Undergraduate Profiles

Michael Gentile ‘18

Michael Gentile hails from Long Island, NY. While at Hopkins, he majored in Economics and Writing Seminars with a Mathematics minor.  Michael was interested in economics because he grew up around entrepreneurs, and wanted to understand the impact of both wealth and incentives on different communities.

His favorite class? “Professor Barbara’s Macroeconomic Strategies class was great for its relevance to current market events, and forecasting trends in specific regions and asset classes.” Majoring in economics, Michael was particularly appreciative of developing statistical skills, being able to critically evaluate popular opinions or texts, and understanding economies in boom and bust.

Michael had a rigorous extra-curricular schedule. He was President of Hopkins Rugby; was involved in an after-school youth sports program; a PILOT (Peer-Lead-Team-Learning) tutor for economics; and the Editor-in-Chief of Baltimore Zeitgeist, a local magazine focusing on political and economic issues at the local, national, and international level.

His internships included developing a marketable hedging strategy for ION Group, analyzing the performance of alternative investment funds for Cowen Prime Services, evaluating government IT contracts, and writing proposal for Reliasource, a local agency focusing on small business.

After graduation, Michael will be attending Brandeis International Business School to further hone his quantitative skills and study foreign financial markets.

Advice for potential Economics majors?

“Read the news outside of class.  Then apply what you learn in class.”

Michael, that is a good statement of our goal!

Madeleine “Maddy” Speale ‘19

Madeleine Speale chose to study at Johns Hopkins because of its emphasis on learning outside the classroom. As an incoming student who did not know what to study, she was excited about the opportunities for research and involvement in internships. She ended up majoring in Economics and minoring in Financial Economics, Accounting & Financial Management. “I loved to look at current events through an economic lens and realized that macroeconomics gave me the tools to do that on a much deeper level. As I have progressed in my coursework, I have enjoyed learning more about the complexities of unemployment, inflation, and monetary policy in particular.”

One of Madeleine’s favorite classes was Economics of Discrimination. “The discussions in this  class were some of the most interesting conversations I have had at Hopkins – not only were we talking about wage inequality or educational trends, issues that my peers and I speak about in more casual settings, but we were also able to employ economic research, theory and data to support our ideas.”

Maddy studied abroad in Hong Kong for the Fall 2017 semester: “ It was one of my best semesters “at Hopkins.” I was constantly learning, for example, about economic development in China, travelling to other countries to get their perspective, or participating in an internship at the end of the semester. I definitely was pushed outside of my comfort zone, but I came back to school with a much better understanding of the global economy and how different some cultures are than mine.”

Maddy was the Finance Chair of the Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium and a member of the

Marshal L. Salant Investment Team. She interned at a hedge fund (Marshall Wace), and is currently a Summer Analyst in the Institutional Equity Division at Morgan Stanley.

“After I graduate, I hope to be pursuing a career in Finance, particularly in the equities division of a bank in New York.” Maddy hopes to be in an investor relations type role: “ whether that is on the Buy or Sell Side I’m not quite sure. I know I want to interact with clients on a daily basis and I am hoping to be able to use my fundamental understanding of the investing industry to communicate effectively with those clients.”

Do you have any advice for potential Economics majors?

“Take Economics of Discrimination and Econometrics!  Overall, economics professors are so helpful in talking about future coursework or career opportunities – they have been incredibly useful in my course selection process and helping me to prepare for interviews.”

Lillian “Lily” Barany ‘18

Lillian Barany grew up in Manhattan.   She chose to study at Johns Hopkins because of the interdisciplinary nature of the majors: “I liked that there weren’t a lot of “core” courses, which meant that I would be taking classes that I actually wanted to be taking, and not wasting my time fulfilling requirements.”

Lily started out as an International Studies major, knowing that she wanted to add a second major.  Ultimately, she chose economics because she felt it would encourage her to develop quantitative as well as qualitative skills.  “I ended up being very happy with my choice!”

Lillian took both Economics of Discrimination and Econometrics in the same semester. “I took a class that examined outcomes in the labor market on the basis of gender, race and ethnicity at the same time that I took a class that taught statistical methods and analysis in economics.  In Economics of Discrimination, every week we would read a different academic article about labor market outcomes or wage gaps. My econometrics course complemented these articles; it helped me understand the methods by which an author came to a conclusion from a given set of data.”

For two summers, Lily interned at a law firm specializing in antitrust cases.  This experience helped prepare her for the course “Economics of Antitrust,” which she took fall of her senior year.  “After my internship I knew I was interested antitrust, which prompted me to enroll in the class.  And my practical experience from the internship enriched my academic experience in the course.”

Lily plans on going to law school and pursuing a career in public interest law.  This choice was partially motivated by some of the material from her economics courses: “for example, after taking “Economics of Discrimination,” I might want to help plaintiffs file class action law suits about unfair wage practices, or other types of discrimination in the workplace.”

Final thoughts?

“I would encourage potential economics majors to not only take classes focusing on finance and business, but also to take classes that have discrimination, poverty and inequality as their focus. On an academic level, learning about these concepts is intellectually invigorating; furthermore, it is imperative for college students to learn about these issues!”

Keep in touch as you pursue your career path, Lily!

Jieun Park ‘18

Born in South Korea, Jieun Park chose to study at Johns Hopkins because of its reputation as research university. Jieun double-majored in chemical and biomolecular engineering and economics, and minored in financial economics. “I chose to study economics because I was interested in the field from a young age. Learning economics is a good way to learn about the world and its history. In addition, the Hopkins economics major is very flexible, so I could double major in economics. “

Jieun: “really liked classes that had some historical aspects to it. I especially enjoyed taking monetary analysis and international monetary economics. I also liked international trade and corporate finance, courses that taught me the logistics behind making decisions at a company or corporate level. “  Jieun also conducted economic research under Professor Steve Hanke and is planning to apply for law school. Ultimately, she wants to become a lawyer who can utilize both of her majors, chemical and biomolecular engineering and economics.

What does Jieu have to say to prospective economics majors?  “The Hopkins economics major is a great major to pursue because it allows a lot of flexibility. You can pursue a double major, or study abroad.  There are research opportunities and clubs that allow you to network. Many courses are small, so you can interact with professors and share your thoughts.

Final thoughts? “Although I minored in financial economics, I enjoyed other economic classes that were based on fields other than finance. Most Hopkins students who want to pursue a career in finance major in economics. But I want to let students know that there are many other fascinating subjects in economics other than finance and I hope many students try out those courses.”

Absolutely, economics covers many fields!

Helen Collins ‘18

Helen Collins grew up not too far from Hopkins in Silver Spring, MD.  Johns Hopkins had been her dream school in high school, as many of her family members had either worked for, or studied at, Hopkins.

Helen majored in Economics and minored in Computer Science:  “I chose to study Economics because of how it combines deep analytical thinking with real world problems. I thoroughly enjoyed understanding how people make decisions from an economic perspective, and studying the many variables that impact consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole. Economics just seemed the perfect fit for me.”

Helen liked the way her upper level classes built upon the principles classes to create a useful toolset. “In particular, the Economics of Poverty and Inequality and the Economics of Discrimination demonstrated how econometrics could empirically measure disparities that exist between groups of people. Those two classes were fascinating because they gave me an insight into current topics in economics beyond the level of most lawmakers and news agencies.”

Outside of class, Helen was a tutor with, and subsequently supervisor for, the Johns Hopkins Tutorial Project, an organization that serves disadvantaged Baltimore elementary school students. Helen was also a member of the JHU Choral Society, becoming president in her senior year, and was a Resident Advisor in her senior year as well. “I chose these activities because of my belief in the value of community service, and to round out my experience at Hopkins with leadership roles unrelated to my field of study.”

Helen interned at a small government contracting firm that provides both software solutions and professional services to several federal agencies, as well as at a leading blockchain technology company where she was immersed in the crypto market space during one of the most exciting summers for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Currently, Helen is a business technology analyst at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “I chose to pursue technology consulting because I felt that I would be able to combine both my areas of study: economics and computer science. I wanted to retain a technical function in whatever position I took on, while being able to utilize my analytical and problem-solving skills in a functional manner.”

Helen, do you have any advice for potential Economics majors?Combine your economics studies with another field that interests you. For example, by majoring in economics and minoring in computer science, believe I have a more robust insight into technology markets and technology’s disruptive influence on the economy. There are so many paths open to Economics majors!”

Well said, Helen!

Elanor West ‘18

Elanor West grew up in Massachusetts, but she knew as soon as she arrived on campus at Hopkins for a tour that it was the place she wanted to be. “I easily saw myself at Hopkins, and I decided to apply Early Decision.”

Elanor graduated with three majors, in Applied Math and Statistics, Economics, and French.

Why did Elanor choose to study economics?  “I first took economics classes because I didn’t know much about the subject and thought it would be beneficial to study. Then, as I took more courses, I realized that I loved microeconomics and studying decision-making in areas like game theory and behavioral economics.”

Elanor’s favorite classes?  “Economics of Uncertainty and Information, and The Social Policy Implications of Behavioral Economics. I loved that both courses were focused on decision-making in various real-life situations, incorporating game theory and psychology into economics.” Elanor also conducted research advised by Professor John Wierman in the Applied Math department, focusing on a combination of game theory, graph theory, and probability.

While pursuing three majors, Elanor was also President of the Hopkins Figure Skating Club, an active member of the JHU Classical Ballet Company and Vice President of her sorority (Alpha Phi).  Her community service included working at Mathnasium of Roland Park as a math instructor.

Next fall, Elanor will remain at Hopkins to pursue a Master of Science in Engineering in Applied Math and Statistics: “Through combining the study of math and economics, I have learned that I love game theory. I am writing a thesis on the “Astronaut Problem” (proposed by Steve Alpern in The Theory of Search Games and Rendezvous) which combines game theory, graph theory, and probability concepts.”

Elanor loves learning and hopes to be able to pass on her knowledge to others in a career as an educator.

Does Elanor have any advice for potential Economics majors? “Take all of the lower-level courses and requirements as soon as you can, because my favorite classes were all upper-level courses with prerequisites. The upper-level courses are mostly discussion-based, engaging and inspirational, due to their smaller class sizes, and the passion of the professors.”

Chris Zhou ‘18

Chris Zhou hails from China and was attracted to Hopkins because of its world-class faculty and academic excellence in the fields he was interested in, International Studies and Economics.

Economics helped Chris understand how the world works: “Why did the Financial Crisis occur?  What are the pros and cons of trade? These are questions I had before coming to Hopkins and that my economics professors gave me insight into.”

Chris particularly enjoyed Rich Countries and Poor Countries taught by Professor Soma Dasgupta, in which he learned why certain countries perform better economically than others.

Chris pursued several extra-curricular activities at Hopkins including being a member of the Global China Connection and the Johns Hopkins International Student Office.

Chris will be using the quantitative and research skills he acquired at Hopkins to work in investment banking at Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong.  Ultimately, he is considering working as a policy adviser, consultant or governmental official.

Chris, do you have any advice for potential Economics majors?

“Finish the homework, and make sure to review before exams!”

Good advice for everyone from freshman to senior!

Yuxuan “Lily” Zhu ‘16

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.”

Christina Yuan ‘15


Christina Yuan was attracted to Johns Hopkins for its strong International Studies program, and the opportunities it offered both inside and outside of the classroom. She ended up majoring in Economics as well. “My interest in economics really developed while I was taking Professor Bertrand’s International Trade course. I realized that in addition to offering technical skills, my economics classes offered me the opportunity to connect theory with practical applications. Hopkins provides a solid ground in theory which is used to motivate the upper-level classes. For example, in Professor Gersovitz’s Health Economics and Developing Countries, we used theoretical concepts from our lower level courses to develop health policy recommendations for countries around the world!”
Christina studied abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science for the whole of her junior year. “During my time at LSE, I took thought-provoking classes such as Economics in Public Policy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, while meeting students from all over the world and learning about their cultures. Moreover, I believe that the economics courses that I took at Hopkins more than prepared me for the economics courses at LSE.”
Christina explored several different internships experiences. “The summer after my freshman year, I interned for the U.S. Consulate Hong Kong and Macau in their commercial sector and assisted in helping U.S. businesses navigate the markets of Hong Kong. I have also interned at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in their Office of Donor Engagement, where I developed a deep interest in international economic development. Last summer, I interned at Deloitte Consulting in the Federal Human Capital division, where I helped to conduct research on one of Deloitte’s federal projects.”
Christina enjoyed the flexibility and opportunities offered by Deloitte. Clearly Deloitte was impressed by Christina as well, since she is now working there as an analyst specializing in the federal sector. Ultimately, she hopes to pursue a career in international economic development.
Last words on Hopkins Economics Department? “The biggest lesson I learned from majoring in economics is that you should never be afraid to ask for help. My experience at Hopkins was that the professors and TAs are always happy to answer any questions that you may have. There are many different fields in economics and Hopkins offers a variety of different economics classes. Don’t limit yourself and take as many types of economics classes as you want. “Thanks, Christina, we agree!

Kenko Ueyama ‘15

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Kenko Ueyama chose to study at Johns Hopkins because of its challenging academics and excellent courses offered in social science, recently graduating with a double major in Economics and International Studies..
Why economics? “Economics offers a practical understanding of how the world works, which will be useful in any profession I pursue in the future. In addition, the major has given me a whole new perspective on many current policy issues applicable to countries around the globe whether it be valuing investments through discounted cash flows, the role of central banks and interest rates, the future of emerging markets, currency movements, financial derivatives, or international trade.” Kenko valued the flexibility offered by upper-level courses, the excellent econometrics course, and the many opportunities for pursuing interesting research assignments, including forecasting the exchange rate of the euro, negotiating a simulation M&A deal, and explaining the Ukrainian crisis from a game theory perspective.
Kenko is currently enrolled in an accelerated 5-year BA/MA program with Johns Hopkins University SAIS, so he will be spending one additional year completing his Masters degree, with a concentration in International Economics and Energy. Ultimately, he hopes to pursue a career in consulting or perhaps working for an international institution. Final reflections? “Choose classes carefully, and develop yourself professionally. I learned most and enjoyed classes that were taught by engaging professors, regardless of the topic or difficulty. In addition, I pursued internships in different industries every summer to gain work experience. Those two factors made the whole experience much more rewarding, and gave me a better idea of what I wanted to pursue after graduation.”