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Financial Engineering

Finance, as a field, had always fascinated me right from my undergraduate college days. I believe my penchant for this field stems from the fact that Finance runs in my family. My father is a chartered accountant and my mother is a banker. During my days at Engineering College I used to go to my father's office and help him manage his portfolio of equities and other financial instruments. This was the time I learnt the first lesson of finance from my father i.e. risk and return are proportionate. In 1994 when I was in the second year the Indian stock market crashed. But fortunately, my father had a well-diversified portfolio because of which our returns were protected from the downside risk. This was when I learnt the second principle of finance from my father i.e. diversification reduces risk. While I understood these two principles intuitively, it produced in me a strong urge to learn and understand the complex theory behind the working of Finance. This, I believe, was a turning point in my career. I made up my mind to pursue a career in Finance and hence decided to do a Masters program in Business Administration.

Hence I took admission in Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDBA) at AB Institute of Management Studies (ABIMS), New Delhi, which is one of the prominent Business schools in India. During PGDBA, I developed a strong penchant for quantitative-oriented subjects like Portfolio theory, Derivatives and International Finance.

During the first year of PGDBA I learnt how Derivatives can play an important role in optimizing a Portfolio's performance and in managing risk. This exposure left me wanting for more knowledge in the area of Risk Management. Because of my penchant for the rigor in Derivatives and Risk Management I took my summer internship at LTCM-securities, one of the leading investment banks in India. During my project I learnt about various risks associated with Infrastructure Projects and how they were mitigated using different risk models and structured finance products. It was at this time that I realized the importance of mathematics and programming as invaluable tools in Finance. I had always felt that applying my technical knowledge to the field of Finance would be highly satisfying. This internship, thus, helped me crystallize my goals as I decided to make a career in Risk Management.

In India with the onset of liberalization since 1991 and deregulation of the interest rates, the Indian corporations and financial institutions are exposed to various kinds of risks. The Government and the Reserve Bank of India have initiated appropriate reforms to develop derivatives markets and financial markets on the whole. This has suddenly increased the demand for professionals who can not only understand but also develop new financial instruments to evaluate and hedge the risk. I believe that in order to use financial engineering pro-actively and dynamically for optimum hedging a finance professional should be well versed with the mathematics that underlie the financial theory.

In the future I see myself, as a Finance professional, designing structured financial products by incorporating cutting edge methodologies and sophisticated tools in order to cater to the above mentioned requirements. To achieve this I would like to gain exposure to the latest practices adopted in the field of Financial Engineering and Risk Management. To this end I would want to work with a leading investment bank or in the treasury of a commercial bank, which would enable me to help corporations manage their risks. I would like to bring this acquired expertise back to India and use it to help companies thrive in a dynamic environment.

I believe that my educational background has instilled in me the qualities required to meet the rigor of this demanding profession. Graduation in Engineering has provided a strong foundation in Mathematics and Computer Programming. Mathematics was one subject in which I had always excelled right from my school days. During the course of my Engineering education I took up a project with MH Electronics, a firm which is a vendor of Indian Ocean Research Organisation (IORO). This was because the project, which I was offered, required extensive use of C programming language and MATLAB. This project of developing the software for a video-processing card (Frame Grabber) for the first time gave me a real world experience of programming. This association helped a lot in consolidating my programming skills, especially in C-language. Thus, it inculcated in me problem solving and analytical abilities.

Thereafter the two-year program in Business Administration has not only given me a sound and firm grounding in finance but also taught me the invaluable skills to manage, lead and collaborate effectively with people. It also developed in me the ability to analyse problems from a business perspective keeping in mind the constraints and limitations of the real world.

I strongly feel that M.Eng in Financial Engineering program at Kingston University is a highly structured program because it provides the right balance between theory and practice. The annual workshops at the Centre for Applied Probability and Computational Optimization Research Centre would give me ample of opportunities to apply my knowledge to real world problems.

I bring along a strong grasp of fundamentals in Finance and Engineering, an insider's experience of an emerging financial market, a penchant for teamwork and leadership and a zest for challenges. I would like to take with me in addition to the knowledge of the latest theory and practices in the field of Financial Engineering, a network of strong and lasting relationships with my teachers and fellow-students.

I hope my background and qualifications are found suitable for admission to M.Eng in Financial Engineering program at Kingston University, USA.