Anwen Zhang

Country of origin: China

Research Assistant, University of Cambridge

I chose LUMS because I felt valued and supported here since the first contact. Before I handed in my application, I had the luck of meeting with Professor Ian Walker, who invited me over to the Department of Economics, arranged for me to talk with the Faculty members and helped me find funding for my studies. His warm encouragement and kind support made me realise LUMS was the place I wanted to pursue my PhD studies.

Such support continued for the whole period of my PhD. My supervisors – Professor Ian Walker and Professor Colin Green – are world-class researchers with an abundance of insight to offer. They are a great inspiration, and they provided me with the best guidance I could ever ask for. What made me feel more privileged is that they would go out of their way for me – arranging for me to attend training courses outside Lancaster, helping me prepare for giving seminar talks, connecting me to people in their field, and even helping me with my visa problems. And the support didn’t stop with my supervisors. Other Faculty members would not hesitate to offer their hand whenever I knocked on their doors with a question. This supportive atmosphere the Economics Department creates for their students is what made my PhD such a pleasant journey.

Teaching was a part of the PhD I was very fond of. I taught as a Teaching Assistant for the Department for four years. I remember I was nervous and worried before my first tutorial. But the moment I stood in front of the class, facing fifteen young faces, I felt energised and excited. I introduced myself, set the topic, posed questions, engaged the class to discuss and challenge, and everything followed through. I enjoyed the feeling of helping the students understand economic theory, and at the same time their feedback helped me reflect on my own interpretation and understanding. I’ve enjoyed teaching ever since. The teaching experience at Lancaster helped me build a valuable skill indispensable for my academic career.

In a nutshell, doing my PhD at Lancaster was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I had the best supervisors and most friendly Faculty at my back, and I had the luxurious pleasure of working with many fellow students who shared the same passion for research as me. I would not choose differently if I had to do it all over again.

I am now working as a Research Associate at University of Cambridge. My research involves testing economic theories with real-world data in the area of education and health. The research skills I developed at Lancaster have laid the cornerstone of my early career in academia, and I have no doubt I’ll keep benefiting from them for my whole life.