Yuxuan “Lily” Zhu ‘16

“I learned that economics is not only about “wealth”, but also a way of thinking rationally about our daily life. Mastering economics techniques can help us make decisions more easily, and interpret what happens around us more insightfully."

As a transfer student from China, Yuxuan Zhu was determined to hone her critical thinking and independent research skills. “Hopkins is just right. Research opportunities are what finally brought me to Hopkins.” Still, Lily is attempting a lot, with double majors in Economics and Psychology, and minors in Financial Economics and Applied Math.
What are your key thoughts about the Economics major? “I learned that economics is not only about “wealth”, but also a way of thinking rationally about our daily life. Mastering economics techniques can help us make decisions more easily, and interpret what happens around us more insightfully. I also welcomed learning econometrics – analyzing determinants and correlations from real life data and extrapolating to the future. It’s applicable to various fields beside economics itself, such as sociology and psychology, no matter what research path you ultimately choose.” One of the economics courses Lily enjoyed early on was Professor Morgan’s “Economics of Discrimination.” “The reading materials were well-chosen, we were given enough space to think and question, and we got good feedback. I learned a lot from my smart classmates as well!”
In summer 2014 Lily interned at the China International Capital Corporation as an equity researcher; in fall 2014 she was a research assistant at the Institute of Applied Economics in Johns Hopkins; in Spring 2015 she interned at CG-LA, a small advisory firm based in Washington D.C. “ At CG-LA I worked with data models to evaluate forthcoming infrastructure projects. My time there was quite a challenge. Part of the challenge comes from the fact that as a foreigner I need to work with my American colleagues. Thanks to the warm vibe and informal environment, I was able to make personal connections with my colleagues and hopefully overcome the cultural barriers. It was a demanding but very rewarding experience.”
After graduation Lily intends to combine her dual degrees in economics and psychology to pursue a graduate degree in organizational behavior. Ultimately she is interested in becoming a researcher, hopefully within the field of organizational behavior. “Researchers differ from entrepreneurs in that entrepreneurs use their intuition to make prompt decisions while researchers take time to gather information and analyze it in a systematic way. The latter is my natural instinct, one that has been honed while I studied in Hopkins. “
Lily has some inspiring insights to pass onto potential majors: “You can do a lot of different things with your economics major. Don’t settle on your path too early, but try different things and see what you are good at. Don’t be overwhelmed when the going gets tough. Your challenge as a Blue Jay is not to win at the expense of others, but to figure out who you really are. If you focus on one or two favorite paths, you will be the shining one within your field.”