News | Alumni Eddy Zou Won the ONS Essay Competition


Eddy Zou

Class of 2019
BSc economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science
Eddy won the ONS (Office for National Statistics, UK) thesis competition in May 2020. His paper was published on the ONS website.


SCIE Interviewer: We learned that you just published an academic paper on the official website of ONS. Could you please introduce the subject of your paper? And what social significance do you think it has?

Eddy: I attended the Renaissance Prize Competition organised by ONS with three schoolmates in March 2020. The Renaissance Prize Competition is a competition that targets undergraduate students in the UK, which asks students to discuss the influence of Sustainable Development Goals on the business and economics of the UK.

To me, the social importance of this competition is to continue the mechanism of “evidence-based policy”. The British government hopes to develop SDGs into previous policy-making programmes. However, because of insufficient and imperfect information, the government calls for help by the third-parties to provide evidence which can help analyse and justify the influence of SDGs on British society. Besides, ONS, as an independent organisation, wishes to help the public understand the meaning of SDGs through this programme.

Eddy and his team

SCIE Interviewer: You must put a lot of painstaking effort in this paper, but in this process, which part do you think you contributed the most?

Eddy: This essay was finished by four of us. From head to tail, we separated the whole work into individual tasks first, did our parts, and discussed in groups. The part which I contributed the most probably was the rethinking of the influence of the enriching data of SDGs on policy-making. To make sure that the discussion covered as many as aspects and fitted into the current circumstance, I read much red paper from the British government. By that, I deeply dug into the possible shortcomings of existing policies, the ways which enriching data can change the process of policy-making, and the combination of the knowledge with some hot questions in British society.

Reports on ONS official website (Google browser is recommended):

Report from Economics Department of LSE:

SCIE Interviewer: After graduating from SCIE last year, you went to LSE to study economics. How do you feel about this school after one year of studying?

Eddy: LSE is a diversified school, which is somewhat similar to SCIE. Students come from different parts of the world, everyone has their own unique characteristic. The atmosphere in this school is very free, students have many choices in their work, career and life, but there are so many excellent and admirable people around, your choices will be subconsciously changed by pressure from peers.

LSE Economic Policy Competition Award Ceremony. Runbang Mao and Eddy zou (second and fourth from the right) are both SCIE graduates of 2019. They are studying BSc economics at the LSE.

SCIE Interviewer: There are many juniors in our school are also interested in LSE. Can you please talk about your daily life in LSE?

Eddy: Life in LSE requires self-independence. The timetable will arrange at most 14 hours of class a week, which leaves plenty of time for us to explore other things. All the lectures are free to enter, and you can book office hours from any professor. There are lots of seminars and talks on campus, which can be quite shocking intellectually.

However, all the opportunities require hard work by yourself. You need to ask questions and discuss with professors spontaneously, while not expecting professors to come to you.

During this year, I have written all sorts of application forms, for the internship, for clubs, for independent research, for the assistant of professors. Although I have received many rejections, and several times it is quite time-consuming, to me, it is worthwhile. Not only did I pass the application to get the job I want, but I also strengthen the belief of what the future will be.

Freshman course should not be too highly expected. At the same time, the difficulty and quality of teaching programmes will increase from sophomore year. Also, there are many resources outside the classroom, from LSE moodle to professors’ office hour and club activities. But the main point is to plan and improve yourself on a day-to-day basis.

Participated in business practice club activities in SCIE.

SCIE Interviewer: I heard that you showed a great enthusiasm and talent for economics and self-studied many university economics courses when you were a student in SCIE. Now, do you have a deeper understanding of economics?

Eddy: I hope I have. when I was in high school, I was attracted to the branches of economics such as development and political economics. But I focused more on economic theory and narratives like “how does economic growth happen”.

After this year in LSE, I realized that my interest is more focused on empirical analysis. Although the theoretical framework can lead us to think about the problems that have occurred and haven’t occurred, I think it is much more important to test these theories by collecting various data and information in real life. The modern economy has also expanded itself to more areas through the use of empirical tools. For example, to explore how to most effectively reduce wars and conflicts in developing countries and the impact of TV series on social attitudes and fertility etc. I suggest that students who are interested in economics should not only pay attention to theory and model, but also need to think about the applications of these theories in reality. Such as, how to use data and statistical tools to test these hypotheses, how to use these empirical facts to help us discuss social problems and policies.

SCIE Interviewer: Last month, you broadcasted an online sharing session for SCIE students. Could you please tell us what experience did you share? And why did you launch this sharing session?

Eddy: In this sharing session, I just wanted to give the younger students some advices on those aspects I have experienced. For example, preparing for university, adjusting your life from high school to university and career path of academic research. The main reason I want to do this is that I benefited a lot from the sharing sessions hosted by senior students, so I want to help other students within my scope. I think it’s a positive cycle.

SCIE Interviewer: Looking back now, do you think what’s your biggest achievement in SCIE?

Eddy: I became calmer when met contingencies. From G1 to A2 I felt like living in a shrinking society, not only concerned about study, but also had to balance social life and community tasks. I felt uncomfortable at the very beginning, but after I got familiar with this school, I felt this kind of life is very challenging and exciting. So that’s why I can deal with things much more calmly after four years. In addition, for me, SCIE has a relatively free learning atmosphere and teachers who are willing to support you in different aspects, which makes me more confident to explore the fields I like and the way I want to go.