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I'm going to apply for the master program in math in France next year. I plan to do pure math (real and functional analysis, probability, computing, PDE, etc) in the 1st year to equip myself enough technical background, then do applied math (stochastic processes and probability) in the 2nd year. It's optional for candidates to add their experience in their applications.

My background is:

  • I got my bachelor degree in Statistics last year.
  • At the moment, I'm studying 3rd year in pure math.
  • I co-founded an IT startup and have run it for 2 years (at the moment I involve very little in the business as I have to spend most time on studying).

Should I add this experience in my application? Does adding this give me any signifincant advantage? Personally, I find this business experience very irrelevant to a very academic program like math.

  • Hi, and welcome to Academia.SE! This is an interesting question, and I have taken the liberty of adding a few tags to it, in particular france, since I imagine answers could be different in France than in the US. – Stephan Kolassa Sep 25 '15 at 12:10
  • Yes, you get my point. My very personal feeling is that in France, the boundary between academia and business is quite clear. However, as @Eusebius mentioned, I find it reasonable to add it in (Btw, my current 3rd year is also in France) – SiXUlm Sep 25 '15 at 13:45
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[Context: I am a CS lecturer in the target country] I really see no reason to hide an achievement of this nature, even if it is not tightly related to your application field. It shows that you are capable of committing to a long-term project with responsibilities. Perhaps it will not give you a significant edge over other candidates at this stade (application in master 1), but in the future, researchers interested in choosing you for an internship will certainly find this information useful.

It does not harm to mention this experience, and it might be useful now or later. Also, if you don't mention it and someone finds out, they will wonder why you wanted to conceal it. Really, I can't see a valid reason to do so (except maybe if what you founded was an escort agency or some other adult business, and you wanted to keep that for yourself).

  • Ah I understand. It may give me more or less edge but at least, it does no harm to me. – SiXUlm Sep 25 '15 at 13:45
  • The only harm in mentioning/bragging would be if they suspected you have divided loyalties, which might indicate a lack of serious commitment to the idea of going to graduate school. – aparente001 Sep 26 '15 at 5:32

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