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Alumnus Returns - You Na Park on Her First Year at LSE

Returning home to Shanghai after a very successful year of studies at the London School of Economics, alumnus You Na Park dropped in to school to catch up with our IB Coordinator, Mr Bevan Graham, and some of her old teachers.

We took the opportunity to sit down for a chat, and You Na, who graduated in 2014, shared with us her experiences as a first year university student, as well as some very exciting news about her summer internships.

  • You Na Park
  • You Na Park

How  would you describe LSE?

LSE is a really intense university; there’s no seating in the library typically, unless you arrive at 5am!

The greatest thing about it is that they give you access to the market; so even though I’m in first year, they give us the opportunity to meet the HR people from big banks. The networking is great!

Also there are lots of societies to join which give us many opportunities. For example, one holds a portfolio challenge and if you make the highest returns for your investments, you actually get real money! This is supported by the big banks so, if you do well, you get your CV straight to them.

You received an excellent IB score. Looking back now, how has studying the IB assisted you at university?

What I’ve seen is that, on average, IB students get higher grades than A level students. The IB gave many opportunities to learn one to one, to learn how to write an extended essay… a must in IB… and without it I wouldn’t have achieved full marks. (You Na received full marks for her economics essay).

A lot of people say that TOK (Theory of Knowledge) is like philosophy, but I think that what it did was teach us how to form an argument and be able to justify that argument. That has been so helpful at university.

Has your university experience changed or altered your plans for the future or prompted you to consider other options?

Joining the societies at LSE helps you to know the real world. Economics is theoretical, but the societies bring in guest speakers from other industries.

At first, I only considered investment banking as a career, but now I think consulting, perhaps in the technology industry, might be more interesting. It involves analysis more than economics.

What do you miss about Shanghai?

The weather! It doesn’t rain as much as I had expected in London, but it’s quite dark. I miss the sun! London is quite good, but I miss my family. And I have to cook, clean and wash for myself. Especially during exam time, that was quite harsh and you do definitely miss your parents!

How do you plan to spend the summer?

I have a one-month internship here in Shanghai with a Hong Kong investment company. Then, I’m going to the US where I have a 2-week internship with Morgan Stanley. Getting that internship involved a very tough application process and interview where they even asked me about China and US policy, but I’m very excited to be going.