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UCLA Application Essays & Questions 2023-2024

  1. Are there educational, personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences, not described in your Statement of Purpose, that have shaped your academic journey? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspective(s) that you would contribute to your program, field or profession?
  2. Describe challenge(s) or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education. What motivated you to persist, and how did you overcome them? What is the evidence of your persistence, progress or success?
  3. How have your life experiences and educational background informed your understanding of the barriers facing groups that are underrepresented in higher education
  4. How have you been actively engaged (e.g., through participation, employment, service, teaching or other activities) in programs or activities focused on increasing participation by groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education?
  5. How do you intend to engage in scholarly discourse, research, teaching, creative efforts, and/or community engagement during your graduate program that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education?
  6. How do you see yourself contributing to diversity in your profession after you earn your advanced degree at UCLA?

UCLA Winning Sample Essays – 1

Question 1: Are there educational, personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences, not described in your Statement of Purpose, that have shaped your academic journey? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspective(s) that you would contribute to your program, field, or profession?

My academic journey has been significantly influenced by a blend of educational, personal, and cultural experiences that I believe will offer unique perspectives to UCLA’s Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) program.

Growing up in India, I was immersed in a culture that values education and perseverance. My parents, both first-generation graduates, emphasized the importance of academic excellence and hard work. This instilled in me a strong foundation in discipline and a relentless pursuit of knowledge. My early exposure to diverse cultural practices also taught me the value of inclusivity and understanding different perspectives, which is crucial in today’s globalized world.

During my undergraduate studies in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Alabama, I faced the challenge of adapting to a new educational system and culture. The shift from a rote-learning-based system to a more analytical and research-oriented approach was initially daunting. However, this experience honed my problem-solving skills and adaptability. I learned to thrive in a competitive academic environment, balancing rigorous coursework with active participation in student organizations, such as the Indian Students Association, where I held leadership positions. These roles allowed me to bridge cultural gaps and foster a sense of community among international students.

One particularly formative experience was my internship with a startup in the agritech sector in India. Working closely with small-scale farmers, I developed an appreciation for grassroots innovation and the impact of technology on improving livelihoods. This experience sparked my interest in leveraging financial engineering to address economic disparities and support sustainable development.

At Alliantgroup, I was tasked with expanding our services in the agriculture sector. I developed data analysis methods tailored to row-crop farming, which led to significant revenue growth. This experience underscored the importance of innovative solutions in finance and technology to drive economic growth. It also reinforced my belief in the potential of financial engineering to create positive social impact.

These experiences have shaped my academic and professional journey, providing me with a unique perspective that I aim to contribute to UCLA’s MFE program. I bring a blend of technical expertise, cultural sensitivity, and a passion for leveraging finance to address real-world challenges. I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with diverse peers and faculty at UCLA, contributing to and learning from a vibrant academic community.

Question 2: Describe challenge(s) or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education. What motivated you to persist, and how did you overcome them? What is the evidence of your persistence, progress, or success?

One of the most significant challenges I faced in my pursuit of higher education was adapting to a new cultural and academic environment when I moved from India to the United States for my undergraduate studies. The transition involved not only coping with the rigors of a demanding engineering curriculum but also adjusting to a completely different educational system and cultural norms.

Initially, I struggled with the transition from a rote-learning-based education system in India to the analytical and research-oriented approach in the U.S. The emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving was a steep learning curve. Additionally, being far from home and managing my responsibilities independently posed emotional and social challenges.

Despite these obstacles, my motivation to succeed stemmed from a deep-seated determination to excel and make my family proud. The values instilled by my parents, who overcame significant barriers to achieve their educational goals, inspired me to persist. I also found motivation in my passion for learning and the opportunities that higher education in the U.S. presented.

To overcome these challenges, I adopted several strategies. I actively sought help from professors and peers, utilizing office hours and study groups to improve my understanding of complex subjects. I also participated in extracurricular activities, such as the Indian Students Association, which provided a support network and helped me stay connected to my cultural roots.

Moreover, I developed effective time management skills to balance academic demands with extracurricular involvement. This allowed me to excel academically while also contributing to the university community. My persistence is evidenced by my consistent academic performance, graduating with a strong GPA despite the initial hurdles.

One tangible proof of my persistence and progress is my successful transition from engineering to finance. After completing my undergraduate degree, I pursued roles that combined my technical skills with financial analysis. At Alliantgroup, I played a key role in expanding our services in the agriculture sector, demonstrating my ability to apply engineering principles to financial challenges. My efforts led to significant revenue growth, showcasing my analytical and problem-solving capabilities.

Additionally, my continuous pursuit of professional development through online courses in finance and taxation highlights my commitment to lifelong learning. These efforts have not only broadened my knowledge base but also prepared me for the rigorous academic environment at UCLA’s MFE program.

In summary, the challenges I faced in adapting to a new educational and cultural environment have shaped me into a resilient and adaptable individual. My persistence, evidenced by my academic and professional achievements, underscores my readiness to excel in the MFE program at UCLA and contribute to the field of financial engineering.

Question 3: How have your life experiences and educational background informed your understanding of the barriers facing groups that are underrepresented in higher education?

My life experiences and educational background have profoundly informed my understanding of the barriers facing underrepresented groups in higher education. Growing up in India, I witnessed firsthand the socio-economic challenges that can impede access to quality education. My parents, both of whom were first-generation college graduates, faced significant financial and societal obstacles in their pursuit of higher education. Their stories of perseverance and determination deeply influenced my awareness of these barriers.

During my undergraduate studies in the United States, I encountered the stark disparities in educational opportunities and resources available to students from different backgrounds. As an international student, I experienced the difficulties of adapting to a new cultural and academic environment. This experience heightened my empathy for students from underrepresented groups who often face similar, if not greater, challenges in accessing and succeeding in higher education.

Working in diverse professional environments further broadened my understanding of these barriers. At Alliantgroup, I observed the impact of socio-economic disparities on small-scale farmers in India. Many of these farmers lacked access to financial resources and education, limiting their ability to improve their livelihoods. This experience underscored the importance of creating inclusive and equitable opportunities in all sectors, including education.

My involvement in the Indian Students Association during my undergraduate studies also provided insights into the challenges faced by international students. We organized support networks and cultural events to help new students adapt and thrive in a foreign environment. This experience highlighted the importance of community support and mentorship in overcoming barriers to higher education.

Additionally, my professional journey in the financial sector has exposed me to the underrepresentation of minorities in this field. Recognizing this disparity has reinforced my commitment to advocating for diversity and inclusion in finance and beyond. I believe that diverse perspectives enrich problem-solving and innovation, making it essential to address the barriers that hinder equal representation.

These experiences have equipped me with a deep understanding of the systemic and structural barriers facing underrepresented groups in higher education. They have also inspired me to contribute to initiatives that promote inclusivity and equal opportunities. I am passionate about leveraging my skills and experiences to support underrepresented students and professionals, ensuring they have access to the resources and opportunities needed to succeed.

Question 4: How have you been actively engaged (e.g., through participation, employment, service, teaching, or other activities) in programs or activities focused on increasing participation by groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education?

Throughout my academic and professional journey, I have actively engaged in programs and activities aimed at increasing participation by historically underrepresented groups in higher education. These efforts have been driven by my commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in both academic and professional settings.

During my undergraduate studies, I was deeply involved in the Indian Students Association (ISA) at the University of Alabama. In my role as a committee member and later as a leader, I worked to create a supportive community for Indian students. We organized cultural events, workshops, and mentoring programs to help new students acclimate to the academic and social environment. These initiatives not only celebrated our cultural heritage but also provided a platform for addressing the unique challenges faced by international students.

In my professional career, I have continued to advocate for diversity and inclusion. At Alliantgroup, I have been involved in initiatives to support small-scale farmers in India. Many of these farmers belong to marginalized communities and lack access to education and financial resources. By developing data analysis methods tailored to their needs, I have helped them improve their agricultural practices and economic outcomes. This work has reinforced my belief in the importance of creating inclusive solutions that address the needs of underrepresented groups.

Additionally, I have participated in mentorship programs aimed at supporting underrepresented students and young professionals. Through these programs, I have provided guidance on academic and career development, sharing my experiences and insights to help mentees navigate their own journeys. These interactions have been incredibly rewarding, as I have seen firsthand the positive impact that mentorship and support can have on individuals’ academic and professional growth.

Moreover, I have been an advocate for inclusive hiring practices within my organization. I have worked with our HR team to develop strategies for attracting and retaining diverse talent, ensuring that our workforce reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. This commitment to diversity has not only enhanced our team’s creativity and innovation but also fostered a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

These experiences have solidified my commitment to increasing participation by underrepresented groups in higher education and beyond. I am dedicated to continuing this work during my graduate studies at UCLA, where I hope to collaborate with peers and faculty on initiatives that promote diversity and equal opportunity. I am particularly interested in engaging with UCLA’s programs focused on supporting underrepresented students, contributing my skills and experiences to further these important efforts.

Question 5: How do you intend to engage in scholarly discourse, research, teaching, creative efforts, and/or community engagement during your graduate program that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education?

During my graduate studies at UCLA’s MFE program, I intend to actively engage in scholarly discourse, research, and community engagement to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education. My goal is to leverage my academic and professional experiences to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable academic environment.

Scholarly Discourse: I plan to participate in and contribute to discussions and seminars that address issues of diversity and inclusion within the field of financial engineering. By sharing my perspectives and experiences, I aim to highlight the importance of diverse viewpoints in driving innovation and solving complex financial problems. Engaging in these conversations will also allow me to learn from my peers and faculty, broadening my understanding of the challenges and opportunities in promoting diversity in higher education.

Research: My research interests lie in the intersection of finance and technology, with a particular focus on developing solutions that address economic disparities. I intend to pursue research projects that explore how financial engineering can be leveraged to create inclusive financial products and services. For example, I am interested in investigating the role of fintech in providing access to financial resources for underrepresented communities. Collaborating with faculty and peers on these research projects will enable me to contribute to the body of knowledge on inclusive finance and its impact on economic development.

Teaching and Mentorship: I am passionate about mentorship and intend to actively participate in mentorship programs at UCLA. By serving as a mentor to underrepresented students, I hope to provide guidance and support that can help them navigate their academic and career paths. Additionally, I am interested in opportunities to assist in teaching or tutoring, where I can share my knowledge and experiences to support the learning of my peers. Teaching and mentorship are powerful tools for fostering a more inclusive academic environment and ensuring that all students have the support they need to succeed.

Community Engagement: I am committed to engaging with community organizations and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion in higher education. Volunteering with programs that support underrepresented students, such as tutoring or college readiness workshops, is a key part of my plan. Additionally, I aim to collaborate with UCLA’s diversity and inclusion offices to contribute to initiatives that create a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.

Conclusion: Through scholarly discourse, research, teaching, and community engagement, I am dedicated to advancing diversity and equal opportunity in higher education. I believe that these efforts will not only enhance my own academic and professional development but also contribute to a more inclusive and equitable academic community at UCLA and beyond.

Question 6: How do you see yourself contributing to diversity in your profession after you earn your advanced degree at UCLA?

After earning my advanced degree at UCLA, I see myself contributing to diversity in the finance profession through several key initiatives. My goal is to leverage my skills and experiences to promote inclusivity and equal opportunities in the financial sector, ensuring that diverse perspectives are represented and valued.

Inclusive Hiring Practices: One of my primary focuses will be advocating for and implementing inclusive hiring practices within my organization. I will work to develop strategies that attract and retain diverse talent, ensuring that our workforce reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. This includes partnering with universities and organizations that support underrepresented groups, participating in career fairs, and creating mentorship programs that support the professional development of diverse candidates.

Mentorship and Support: I believe that mentorship is crucial for fostering diversity in any profession. I plan to actively mentor young professionals from underrepresented backgrounds, providing guidance and support as they navigate their careers in finance. By sharing my experiences and insights, I hope to help them overcome barriers and achieve their professional goals. Additionally, I will advocate for the establishment of mentorship programs within my organization to support the career growth of diverse employees.

Promoting Inclusive Financial Products: My interest in financial engineering extends to developing inclusive financial products and services that address the needs of underrepresented communities. I will focus on creating innovative solutions that provide access to financial resources for individuals and businesses that are often overlooked by traditional financial institutions. By leveraging technology and data analysis, I aim to develop products that promote financial inclusion and economic empowerment.

Advocacy and Thought Leadership: As I progress in my career, I intend to use my platform to advocate for diversity and inclusion within the finance industry. This includes writing articles, speaking at conferences, and participating in industry panels to highlight the importance of diverse perspectives in driving innovation and solving complex financial challenges. By contributing to the broader discourse on diversity in finance, I hope to inspire others to take action and promote inclusivity in their own organizations.

Community Engagement: I am committed to engaging with community organizations that support underrepresented groups in finance and education. This includes volunteering my time and expertise to support initiatives that promote financial literacy, career readiness, and entrepreneurship among diverse populations. By giving back to the community, I aim to create pathways for underrepresented individuals to succeed in the finance profession.

Conclusion: Through inclusive hiring practices, mentorship, promoting inclusive financial products, advocacy, and community engagement, I am dedicated to contributing to diversity in the finance profession. My advanced degree from UCLA will equip me with the knowledge and skills needed to drive these initiatives and create a more inclusive and equitable financial sector.

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UCLA Winning Sample Essays – 2

Are there educational, personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences, not described in your Statement of Purpose, that have shaped your academic journey? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspective(s) that you would contribute to your program, field, or profession?

My academic journey has been profoundly influenced by various educational, personal, cultural, economic, and social experiences that have not been described in my Statement of Purpose. Growing up in a modest, middle-class family in India, I was exposed to the economic challenges and social disparities that many people face. These early experiences instilled in me a strong sense of resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to using education as a tool for social mobility and positive change.

One significant experience that shaped my academic journey was my involvement in a rural microfinance initiative during my undergraduate studies. This experience exposed me to the financial hardships faced by the underserved and the transformative power of financial inclusion. I saw how access to financial resources could enable small entrepreneurs to improve their livelihoods, and this reinforced my desire to pursue a career in finance with a focus on social impact. This experience provided me with a unique perspective on the importance of sustainable finance and the need to develop financial solutions that address the needs of marginalized communities.

Another pivotal experience was my participation in the Chartered Accountant program, which was both academically rigorous and personally demanding. Balancing intense study schedules with limited resources required immense discipline and perseverance. This experience taught me the value of hard work, time management, and the importance of a strong support system. It also highlighted the disparities in educational opportunities, motivating me to advocate for more inclusive and accessible education.

Culturally, growing up in a diverse country like India, with its myriad languages, religions, and traditions, has given me a deep appreciation for diversity and inclusivity. This cultural richness has shaped my worldview, fostering an open-minded approach to learning and collaboration. It has also underscored the importance of respecting different perspectives and working towards common goals despite differences.

Economically, my family’s financial limitations during my early years made me acutely aware of the value of financial literacy and education. These experiences fueled my passion for finance and my commitment to helping others achieve financial stability and independence. They also inspired me to focus on creating financial solutions that are accessible and beneficial to all, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Socially, my involvement in various community service initiatives has been a significant influence on my academic and professional aspirations. As a founding member of the Devi Charan Prabhu Memorial Charitable Trust, I have been actively involved in organizing educational and training programs for underprivileged children. This experience has deepened my understanding of the barriers to education and the importance of creating supportive environments that foster learning and growth.

In summary, these educational, personal, cultural, economic, and social experiences have not only shaped my academic journey but have also provided me with unique perspectives that I will bring to the UCLA Master of Finance program. They have instilled in me a commitment to leveraging finance for social good, a deep appreciation for diversity and inclusivity, and a drive to create positive change through education and financial empowerment.

Describe challenge(s) or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education. What motivated you to persist, and how did you overcome them? What is the evidence of your persistence, progress, or success?

Throughout my pursuit of higher education, I have faced numerous challenges and barriers, ranging from financial constraints to the rigorous demands of academic programs. However, each challenge has only strengthened my resolve and motivated me to persist and succeed.

One of the most significant barriers I faced was financial. Coming from a middle-class family in India, funding my education was a constant concern. My parents made significant sacrifices to support my academic ambitions, but there were times when financial constraints posed a serious threat to my educational goals. To overcome this, I took on part-time jobs and sought scholarships and grants. This experience taught me the importance of resourcefulness and financial planning. My ability to manage these financial challenges while maintaining high academic standards is evidenced by my successful completion of the Chartered Accountant program and my distinction in the Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mangalore University.

Another major challenge was the intense competition and rigorous demands of the Chartered Accountant program. The program is known for its high level of difficulty and the significant amount of self-study required. Balancing this demanding coursework with other responsibilities required exceptional time management and discipline. Despite these challenges, I persisted and cleared all levels of the program on my first attempt. This achievement is a testament to my perseverance and dedication to my academic goals.

Additionally, transitioning from a traditional finance role to a leadership position in a tech startup posed its own set of challenges. As the Head of Product at Updapt CSR, I had to quickly adapt to a new industry, learn about ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles, and lead a team to develop innovative solutions. This role required me to continuously learn and adapt, often pushing me out of my comfort zone. My success in this role, including the development of India’s first ESG rating engine and leading a team to create a private equity module for tracking ESG data, demonstrates my ability to overcome challenges and excel in new environments.

Motivation to persist came from my deep-seated belief in the power of education and the desire to create a positive impact through finance. The support and encouragement from my family, mentors, and colleagues also played a crucial role in keeping me motivated. My involvement in community service, particularly through the Devi Charan Prabhu Memorial Charitable Trust, reinforced my commitment to overcoming barriers and contributing to the betterment of society.

Evidence of my persistence, progress, and success can be seen in my academic and professional achievements. Graduating with distinction from Mangalore University, clearing all levels of the Chartered Accountant program on the first attempt, and leading innovative projects at Updapt CSR are all indicative of my determination and resilience. Additionally, my role in founding and managing the charitable trust demonstrates my commitment to giving back to the community and supporting educational initiatives for underprivileged children.

In conclusion, the challenges and barriers I have faced in my pursuit of higher education have only strengthened my resolve and shaped me into a more resilient and adaptable individual. My academic and professional achievements are a testament to my perseverance and dedication, and I am confident that these experiences have prepared me well for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the UCLA Master of Finance program.

How have your life experiences and educational background informed your understanding of the barriers facing groups that are underrepresented in higher education?

My life experiences and educational background have provided me with a deep understanding of the barriers faced by groups that are underrepresented in higher education. Growing up in a middle-class family in India, I witnessed firsthand the challenges posed by financial constraints and limited access to resources. These experiences have made me acutely aware of the systemic issues that can hinder educational attainment for many individuals.

Financial barriers are among the most significant challenges faced by underrepresented groups. My family made considerable sacrifices to support my education, and I had to seek part-time employment and scholarships to fund my studies. This personal struggle highlighted the broader issue of financial inaccessibility, which can prevent talented individuals from pursuing higher education. It underscored the need for more inclusive financial support systems, such as scholarships, grants, and affordable education loans, to ensure that financial constraints do not impede academic potential.

Cultural barriers also play a critical role in limiting educational opportunities. Growing up in a diverse country like India, I observed how cultural norms and societal expectations can influence educational choices. For many, particularly in rural areas, education is often deprioritized in favor of immediate economic contributions to the family. This cultural context informed my understanding of the need for community-based educational programs that not only provide financial support but also encourage a cultural shift towards valuing education.

Additionally, my educational journey through the Chartered Accountant program and my professional roles exposed me to the importance of mentorship and guidance. The lack of mentorship can be a significant barrier for underrepresented groups who may not have access to networks of professionals who can provide guidance and support. Recognizing this, I have made it a point to mentor younger students and professionals, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds, to help them navigate their educational and career paths.

My involvement in community service initiatives has further deepened my understanding of these barriers. As a founding member of the Devi Charan Prabhu Memorial Charitable Trust, I have worked closely with underprivileged children, organizing educational programs and providing resources to support their learning. This experience highlighted the stark disparities in access to quality education and the importance of creating supportive environments that foster academic growth. It also demonstrated the impact of providing not just financial aid, but also mentorship, emotional support, and a sense of community.

Through my professional work at Updapt CSR, I have been involved in developing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) frameworks that promote social equity. This work has reinforced the importance of addressing systemic barriers and creating inclusive opportunities in all sectors, including education. It has also provided me with a broader perspective on how financial tools and policies can be leveraged to promote social good.

In summary, my life experiences and educational background have given me a comprehensive understanding of the barriers facing underrepresented groups in higher education. These insights have fueled my commitment to creating inclusive and supportive educational environments. I am dedicated to leveraging my skills and experiences to advocate for more equitable access to education and to mentor and support those who face similar challenges, thereby contributing to the advancement of diversity and inclusion in higher education.

How have you been actively engaged (e.g., through participation, employment, service, teaching, or other activities) in programs or activities focused on increasing participation by groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education?

My active engagement in programs and activities focused on increasing participation by historically underrepresented groups in higher education has been a central aspect of my personal and professional life. These efforts have been driven by my commitment to promoting educational equity and supporting those who face significant barriers to academic success.

One of my most significant contributions has been through the Devi Charan Prabhu Memorial Charitable Trust, which I co-founded. The trust focuses on providing educational support to underprivileged children in rural areas. Through this organization, we have organized numerous educational events, workshops, and training sessions that have impacted over 200 children. We provide resources such as books, school supplies, and financial assistance to ensure that these children have the necessary tools to succeed academically. Additionally, we offer mentorship and guidance to help them navigate their educational journeys and aspire to higher education. This hands-on involvement has given me a deep understanding of the challenges faced by these children and the importance of creating a supportive and resource-rich environment for their education.

Professionally, my role at Updapt CSR has allowed me to contribute to social equity through the development of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) frameworks. By incorporating social metrics into our ESG rating engine, we emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion in corporate practices. This work has highlighted the intersection of finance and social impact, demonstrating how financial tools can be leveraged to promote broader participation and equity. Additionally, I have led initiatives to develop educational content on ESG principles, which is used to train and inform companies about the importance of social responsibility, including efforts to support underrepresented groups.

In my personal capacity, I have also been involved in mentoring and coaching young professionals and students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. As a mentor, I provide guidance on career development, academic planning, and personal growth. This mentorship often includes helping students and young professionals navigate the complexities of higher education applications, scholarship opportunities, and career choices. By sharing my experiences and insights, I aim to empower them to overcome barriers and achieve their academic and professional goals.

Furthermore, my engagement extends to participating in community service activities that promote educational access and equity. For example, I have volunteered with organizations that provide tutoring and after-school programs for students from low-income families. These programs offer academic support and enrichment activities that help bridge the gap between different educational backgrounds and provide students with the skills and confidence needed to pursue higher education.

Through these various forms of engagement, I have gained a comprehensive understanding of the systemic barriers that underrepresented groups face in accessing higher education. I have seen firsthand the positive impact that targeted support and resources can have on these individuals, reinforcing my commitment to this cause.

In summary, my active engagement in programs and activities focused on increasing participation by historically underrepresented groups in higher education has been multifaceted and deeply impactful. Through my work with the charitable trust, professional initiatives, personal mentorship, and community service, I have dedicated myself to promoting educational equity and supporting those who face significant barriers. These experiences have not only enriched my understanding of the challenges but have also equipped me with the skills and determination to continue advocating for and contributing to greater diversity and inclusion in higher education.

How do you intend to engage in scholarly discourse, research, teaching, creative efforts, and/or community engagement during your graduate program that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education?

During my graduate program at UCLA, I intend to engage in a variety of scholarly, research, teaching, and community engagement activities that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education. My commitment to these values is deeply rooted in my personal and professional experiences, and I am eager to contribute to initiatives that promote inclusivity and equity.

Firstly, I plan to actively participate in scholarly discourse and research focused on diversity and inclusion within the finance sector. Given my background in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles, I aim to explore how financial frameworks and policies can be leveraged to promote social equity and diversity. I am particularly interested in researching the impact of inclusive financial practices on marginalized communities and how these practices can be integrated into mainstream finance. This research will not only contribute to academic knowledge but also provide practical insights for creating more inclusive financial systems.

In addition to research, I intend to engage in teaching and mentorship activities that support underrepresented students. As a teaching assistant or tutor, I will strive to create an inclusive learning environment where all students feel valued and supported. I plan to offer extra support to those who may need it, ensuring that they have equal opportunities to succeed. Moreover, I will leverage my experience as a mentor to guide students from diverse backgrounds, helping them navigate the challenges of higher education and encouraging them to pursue their academic and professional goals.

Community engagement is another key area where I plan to contribute. I intend to collaborate with UCLA’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as participating in outreach programs that aim to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in higher education. This could involve working with local schools and community organizations to provide educational workshops, tutoring, and mentorship. By actively engaging with the community, I hope to inspire and support students from diverse backgrounds to pursue higher education and realize their full potential.

Furthermore, I am interested in contributing to creative efforts that promote diversity and inclusion. This could involve developing educational content and resources that highlight the importance of diversity in finance and other fields. By creating accessible and engaging materials, I hope to raise awareness and foster a culture of inclusivity within the academic and professional communities.

Lastly, I plan to take advantage of UCLA’s vibrant student organizations and networks that focus on diversity and inclusion. By participating in these groups, I will be able to collaborate with like-minded peers, share experiences, and develop initiatives that promote equity and diversity. These interactions will not only enrich my own understanding but also amplify our collective efforts to create a more inclusive academic environment.

In conclusion, my engagement during my graduate program at UCLA will be multifaceted, encompassing scholarly research, teaching, community involvement, and creative efforts. Through these activities, I aim to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education, leveraging my experiences and skills to make a meaningful impact. I am committed to contributing to an inclusive academic community where all students have the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

How do you see yourself contributing to diversity in your profession after you earn your advanced degree at UCLA?

After earning my advanced degree at UCLA, I envision contributing to diversity in my profession in several impactful ways. My career goal is to work in the finance sector, specifically focusing on sustainable and inclusive finance, and eventually establish an impact-focused investment fund. Throughout this journey, promoting diversity and inclusion will be a central tenet of my professional efforts.

One of the primary ways I plan to contribute to diversity is by advocating for and implementing inclusive hiring practices within the organizations I work with. Having experienced firsthand the challenges of breaking into the finance industry from a non-traditional background, I understand the importance of creating opportunities for individuals from diverse and underrepresented groups. By promoting inclusive recruitment and retention strategies, I aim to build diverse teams that reflect a wide range of perspectives and experiences. This not only enriches the workplace culture but also enhances innovation and decision-making.

In my role as a leader within the finance sector, I will prioritize creating an inclusive work environment where all employees feel valued and supported. This involves implementing policies that promote work-life balance, providing professional development opportunities, and fostering a culture of respect and collaboration. By championing these values, I aim to create a workplace where diversity is not just accepted but celebrated and leveraged for collective success.

Moreover, my focus on sustainable finance will inherently promote diversity and social equity. Sustainable finance considers not only financial returns but also social and environmental impacts. By integrating ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria into investment decisions, I will support companies and projects that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. This could include investing in businesses led by underrepresented groups, supporting initiatives that address social inequalities, and promoting practices that ensure fair treatment and opportunities for all stakeholders.

As I work towards establishing my impact-focused investment fund, diversity and inclusion will be at the core of my mission. The fund will aim to support enterprises that address critical social and environmental challenges, many of which disproportionately affect marginalized communities. By providing capital and resources to these enterprises, I will contribute to creating sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Additionally, I plan to offer mentorship and support to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, helping them navigate the challenges of building and scaling their businesses.

Furthermore, I intend to continue my involvement in community service and outreach programs that promote educational and professional opportunities for underrepresented groups. This includes mentoring students and young professionals, participating in financial literacy programs, and supporting initiatives that provide access to education and career development resources. By actively engaging with the community, I will help bridge the gap between underrepresented groups and opportunities in the finance sector.

In summary, after earning my advanced degree at UCLA, I see myself contributing to diversity in my profession through inclusive hiring practices, creating supportive work environments, focusing on sustainable and inclusive finance, establishing an impact-focused investment fund, and engaging in community service. My commitment to diversity and inclusion is deeply rooted in my personal and professional experiences, and I am dedicated to making meaningful contributions that promote equity and opportunity in the finance industry.

UCLA Recommendation Letter – Key Questions

1 Statement of Purpose

MiF Recommendation Letters
(Free Samples & successful Examples)

Professor - Recommendation letter Sample 1

Here is a quick PDF of a sample recommendation our client submitted for a successful admit. 

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To,

Admissions Committee

HEC Paris – Masters in Finance Program

 

Date: 08-09-2023

 

Subject: “Recommendation letter for Akhil’s application to MIF program at HEC Paris”

Dear Admissions Committee, 

I have known Akhil for over 2 years now. He was a student in my Entrepreneurship course as part of his Minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. As a student in my class, Akhil showed great skill at applying these notions in the more practical in-class quizzes, his final group business pitch at the end of the course, and his professional activities at UBS. Akhil’s also had a remarkable performance in my course, in which Akhil got the highest grade possible of A+. 

In terms of his potential,

Akhil stood out to me in the final project that I gave as part of the course evaluation.  As a major assessment, I give a project assignment for students to work in groups and pitch a good, self-sustaining business idea.

Akhil took the initiative and created a multicultural and diverse team with students not only from different countries but also students from different majors and successfully delivered a group business pitch for a student-run laundry and cleaning business. The idea picked by his team was unique, and he actively sought my advice and mentorship to make the team and the project successful. 

Another noteworthy facet is the analytical research done by Akhil before and after seeking my advice; he actively made an effort to learn about diverse topics that he had not been exposed to before and was successfully able to learn about the different aspects of entrepreneurship, such as management and finance. Demonstrating his goal and detail-oriented ability. Rhe idea, the data oriented research, and the financial analysis were really impressive (synthesized and executed on assigned taks). Also, the real-world considerations regarding the execution of the pitch, as well as the cohesive delivery from a team collaboration perspective, were good. 

I liked the project, and I asked Akhil if I could include the pitch and presentation as teaching material for my course as well as offering a Research Assistant position to Akhil in the next summer, which he was unable to take due to him having graduated

With his analytical skills and his collaborative approach, it came to me as no surprise that he was able to successfully chase his goal and transition into finance directly from his undergrad in engineering, landing a role in finance with UBS in their Investment Banking Operations in Hong Kong. 

In terms of his potential areas of Improvement

I think Akhil’s analytical nature and detail-orientedness sometimes leads to him getting too caught up in details and spending excess time on the intricate details, leading to improper time management. 

In the group project, Akhil struggled with time management and was a week behind schedule for his group due to him giving equal attention to all the details of the presentation, losing track of the bigger picture of the project. With my guidance, he was able to get back on speed and submitted the project by the submission deadline. But I believe that Akhil needs to work on gaining a view of the overall project that he is working for better time management.

Overall Recommendation

Akhil is only starting his financial career, but he has the analytical skills and a level of understanding about management, teamwork and other elements of organizational life that are comparable to other top students that I recommended before to Masters programs. 

Akhil’s progress at CityU and at UBS clearly demonstrates his intellect and hard work. He is capable and has an acute intellectual capacity for thinking analytically. I believe Akhil is on track to make a successful career that blends his quantitative inclinations with his qualititaive skills, inspiring those that he will lead and work with. 

To conclude, I strongly recommend Akhil, and I would be happy to talk with you specifically about his candidacy if you have additional questions.

Regards

Professor XXXXXX
Head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Management

XXXX University

How long and in what capacity have you known the candidate?

I have known Pranav for roughly one and a half years. I was his mentor during his internship with UBS. Although he completed his internship and has moved on, we still continue to keep in touch to exchange different business ideas.

What do you think about the candidate’s professional performance and potential (including any room for improvement)?

When Pranav started his internship with UBS, he was one of the most proactive interns. Since he didn’t have a finance background, he showed keen interest in learning and came up the curve very quickly. 

The team assigned him Automation and Efficiency-related projects, and while working in the automation team he managed to stand out from other interns by providing solutions that were slightly outside of the box and impressed everyone on the team. 

For instance, he met with various team leads to understand their automation requirements and one team lead expressed her frustration with the manual risk report that used to take 10-12 hours every quarter. After the meeting, Pranav took the proactive step of helping automate this report for the team. The specific process automation that he implemented was for risk reports for the risk team. The team had a manual time consuming process in which they had to refer to multiple Excel sheets to create their quarterly risk report. Pranav understood and mapped the entire process before using an automation tool to automate it. This led to a time reduction of 90 percent in the compilation of the report. The automation process he designed was ingenious; no one had thought of using it before, and that is why I think everyone was impressed with his out-of-the-box thinking. 

Apart from that, another one of his biggest strengths is his willingness to take initiative. 

To highlight another instance, he noticed the dashboards in Operations and wider UBS were on Tableau, he took the initiative to compare Tableau and PowerBi and pitched shifting the employee statistics dashboard to PowerBi. The management team agreed and Pranav successfully created an Employee demographic dashboard on PowerBi. This led to cost savings for the department as UBS was already paying for PowerBi. He also took even more initiative, helping others in his team and UBS get certified on PowerBi and documented his knowledge for everyone before he left his internship.

On the flip side, when it comes to areas of improvement, I would also say this proactiveness and eagerness sometimes led to difficult situations. Like other fresh hires, he was also trying to prove himself in the initial months of his tenure with the team. However, this often meant that he would try to manage and solve things on his own instead of seeking help. This led to delays and situations becoming critical.

Pranav was tasked with getting certified on Automation Anywhere, another automation tool used by the team. He was unable to crack the certification according to the timeline assigned to him and was delayed by a month in getting certified. He tried to manage and solve the situation but was unable to do so without help from his team, this delay led to an increased workload for the rest of the team and longer hours as work had been earmarked for Pranav to do as soon as he would be finished with the certification. 

Overall, I would say that Pranav has great potential; he is not afraid to take the initiative and present his ideas.

Regards
XXXXXX
Manager – UBS, Hong Kong Offices

How do you know the applicant? How long have you known them for?

I have known Huang for almost 2 years now. 

I came to know Huang when he was working at Chainfir Capital. I was an investor of the fund at Chainfir Capital. Huang worked as an investment manager at Chainfir and we had meetings together from time to time.

Later when Huang and his colleagues decided to start their own Venture Capital fund (Genesis 22) focused on crypto industry, I joined their venture both as an investor and an advisor of their VC Fund. 

What would you say are the applicant’s key strengths and talents?

After working with Huang, I think one of his key talents is that he is very detail oriented and loves to perform extensive due diligence.

For instance, Genesis 22 was close to making an investment decision on a project called Glitter Finance last year. At the time, it was a rather popular project among VCs and had already received several investments. The analyst in our team provided positive comments on its technology and future potential. 

Huang was responsible for speaking with the project team and conducting due diligence. He was able to approach the situation with a sceptical mind and later identified several risks of the project by paying attention to each detail. He made an analysis of the profile of each team member of the project and determined that the technical background of the team was not strong enough to develop the promising highly technical project they claimed. Also, he mentioned that while observing all the interaction between the founder of the project and individual investors in the community group, he noticed that the founder often gets angry easily when facing tough questions. 

He raised these concerns during the investment decision meeting, and at the end of the meeting, we decided not to invest. A few months later – the project went bust because the value of the project was way inflated and every institutional investor suffered a loss. I am glad that Huang was able to pay close attention to such details and has always worked with great attention to achieve better performance.

Another key talent of Huang is his multi-tasking skills. I am really impressed by his performance in dealing with a variety of projects simultaneously. When he works as an investment manager in the team, he needs to handle the communication and investigation with 5-8 projects at the same time. He has never left others waiting for his work, and we can always set up the evaluation meeting in the anticipated time frame. He is also able to deal with the pressure when there are extra projects which need his attention.

What would you say are the applicant’s key weaknesses or areas for improvement?

As the founder of a venture capital firm, Huang has built a team and became a leader at such a young age. But I think there is still room for improvement in his management skills, especially in delegating workload. 

As Huang prefers to participate in every stage of the investment decision of a certain project, it limits the overall number of projects he can oversee. For example, he spent much time on initial screening and understanding complex technology concepts of different projects. In my opinion, he could delegate this work and trust his colleagues to complete these tasks as our analysts with technology backgrounds are capable of determining the technology feasibility so that he can invest most of his time in reviewing the big picture.

Second thing I have asked him to improve upon is that he can sometimes be over-optimistic and confident when things are going well. From my perspective, it is crucial to keep a cool mind when dealing with different market situations. When he started Genesis 22, several investments that we made looked promising. Consequently, he was on the aggressive side to allocate a higher proportion of the fund to such projects. However, when there was a change in the market trend and crypto industry started crashing, some investments did not perform as well as we expected. The fund suffered extra losses because of the higher allocation made to these investments. 

Huang realized his mistake afterwards and became more cautious in making an allocation to investments to improve the diversification of the portfolio. I hope he has learned his lesson and does not repeat the same mistake again. 

In which areas of development has the applicant progressed most in the time you’ve known them?

Overall the one big area where I think Huang has really improved is his ability to find and initiate business opportunities and partnerships.

When he started Genesis 22 Ventures, His venture was not receiving stable cash flow except for the return on the investments. He or his patterns did not know that a venture capital fund can expand its business through partnerships and pitching good projects to other VC firms. This way they can build a revenue stream based on commission without risking their own money. 

When I brought this up to him, he learned the rules quickly. He has put in great effort in communicating with other VCs to understand how others operate and create business ideas. The first few times when I had meetings with Huang he could only interpret the general basics of the start-up projects. Therefore, he was not able to provide insightful opinions in decision making. After Huang talked to many teams and spent much time reading industry news, I observed that he was getting better and better at describing business models of different projects in a big picture. Although Huang doesn’t have a strong technology background, he is able to integrate the work of analysts into his knowledge and present a blockchain project in a big picture smoothly.

Through partnerships and advisory services, Huang has helped the venture generate around $40,000 in extra revenue. Genesis 22 has expanded its services to crypto exchange listing consulting, funding advisory and community management for startup projects, etc.

I have seen him learn and grow and I think Huang has progressed massively in his commercial awareness.

If you are a professional referee, would you work with the applicant again post-Masters in Financial Analysis?

Absolutely. Although his fund currently suffers a drop in the quality of deal flow given the bearish situation of the blockchain market, he has made the right decision to make very few investments recently based on the interests of investors. I respect his decision to pursue a master’s in finance degree, and if he wants to resume his Venture Capital firm full-time or work at my VC in the future I would love to work with him again.



Do’s:

  1. Choose the Right Recommender:

    • Select someone who knows you well, can speak to your professional skills and achievements, and can provide detailed and specific examples of your work. Current or past supervisors, clients, or mentors who have worked closely with you are ideal choices.
  2. Provide Specific Examples:

    • Ensure the recommender includes specific examples of your accomplishments, skills, and experiences. This makes the recommendation more credible and impactful. Detailed anecdotes and quantifiable achievements are particularly effective.
  3. Meet with Your Recommender:

    • Schedule a meeting with your recommender to discuss your goals, achievements, and reasons for pursuing an MBA. Provide them with a detailed résumé and a list of your accomplishments to help them write a thorough and personalized letter.
  4. Ensure Timely Submission:

    • Set a personal deadline for your recommenders that is well ahead of the actual application deadline. This helps ensure that your letters are submitted on time and reduces last-minute stress.
  5. Highlight Strengths and Areas for Growth:

    • Encourage your recommender to provide a balanced view by mentioning your strengths along with areas for growth. Constructive feedback adds credibility and shows your willingness to improve.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t Write Your Own Recommendation:

    • Never write your own letter of recommendation, even if a recommender suggests it. Admissions committees can easily detect self-written letters, which can harm your application.
  2. Don’t Choose Recommenders Based on Title Alone:

    • Avoid selecting recommenders solely based on their impressive titles or positions if they do not know you well. A letter from a CEO or politician who has minimal interaction with you is less effective than one from someone who can provide detailed insights into your work and character.
  3. Don’t Use Generic Praise:

    • Ensure your recommender avoids using vague, generic praise without backing it up with specific examples. Statements like “She is a great employee” are less impactful than detailed anecdotes that illustrate why you are exceptional.
  4. Don’t Ignore the Application Instructions:

    • Make sure your recommenders follow the specific instructions and format required by each business school. Different schools may have varying requirements, and it’s important to adhere to them.
  5. Don’t Overload with Superlatives:

    • Encourage your recommender to be honest and avoid excessive use of superlatives. Over-the-top praise without substance can seem insincere. Balanced, realistic assessments that highlight genuine strengths and achievements are more effective.

These do’s and don’ts will help ensure that the letters of recommendation are strong, credible, and supportive of your MBA application.

Here’s is a quick template tailored for candidates applying to a Master’s in Finance program:

Admissions Committee
[Finance Program Name]
[University Name]
[University Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]

[Date]

Subject: “Letter of recommendation for [Candidate’s Name]”

Dear Members of the Admissions Committee,

I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation for [Candidate’s Name]. I have had the pleasure of working with [Candidate’s Name] at [Company Name] for [duration], where I serve as [Recommender’s Title]. In my capacity, I have directly supervised [Candidate’s Name] and have gained a thorough understanding of their professional capabilities and character, particularly in the field of finance.

Specific Examples of Performance and Achievements

[Candidate’s Name] has consistently demonstrated exceptional [skills/qualities] in finance. For example, in [specific project/task], [Candidate’s Name] [specific action taken], which resulted in [quantifiable result/outcome]. This achievement is indicative of [Candidate’s Name]’s [particular quality, e.g., analytical skills, financial modeling, risk management].

Another instance of [Candidate’s Name]’s capabilities was during [another specific project/task]. Here, [Candidate’s Name] [specific action taken], leading to [quantifiable result/outcome]. This project highlighted [Candidate’s Name]’s ability to [related skills, e.g., manage financial portfolios, conduct market analysis, handle complex financial challenges].

Constructive Feedback and Areas of Improvement

During our time working together, I provided [Candidate’s Name] with constructive feedback on [specific area for improvement]. In response, [Candidate’s Name] [specific actions taken to improve]. This demonstrated their openness to feedback and commitment to personal and professional growth in the financial sector.

Leadership Skills and Team Inclusiveness

[Candidate’s Name] is known for their inclusiveness and encouragement of others. For example, during [specific instance], [Candidate’s Name] [specific actions taken to include and encourage others]. This behavior fostered a collaborative and supportive work environment and showcased their leadership and interpersonal skills.

Conclusion and Endorsement

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly endorse [Candidate’s Name] for the [Master’s in Finance program] at [University Name]. I am confident that [Candidate’s Name]’s [specific strengths/qualities] will be an asset to your program and that they will thrive in the academically rigorous and collaborative environment of [University Name].

Please feel free to contact me at [Recommender’s Email] or [Recommender’s Phone Number] if you require any further information.

Sincerely,

[Recommender’s Name]
[Recommender’s Title]
[Company Name]

Free Recommendation Letter sample text for masters application

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