Chiu supplements his Harris experience by taking classes across campus, including in the department of economics.
Edward Chiu
Edward Chiu

Edward Chiu was drawn to the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy because of its dedication to the mission of making positive impact, based in evidence and clear data analysis. “That guiding principle really spoke to me when I was looking into graduate school programs,” says Chiu, a second-year master’s in public policy (MPP) student.

For Chiu, timing had everything to do with his road to Harris. Chiu graduated from Babson College amid the 2008 financial crisis and began working as an equity trader. He moved on to risk management for Zipcar and then to social media analytics for a marketing company. During this time, Chiu developed a deep desire to understand the causes of the financial crisis and the policies that would best prevent a similar economic shift. He also became interested in how to fill the funding gaps that often exist within government budgets. Chiu wondered how better policies could ensure that essential programs in infrastructure, health, and education were funded.

This question drove him to find a public policy graduate program that would prepare him for a future in government finance. Chiu found that Harris Public Policy was the best fit to develop the strong analytical, statistics, and coding skills he needed. The fact that he could pursue an MPP while working towards a certificate in municipal finance was a bonus. 

Chiu was also interested in the reputation of UChicago’s department of economics and its particular school of thought. The department has always ranked among the leading economics programs in the world. To Chiu, experiencing how the Chicago economic tradition was applied across disciplines at Harris was thrilling.

“In my first year, I learned so much about the City of Chicago’s economics and incentives and how that impacts problem-solving in public policy. It was really eye-opening,” he says, commenting on the ability to take classes across departments at the University.

During the summer between his first and second year at Harris, Chiu participated in a summer internship at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C., where a number of Harris alumni work full-time. Chiu worked with the Financial Markets and Community Investments team. “At the GAO, I got great practical experience,” he says. “I was able to hear the war stories from the financial crisis and the specific policies and financial regulations that were enacted in the aftermath. It was fascinating!”

Chiu encourages prospective Harris students to take advantage of every opportunity, including internships, research, clubs, and events. “I take advantage of the University of Chicago Grad Council and some of [its] excursions,” he says. “For example, a group of graduate students from Harris and other programs went together to the Steppenwolf Theater recently and saw the play Familiar, the story of a Zimbabwean family trying to make it in America.”

Another bonus is the fact that Harris is truly international, with students hailing from 26 countries. “The opportunity to talk to international students and exchange ideas, cultures, and customs,” he says “is, to me, one of the highlights of being at Harris.”

Chiu says that his experience at Harris has been a rewarding time in his life: “I am fortunate to be around amazing people every day and within a cohort that is supportive. The coursework is challenging, but that rigor is preparing me to face real challenges in the real world.”