“It’s impossible to talk about economics without considering the human dimension”

Yuchen is a brilliant student with many projects in mind. She describes the path that led her to the Master's degree in Analysis and Policy in Economics (APE) at the ENS-PSL* and set out her interest in political economy for us.


Originally from China, Yuchen always felt a draw toward Europe. In 2014, she took a hint from destiny and decided to leave her home continent and earn her Bachelor's degree in France.
“My mother was working for a German company that had been bought out by a French company. I took that as a sign and decided to continue my studies in France. After three months of intensive French language classes, I arrived at the Reims campus of Sciences Po Paris for the start of the 2015 academic year.”

After two years of multidisciplinary course work, Yuchen was looking to specialize; she was selected to do his study abroad at MIT in the United States. Another continent, another campus, and a true revelation awaited her.   
“At MIT, I had the opportunity to specialize in mathematics and coding. Afterward, I wanted to return to France to continue my studies with a Master’s in Economics. My directed studies supervisor at MIT recommended the Master's degree in Analysis and Policy in Economics (APE) at PSL.”

The APE Master’s run by Ecole Normale Supérieure-PSL in partnership with the Paris School of Economics allows students to acquire skills in the various fields of contemporary research in economics, including quantitative economics.
“With this Master’s program, I’m learning concrete things and consolidating my knowledge in mathematics. That’s essential, because even though I, like Thomas Piketty, firmly believe that economics should not be based on mathematics alone, and that it’s impossible to talk about economics without considering the human dimension, having a solid foundation in the field is critical to any scientific approach. In other words, this Master’s lets me be among the best in my field of studies.”

Yuchen is ranked at the head of her class and aspires to develop her talent and research to influence economic thinking. As a PhD candidate, her dissertation topic focuses on economic policy for major national companies.
“I’d like to analyze the performance of major companies through the lens of economic policy: identify where they have freedom of action and what constraints are imposed on them by their government. Then I’d like to cross-reference that with information about productivity and innovation at those same companies to determine whether there’s a correlation within those data.”

Yuchen had imagined pursuing a PhD at a French university, and why not on the campus of the Paris School of Economics shared with Ecole Normale Supérieure / PSL. Indeed, of all the campuses she’s been on, she feels particularly comfortable there.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on academic campuses, whether in Reims, Cambridge, or here in Paris... PSL’s is right in downtown Paris, and that’s definitely a big plus.”

In the longer term, Yuchen has plans to write a novel about an encounter across generations and cultures.
“It’s the story of two young middle-class women from China who come to France to pursue their studies and end up living with a retiree. I have a special interest in the lives of women who come from different backgrounds.”
We won’t reveal any more at this point, but we wish Yuchen every success with her novel!

* This Master’s degree is jointly accredited by EHESS, ENS-PSL, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and certified by PSE-Paris School of Economics.