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Student Ying Ying He

Student Economie Ying Ying He

Ying Ying

"Tilburg University has an outstanding reputation in the program of BSc Economics across Europe. In my case, I was mostly driven by its comprehensive economics curriculum."

What was the reason for you to start the Economics Bachelor?

As we all know, Tilburg University has an outstanding reputation in the program of BSc Economics across Europe. In my case, I was mostly driven by its comprehensive economics curriculum, which covers useful mathematical and statistical techniques, fundamental micro and macro economics analysis and applicable accounting and financial practice.

Back to the time, the future in my academic life was still vague and shaky. In order to figure out where my real interest stays, I had to know all my options, from theoretical to practical possibilities.

It is like a banquet, serving various food. It is difficult to tell your favorite dish without actually tasting them one by one. That is basically how I started my long-term economics-related journey.

Can you tell us something about the program of Economics?

As mentioned before, assorted subfields in economics are covered in this program and they all start at the introductory level. Although the required readings and knowledge acquisition are bounded, the relevant references and resource provided are not. Out of students’ own curiosities, they can individually determine the extent to which they want to explore that certain area.

On top of it, personally, I think professors played significant roles in my whole undergraduate studies. Not only did they share their expertise, by means of their deep understanding in their respective specialties, but also they demonstrated their professional research attitude and academic spirits, which had a far-reaching impact on me along the way. 

In addition, teaching involves a combination of several forms: lectures, tutorials, group assignments, presentations and debates etc., class size varying correspondingly: interactive learning usually in small groups.

Is there a specific course in the program that really stood out to you?

As far as I am concerned, experimental and behavioral economics is particularly attractive to me, for the following reasons. I am always keen on people’s behaviors, such as decision making and social choice in economic environment. There is time when the same person changes the preference inconsistently as time goes. There is time when people tend to behave differently even in the identical situation. There is time when unexpected similarities appear, notwithstanding their multi-cultural background.

Is there anything you struggled with during your studies? Looking for and studying the reasons for some contra-intuitive behaviors is more like to discover mysteries hidden inside human beings. This course may not offer an answer to any of the questions, but it does give me the tools, such as data analysis and methods of designing economic experiments, that are essential for finding them one day. Moreover, we were assigned a student project - coming up with our testing hypothesis, designing and conducting our own experiment in class, collecting and analyzing data and drawing conclusion. 

Concepts from textbooks may be forgotten, but memory of the research-like and fully-participating experiences can last long.

Have you been active in any student societies next to your studies?

Yes, at Asset | Economics: Education Committee.

“When I walk across the campus, many scenes appear in front of me: some are chatting cheerfully on the bench outside the cafeteria; some are reading books intensively in the library; some are lying peacefully on the lawn near the fountain; some are running experiments in CentERlab;…If I paint a general view of them, it will be a harmonious picture!”

What did you do after your bachelor?

After completing my BSc Economics, I studied MS Econometrics and Mathematical Economics at London School of Economics and Political Science. To be frank, its requirement in mathematical foundation was beyond my expectation and I was kind of shocked by some abstract and convoluted course material at the beginning of my first semester.

It did get better after adapting to the teaching style and learning mode for a couple of months. Although I was not taught many real-world practical skills, I have to admit that I have learned how to think and keep focused like a scientist. Therefore, I decided to start my PhD program as my next move. 

What are your plans for the future?

Currently, I am to start my first-year PhD program at California Institute of Technology, majoring in Behavioral and Social Neuroscience, which is consistent with my long-term academic interest, as you can tell.

Overall, in the following years, I will be devoted to addressing questions of why human beings behave the way they do in dynamic environments, through interdisciplinary studies in economics, psychology and neuroscience. After that, I probably consider continuing my research in this area, especially in the connection of brain activities and individual behavior.

Is there any advice you can give a student who is currently deciding where and what to study?

Above all, I have to say, undergraduate studies are important. They are the years when you can locate your real interests, you can realize where your strengths and weaknesses are, you can figure out whether industrial or academical life suits yourself better. That is why you are making a big decision at this moment, but don’t panic!

The only thing you need to do now is to ask yourself honestly: “Among all the candidate programs, which one best matches my own interest and helps me most to achieve my personal dream?”. If the goal is still shadowy somewhere, instead, you could consider: “Which ‘platform’ can offer me the most options to choose from later?”

Finally, I am aware that life is not as simple as described in recipe, with a large number of factors under consideration: academic atmosphere, facility, location, professors’ reputation, curriculum, program structure, teaching mode, various relationships, and even food.

When it rolls down to the real life, every piece matters but none of them comes first at this stage. In my opinion, if you cannot enjoy what you are learning and focusing on, none of elements above make any sense then, because they are definitely not the original reason you are there. 

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