The MASS program truly changed my career perspective and even my life. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in sociology. Although I did not plan to pursue an academic career at first, I did want to learn more and prepared well after I graduated from college. Some say learning should be a lifetime work, but learning at a young age should be especially rewarding. Particularly because I wanted to find the career that is right for me and I am right for it when I decided to come to HKUST. Lucky for me, I did find my passion for economics in the MASS program. And more importantly, I found my master “Yoda”, my lifelong mentor in the Social Science Division, who later on became my supervisor in my MPhil and PhD study. Apart from my mentor, each of the educators I met in the MASS program shaped me in their ways. It is with their help, I developed my perspective, my way of thinking, and my expertise, all of which helped, and I believe it will continue helping my success in my career. For these, I am always thankful to these educators and to the MASS program.
I chose the MASS program not only for its reputation but also because it combines the most rigorous research training with a lot of fun. It helps me to understand our modern life and the social phenomena around us. The best thing, though, is that there is such a wide range of courses to choose from related disciplines: sociology, economics, political science, psychology — I can choose freely from a long list. Studying social science here is a wonderful journey.
I have benefited considerably from the multidisciplinary feature of our MASS program. As a student majored in applied economics, this program motivated me to dig deeper into qualitative research with a special focus on Chinese political science. As a MASS graduate in 2014, I found the program broadened my horizons and inspired me to contextualize some cities’ developmental experience relative to other cities in China. Upon graduation, I joined the China Team of Fung Global Institute (now renamed as Asia Global Institute under HKU) as a Research Analyst, specializing in China-related data analysis. I realized the data collection skills I learned from MASS program was of much help to my career. I had little difficulties to locate proper data. Our team focused on an urban research project on Foshan. The initial purpose was to conduct in-depth case studies to understand China’s growth from a bottom-up perspective. To explore such research prospective in greater depth, after the completion of Foshan project, I joined our division to work as a research assistant. As taught postgraduate students, we were nonetheless closely connected with faculties. The division provided numerous opportunities for MASS students to attend divisional receptions and seminars. Therefore, it was not a hard choice for me to return to our division as a research student. Now I have formed a productive and rewarding research team with Prof Kellee Tsai, pursuing a research degree in our division allows me to continue my on-going research in a familiar and favorable environment.
In the MASS program, the research-oriented courses with quantitative methods really refreshed my mind and expanded my vision, helping me to analyze and solve critical social issues in a new perspective. The admirable teaching team and perfect facilities of the HKUST provided me with an incredible learning environment that I have never experienced before, and enabled me to devote myself to academic research.
Meanwhile, HKUST offers a range of exchange programs with other leading institutions around the world, and I got the opportunity to exchange in the University of Copenhagen for one semester. Studying and living in a cross-cultural environment in Denmark was not only a joyful experience, but also made me view cultural and institutional differences more rationally, and explore the possible solutions to the unsolved social problems.
Choosing the social science program of the HKUST is the best choice I have ever made. Trust me: everything here will never let you down.