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Sample of my Work, Undergraduate Program Financial Actuarial Mathematics, Chinese Applicant

I am applying for entry to the undergraduate program in Financial Actuarial Mathematics. My reason for doing so is that I love mathematics and am interested in the way that businesses operate and reach decisions. My family own a business in which I have worked and so I understand that almost every business decision brings risk and that the decision maker can be helped in reaching right decisions by quantifying the risks they face.

My work experience has been gained in my family’s business. I worked for about a year as a trainee in the Sales and Marketing department. I learned the basics of business operations, planning, budgeting, pricing, accounting, storage procedures, how different departments communicate and cooperate to meet the company’s needs and how a business lets the market know about its services and products. I also attended ‘brain-storming’ and group presentations which were very useful and interesting in various ways. This experience has given me a very good grounding in all the different operations of a small business.

I volunteered as a tutor to help school students studying business and computer science and have also helped undergraduate students at Santa Monica College in the subject of Corporate Financial & Management Accounting because I have excelled in this subject myself. I look for chances to teach, first because I enjoy passing on my skills and knowledge and seeing people develop but also because it is good management training. An effective teacher needs to plan, have good communication skill, be confident but friendly, and help students to achieve their potential. These skills will be useful to me in any future job where I am mentoring or managing and teaching gives a chance to develop them. I also learn from students who sometimes ask interesting questions that I need to research and so I add to my own knowledge.

I have also worked as a volunteer caring for pandas in China. The pandas taught me some important lessons, mainly how to be patient and that sometimes it is important just to relax, sit quietly and happily and look at the world (and maybe chew some bamboo!).  Caring for the pandas made me interested in the environment and I have acted as a Sustainable Workshop Leader at college encouraging students to be aware of the environment and how to care for it.

I am a member of AGS at college and have been involved in various projects to help people less fortunate in life. This has given me great satisfaction along with many new friends and an understanding of effective organisation in working for others.

When I lived in Beijing, I learned to play the guqin which is a traditional Chinese musical instrument. I joined many others who had the same interest who were from many different places and of different ages. The sound of this instrument, when played skilfully and with emotion, is truly magical and transports the hearer into a different world.

Learning to play any instrument needs patience, discipline and dedication but brings great senses of achievement and satisfaction as it did for me and this has done me great good personally. But the guqin is more than just a musical instrument, it is a key to classical Chinese culture and beauty, its sound reflects the aesthetics of the Chinese countryside and the beauty of the ‘Chinese soul’.

Our teacher did not only teach us how to play but also traditions and stories about the instrument and its finest players. The most famous tune played on the guqin is called ‘Lofty Mountains and Flowing Water’. The most famous player in ancient China was a man called Boya and there is a traditional story about the player and the tune. Boya met a man called Zhongziqi at a river side and extemporised two pieces of music, the hearer understood the story told by the music and said that the two tunes represented first lofty mountains and the second flowing water. Boya was full of joy that his hearer had understood the meaning of the music. After a year Boya went in search of his understanding audience but discovered that he had died and so broke his instrument and never played again.

Before each lesson, the teacher would play ‘Lofty Mountains and Flowing Water’ to soothe the students and bring a calm atmosphere. The teachers also used to decorate a table and maybe light some incense to create an atmosphere of beauty and calm to match the music. The teachers wanted all our senses to be touched by beauty and not only the music. How the guqin is played reflects the emotions of the player, the same tune can be played merrily or soulfully. Playing helps me to explore my feelings and to learn about myself and to clear and purify my mind. I love all good music but I find that the guqin, helps me to achieve calm and clarity and gives me the hope of perhaps finding my ‘understanding audience’ in life as Boya did.

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