World Bank, Washington, D.C.
You have a degree in economics from the University of Michigan. Why did you decide to pursue a Master of Public Affairs degree?
After I earned my economics degree, I spent a year working in the private equity industry in Beijing. One case I worked on at Tongang Financial Holdings involved helping a carpet manufacturing company solve their cash-flow problem. This “green” company used plastic recycling waste to make carpeting. China’s government had recently banned all imports of plastic waste, which resulted in a dramatic price spike in the manufacturer’s “raw” material — recyclable plastic, which had previously been cheap and plentiful. Suddenly, they could not compete with carpet manufacturers who used less expensive non-recyclable material. My team negotiated with the local government as well as private funds to obtain the large amount of capital the company needed to stay afloat. The government agreed to provide a cash subsidy on the condition that we would bring in investment funds to invest in other local enterprises. This case sparked my interest in impact investing and motivated me to pursue a degree in public affairs. My undergraduate study in economics had given me a good grounding in how the private sector works, but I still needed to understand how the public sector makes decisions.
Why did you choose Brown for your MPA? What has been the best thing about the program so far?
The unique one-year structure of this program attracted me. The Global Policy Experience trip to Mexico offered me the opportunity to study policy from an International level and from a more macro perspective. It was quite interesting to hear firsthand how Mexican policy makers think about the trade relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. As a Chinese student, it is even more interesting to listen to Mexican opinions on some international issues because we seldom have the opportunity to hear from them. The Brown MPA consultancy also attracted me. I have been selected to do my consultancy with the World Bank at D.C., and I’m excited to put what I’ve learned into practice in the real world. The professors at Brown are very open minded and accessible.