economics personal statement introduction

Undergraduate Personal Statement Example: Economics

economics personal statement introduction

With so many university personal statement examples available, how do you know if you’re reading a good one?  

After all, personal statement examples can teach you how to write and structure your application, and you can quickly learn how to write a personal statement by examining others.

Reading examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course. But what exactly should they contain?

Undergraduate personal statements should highlight relevant academic and practical experience, academic skills, ambitions and suitability for the degree field. This undergraduate personal statement example for Economics clearly illustrates these three critical elements.

Undergraduate degree personal statement examples are sometimes referred to as personal mission statements or statements of purpose , so if you’re tasked with writing a personal mission statement, the following example will work for you.

I’ve broken down this personal statement example section by section, with a commentary on each element. 

That way, you’ll see its strengths and weaknesses and get some inspiration for your own personal statement .

Once you’ve read the personal statement example and analysis, you can download a pdf of the whole document to use as inspiration for your own!

economics personal statement introduction

Personal Statement Example: Introduction

“The unprecedented pace and scope of global economic change shape our lives in unfamiliar and complex ways. The COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the rising surge of authoritarian populism in Pakistan all challenge social and financial norms, leading to unpredictability in individual behaviour and international markets. Having experienced first-hand the vastly differing economies of the UK, Pakistan and Qatar, I have developed an interest in how economics affects education, employment and income. Comparing each country’s response to the pandemic and observing the long-term impact of the decisions taken, I’m keen to learn which new ideas will replace the old paradigms, how inflation can be tamed without triggering a recession, and whether it is possible to grow global prosperity without exacerbating inequality at a national level.”

My Commentary and Analysis 

This writer begins this personal statement example by displaying an informed and comprehensive understanding of global politics and current affairs. Although this doesn’t seem directly connected to the study of economics, it’s actually a sophisticated way of introducing the topic. Economics and global affairs are inextricably linked, and displaying this knowledge allows the writer to evidence their knowledge comprehensively.

They then outline their global experience and begin to suggest the ways in which global politics and finance are interconnected. In doing so, the writer introduces their motivations and suitability confidently.

If you’re struggling with your personal statement introduction, check out my article on how to write perfect opening paragraphs here .

economics personal statement introduction

Personal Statement Example: Section 2

“I thrive on undertaking research into current financial issues and sharing my perspectives with the world. Following the IMF’s reporting of US tariffs on Chinese imports, I analysed how economies rival one another as part of a wider war of geopolitical positioning. Additionally, I examined the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and its economic effects on neighbouring countries. My articles ‘How the US-China Conflict Affects Asia’ and ‘The Economic Impact of the Afghan Crisis on Pakistan’ were featured in Pakistan’s New Reporter newspaper.”

My Commentary and Analysis

Here the writer outlines their research and clarifies their understanding of international trade and finance a little more broadly. This works well, as it adds some depth and development to the previous section without repeating content. 

The theme of international trade continues throughout this personal statement example, but the impressive aspect here is the reference to the articles that the writer has published. Again, this is an important aspect to include as, for an undergraduate example, it establishes the writer as a uniquely qualified and motivated candidate. 

It’s unusual for an undergraduate applicant to have this level of experience and clarity of motivation, so don’t worry if that isn’t something you have achieved yet. The key thing is to make the most of each experience you have and outline its value to your application and ambition.

If you’d like to learn more about how to structure your personal statement or statement of purpose , check out my awesome Personal Statement Template eBook here . It’s full of detailed examples of what to include!

economics personal statement introduction

Personal Statement Example: Section 3

“My relief work has exposed me to many societal disparities, fuelling my interest in economics and finance. I’ve witnessed first-hand the interplay between poverty and the economy and researched economic theories and their implications in real-world contexts to understand these real-life complexities. Deeply moved by the impact of the pandemic lockdowns on those reliant on a daily wage in underserved communities in Pakistan, I was inspired to set up a youth team for the food charity FoodShare and distribute warm meals through the uncertainty of constant lockdowns. This led me to research and discover theories such as Sens, which focused on income inequality and capability deprivation.”

The writer outlines their philanthropic and relief work with relevant examples, all of which serve to establish their understanding of the role of economics in real-world settings. 

The focus is beginning to move away from economics, and whilst the content is impressive, it would be sensible to relate the material to the subject area a little more fully at this stage in the personal statement.

Check out lots more examples of personal statements here , and see how they can inspire your application!

economics personal statement introduction

Personal Statement Example: Section 4

“Initiating a drive to plant trees as a member of my college’s Green Club, I realised that a financial incentive for growing trees, given directly to landowners in underserved urban and rural communities, would contribute precisely to the economic stimulus they need. My findings were substantiated when I read Dambisa Moyo’s ‘Dead Aid’. I admire her views on development in low-income economies and her arguments for using trade as a growth and development strategy in Africa rather than relying on government-to-government aid. It is experiences like these which have convinced me to pursue this course of study.”

My Commentary and Analysis: 

This is a highly complex paragraph in many respects. It outlines an additional aspect to the writer’s experience and motivation and gives the reader a deeper sense of the engagement the writer intends to have with the subject matter.

Offering evidence of research increases the writer’s range of academic skills and suitability for the course. This is important at this stage of the personal statement, as there have been few references to academic or transferable skills before this point. 

Undergraduate personal statements usually focus on the academic skills developed in further education. As this applicant has focused on other elements, it’s good to see the writer has begun to reference them at this stage.

The one thing that all successful personal statements have in common is that they are concise, engaging and accurate in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Consequently, I always recommend Grammarly to my students and clients. 

It’s an outstanding tool for ensuring your personal statement is rich with detail whilst hitting those all-important word limits. Check out the free version of Grammarly here , or hit the banner for more information.

economics personal statement introduction

Personal Statement Example: Conclusion

“My commitment to degree-level economics is reflected in my decision to study A-level Law during my gap year. This has developed my essay writing, analytical and critical thinking skills and taught me to apply logic and reasoning to reach decisions. Equally, attending the Young Leaders summer program at Buckley University last summer allowed me to develop my project management, team building and leadership skills whilst learning about sustainable development goals. I researched the pandemic in Canada and terrorism in Somalia and presented my ideas from an economic viewpoint, arguing how a country’s stability is directly interlinked with its economic growth, affecting the sustainability of development goals. I valued the opportunity to represent my team and take the lead in public speaking and debating at the Oxford Union Chamber, and was proud to win the ‘Best Debating Team’ prize. I won first prize in the Marshall Young Mathematician competition whilst at college, allowing me to put my mathematical, logical reasoning, problem-solving and analytical skills into practice.

A diligent, dedicated and motivated student, I’m confident that my personal qualities, practical experience and academic interests will fully support my commitment to reading for an economics degree.”

The first paragraph above is, perhaps, the most effective and relevant in this personal statement. This is because previous academic skills and experiences are referenced, and their value is considered in relation to the degree course applied for.

The writer then outlines their co-curricular activities. These are highly relevant and impressive examples, and including them here shows the scope of the applicant’s commitment and quality. Referencing the award the writer achieved and considering the transferable skills gained is a compelling strategy that adds to their suitability for the degree.

In summary, there are some significant strengths in this personal statement example. The applicant is mature, engaged and accomplished. They show a range of experiential and practical skills, and the depth of their achievements makes them highly suitable.

In contrast, there’s a lack of formal academic depth here and not very much content that reflects the writer’s personality. Equally, there could be a wider reference to the value that the writer would bring to the university environment.

For more great advice, check out my article on writing an excellent final personal statement paragraph here .

economics personal statement introduction

Click here or on the banner below to get your free download of this complete personal statement example . 

economics personal statement introduction

Whether you’re looking for personal mission statement examples or an example of personal purpose statement, I hope this personal statement example has been helpful. Above all, I wish you every success in your academic career. 

If you’d like to work with me to develop your personal statement 1:1 and write a powerful mission statement, I’d be delighted to hear from you. 

Find out about my personal statement support services by clicking here or on the image below.

economics personal statement introduction

Research and content verified by Personal Statement Planet .

David Hallen

I've worked in the Further Education and University Admissions sector for nearly 20 years as a teacher, department head, Head of Sixth Form, UCAS Admissions Advisor, UK Centre Lead and freelance personal statement advisor, editor and writer. And now I'm here for you...

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Top Tips for a Cambridge Economics Personal Statement

Cambridge economics personal statement – top 10 tips: do’s and don’ts.

The Cambridge Personal Statement is a crucial component of your university application as it presents a unique opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other applicants. You would be able to articulate your story and explain your interests beyond that of numbers on an admissions test. Furthermore, it gives the interviewer a chance to understand who you are, providing a platform to bounce off questions during your interview. 

They can tailor questions to your personality, interests, and commitment to who you are as a person and your amalgamation of experiences before you. To guide you through the arduous university application process, our Oxbridge application experts have compiled a list of top 10 Cambridge Economics Personal Statement tips– do’s and don’ts– for your Cambridge Economics Personal Statement for the 2022/23 application cycle.

General Advice for Cambridge Economics Personal Statement

The economics course at Cambridge is a comprehensive course that covers all types of economics: core, pure, and applied. Furthermore, the course at Cambridge is also engineered in a manner that allows students to use techniques and schools of thought from other related fields such as that sociology, statistics, mathematics, politics, and history.

Hence, your Cambridge personal statement should clearly demonstrate that you understand that the course is not only theoretical but also includes a significant portion of mathematical reasoning and knowledge. Furthermore, when planning out your Cambridge Economics personal statement, make sure you research Cambridge’s achievements in economics and include it in your writing to illustrate your interest in economics. 

Additionally, when you are crafting your Cambridge Economics personal statement, you would most likely also be applying to four other university courses. This may result in your statement being vaguer. The University of Cambridge is aware of such and will require you to fill out an ‘Online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)’ shortly after submitting the UCAS application, so make sure you’ve created another condensed version of your Economics personal statement that can be directly submitted to Cambridge.

Top 5 Tips for your Cambridge Economics Personal Statement

  • Demonstrate that you are well-read in economics – Although Cambridge does not presume prior knowledge of Economics (after all, you are going to Cambridge to study it!), being familiar with Economics terminology as well as its basic principles would give you an edge over other applicants. Furthermore, being well-read in the field also signals to the examiner that you are interested and passionate about the subject– You would take the initiative and seek out knowledge on your own if you are truly passionate about the subject! If you don’t know where to start, you can access Cambridge’s recommended preparatory reading list on their website, or through this link here: Prelim Reading . Furthermore, you can keep in mind that reading is not restricted to that books! This could also be in the form of news articles (The Economist, The Guardian, The New Yorker, Vox, The New York Times, etc. are all great places to start), magazine columns, or even in other forms of medium such as podcasts, documentaries (available on accessible platforms such as Netflix!), or even Youtube videos. Watching an economics documentary instead of your usual prime-time TV show would be a great way to incorporate learning into your everyday lifestyle.
  • Demonstrating that you are proficient or interested in Mathematics – Although it is not immediately obvious for an Economics course, the Economics course at Cambridge assumes and requires students to be proficient in Mathematics. Fret not, they only require you to have fully mastered your course syllabus and material at the A-level Mathematics level before commencing your studies. However, showing that you are proficient and interested in Mathematics would help you both in your application and if you end up pursuing the course as there are definitely mathematics components in the course. For example, if you take further mathematics, you would be benefitting from knowledge in Further Pure Mathematics as well as Statistics. Participating in mathematics competitions or having done work in statistics would be useful in your application as well as course.
  • Focusing your application on your interest in Economics – Remember that the Cambridge admissions tutors are looking out for students who are interested and are a good fit for the course. Hence, it is always important to mention and elaborate on your interest in Economics! You can do so by answering the following trigger questions: Why are you interested in Economics? Are there specific aspects of the course that interests you and why? Do you have any personal qualities or traits that would make you a good Economics student? Focusing your body paragraphs on certain aspects of Economics that interest you and why, or qualities that make you a good Economics student could be used as an overall structure when crafting your Cambridge Economics personal statement. Referencing relevant experiences and reflecting on them would also be useful when writing your Cambridge Economics personal statement.
  • Having a good structure for your Cambridge personal statement – Using a good structure when writing your Cambridge Economics personal statement would be good to not only enhance readability but also allow you to not miss out on or forget certain points when crafting your Cambridge Economics personal statement. A good structure could look something like this: Introduction– A short 3-4 lines briefly mentioning the main reasons why you are interested in Economics, or how you started becoming interested in the course. Next, your body paragraphs can be focused on traits that you have that would make you a good economics student, or specific details or aspects of the course that interests you. Each point could be one body paragraph, and you can support and elaborate on each point with examples (such as competitions that you have participated in, books surrounding those concepts that you have read, societies that you have been a part of, etc.) You can then conclude by summarising the important points you want your Cambridge admissions tutor to remember and take away.
  • Giving yourself sufficient time to write your Cambridge Economics personal statement – It might seem impossible to start crafting your Cambridge personal statement, especially when you are staring at a blank word document and you have no idea where to start. If you are experiencing writer’s block, you can start by listing down all your achievements and experiences. You can then list down details or aspects of the course (this can be easily researched!) that interests you, as well as a separate list of qualities that an economics student should have. You can then match your experiences to any points from the two lists, and use each match as a backbone when fleshing out your body paragraphs!

Top 5 things to AVOID for your Cambridge Economics Personal Statement

  • Having a poor or incorrect understanding of the course – Many students who apply for a course at university have a misguided or misinformed idea of the course that they would be studying. This is because their impression of the course is often shaped by hearsay or what they see in films, or they assume that it would be the same as the subject they studied in high school. For example, especially for economics, students would not expect the amount of mathematics or statistics that are part of the course. Having a good understanding of what you are in for can also benefit you when writing your Cambridge Economics personal statement. For example, you can explain how parts of your interest or personality align well with specific or general aspects of the course. This signals to the Oxford admissions tutor that you understand what you are applying for and that you are interested and are a good fit for it.
  • Making your Cambridge Economics personal statement an economics essay instead of elaborating on your interest or story – Although it is helpful to mention economic theories in your Cambridge Economics personal statement when you are trying to explain your motivation to study economics, or when elaborating on the books that you have read, ensure that you do not turn your whole Economics personal statement into an economics essay. Keep in mind that what the Cambridge admission tutors are looking out for when they are reading your Cambridge Economics personal statement is to understand why you want to study economics, and what makes you the perfect fit for the course. Even if you found a really difficult or obscure economics theory, talking at breadth about it rather than focusing on your story would put you at a disadvantage– these tutors would be experts in their field, and if they wanted to learn more about a particular theory, they would pick up a textbook instead of your Cambridge Economics personal statement!
  • Using too much jargon or using vocabulary that you are not familiar with – You might think that using unconventional vocabulary or fancy terminology would make you sound or appear intelligent. However, especially if you are unfamiliar with the terms, this would actually work against you instead of helping your application. This is because your Cambridge Economics personal statement could end up sounding unnatural, wordy, and hard to read. Think about it this way– explaining a difficult concept in simple words is more impressive than using a difficult word incorrectly! Furthermore, Cambridge admissions tutors would be reading hundreds of Economics personal statements a day– If your Cambridge personal statement is full of jargon and tough words, it would be difficult for them to understand what you are trying to convey to them. You would not way your ideas to be lost in translation, so make sure you communicate in a simple and effective manner! Always value clarity over vocabulary.
  • Not reflecting on any experience that you mentioned in your Cambridge Economics personal statement – Your experience is only as valuable as what you have taken away or learnt from it. Especially when you are mentioning experiences that are not directly related to that of Economics, you should always mention how it is relevant to your application to Economics– whether it be your interest in it or certain personal qualities that you have. If you want to mention a particular experience that you have, however, you are unable to link it to Economics, you can think about how it has led you to develop certain transferable skills. For example, if you have done a lot of community service or volunteered at a charity, you can talk about how this has led you to be interested in learning more about Economics policies or theories that could help with inequality or poverty.
  • Only give yourself enough time to write a singular Cambridge Economics personal statement – Never expect to only write one Cambridge personal statement, and that being the final draft that you would be submitting. Your first Cambridge Economics personal statement that you have crafted would not be your best one, and you should always give yourself enough time to constantly improve and write multiple drafts to further improve it. After writing a draft that you are proud of, it would also be good for you to leave it aside and not think about it. After a week, you can return to it with a fresh mind, and you would be able to note out errors or aspects of it that you would like to further refine. You can also let seniors, friends, or your school’s career guidance counsellor proofread your Cambridge Economics personal statement for them to give a more objective view and perspective on your Cambridge Economics personal statement. Their feedback could be immensely helpful, as sometimes we might not be the most objective person when telling our own stories. However, do remember to not share your Economics personal statement with anyone, as this could lead to unnecessary plagiarism problems!

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  • Economics Personal Statement

A personal statement is up to 4000 characters or 47 lines where you tell a University why you are a suitable candidate for the course. Unfortunately, there is no way of guaranteeing a place on your chosen course but a combination of a good personal statement and the right grades will certainly give you a good chance.

To offer you something useful, we asked senior Economics lecturers around the country what they like to see in an Economics personal statement;

1) Ensure the personal statement is grammatically correct and without spelling errors . Applicants have time to prepare and go over their statement over and over, as well as to get help from their teachers, parents etc. Sloppiness of this kind gives the worst possible impression .

2) Keep paragraphs short and to the point. This is easier to read than a big body of text – admissions officers are unlikely to spend a long time reading over the statement, so make the key points stand out.

3) I see little need to innovate by writing bizarre things so as to stand out – keep things clear, relevant and to the point, also statements such as ‘I have dreamt of studying Economics from when I was a small child’ are completely implausible and all too common! Show enthusiasm for the subject but back it up with evidence of this , such as relevant books you have read (but make sure you have indeed read them before an interview…if caught out lying, looks very weak – you would be surprised how often this happens), issues in the media or current affairs that interest you etc.

Emphasise the reasons why you’re interested in and want to study, Economics . What is it about the subject that makes you want to spend 3 years specialising in it? What especially appeals? If you’ve studied Economics before you might talk about some of the areas you’ve found most interesting; if not, then explain how you came to want to study it. I think this is an exercise that’s of value notwithstanding the personal statement: students who’ve thought carefully about their choice are more likely to make the right one and ultimately to enjoy success with their degrees . Both with this and more generally on the personal statement, be honest (for your own sake as much as the selector’s, remembering that any exaggerations and poorly thought out statements are likely to be exposed in the event of any interviews ) and resist the temptation to write what you think the selector wants to hear (e.g. “I have always loved Economics ever since I was 2”) or to try and flatter (e.g. “I welcome the chance to study at your esteemed institution”); both are likely to sound insincere, won’t convince and will therefore, add little value. Just be yourself, and be both interested and interesting!

Paragraph 1 – give a general introduction of why you wish to study Economics; this might include a particular aspect of the subject that fascinates you (though explain why), when your interest was peaked and how a degree in Economics fits in with your future career aspirations.

Paragraph 2 – give a brief account of why you are suitable for the degree(s) in questions, highlighting relevant A-level courses taken and aspects of them that were of interest. Give academic and non-academic reasons -applicants tend to focus on what they would take from the opportunity to study towards a particular degree- it is nice to explain how they hope to contribute also to the social fabric of the university and interaction within the course/degree.

Paragraph 3 – give evidence of interest for Economics by listing one or two popular Economics books (e.g. Freakonomics, Superfreakonomics, the Armchair Economist, the Bottom Billion…the list goes on) that you have read. Rather than giving an implausibly long list of books read, focus on one or two (or three if the course is a joint honours degree with other subjects) books and (this is crucial…) identify how the book/particular chapter/treatment of a particular issue fuelled your interest in Economics, in particular, what questions it raised in your mind that a degree in Economics would help answer.

Paragraph 4 – describe (briefly) any work experience/voluntary work, highlighting any aspects that are relevant to Economics. A few lines on hobbies or sporting activities could also be included – perhaps to show perseverance of enjoyment in interacting with others. Some interests e.g. debating, are arguably of more relevance than say, golf.

Somewhere in the statement – if applying from overseas, list the qualifications attained in English language and perhaps say a few words on how studying Economics in the U.K. is of particular value to you.

Paragraph 5 – list any awards, prizes etc attained or participation in things like the Model UN or Duke of Edinburgh awards. Some applicants are involved in Target 2.0 and in doing so get a first-hand feel of the role of monetary policy and how interest rates are set and inflation targeting. These are relevant to the statement.

A statement that follows the structure above should give enough information to satisfy most readers and should appear structured, well-written and clearly thought out.

Vague statements of interest with broad sweeping statements of unbridled enthusiasm for the subject lack credibility if not backed up by specific activities/books read/courses taken etc. In my view, a straightforward personal statement that gets all the core points across in a coherent way serves the purpose best.

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Msc economics personal statement example.

Economics is a social science that uses mathematical models and empirical evidence to understand how people use resources, produce goods and services, and interact with each other to create economic systems. The study of economics plays a vital role in helping us understand how the decisions we make as individuals and as a society affect the financial well-being of our community. The overarching goal of my MSc program in Economics is to provide me with the knowledge and skills required to become a successful economist by equipping me with the necessary theoretical knowledge and analytical tools to understand and analyze the economic behavior of individuals and societies. This program would help me to develop strong quantitative skills which are critical to the field of economics and would allow me to pursue a successful career in academics or private sector banks.

My background in the field of economics has provided me with a solid foundation in the basic concepts of economic theory and helped me develop a strong proficiency in the use of statistical and econometric methods. I have significant experience in conducting empirical research projects and developing a sound understanding of complex empirical phenomena. I have also gained considerable experience supervising research projects and student projects and have worked on several different research projects involving various methodologies and statistical models including factor analysis, regression analysis, difference-in-differences, and multiple regression. In addition, I have developed a thorough understanding of the theories and methods of microeconomics and macroeconomics and have gained a solid experience of the different concepts in economics and their application to the real world.

I believe that I am well prepared to embark on a career as a successful economist and that this program would be an excellent way for me to advance my career goals and achieve my dreams of becoming a successful economist. I have a strong desire to succeed and a passion for the field of economics which will allow me to excel in this program and become a valuable asset to my future employer. I have a background in economics from one of the leading universities in Pakistan and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from a university in the US. I have been awarded the Dean’s Honor List every year during my undergraduate studies and my academic record has been consistently good throughout my academic career. I have been an active member of the Economics Association and have been organizing and leading seminars for undergraduate students. I also have a passion for research and have been a research assistant for several professors and Ph.D. students.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my application or my current educational goals. I look forward to your response and am grateful for your time. My name is XXXXX XXXXX and I currently live in the United States. I am a first-year graduate student at Vanderbilt University and I am enrolled in the Master of Professional Studies in Applied Economics and Management program. This program will give me the skills and experience I need to successfully enter the workforce as an economist once I graduate. My previous education has helped me develop a strong analytical skill set and the ability to analyze complex data to solve economic problems. I also have a strong understanding of economic theory which I believe will help me excel in my career as a financial analyst in the future. I come from a highly academic and family-oriented background where I was taught the importance of hard work and dedication from a young age. I have always had a passion for economics and my parents have always been supportive of my educational aspirations. For these reasons, I decided to pursue a degree in economics and pursue a career in this field. I am extremely passionate about my career and would like to work with the government one day to help improve the economic conditions of the people of Pakistan. Therefore, I am applying for this graduate program to gain the knowledge and skills I will need to succeed in my career.

As a graduate student in this program, I will gain the necessary skills and knowledge needed to become a successful financial analyst.

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17 Books for Economics Personal Statements 2022

Which books should you read for your economics personal statement?

After reading this post you will have some ideas for books to read, depending on your specific interests.

There are books for different areas of economics, including game theory, public economics, mathematics in economics, development and more.

First, for a complete guide to economics personal statements, including other supercurricular activities and how to write and structure your statement, click the blue button (paid resource):

Books by category

Economics Rules by Rodrik

  • A good introduction about the uses and limits of economic models.
  • Covers several different models and settings from the 2008 financial crisis to second best theory.

The Economist’s View of the World by Rhoads

  • Another good introduction to economic thinking, this time about some of the ways in which economists think. 
  • This includes opportunity costs, incentives, marginal economics, market failure and government intervention.

Game theory

Thinking Strategically/The Art of Strategy by Dixit and Nalebuff

  • How you can apply game theory to lots of different settings, such as politics, sports and business.
  • Examples of questions covered: When should voters vote for an enemy? Why might “burning bridges” be an effective strategy? How can it pay off to be unpredictable? Game theory attempts to answer these questions and more.
  • My favourite chapter of Thinking Strategically is the chapter on “Brinkmanship”. By taking an enemy “to the brink”, in other words forcing the enemy to accept greater and greater risks on their current path, you may encourage your enemy towards a more acceptable, less risky outcome. This is a good starting point in explaining how nuclear war evolves and maybe, how we can reduce the likelihood of such a war. 

Co-opetition by Brandenburger and Nalebuff 

  • How game theory can be applied in a business setting. Bringing together competition and cooperation.
  • Particularly suited to those with interests in business economics and case studies of different businesses.
  • A highlight for me is the “tactics” chapter of the book. What do job interview processes, peacocks and book publishers have in common? This chapter is about the importance of information or a lack of information. When might it be beneficial to obscure information? Information is a key consideration in game theory and there are important takeaways for business behaviour and the design of compensation schemes or interview processes, for example.

Mathematics in economics

Mastering Metrics by Angrist and Pischke

  • An introduction to key econometrics techniques, such as the idea of regression.
  • Natural experiment methods, such as difference-in-difference methods, instrumental variables and regression discontinuity design. This is the basis for a lot of undergraduate econometrics.

The Drunkard’s Walk by Mlodinow

  • Mostly about statistics and probability (not about economics). 
  • Learning about probability will be key for economics, for example for discussing stock price fluctuations or econometrics.

Development economics

Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty by Yunus

  • Features the roots of the idea of microcredit – giving small loans out to those who cannot normally access funds from traditional banks. 
  • Yunus is the founder of Grameen bank, one of the most well known examples of microcredit in action.
  • I would also recommend supplementing this with reading about the evidence of the effects of microcredit. For example papers by Duflo and Banerjee on the effects of microcredit.

Development as Freedom by Sen

  • A case for defining development in terms of freedom and that development is not just about increasing incomes.

Economic history 

The Ascent of Money by Ferguson

  • Origins of money, banking, financial bubbles and panics.

Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson

  • A historical examination of why some nations are rich and others are poor.
  • Focuses on the importance of “inclusive institutions” (such as enforcement of property rights) as opposed to “extractive institutions”.
  • I also recommend looking into Acemoglu and Robinson’s (2000) paper on institutions as well as academic criticisms of their conclusions from other writers (for example by McArthur and Sachs).

History of economic thought 

The Worldly Philosophers by Heilbroner:

  • Covers several key economists in history, from Adam Smith, Malthus and Ricardo to Keynes and Schumpeter.


Austerity by Alesina, Favero and Giavazzi:

  • Discusses the effects of fiscal austerity (reducing the size of the government budget deficit relative to GDP) and when this might be an effective policy.
  • A good introduction to thinking and economic modelling in macroeconomics.

The Subprime Solution by Shiller

  • Discusses causes of and solutions to global financial crises. Focusses on the importance of behavioural aspects of economics and finance.

Behavioural economics

Misbehaving by Thaler

  • Covers key ideas in and the history of behavioural economics.

The Price of Inequality by Stiglitz

  • Good discussion of the dangers of inequality, including how it affects living standards, politics and the economy, and what can be done about it.

Environmental economics and public economics 

Growth for Good by Terzi:

  • How economic growth can mitigate, rather than exacerbate, the impacts of climate change.

Fragile Futures by Tanzi:

  • How economists and governments should deal with uncertain events, including pandemics, climate change and other disasters.

Other questions

Why put books in the personal statement.

First of all there are personal benefits derived from reading. You can understand new ideas which you can apply to the real world and achieve personal enjoyment from reading.

For the purposes of personal statements, reading can act as a signal that you study beyond the standard curriculum. So you would be a motivated student at university.

How should I use books in a personal statement?

It is not a good idea just to name-drop the book, without any further discussion. How can the person reading your statement tell if you have actually read it?

The best way to discuss a book is to mention your own opinion of or takeaway from the book. Do you agree with the book? Did you find anything particularly surprising or interesting? Does the book help explain other phenomena you have observed, or link to something else?

So, when reading a book, I highly recommend making some notes on key ideas or points from the book and your own thoughts. You can then return to these points in the future or come back to them when writing your statement.

To read more about economics university applications (personal statement, supercurriculars and Oxbridge applications), click the link here .

BrightLink Prep

Example LSE Personal Statement in Economics

economics personal statement introduction

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statements samples by university.

The following personal statement is written by an applicant who got accepted to Masters’s program in Local Economic Development at London School of Economics. Read this essay to understand what a top Personal Statement in economics should look like.

Sample Personal Statement for LSE

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher.

As a child, my daily routine composed of attending school, helping with household chores, and learning embroidery. For all I knew, this was how girls lived in rural Balochistan. However, when I was 15, my family shifted to urban Karachi, where I saw a new world. The new moon of this unique place brought a lot of challenges with itself. I did not know how to converse with my privileged peers, and I had to study extra hours to compete with them. But the most shocking realization was that there was no trace of my previous lifestyle in this city, and girls had very different aspirations here compared to those in my village.

Harsh realities of chronic poverty, income inequality, and persistent unemployment are widespread in Pakistan, but the situation is even worse in my native Balochistan. Despite being rich in natural resources, nearly all Balochis live below the poverty line. As one of the few educated Balochis who has experienced hunger, I have always considered it a personal responsibility to play an active role in resolving the economic challenges of this province.

With this ardent desire, I joined Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit (CMPRU) as an economist research officer in Balochistan. My experience at the CMPRU, which provides policy support to Balochistan Chief Minister’s office, has been invaluable. Working directly with the Government’s economic advisors has enlightened me about the practical implications of economic theories. I have played a lead role in preparing a concept note called “Proposed Balochistan Development Vision and Strategy” for the development of primary sectors using the ‘Big Push’ and ‘Unbalanced’ growth theories. I used demographics and economic variables for identifying Rural and Urban Growth Nodes, i.e., selected areas where the development effort will be concentrated. District-wise data was used to build the primary economy of the province, which in turn would trigger growth in the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy.

At CMPRU, I also conducted in-depth research on the ‘State of School Education in Balochistan’ and proposed actionable recommendations to improve school education. The output variables (student performance of grades five to ten) were correlated with input variables (school facilities) to analyze the data on education. The findings convinced the education department to opt for multi-room, multi-teacher schools instead of one-room, one-teacher schools, which were strengthened using distance learning techniques. The results of my work were also published in “The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press”.

I particularly enjoyed this research work because it was an extension of a cause I previously worked passionately for – the ‘Strengthening Poverty Reduction Strategy Monitoring Project’ (SPRSM). At SPRSM, I was engaged in a pro-poor and gender analysis of the provincial budget of the Government of Balochistan. My work revealed how the provincial budget is being used as a powerful tool to favour the males over the females and how the poor choices of government spending enhanced gender inequity. For example, constructing more boys’ schools was creating education inequality. The Planning & Development Department and key Ministries brought my work to light as a landmark study, and its findings were incorporated into the forthcoming budget.

Balochistan remains stagnant in the pre-industrial era and the grip of a robust military insurgency. Unfortunately, the people of Balochistan have never been taken on board while deciding their province’s fate; consequently, an armed struggle in the region continues to date. Currently, the Federal Government has agreed to give control of the Gwadar Port to a Chinese company on 43 years lease, and similar sentiments are surfacing in local stakeholders as they feel distanced from important decisions. When bottom-up economic policies are used to initiate the decision-making process, we will be able to see better results.

My experiences have convinced me of the importance of Economics in the socioeconomic development of a society. Consequently, I have decided to pursue an MSc in Local Economic Development at LSE, where I wish to seek and explore the contextualized definition of development from the point of view of indigenous people in Balochistan. Balochistan, being in the nascent stage of economic development, requires a unique development model to reap the benefits. The particular focus of LSE’s program on policy frameworks for local economies will enable me to devise the right policy interventions to spur economic growth in the province.

Working directly with the Chief Minister Balochistan Office and having the mandate to advise the Government on its policymaking, I have identified specific areas where I wish to make a significant impact after completing my LSE degree. For example, NGOs in Balochistan conduct pre-budget consultations every year to force provincial governments to make citizen-friendly budgets and increase the size of the Annual Development Plan. However, such efforts are not bringing any change. I regard this failure as a lack of technical expertise of the NGOs and the absence of their initial formal economic analysis of past government spending behaviours.

Following this rigorous and insightful MSc program, I feel I would be better equipped to trace the gaps and inefficiencies in budget-making and suggest ways to eliminate their inefficiencies. Furthermore, connections made with alumni, students and teachers at LSE will help me learn more about solutions others have implemented in other countries and then adapt them to Balochistan. I will also be able to use this platform to pique people working in Balochistan and forge partnerships with local NGOs and government institutions in other countries.

LSE will allow me to live in a multicultural setting and learn from other cultures. Moreover, it will let me tell people about life in Balochistan. Through this degree, I aim to complement my experience with a broad-based economic education and analytical tools that not only provide me with an academic foundation but also enable me to tackle real-world economic problems. I firmly believe that our economic policies should protect our wealth and resources and promote open markets and economic growth. 


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Successful Personal Statement For Economics & Management At Oxford

Author: Adi Sen

  • Successful Personal Statement For Economics…

Table of Contents

Welcome to our popular Personal Statement series where we present a successful Personal Statement, and our Oxbridge Tutors provide their feedback on it. 

Today, we are looking through an Economics and Managment applicant’s Personal Statement that helped secure a place at Oxford University. The Economics and Management Course at Oxford examines issues central to the world we live in: namely how the economy and organisations function, and how resources are allocated and coordinated to achieve the organisation’s objectives.

Read on to see how this candidate managed to navigate the many disciplines of E&M. 

Here’s a breakdown of the Personal Statement:


The universities this candidate applied to were the following:

The World’s First Oxbridge Preparatory School

Economics and Management Personal Statement

Economics is the study of now. I view it as the study of the psychology of the people who dictate our lives. The world around us is shaped by the fundamental concept of supply and demand, wants and needs, goods and services. What grips me is that everything I have studied I can apply to real life. Discussions about inflation, for example, are so applicable since its current status is active in the world of pricing; the price of a Big Mac and “Burgernomics” is something to which I can relate from my travels.

The statistical aspect of economic analysis is closely linked to my interest in Mathematics, thus I will take an Econometric route on option modules. This scientific approach to what is otherwise a field-based solely on individual theories and concepts interests me, as I find quantitative analysis much more accurate and reliable than qualitative theories. As an example, I relish analysing more Econometric models on the A-level Course: like Profit Maximisation calculations.

Despite this, Economics intertwines both Maths and Philosophy on a regular basis. I recently read an article from the Guardian by George Monbiot, which discussed the cost-benefit analysis model and whether nature could be quantified as a tangible asset, and how this would benefit neo-liberals in their perpetual quest for profit. This is just an example of how Econometric analysis does not always deliver such verisimilitude where the figures given are ambiguous. This is what is unique about Economics: there is no right answer to the question ‘Is there a right answer?’ The concept of there being methods of analysing the psychology of and nature behind the way that the interface between consumers and producers operates seems to exceed all other subjects in terms of interest.

I find it peculiar that a subject that has such a ubiquitous undercurrent in our society is so undefined and obscure; it is undoubtedly this which draws me to it. Consequently, I strive to keep up with Economics in the modern world by reading the “I” and “Guardian” newspapers, and “The Economist” magazine regularly. For wider background reading I have read Marx’s “Communist Manifesto”, Tim Hartford’s “The Undercover Economist” and “Too Big To Fail” by Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Sorkin’s book provided a gripping, in-depth insight into the world of investment banking and entrepreneurship – I finished the book in a matter of days. His book has inspired me to enter the investment sector. Upon graduation I would like to become an investment banker or negotiator, hence I am in the process of trying to arrange some work experience with the London Metal Exchange.

I completed a programme of work experience with Linden Homes this summer, through the Career Academy Programme on which I am enrolled. It was a six-week internship during which I gained a firm understanding of a construction company’s place within the national economy. I enjoyed spending valuable time in a variety of departments within the firm. I also have work experience planned in Belgium in 2013.

Additionally, I participate in a multitude of extracurricular activities. My team and I finished second in the national UMPH Business Competition; in Year 11 my team set the school record for the Enterprise Day Challenge and for three consecutive years my team won the Grimsby Inter-School Quiz without loss. Furthermore, I am part of both the Franklin College Debating Team and the weekly “Blue Sky Club”, where students meet to discuss current affairs.

Recently, a particular subject of interest has been the US election. We frequently discuss the debates and the candidates, covering subjects like their political viewpoints and how it will affect both our lives and those of the American public – plus the potential Economic ramifications of the possible outcomes. With a genuine zeal for the subject and an ability to relate my studies to the real world, I am convinced that I will thoroughly thrive at degree level Economics.

For more inspiration, take a look through our other successful Personal Statement a nalysis articles:

Good Points Of The Personal Statement

The student gives a good insight into their academic interests and what’s inspired them to develop over time. They also demonstrate a passion for the subject, not only by stating their interest in it but by further explaining what interests them and why they would make a good candidate to study it at university. The student is already accomplished and explains well what they’ve gained from their various extra-curricular activities.

Bad Points Of The Personal Statement

The writing is weak and, at points, unnatural. The forced interjections of examples and unusual adjectives make it read like a student attempting to write a formal and formulaic exam essay. They would do better to write in their usual style, even if it is somewhat informal; this will allow them to better express themselves and they will come across as more interesting to those reading it. More importantly than this, however, at times, the student fails to keep up their otherwise good level of detail, and the writing becomes list-like.

This is particularly prominent when they discuss books they’ve read to develop their understanding of economics. Although they expand on one of these, they do so in little detail. Interviewers are unlikely to be impressed by simply mentioning that you’ve read a book – any student applying for degree-level economics is able to read The Communist Manifesto, for instance – but they will be impressed by your response to it and what you gained from the experience of reading it. Unless you expand on these details, a list of books you’ve read does nothing to contribute to the statement.

UniAdmissions Overall Score:

This statement is strong, except where it discusses academic work. The detail here was likely sacrificed in favour of expanding further on their extra-curricular activities and their particular areas of interest. However, they have limited discussion of their study of various classic economic works so severely that it fails to add anything to the piece. The statement would, therefore, benefit from a more balanced approach to the various areas of the student’s life.

We give this Economics Personal Statement a 4/5 as they have clearly projected their passion for the subject onto paper – the most important part of a strong Personal Statement – albeit this was at the cost of other factors that should have been covered in more depth.

And there we have it – an Oxford E&M Personal Statement with feedback from our expert tutors. 

Remember, at Oxford, the Admissions Tutors are often the people who will be teaching you for the next few years, so you need to appeal directly to them.

Our Free Personal Statement Resources page is filled with even more successful personal statements and expert guides.

Our expert tutors are on hand to help you craft the perfect Personal Statement for your Oxford E&M application.

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Personal statement example economics personal statement.

Economics Personal Statement

My desire to study Economics at university stems from my interest in the incredible pace of change in the world. Development Economics fascinates me and I believe the greatest challenges in our future will be of an economic origin. I am intrigued by the on-going issues we face, such as allocating ever depleting resources and the ‘tragedy of the commons’, as well as issues which have become more acute in recent years, such as globalisation and global poverty.

Through reading around my Economics course I discovered how historical economic models could be applied to modern situations. A particular example which appealed to me was Harford’s demonstration in ‘The Undercover Economist’ of how Ricardo’s 1817 farming analysis could explain diverse situations, such as coffee shops and high rent prices in London . Recently I read Collier’s ‘The Bottom Billion’, after learning about high taxation in poor countries from an article in a June 2015 ‘The Economist’. I was drawn to the idea that this could stimulate growth because it contradicted the low taxation neoliberal hegemony I had previously encountered. I think Collier’s proposed solutions, despite some being controversial (e.g. military intervention), are sensible and could be highly effective. Naturally, I am yet to look at all of the solutions posed by different economists, however I believe it is a challenging and stimulating task to find viable resolutions.

Through my work-experience at Emirates NBD I learnt more about the application of economics to real-life. The real-estate team proved how scarcity influences the housing market: even during a slump in 2011, an apartment in Mayfair sold for above the asking price due to localised demand. I also shadowed the Emirates’ Head of the Treasury who explained how interest rates are set and the concept of net interest margin. This led me to explore financial management further: I am now able to follow market fluctuations in ‘The Financial Times’ with an informed opinion.

Living in Spain makes the study of European economics particularly fascinating for me. I enjoy following the Spanish and British economies; in particular, comparing the approaches taken by the Bank of England and the ECB to tackle their various economic issues. Although both the economies of Spain and the UK recovered slowly – with Britain having its longest recovery in 300 years of recorded history – the Spanish unemployment rate has remained persistently above that of the UK. For me, it is a fascinating challenge to understand the factors contributing to this ongoing problem for Spain.

Learning another language has given me a wider global perspective. It enables me to follow the news from more sources, giving alternate views, and keeping me informed on the Hispanic countries. Maths is an integral part of economics as it transforms theories into practical applications and I look forward to developing my skills and applying my knowledge in new ways. I enjoy tennis and drama. Last year I completed my Silver LAMDA qualification, which took commitment and careful time management. By tutoring maths I have also developed my communication style, in particular, the ability to convey complex information simply.

Economics is central to the human condition and gives the tools to understand some of the most important motivations of states and individuals in our increasingly global society.  I eagerly await the opportunity to understand more about the world we live in and, in the future, hopefully help to influence it for the better.

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1.1 What Is Economics, and Why Is It Important?

Learning objectives.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of studying economics
  • Explain the relationship between production and division of labor
  • Evaluate the significance of scarcity

Economics is the study of how humans make decisions in the face of scarcity. These can be individual decisions, family decisions, business decisions or societal decisions. If you look around carefully, you will see that scarcity is a fact of life. Scarcity means that human wants for goods, services and resources exceed what is available. Resources, such as labor, tools, land, and raw materials are necessary to produce the goods and services we want but they exist in limited supply. Of course, the ultimate scarce resource is time- everyone, rich or poor, has just 24 expendable hours in the day to earn income to acquire goods and services, for leisure time, or for sleep. At any point in time, there is only a finite amount of resources available.

Think about it this way: In 2015 the labor force in the United States contained over 158 million workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total land area was 3,794,101 square miles. While these are certainly large numbers, they are not infinite. Because these resources are limited, so are the numbers of goods and services we produce with them. Combine this with the fact that human wants seem to be virtually infinite, and you can see why scarcity is a problem.

Introduction to FRED

Data is very important in economics because it describes and measures the issues and problems that economics seek to understand. A variety of government agencies publish economic and social data. For this course, we will generally use data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's FRED database. FRED is very user friendly. It allows you to display data in tables or charts, and you can easily download it into spreadsheet form if you want to use the data for other purposes. The FRED website includes data on nearly 400,000 domestic and international variables over time, in the following broad categories:

  • Money, Banking & Finance
  • Population, Employment, & Labor Markets (including Income Distribution)
  • National Accounts (Gross Domestic Product & its components), Flow of Funds, and International Accounts
  • Production & Business Activity (including Business Cycles)
  • Prices & Inflation (including the Consumer Price Index, the Producer Price Index, and the Employment Cost Index)
  • International Data from other nations
  • U.S. Regional Data
  • Academic Data (including Penn World Tables & NBER Macrohistory database)

For more information about how to use FRED, see the variety of videos on YouTube starting with this introduction.

If you still do not believe that scarcity is a problem, consider the following: Does everyone require food to eat? Does everyone need a decent place to live? Does everyone have access to healthcare? In every country in the world, there are people who are hungry, homeless (for example, those who call park benches their beds, as Figure 1.2 shows), and in need of healthcare, just to focus on a few critical goods and services. Why is this the case? It is because of scarcity. Let’s delve into the concept of scarcity a little deeper, because it is crucial to understanding economics.

The Problem of Scarcity

Think about all the things you consume: food, shelter, clothing, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. How do you acquire those items? You do not produce them yourself. You buy them. How do you afford the things you buy? You work for pay. If you do not, someone else does on your behalf. Yet most of us never have enough income to buy all the things we want. This is because of scarcity. So how do we solve it?

Visit this website to read about how the United States is dealing with scarcity in resources.

Every society, at every level, must make choices about how to use its resources. Families must decide whether to spend their money on a new car or a fancy vacation. Towns must choose whether to put more of the budget into police and fire protection or into the school system. Nations must decide whether to devote more funds to national defense or to protecting the environment. In most cases, there just isn’t enough money in the budget to do everything. How do we use our limited resources the best way possible, that is, to obtain the most goods and services we can? There are a couple of options. First, we could each produce everything we each consume. Alternatively, we could each produce some of what we want to consume, and “trade” for the rest of what we want. Let’s explore these options. Why do we not each just produce all of the things we consume? Think back to pioneer days, when individuals knew how to do so much more than we do today, from building their homes, to growing their crops, to hunting for food, to repairing their equipment. Most of us do not know how to do all—or any—of those things, but it is not because we could not learn. Rather, we do not have to. The reason why is something called the division and specialization of labor , a production innovation first put forth by Adam Smith ( Figure 1.3 ) in his book, The Wealth of Nations .

The Division of and Specialization of Labor

The formal study of economics began when Adam Smith (1723–1790) published his famous book The Wealth of Nations in 1776. Many authors had written on economics in the centuries before Smith, but he was the first to address the subject in a comprehensive way. In the first chapter, Smith introduces the concept of division of labor , which means that the way one produces a good or service is divided into a number of tasks that different workers perform, instead of all the tasks being done by the same person.

To illustrate division of labor, Smith counted how many tasks went into making a pin: drawing out a piece of wire, cutting it to the right length, straightening it, putting a head on one end and a point on the other, and packaging pins for sale, to name just a few. Smith counted 18 distinct tasks that different people performed—all for a pin, believe it or not!

Modern businesses divide tasks as well. Even a relatively simple business like a restaurant divides the task of serving meals into a range of jobs like top chef, sous chefs, less-skilled kitchen help, servers to wait on the tables, a greeter at the door, janitors to clean up, and a business manager to handle paychecks and bills—not to mention the economic connections a restaurant has with suppliers of food, furniture, kitchen equipment, and the building where it is located. A complex business like a large manufacturing factory, such as the shoe factory ( Figure 1.4 ), or a hospital can have hundreds of job classifications.

Why the Division of Labor Increases Production

When we divide and subdivide the tasks involved with producing a good or service, workers and businesses can produce a greater quantity of output. In his observations of pin factories, Smith noticed that one worker alone might make 20 pins in a day, but that a small business of 10 workers (some of whom would need to complete two or three of the 18 tasks involved with pin-making), could make 48,000 pins in a day. How can a group of workers, each specializing in certain tasks, produce so much more than the same number of workers who try to produce the entire good or service by themselves? Smith offered three reasons.

First, specialization in a particular small job allows workers to focus on the parts of the production process where they have an advantage. (In later chapters, we will develop this idea by discussing comparative advantage .) People have different skills, talents, and interests, so they will be better at some jobs than at others. The particular advantages may be based on educational choices, which are in turn shaped by interests and talents. Only those with medical degrees qualify to become doctors, for instance. For some goods, geography affects specialization. For example, it is easier to be a wheat farmer in North Dakota than in Florida, but easier to run a tourist hotel in Florida than in North Dakota. If you live in or near a big city, it is easier to attract enough customers to operate a successful dry cleaning business or movie theater than if you live in a sparsely populated rural area. Whatever the reason, if people specialize in the production of what they do best, they will be more effective than if they produce a combination of things, some of which they are good at and some of which they are not.

Second, workers who specialize in certain tasks often learn to produce more quickly and with higher quality. This pattern holds true for many workers, including assembly line laborers who build cars, stylists who cut hair, and doctors who perform heart surgery. In fact, specialized workers often know their jobs well enough to suggest innovative ways to do their work faster and better.

A similar pattern often operates within businesses. In many cases, a business that focuses on one or a few products (sometimes called its “ core competency ”) is more successful than firms that try to make a wide range of products.

Third, specialization allows businesses to take advantage of economies of scale , which means that for many goods, as the level of production increases, the average cost of producing each individual unit declines. For example, if a factory produces only 100 cars per year, each car will be quite expensive to make on average. However, if a factory produces 50,000 cars each year, then it can set up an assembly line with huge machines and workers performing specialized tasks, and the average cost of production per car will be lower. The ultimate result of workers who can focus on their preferences and talents, learn to do their specialized jobs better, and work in larger organizations is that society as a whole can produce and consume far more than if each person tried to produce all of their own goods and services. The division and specialization of labor has been a force against the problem of scarcity.

Trade and Markets

Specialization only makes sense, though, if workers can use the pay they receive for doing their jobs to purchase the other goods and services that they need. In short, specialization requires trade.

You do not have to know anything about electronics or sound systems to play music—you just buy an iPod or MP3 player, download the music, and listen. You do not have to know anything about artificial fibers or the construction of sewing machines if you need a jacket—you just buy the jacket and wear it. You do not need to know anything about internal combustion engines to operate a car—you just get in and drive. Instead of trying to acquire all the knowledge and skills involved in producing all of the goods and services that you wish to consume, the market allows you to learn a specialized set of skills and then use the pay you receive to buy the goods and services you need or want. This is how our modern society has evolved into a strong economy.

Why Study Economics?

Now that you have an overview on what economics studies, let’s quickly discuss why you are right to study it. Economics is not primarily a collection of facts to memorize, although there are plenty of important concepts to learn. Instead, think of economics as a collection of questions to answer or puzzles to work. Most importantly, economics provides the tools to solve those puzzles.

Consider the complex and critical issue of education barriers on national and regional levels, which affect millions of people and result in widespread poverty and inequality. Governments, aid organizations, and wealthy individuals spend billions of dollars each year trying to address these issues. Nations announce the revitalization of their education programs; tech companies donate devices and infrastructure, and celebrities and charities build schools and sponsor students. Yet the problems remain, sometimes almost as pronounced as they were before the intervention. Why is that the case? In 2019, three economists—Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee, and Michael Kremer—were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work to answer those questions. They worked diligently to break the widespread problems into smaller pieces, and experimented with small interventions to test success. The award citation credited their work with giving the world better tools and information to address poverty and improve education. Esther Duflo, who is the youngest person and second woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, said, "We believed that like the war on cancer, the war on poverty was not going to be won in one major battle, but in a series of small triumphs. . . . This work and the culture of learning that it fostered in governments has led to real improvement in the lives of hundreds of millions of poor people.”

As you can see, economics affects far more than business. For example:

  • Virtually every major problem facing the world today, from global warming, to world poverty, to the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia, has an economic dimension. If you are going to be part of solving those problems, you need to be able to understand them. Economics is crucial.
  • It is hard to overstate the importance of economics to good citizenship. You need to be able to vote intelligently on budgets, regulations, and laws in general. When the U.S. government came close to a standstill at the end of 2012 due to the “fiscal cliff,” what were the issues? Did you know?
  • A basic understanding of economics makes you a well-rounded thinker. When you read articles about economic issues, you will understand and be able to evaluate the writer’s argument. When you hear classmates, co-workers, or political candidates talking about economics, you will be able to distinguish between common sense and nonsense. You will find new ways of thinking about current events and about personal and business decisions, as well as current events and politics.

The study of economics does not dictate the answers, but it can illuminate the different choices.

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Writing a Personal Statement

Wellesley Career Education logo

Preparing to Write

Brainstorming, don't forget, sample prompts.

A personal statement is a narrative essay that connects your background, experiences, and goals to the mission, requirements, and desired outcomes of the specific opportunity you are seeking. It is a critical component in the selection process, whether the essay is for a competitive internship, a graduate fellowship, or admittance to a graduate school program. It gives the selection committee the best opportunity to get to know you, how you think and make decisions, ways in which past experiences have been significant or formative, and how you envision your future. Personal statements can be varied in form; some are given a specific prompt, while others are less structured. However, in general a personal statement should answer the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your goals?
  • How does this specific program/opportunity help you achieve your goals?
  • What is in the future?

A personal statement is not:

  • A variation of your college admissions essay
  • An academic/research paper
  • A narrative version of your resume
  • A creative writing piece (it can be creative, though)
  • An essay about somebody else

Keep in mind that your statement is only a portion of the application and should be written with this in mind. Your entire application package will include some, possibly all, of the materials listed below. You will want to consider what these pieces of the application communicate about you. Your personal statement should aim to tie everything together and fill in or address any gaps. There will likely be some overlap but be sure not to be too repetitive.

  • Personal Statement(s)
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Sample of written work
  • Research proposal

Preparing to Write A large portion of your work towards completing a personal statement begins well before your first draft or even an outline. It is incredibly important to be sure you understand all of the rules and regulations around the statement. Things to consider before you begin writing:

  • How many prompts? And what are they? It is important to know the basics so you can get your ideas in order. Some programs will require a general statement of interest and a focused supplementary or secondary statement closely aligned with the institution's goals.
  • Are there formatting guidelines? Single or double spaced, margins, fonts, text sizes, etc. Our general guideline is to keep it simple.
  • How do I submit my statement(s)? If uploading a document we highly suggest using a PDF as it will minimize the chances of accidental changes to formatting. Some programs may event ask you to copy and paste into a text box.
  • When do I have to submit my statement(s)? Most are due at the time of application but some programs, especially medical schools, will ask for secondary statements a few months after you apply. In these instances be sure to complete them within two weeks, any longer is an indication that you aren't that interested in the institution.

Before you start writing, take some time to reflect on your experiences and motivations as they relate to the programs to which you are applying. This will offer you a chance to organize your thoughts which will make the writing process much easier. Below are a list of questions to help you get started:

  • What individuals, experiences or events have shaped your interest in this particular field?
  • What has influenced your decision to apply to graduate school?
  • How does this field align with your interests, strengths, and values?
  • What distinguishes you from other applicants?
  • What would you bring to this program/profession?
  • What has prepared you for graduate study in this field? Consider your classes at Wellesley, research and work experience, including internships, summer jobs and volunteer work.
  • Why are you interested in this particular institution or degree program?
  • How is this program distinct from others?
  • What do you hope to gain?
  • What is motivating you to seek an advanced degree now?
  • Where do you see yourself headed and how will this degree program help you get there?

For those applying to Medical School, if you need a committee letter for your application and are using the Medical Professions Advisory Committee you have already done a lot of heavy lifting through the 2017-2018 Applicant Information Form . Even if you aren't using MPAC the applicant information form is a great place to start.

Another great place to start is through talking out your ideas. You have a number of options both on and off campus, such as: Career Education advisors and mentors ( you can set up an appointment here ), major advisor, family, friends. If you are applying to a graduate program it is especially important to talk with a faculty member in the field. Remember to take good notes so you can refer to them later.

When you begin writing keep in mind that your essay is one of many in the application pool. This is not to say you should exaggerate your experiences to “stand out” but that you should focus on clear, concise writing. Also keep in mind that the readers are considering you not just as a potential student but a future colleague. Be sure to show them examples and experiences which demonstrate you are ready to begin their program.

It is important to remember that your personal statement will take time and energy to complete, so plan accordingly. Every application and statement should be seen as different from one another, even if they are all the same type of program. Each institution may teach you the same material but their delivery or focus will be slightly different.

In addition, remember:

  • Be yourself: You aren’t good at being someone else
  • Tragedy is not a requirement, reflection and depth are
  • Research the institution or organization
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread
  • How to have your personal statement reviewed

The prompts below are from actual applications to a several types of programs. As you will notice many of them are VERY general in nature. This is why it is so important to do your research and reflect on your motivations. Although the prompts are similar in nature the resulting statements would be very different depending on the discipline and type of program, as well as your particular background and reasons for wanting to pursue this graduate degree.

  • This statement should illustrate your academic background and experiences and explain why you would excel in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (UMass Amherst - M.S. in Civil Engineering).
  • Describe your academic and career objectives and how the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies can help you achieve them. Include other considerations that explain why you seek admissions to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and your interests in the environmental field (Yale - Master of Environmental Management).  
  • Please discuss your academic interests and goals. Include your current professional and research interests, as well as your long-range professional objectives. Please be as specific as possible about how your objectives can be met at Clark and do not exceed 800 words (Clark University - M.A. in International Development and Social Change).
  • Write a 500- to 700-word statement that describes your work or research. Discuss how you came to focus on the medium, body of work, or academic area you wish to pursue at the graduate level. Also discuss future directions or goals for your work, and describe how the Master of Fine Arts in Studio (Printmedia) is particularly suited to your professional goals (School of the Art Institute of Chicago - MFA in Studio, Printmaking).
  • Your statement should explain why you want to study economics at the graduate level. The statement is particularly important if there is something unusual about your background and preparation that you would like us to know about you (University of Texas at Austin - Ph.D in Economics).
  • Your personal goal statement is an important part of the review process for our faculty members as they consider your application. They want to know about your background, work experience, plans for graduate study and professional career, qualifications that make you a strong candidate for the program, and any other relevant information (Indiana University Bloomington - M.S.Ed. in Secondary Education).
  • Your autobiographical essay/personal statement is a narrative that outlines significant experiences in your life, including childhood experiences, study and work, your strengths and aspirations in the field of architecture, and why you want to come to the University of Oregon (University of Oregon - Master of Architecture).
  • Personal history and diversity statement, in which you describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may refer to any educational, familial, cultural, economic or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education (U.C. Davis - M.A. in Linguistics).
  • A Personal Statement specifying your past experiences, reasons for applying, and your areas of interest. It should explain your intellectual and personal goals, why you are interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary degree rather than a more traditional disciplinary one, and how this degree fits into your intellectual and personal future (Rutgers University - Ph.D in Women’s and Gender Studies).
  • Your application requires a written statement to uploaded into your application and is a critical component of your application for admission. This is your opportunity to tell us what excites you about the field of library and information science, and what problems you want to help solve in this field. Please also tell us how your prior experiences have prepared you for this next step toward your career goals and how this program will help you achieve them (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill - Master of Science in Library Science).
  • After watching the video, please describe what strengths and preferences as a learner you have that will facilitate your success in this innovative curriculum. What challenges in our curriculum do you anticipate and what strategies might you use to address these challenges? (MGH Institute of Health Professions PT - They recently redesigned their curriculum)
  • Your personal goal statement should briefly describe how you view the future of the field, what your goals are to be part of that future, and what brought you to pursue an advanced education degree in your chosen field. You may include any other information that you feel might be useful. (Northeastern PT)
  • Personal Statement: In 500 words or less, describe a meaningful educational experience that affected your professional goals and growth and explain how it impacted you. The educational experience does not need to be related to this degree. Focus on the educational experience and not why you think you would be a good professional in this field. (Simmons PT)
  • Personal Statement (500 word minimum): State your reasons for seeking admission to this program at this institution. Include your professional goals, why you want to pursue a career in this field and how admission to this program will assist you in accomplishing those goals. (Regis College Nursing)
  • “Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to this type of program.” (AMCAS)
  • Address the following three questions(Though there is no set limit, most statements are 1–2 pages, single-spaced.): What are your reasons for pursuing this degree? Why do you wish to pursue your degree at this institution? How do you intend to leverage your degree in a career of this field? (Boston University MPH)
  • Please submit a personal statement/statement of purpose of no more than 500 words for the department/degree of choice. Professional degree essays require a clear understanding of the _______ field and how you hope to work within the field. Be sure to proofread your personal statement carefully for spelling and grammar. In your statement, be sure to address the following: what interests you in the field of _____ what interests you in a specific degree program and department at this institution and what interests you in a particular certificate (if applicable). Please also describe how you hope to use your ________ training to help you achieve your career goals. (Columbia PhD in Public Health - Epidemiology)
  • Because each Home Program requires significant original research activities in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, we are interested in obtaining as much information as possible about your previous research experiences. Those who already have such experience are in a better position to know whether they are truly interested in performing ______ research as part of a graduate program. Please include specific information about your research experience in your Statement of Purpose. You may also use the Statement to amplify your comments about your choice of Home Program(s), and how your past experiences and current interests are related to your choice. Personal Statements should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced). Make sure to set your computer to Western European or other English-language setting. We cannot guarantee the ability to access your statement if it is submitted in other fonts. (Stanford Biosciences PhD)
  • Your statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the Department of ____ at ___ University. It would be helpful to include what you have done to prepare for this degree program. Please describe your research interests, past research experience, future career plans and other details of your background and interests that will allow us to evaluate your ability to thrive in our program. If you have interests that align with a specific faculty member, you may state this in your application. Your statement of purpose should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced). (Stanford Bioengineering PhD)
  • Statement of purpose (Up to one page or 1,000 words): Rather than a research proposal, you should provide a statement of purpose. Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at this institution and your relevant experience and education. Please provide an indication of the area of your proposed research and supervisor(s) in your statement. This will be assessed for the coherence of the statement; evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study; the ability to present a reasoned case in English; and commitment to the subject. (Oxford Inorganic Chemistry - DPhil)

Related resources

Top 10 Personal Brand Statement Examples To Follow

Maddy Osman

Updated: March 11, 2024

Published: June 18, 2023

In a 2022 personal branding trends study, most respondents said they consider personal branding an essential component of work and their everyday life. 

what is a personal brand statement

It found that 75% of Americans trust someone with a personal brand, and 63% are likely to buy from someone with a personal brand. 

As an entrepreneur who is always on the lookout for customers or potential investors, you know that trust is key. Developing a personal brand for yourself can be an effective tool to help grow your business.

What is a personal brand statement?

A personal brand statement is a couple of sentences that highlights your unique skills and experience. It’s meant to be a quick introduction to people who discover you online because it summarizes what you can offer them.

Basically, it’s a catchphrase, tag line, or elevator pitch for you as a professional individual. While it showcases what you do professionally, you can also display your personality.

Why leaders should have a personal brand statement

You make a better first impression.

As the saying goes, “You only have one shot to make a first impression.” The challenge for entrepreneurs is that you don’t always know when that opportunity arises, as many first impressions happen online.

When a potential client or investor hears about you, their first instinct is to look up your social media profiles. If you’ve got a clear and well-thought-out personal brand statement, you’ve got a better chance at making them stick around for second and third impressions.

You can establish yourself as a thought leader

Thought leadership is a powerful content marketing tactic that can help you reach bigger audiences and generate leads for your business. When you’re known as a leader in your particular industry, that automatically gives you a higher level of credibility. 

A personal brand statement can strengthen your thought leadership strategy by clearly stating your area of expertise.

You can create networking opportunities

Whether you’re looking for top talent, new clients, or potential investors, networking is half the battle. 

Personal brand statements make it easy for potential connections to understand exactly what you do and what you value. Without it, you may miss out on opportunities simply because they didn’t know that you had something relevant to offer them.

Best personal brand statement examples for leaders

“bilingual creative who lives at the intersection of business & design.” —chris do.

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Chris Do’s LinkedIn page .

Chris Do is a multi-hyphenate: a designer, creative strategist, public speaker, founder, and CEO of The Futur, an online education platform.

What makes it great : Because he wears so many hats, Do’s personal branding statement is better than trying to explain everything he does.

“Helping people find their zen in the digital age.” —Shama Hyder

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Shama Hyder’s homepage .

Shama Hyder is the founder and CEO of Zen Media, a marketing and PR firm. She’s also written a book about digital marketing .

What makes it great : Hyder’s brand statement is an attention-grabbing play on her company’s name and showcases one of her key values: making clients feel a sense of calm in a fast-paced digital world.

“Write better sales emails faster with our in-inbox coach.” —Will Allred

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Will Allred’s LinkedIn page .

Will Allred is the co-founder of Lavender, an AI-powered email software startup.

What makes it great : Brooklin Nash, CEO of Beam Content, shares, “In one sentence, Allred captures the entire focus of his social presence: to help salespeople write better emails faster while demonstrating his authority and sharing his product in the second part of that headline.”

“Keeping it awkward, brave, and kind.” —Brené Brown

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Dr. Brené Brown’s homepage .

Brené Brown has a Ph.D. in sociology and is the author of several books that cover topics like shame, vulnerability, empathy, and courage.

What makes it great : Dr. Brown’s personal brand statement embodies her mission statement of encouraging people to embrace their vulnerabilities by sharing her own.

“Empowering ridiculously good marketing.” —Ann Handley

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Ann Handley’s homepage .

Ann Handley is a digital marketing expert and bestselling author. Her company helps marketers get tangible results.

What makes it great : Sharon Jonah, creative director and founder of digital marketing agency Buzz Social, shares, “In four words, we understand what Handley does, how she does it, whom she’s speaking to, and how she speaks.”

“Still just a girl who wants to learn. Youngest-ever Nobel laureate, co-founder @malalafund and president of Extracurricular Productions.” —Malala Yousafzai

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Malala Yousafzai’s Twitter profile .

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel laureate and an activist whose fund aims to remove the barriers to female education around the world.

What makes it great : Her bio highlights her impressive achievements with language that makes her sound relatable. 

“Marketing. Strategy. Humanity.” —Mark Schaefer

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Mark Schaefer’s homepage .

Mark Schaefer is an educator, speaker, marketing consultant, and author. He’s developed corporate marketing strategies for brands like Microsoft, IBM, and AT&T.

What makes it great : “It’s subtle, concise, and creative. It describes what Schaefer does, what he focuses on, and his unique and distinguished approach,” says Omer Usanmaz, CEO and co-founder of mentoring and learning software Qooper. 

“Empowering successful women to take control of their finances.” —Jennifer Welsh

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Jennifer Welsh’s LinkedIn profile page .

Jennifer Welsh founded Money School, a digital course that teaches women about personal finance. What makes it great : Welsh’s strong personal brand statement says exactly what she does and whom she does it for. 

“Let’s make Excel the solution, not the problem.” —Kat Norton (Miss Excel)

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Miss Excel’s homepage .

Kat Norton (known as Miss Excel) became famous on TikTok for her bite-sized Microsoft Excel tutorials. She now offers Excel courses on her website.

What makes it great : Norton’s clever statement shows that she understands her audience's problem and highlights her personality.

“‘The Customer Whisperer.’ I help marketers discover the hidden reasons why customers buy so they can become un-ignorable.” —Katelyn Bourgoin

economics personal statement introduction

Source: Katelyn Bourgoin’s LinkedIn page .

Katelyn Bourgoin is a creator and serial entrepreneur who founded a branding agency, a mentoring platform for female entrepreneurs, and a restaurant consulting firm. She trains entrepreneurs to uncover what makes their products “un-ignorable.”

What makes it great : Bourgoin’s clever branding statement effectively tells marketers that she can help them understand their customers better and make their brands memorable.

How to write a personal brand statement

Writing an effective personal brand statement can be tough because it requires you to be catchy yet compelling. It should give audiences all the necessary information in a sentence or two.

Here are some tips for writing your own:

Think about your unique value proposition

A unique value proposition (or unique selling point) is what makes you different. It tells people why they should try your product or service, network with you, or invest in your business.

Tip : Identify your core values, goals, and strengths.

If you don't know what those are, ask yourself:

  • Why am I building my brand?
  • What do I want my audience to know me for?
  • How do I do things differently?
  • Do I have a distinct skill set, experience, point of view, or passion?
  • What value do I bring to my audience?

Keep it short and sweet

Your brand statement should be simple and easy to understand. 

The goal is to have someone look at your profile or website and immediately understand who you are and what you do, so keep it brief. Keep in mind that you don’t need full sentences either. 

Start by writing one to three sentences that outline what you do, for whom, and how you do it. You can also add a sentence about values. 

Then, look at different ways you can shorten them. Or pick out the most specific and impactful words and see what happens when you simply list them. 

Showcase your personality

Injecting your personality empowers you to share what you do without being bland or boring. Being authentic also helps attract like-minded customers, investors, and peers. 

At the end of the day, there are other people out there who may offer similar services or solve the same problems for your target audience. Your personality can set you apart.

“Don't be afraid to inject a bit of humor, quirkiness, and passion. It’ll help make you more memorable and help you stand out from the crowd,” says Usanmaz.

Ideally, you want customers to know what you do and get a little taste of what it will be like to work with you.

A personal brand statement conveys your mission, differentiates you from competitors, and attracts your target audience. Use these tips and real-life examples of personal brand statements to inspire you to write your own.

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