I was born in a small town in China’s Hunan Province, before moving to Shanghai at a young age. The country’s massive financial hub was home for most of my life, up until the end of my undergraduate degree in Hispanic Philology. Studying the language opened up new horizons and ultimately brought me to Barcelona and later Madrid, where I am now studying the Master in Applied Economics on the CSC-IE Scholarship. In my spare time I enjoy boxing, yoga and DIY.
Keeping her options open: IE University as a place to explore
Despite being a self-confessed introvert, Sichen Zhou has always enjoyed meeting new people, experiencing new things and living in different places. Making meaningful connections with others and having an impact in whatever field she chooses to pursue are the guiding principles of her professional journey, one that has so far included a broad range of elements.
Her academic background has been varied to say the least, but ending up in the Spanish capital was no coincidence. Having chosen Hispanic philology as her undergraduate field, a term in Alicante sparked her interest in studying abroad and led her originally to Barcelona. A Master of Science in International Management at ESADE Business School followed, before she made the switch to Madrid and enrolled on the Master in Applied Economics at IE University.
As for the direction her career will take in the years to come, she remains open-minded. While admitting she had limited professional experience prior to joining IE University, she has recently completed Level 1 of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program. At the same time, she’s been involved in projects across diverse fields including translation and interpretation, foreign aid, international trade, digital transformation and sustainable finance. Currently, she is working on matters related to the insurtech sector, and was also a member of the winning team on a business simulation challenge linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The program’s greatest appeal is how it delivers ‘a charming combination of quantitative analysis and humanity.”
Sichen Zhou’s academic grounding in the humanities, coupled with a business twist and such a broad range of interests, made her the perfect candidate for a place on the CSC-IE University Scholarship, IE University’s scholarship in partnership with the China Scholarship Council to help our chinese students here. She highlights the innovative learning environment, modern facilities and forward-thinking methodologies as decisive factors in leading her to enroll. Another huge draw was what she sees as the well-rounded nature of the program, including renowned speakers and the hands-on practical experience in the form of initiatives like Immersion Week.
Of course, the Master in Applied Economics itself is helping Sichen Zhou to strengthen her quantitative skills and knowledge. She has enjoyed learning the fundamentals of economics and finance, but also excelled in the more technical areas like econometrics, data science and game theory. The program is providing her with all the tools she needs for a future in whichever business field she decides to pursue, aided by the extracurricular options on offer. Sichen Zhou speaks fondly of her experience at the 22nd World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Saudi Arabia. She was selected and sponsored to go to the event, where she had the chance to meet global leaders and discuss sustainable tourism.
Beyond the practical or academic benefits, though, Sichen Zhou underlines how it is people who play a vital role in her educational decision-making. To her mind, IE University’s greatest asset was the opportunity it provided to meet like-minded individuals with a desire to make the world a better place. In a reflection which mirrors her own educational and professional journey to date, she explains that the program’s greatest appeal is how it delivers “a charming combination of quantitative analysis and humanity.”
For anyone thinking of signing up for the Master in Applied Economics, Sichen Zhou warns it’s a demanding program: however, for those with a passion for economics, she recommends it as a challenging but fulfilling experience. Her time at IE University has seen her meet people who inspire her and give her the courage to aim high, while also reminding her to slow down and enjoy life—a quality which she describes as a “treasure.”