Pan aims to use her skills from IPAL and the MPP to make social impact in the business world.
Headshot of Gabrielle Pan
Gabrielle Pan

Gabrielle Pan, IPAL’22 and MPP Class of 2025, hails from the Zhejiang Province. “Zhejiang has a highly developed private economy—most people may know it as the home of Alibaba—and that environment definitely influenced my initial interest in business and economics.” Pan said she subsequently pursued her BA in economics from Peking University with the goal of “analyzing economic and business phenomena from a global perspective.”

However, a series of internships in both the private and public sector inspired Pan to explore the International Policy Action Lab. “My first internship was as a summer intern at KPMG, which provided me an opportunity to broadly develop my understanding of business operations. Then, I gained banking and financial analysis skills at BNP Paribas. Plus, I am lucky to have had the opportunity to act as a summer investment intern at Prologis China to add to my buy-side experience.”

Even with her background in economics, Pan wanted to improve her data analysis skills. “I first learned about IPAL from my friend who participated in the program in 2021. Her experiences made the program seem appealing, and my IPAL experience was as rewarding as I'd hoped it would be. The professors and teaching assistants were thorough and readily available, which made me feel very supported. The support I had in IPAL inspired me to apply to the MPP. I got the sense that if I wanted to challenge myself at Harris, there would be a lot of people supporting me.”

Pan said her initial interest in exploring public policy was spurred by a research project she had done at Peking University. “I was working for the Institute of Social Science Survey, interviewing entrepreneurs to gather information about COVID-19’s impact on their business to finish a report for government policy-making advising. The responses showed that entrepreneurs generally gave low ratings for their level of trust in policymakers, but they gave doctors almost a perfect score. Although the goals of doctors and policymakers are similar—doctors help people resolve diseases, and policymakers help people resolve problems—policies that lack field investigations and data support affect the level of trust. This aroused my interest in exploring both the policies and methods policymakers had employed to help these businesses survive.”

Pan looks forward to exploring the community at Harris. “The diversity at Harris is going to be invaluable. I am excited to meet people with different experiences from different countries and cultures. I look forward to collaborating with and learning from them.”

As for where Pan sees herself going next, “I want to equip myself with data and policy analysis skills to better navigate in the capital market. Plus, as someone who has been volunteering since childhood—approximately 200 hours a year—I hope I can make some social impact in the long term.”

For prospective students considering a UChicago Harris Credential Program (or Master’s Program), Pan offered the following advice: “Reach out, ask questions, and be proactive. Talk to the admission team and students in the program and get involved when you have the opportunity. At IPAL, for example, we had a lot of social events. I joined almost every one of them, and each was extremely valuable—and enjoyable!”