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SOP for Penn MCIT - critique my SOP please

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Hi guys:

I'm applying to Penn's MCIT program this year, and I'd really appreciate it if you can critique my SOP please? Thank you so much!

 

Dear Admissions Committee of Master of Computer and Information Technology Program:

 

My name is XXXXX, and I’m a first-year student in XXXX School’s MBA program. I would like to apply to Penn’s Master of Computer and Information Technology program so that I can become a more technical thinker, and obtain the skills I need to help technical companies grow, design and develop products that I think should exist, and eventually improve real-world solutions in the process.

 

While my professional strengths have always been in the technical and analytical realm, my biggest motivations have always been to create better solutions for real world problems. Growing up as a first-generation immigrant to North America with a single mother who does not speak English, I often took the role of the adult and the problem solver in my family, and approached the world with an “everything can be done and done better” attitude.

 

As an immigrant, I took strong curiosity to understand how the world works, and as a result, I was a very strong math student– I qualified for USA Math Olympiad in Grade 10 with a perfect score in the qualifying exam (highest level of North American math competition, with most qualifiers in grade 12), and was selected to attend the selection camp for National Math Olympiad Team. Later, I matriculated to Dartmouth University to study math and economics with a full 4-year scholarship from Dartmouth, where I intended to become an economics PhD to better understand the world and create better policies.

 

As an undergrad, I participated in numerous research projects, including a research project in econometrics, analyzing the impact of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in US. During this project, I analyzed the change in labor supply of unmarried females before and after the expansion of EITC program in 1986 with Stata, ran various regression tests, and concluded that the program was indeed successful in encouraging higher labor participation. In addition, I also conducted research over abnormal returns in equity price after private placements in emerging markets as my senior thesis; I collected and cleaned data set, analyzed dataset with Stata, found that consumer confidence during issuance period is the most important driver of abnormal return, and received a A for my thesis.

 

With a strong desire to understand the real world rather than just theory, I joined Templeton’s macro investment team after college. At Templeton, I invested in currencies, bonds, and interest rate swaps through fundamental and quantitative research. I conducted quantitative research over macroeconomic indicators, asset price momentums, price reversal signals, as well as financial market liquidity data with VBA and eViews to produce tradable ideas for our team. After two years, despite being the most junior member on a highly experienced team, I was able to receive “outstanding” rating, and gained trust and credibility with the team through high quality research and investment ideas.

 

While at Templeton, I became interested in the power of technology – much of my work revolved around using computer programs and technical analysis to understand and identify opportunities in the market, and I became increasingly interested in what technology can do, beyond just observing the market. The desire to create and impact real world situations again led me in my exploration, and took me to work as a venture capital investment analyst at XXX Venture Investing Fund.

 

At my fund, I analyze industries across logistics technology, education technology, and digital health, and identify technology companies to invest in in emerging markets. What I enjoyed the most was to help our investee companies grow. For example, one of the companies we invested in was a digital logistics platform called ABC - after we invested in them, we helped the company analyze industry dynamics, provided advices on acquisition plans, and helped them develop a marketing plan to reach more truck drivers and shippers. However, I often wished I could do more - one of ABC’s key milestones was to develop an algorithm that could detect drivers’ preferences and track record, and match more desirable routes to better drivers. I was involved in working with the technical team to identify market needs and develop product concepts that can better serve drivers and shippers; however, I wish I could help with the design work as well - as a former math student, many of the concepts were familiar to me, but I knew I needed to build up more technical skills as well as holistic understanding of computer science in order to do that.

 

Therefore, while I was still working full-time, I took Harvard’s CS50 - Introduction to Computer Science, in order to augment my technical skills. Through the course, I learned basic computer science concepts as well as C-programming through exams and weekly problem sets. What I really enjoyed during the process was solving practical problems during the weekly problem sets - learning the technical skills from this course allowed me to turn my conceptual ideas into reality, and I really enjoyed the process.

 

After this experience, I wanted to gain a better understanding of computer science through continued course work as well as practice. Therefore, during the summer before I started MBA,  I worked at a fintech startup called XYZ as a pre-MBA intern. At XYZ, I analyzed customer and loan data to find out customer profiles and actions that drive default, which produced a few variables that we think were more relevant to default; in addition, I also worked very closely with the technical team on automation of credit scoring model for invoice-based loans, and drove the process to develop additional variables for credit scoring  models. In addition, I also gained exposure to other areas of computer science beyond data analysis – such as backend design, through projects with the engineering team. The exposure made me appreciate the depth and power of computer scince even more, and made me want to learn more.

 

After I started my MBA program, I immediately registered for Programming Language and Techniques course. Despite being a new student to both Python and Java, I enjoyed the class immensely. In order to get better at the projects, I practiced on my own in CodingBat, and spent many hours trying to make up for my lack of background. I really enjoyed all the things I learned in CIT 590, and was able to get close to 100 grades on most of the homework projects here. As a student, this class opened me to so many new possibilities, and I continue to be inspired by what computer science can do.

 

The technical knowledge I learned in this course has opened many more possibilities for me - I have been working on a non-profit organization that provides career training to underprivileged college students from rural areas since 2016, and in the past, we have written curriculum on soft skill development and career training that we delivered in person. With the skills I’ve learned, I’ve started to turn some of the curriculum into interactive games – instead of being taught by our volunteer teachers, students can now access different workplace interpersonal scenarios through the game, and learn the best practices through results and feedbacks in the game. I really appreciate the possibilities that are made open to me through computer science, and I long for an opportunity to study computer science in a structured and deep way during the next two years.

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