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Darla Moore School of Business


MAEcon professor finds motivation in student learning, excitement

Dec. 7, 2018

Chun-Hui Miao, director of the Master of Arts in Economics program

What is your educational background?

I graduated from Princeton University with a Ph.D. in economics in 2005. I also have a master’s in economics from Princeton and a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China.

What do you like most about teaching?

For me, the most fulfilling thing in teaching isn’t simply giving students knowledge but instead giving them new tools to use and new perspectives to consider. I certainly can’t claim that all students who took my classes gained new perspectives in their thinking about the world, but once in a while, when a former student tells me how what they learned in my class has helped them understand something new — it’s the ultimate reward for me. That’s what motivates me to be a better teacher.

I’ve had students, years after taking my classes, share with me articles that they came across and found interesting because the articles covered issues that were previously discussed in class. They tell me that my classes aroused their interests in the relevant issues and prepared them for a deep understanding of these issues. These episodes are my fondest memories as a teacher.

How are you involved with the Moore School MAEcon program?

I am involved with the MAEcon program in three areas: admission, advising and teaching. As a member of the admissions committee, I read prospective students’ applications and make recommendations to the graduate school; as the academic director of the program, I advise students on course selections and program policies; as an instructor, I teach applied microeconomic theory, a required first-year course in the program.

Why is this program important?

This program helps students study economics and finance issues from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. It combines a solid foundation in economics or financial economics with an emphasis on applying that knowledge to real-world situations. While the program prepares students for careers as professional economists in government and business, some graduates use the degree as a springboard toward further education in law or a doctoral degree in business or economics.

The objective of our program is to offer students the opportunity to develop and apply analytical and research skills to economic issues that they can then apply in positions of leadership as professional economists in government or private business. The program also provides a firm basis for its graduates to be successful in further graduate studies in economics at top doctoral programs.

What are the most valuable skills that students could gain from the MAEcon program?

Regardless of their chosen specialty, all successful graduates of the program are expected to gain the following skills:

  • The ability to approach economics-related issues analytically
  • The ability to use data appropriately to answer economic research questions
  • The ability to effectively communicate research findings

What do you think makes the Moore School stand out among other business schools?

The structure of the MAEcon program allows for flexibility to match the particular interests and needs of the individual student. We offer three tracks: thesis track, economics track and finance track. In addition, we designed the program so students can earn a statistics certificate along with the economics degree. Beyond the moldable curriculum, our faculty members are accessible and heavily involved in the program.