Ye is currently using her MACRM skills as a research assistant for two faculty members at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Headshot of Zi Ye
Zi Ye

As a student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Zi Ye had an interest in research—particularly in the fields of finance and economics. She also knew that research would be a challenging path. As she explored summer study abroad programs, the Data and Policy Summer Scholar (DPSS) program crossed her radar.

“I had just finished my second year in college. I was working as a research assistant and thinking about a possible PhD in my future,” Ye said. “When I came across DPSS, I thought, ‘This is the program for me. UChicago is famous for research in social science, so there seemed no better place to explore if a career in academic research was the right path for me.”

As it turned out, Ye’s experience with the DPSS confirmed that she was on the right career path. It also marked the beginning of a lasting relationship between her and the Harris School of Public Policy.

“DPSS was a very good channel for me to experience Harris,” Ye said. “Tackling problems in the real world with rigorous methodologies was consistent with what I wanted to do in the future.”

Looking for a place to begin her post-graduate academic life, Ye remained at UChicago and found the right fit in the Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) program.

“The MACRM curriculum was attractive because my undergrad major was finance, and I had a minor in statistics. If I were to pursue a PhD in finance or economics, I would need rigorous courses in economics. The MACRM program provided exactly what I wanted in advanced levels of microeconomics, econometrics, and game theory.”

Ye also found immense support within the Harris community. Opportunities to collaborate with fellow students, she said, was a refreshing change of pace and a vital part of her academic growth.

“In the first quarter, some PhD students recommended we form a study group, which was new to me. In college, unlike most of my fellow students, I knew I was interested in research and not simply seeking a job in an industry. Because of that, most of the time, I studied alone. At Harris, my study group made me feel supported, and I learned a lot from them. Even though the course materials were very challenging, I realized I learned better by working with other students.”

Ye also credits the MACRM program—and her experience at the University of Chicago more broadly—for solidifying her belief that academic research can have a meaningful societal impact.

“Before I came to UChicago I was a bit pessimistic about the impact of scientific, social research. I thought to myself, ‘People in the finance industry are not reading academic research and thinking about how to incorporate it into their practice,’” Ye said. “Harris connects the professional and academic worlds and how research can impact society. While I enjoy the experience of research, of trying to find answers to things I’m curious about, research needs to have an impact, not just be an intellectual exercise. Harris is trying to find the link between research and impact and thinking about why research is important.”

After completing the MACRM program, Ye continued her academic path at the Booth School of Business as a full-time research assistant. As for what’s next, Ye said she hopes to lead her own research projects—“perhaps in the field of sustainable finance.”