Understanding Society

Tilburg University is convinced that it can contribute to solving social issues by developing and transferring knowledge and bringing together people from various disciplines and organizations.

Fizzah Malik, Economy Student

‘Taking classes with people from all over the globe is extremely inspiring’

Fizzah Malik

Fizzah Malik worked very hard to get the right education in Pakistan. Thanks to a grant paid for by alumni of Tilburg University, the student from Lahore was able to concentrate fully on a Master’s in Behavioral Economics without having to worry about anything. ‘You learn a lot from studying with people from all kinds of different backgrounds and nationalities.’

“My childhood was tough. My parents died when I was young and my sisters moved when I was still growing up. I had to find a hostel to stay at and take a part-time job to be able to do my Bachelor’s in Economics & Mathematics. But I wanted to be somebody, no matter what it took. My mother taught me: Education is in your head. Nobody can take away what is in your head.”

“A professor of economics in Lahore alerted me to the possibility of studying in Tilburg. Thanks to a grant awarded me by alumni of Tilburg University (see frame), I can concentrate fully on my Master’s in Behavioral Economics. It did take me a while to get used to the quiet green campus. I am so accustomed to noise that I need it to be able to concentrate.”

“The pace and level of my Master’s program are high. I like that. I am a ‘math junkie’, I enjoy keeping my brain ‘buzzing.’ Another thing that I think is great here is the mix of nationalities, with people from different continents. It challenges me to provide solid arguments for my points of view and to see things from a different perspective. You break out of your bubble. I am also learning a lot of useful new skills, such as how to conduct research.” 

“I was attracted to Behavioral Economics because it is about the why of economic behavior. For too long, economists have assumed that people are rational, maximizing creatures. But that is not how we are made; it is too simple. I am writing a thesis on Generosity and financial aid policies of states. In experiments, I present causes to test subjects and ask them to decide if they would be willing to donate ten euros or not. That way I want to find out how charities can collect more money. It appears we mainly donate money in the case of natural or other calamities. I want to find out how you can get people to also donate more for long-term goals such as education.”

“I want to use the knowledge that I am acquiring here for my mission, which is to offer more children the opportunity to get a good education. In Pakistan I did volunteer work in this field. Education is pretty poor there. A quarter of the children do not go to school at all, forty percent of the adults are illiterate, and computer skills is something we have to teach ourselves. Education is expensive and Pakistanis often consider it unimportant. But there are encouraging developments there as well. There are many successful women social entrepreneurs for instance, such as Fiza Farhan of the Buksh Foundation (Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs). She studied at the same university that I went to.”

 “I hope I will eventually be able to get my PhD. After that, I want to be a teacher, that much I am sure of. I love teaching. You can give people something very valuable for the rest of their lives. Besides that, I want to work on my dream to offer education to as many Pakistani kids as possible, for instance through an educational program offered by the government or by an aid organization. That would allow others to also experience what I am experiencing now.  Studying here is a great privilege for someone like me.”

Grants from the Tilburg University Fund

The Tilburg University Fund (Your Gift to Knowledge) makes studying more accessible for talented international students that lack the means to pay for this themselves. Thanks to the gifts from, among others, Tilburg University alumni and companies, top-ranking students from all corners of the globe can receive grants. Apart from grants for studying, the fund also awards sports grants and exchange grants.