson finance faculty is known for being extremely strong overall, the main reason for me to apply is the high number of researchers working in school_specific_areas which closely fits with my interests. Another factor directing my choice towards Anderson is, obviously, the excellent reputation of the program evident from impressive graduate placements.
- I used section titles. It is not recommended on this forum, but my professors (Top 20 adcom experience) said that adcoms do not have time to read 2 pages of text and prefer to go directly to a specific thing they are interested
- The beginning is pretty straightforward. I think it is usually recommended to start with a funny story about how you got interested in the field etc., but again my professors said that adcoms do not care at all about how you got interested in the field and are concerned only about a) research experience b) diligence c) future plans d) sometimes research interests
- Well, to me the SOP is rather bombastic, but again I was hinted that Americans do not like shy people
- The text itself is very simple, but again I was advised that we are not in comparative literature and I should write as easily as possible because nobody will spend time to read among the lines.