Economics has always been a topic that intrigued me, probably because both of my parents are currently in this field. Even though I understand that my parents’ career should not influence my own career decision, I have learned to appreciate their efforts as well as the influence of economics has had on our family. When my parents graduated from college, their families could barely support them. With fifty dollars (which is equivalent to three hundred yuan) in their pockets, they went to seek career opportunities in a southern city of China—Shenzhen, once a small fishing village but now a major city in China with a vibrant economy. They eventually made a living by their endeavors and the fortuitous decision to go to Shenzhen. In the 90’s, Shenzhen became a special economic zone in China and developed rapidly with the “reforming and opening” policy, which led to a significant increase in foreign investments. With this opportunity, my mother created her own startup company and my father joined a state-owned enterprise. The prosperous economy in China gave them hope to achieve a higher standard of living.
Shenzhen Thirty Years Ago
When I was young, my parents seemed to be passionate about economics and started teaching me how a nation’s economy works. They also introduced me to highly technical terms such as exchange rate and trade. Because of their backgrounds, I developed a basic understanding of economics and was also fond of learning about different economic phenomena. However, it is not until I became more mature that I started to question my parents’ experience and asked: “what can I do with my knowledge of economics?” I sought an answer, asked for explanations and searched on the Internet. Nevertheless, I failed to get a conclusive answer. It was this bewilderment that piqued my curiosity to study and to explore this field of knowledge. I now try to pursue an answer by diving into the field of business. I have taken courses at Brown University, including statistics for economists and organization behavior; I served as a business captain on the Robotics team, writing business plans and donor letters, fundraising for new sustainability light bulbs; I am doing an independent study in Game Theory.
An experience that had a huge impact on me that relates to economics was serving on the Westtown Robotics team. Our goal is to build a competitive robot and to sustainably run our team. To this end, I embarked on a fundraiser with the help of the Business Division through selling cheap LED light bulbs we bought from FIRST, a non-profit robotics organization, for the purpose of facilitating the development of the team. In a seemingly ordinary LED, I discerned the advanced technology and huge market opportunity. I consequently targeted my school as my first potential partner in this fundraiser as there is a huge demand for light bulbs in school public areas and faculty offices. Soliciting our school to purchase, our team did a comprehensive research on the preponderance of LED light bulbs and the needs for bulbs in school, drafted a concise business proposal and presented it to the sustainability office. We set the optimal order price, calculated the savings for the school by transitioning into all LED bulbs, and wrote a competitive market analysis, which graphically demonstrated the difference in price, in lifespan and in energy cost. During the research, I was utterly mesmerized about the technological edge that the LED bulbs have over the school used compact fluorescents lights’ because of the way they functioned. CFLs produce harmful UV light as they generate visible light by exciting the Mercury vapor, which stimulates the phosphor coating of the bulb. LED, however, uses the phosphor coating to reradiate blue LED light into longer wavelength light, combining to make “white” light. By knowing this information, I discovered the influence that the advanced technology brings us in our daily lives, which not only revolutionizes human society but also the scientific community. We are able to build a win-win relationship with the school as we both fulfill our mission to fundraise but also create a greener Westtown. Through this experience, I learned that business is not only about earning money, but it can also be about spreading the sustainable idea which will benefit the people around us as a whole.
I hope that all of my efforts and experiences related to business can help me shape my view of the world and better make sense of the world in which everyone lives and works. All the knowledge I have gained broadened my horizons and allowed me to sense the uniqueness and breadth of this subject. I am still feeling a little diffident whenever I am asked to explain: “how can you better the world with your knowledge of economics,” as I recognized how limited my knowledge of economics is. Even though I am halfway through my Game theory independent project, I am still uncertain that how this knowledge is going to influence me in the long run. Through this project, I have learned of the importance of the Nash equilibrium, randomization, mixed strategy, etc. Whether I can apply these ideas in society is still questionable. Nevertheless, I will keep doing research in the intersection between game theory and our daily lives so that I can implement theories I learned to create a positive impact on our society.
I genuinely hope that one day I can create my own startup business with my friends and be able to use my specialty in the field to benefit others by promoting the usage of sustainable resources or products. Selling LED light bulbs and replacing the incandescent bulbs have given me a sense of how energy-saving and money-saving it can be when the world can be running with more advanced and energy-efficient products. As a result, not only will I use my special knowledge of business and earn a living in the future, but I will also look at the moral ethics in order to find ways to benefit others and regulate my own behavior.
One of the entrepreneurs whom I admired the most, Steve Jobs, exemplified my passion. He advanced this world by innovating new technology, and then benefitted mankind through strategically selling them to the world. His inspiring words: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become,” have been and will keep directing me on to the right path, alerting me to pursue my passion and reminding me to contribute to the world regardless of the future hardships.
Beschty. “Shenzhen Seen from a Birds Perspective.” Skyscraper.com. vBulletin
Solutions, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014. <http://www.skyscrapercity.com/
“Shenzhen Thirty Years Ago.” Nico’s Musing. Nico’s Musing, n.d. Web. 22 Oct.
“Steve Jobs.” BoomsBeat. BOOMSbeat, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
Zukanovic, Amir. “Economics.” Dreamstime. Dreamstime, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.