Fall 2019 Masters of Applied Economics (MAE) graduate Wang Li did not began his academic career studying economics. Though he graduated in 2017 from Sichuan University with a degree in polymer science and engineering, Wang found himself drawn to the principles presented in an introductory economics class he’d taken as a sophomore. The way economists approached real-world problems through insights and solutions generated from data appealed to Wang, as did the prospectives and tools offered to tackle challenges and understand the good and bad things happening in an economy. He also appreciated way the field used data to describe and predict human behavior and social issues. Inspired by this, Wang changed his focus from engineering to economics and began his graduate career at U-M.

Born in the countryside where people at that time were very poor, Wang decided he needed to make his own contribution to the economic development in China—feeling a desire to help others live their best lives and follow their own dreams. This gave him the motivation to focus on strengthening his capabilities and develop skills so he could someday make a difference. Wang knew U-M, providing rich research resources and opportunities across disciplines, could help him unlock his potential to achieve his goals.

In his time at U-M, Wang Wang has been involved on campus and gained further motivation and inspiration from a great number of talented and diligent people on campus, all of which has pushed him to always do his best in studies and work. He has also served as the co-chair in professional development team in Graduate Rackham International (GRIN) for the past year and a half. Working with other international students from different countries and cultural backgrounds has allowed Wang to collaborate with others in a diverse environment and afforded him a more inclusive mindset as he’s contributed to the international student community at U-M.

Wang has also found the many opportunities to take advantage of the abundant research resources here at UM (often with prominent faculty) to be extremely beneficial, even for those not planning to continue in academia; supplementing, demonstrating, and building upon many of the core skills learned in the program. He hopes to apply these skills to fulfill his goal of studying China’s economy in the future and plans to pursue a PhD in economics in order to develop more in-depth expertise and research skills related to international reserve management and financial regulation issues. Having some research experience already—as an undergraduate student, Wang studied the effect of RMB exchange rate fluctuation on the credit capacity of corporations in China, and completed an engineering project focused on improving the mechanical properties of certain nanocomposites—Wang expects additional graduate work to be both challenging and exciting, and is ready to embrace all it has to offer.  

Wang is currently working as a health data analyst at the University of Michigan School of Nursing as he awaits doctoral admissions decisions.