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Meet our alumni


Read what our students have to say about their experience at the LSE-PKU Summer School

The people and especially fellow students that I have met were simply amazing; they really made my stay in Beijing one to remember.
Maxim Roben, Vrije Universiteit (The Free University), Netherlands

Students in rain 16.9Photo: The Political Economy of Urbanisation in China and Asia: Globalisation and Uneven Development class field trip, Jacky Qi Zhu, University of Aberdeen, UK

Arjun Natarajan 16.9"I strongly believe that learning from the course curriculum is 50% and learning through peers is the other 50%. My class lived up to the expectations." Arjun Natarajan, Associate Software Engineer, India

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What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned?

The best part of the course was exploring Beijing and PKU. Overall it was a wonderful experience both socially and educationally. The course has helped me reanalyse my business approach towards uncertain environments. The Management, Entrepreneurship and Global Leadership course I attended has helped me gain the necessary skill-sets in a short time to run my business more effectively. The student diversity present in the programme really helped me gain a collaborative learning experience and make good friends from across the globe.

What did you think about life in Beijing?

Life in Beijing is very different from life in any other part of the world. Beijing is weird in its own way but it is one of those destinations in the world which everyone must visit. The food was amazing. I got to try Beijing Duck, kimchi and sweet pork etc. The variety of delicacies is truly unparalleled. People are very friendly to help foreigners, the only challenge outside of class was the Mandarin language. Apart from that, life can be super fun and exciting by visiting nearby tourist attractions such as the Capital Museum, Temple of Heaven, Beijing Zoo, Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.

What did you think about your fellow students?

I strongly believe that learning from the course curriculum is 50 % and learning through peers is the other 50%. My class lived up to the expectations. The type of people that I got to meet during my program was very diverse. People from almost all corners of the globe (Australia, USA, South America, UK, Japan, Kenya, India, Russia, South Korea, Europe) were there. All of them with different backgrounds in education and work really enrich the learning and fun aspects of life in Beijing. 

What was your overall highlight?

Meeting so many people and making new friends. The Gala Dinner and the weekend trips to tourist places were the best highlights. Also the nightlife in Beijing was amazing and not very expensive.

What are your top tips for potential students?

I would highly recommend this programme to anybody who wants to expand their learning curve for further studies or work. And learn some Mandarin to make life easy in PKU. Overall it is a great programme and the experience you gain is beyond words.

William Frost 16.9"Beijing is crazy, vibrant and dynamic. Life there is so completely different from what I'm used to in London (e.g. tube etiquette), but I absolutely loved it. The food was out of this world." William Frost, University of Oxford, UK

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What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned?

The understanding of feelings and perceptions in other countries (e.g. how the Russians view Putin, or how the Chinese view Xi's wife). It was an invaluable experience, augmented by the international spectrum encompassed by the class.

What did you think about life in Beijing?

Crazy, vibrant and dynamic. Life there is so completely different there from what I'm used to in London (e.g. tube etiquette), but I absolutely loved it. The food was out of this world.

What did you think about your fellow students?

By far and away the best bit of the experience. A wonderfully interesting and friendly bunch of people from all over the world. Those from further afield I will miss very much; those from London I will continue to see regularly!

What was your overall highlight?

Climbing The Great Wall of China. I had no idea what to expect, but it certainly wasn't that... Wear shorts.

What are your top tips for potential students?

Interact. Make friends. Never say 'no'. Take every opportunity and go out of your way to socialise with your peers. I guarantee these friendships will be your dominant memories of the course long after you have forgotten the academic content!

Jacky Qi Zhu 16.9"My experience in Beijing this summer was absolutely unforgettable." Jacky Qi Zhu, University of Aberdeen, UK

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What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned?

I took The Political Economy of Urbanisation in China and Asia: Globalisation and Uneven Development course and was amazed when the course assistant handed me the reading pack, which was approximately 800 pages. The lecture was really condensed, from where we explored several heated urbanization topics such as displacement, gentrification and mega-events within two weeks. One of the best parts of my course was that it included a one-day field trip to visit the inner city of Beijing, which allowed students to intuitively experience urban development in Beijing. The knowledge I gained from the lectures and seminars have broadened my insight in developing cities in East Asia and will definitely be helpful in my future research and study in the field of real estate.

What did you think about life in Beijing?

My experience in Beijing this summer was absolutely unforgettable. Beijing is both modern and historic. The local people here are friendly and welcoming. The bus and metros can take you to anywhere you like in Beijing. Peking University's campus is incredibly gorgeous with the beautiful Weiming Lake, and includes typical Chinese buildings equipped with advanced facilities. You will also find the food in Peking University's cafeterias is really tasty and international at an affordable price.

What did you think about your fellow students?

My fellow students mainly came from mainland China, Singapore, Germany, USA and India. Most students were undergraduates from leading universities, such as LSE, UCL, Edinburgh, Northwestern, but we also had professionals in real estate and investment fields. My fellow students specialised in different majors and were from different countries so it was interesting to share and hear different opinions, perspectives and learn from each other. We also went for Peking Duck and other sightseeing tours during the two weeks. We will absolutly meet again in the future. 

What was your overall highlight?

Learning about China right in the city of lovely Beijing, the capital of China, and spending time at Peking University, a top university in China. Though I am Chinese, I was not sure about China's past and future, however the LSE-PKU summer school lead me to think and get close to the answers.

What are your top tips for potential students?

This is a great opportunity to explore and learn China. Don’t be afraid, Beijing and Peking University are highly international, faculty and course assistants are warm, welcoming and helpful so you won’t get lost anyway and you will have fun. I recommend LSE-PKU to either students and professionals, who are enthusiastic to learn more about China.

Micha Panagiotidi 16.9"The interaction with such an inspiring professor and teaching assistants was exciting. In my opinion, listening to Professor Yao’s stories and experiences from the industry was the best part of the course as it stimulated my interest and curiosity about the subject." Michailia Panagiotidi, London School of Economics, UK

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What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned?

I took Big Data: Data Analytics for Business and Beyond. The course was not just about the technical knowledge acquired. The interaction with such an inspiring professor and teaching assistants was exciting. In my opinion, listening to Professor Yao’s stories and experiences from the industry were the best parts of the course as they stimulated my interest and curiosity about the subject.

Studying towards a Statistics degree, this course has familiarised me with a broader range of concepts in the subject area which I am planning to research more in the near future.

What did you think about life in Beijing?

It was my first time in Asia and I can easily say it was wonderful. Beijing is a very historical city with many remarkable places to explore, and the opportunity to do this with the amazing students of LSE-PKU Summer School was exceptional. Having people around you that are going through the same difficulties of adjusting to Chinese customs is a great advantage that makes bonding much easier.

What did you think about your fellow students?

Every student attending this summer school was unique. Students came from all around the world, from all kinds of backgrounds and were of different ages, something which gave rise to the most diverse group I have ever experienced. At the same time, all these people shared the passion and the curiosity of studying China in China. Two weeks can be considered as a short period of time, but it was enough for all students attending this summer school to create a very special bond. Being part of this is an unforgettable experience!

What was your overall highlight?

I have to admit that the very best part of this summer school was its participants. I met people that I will never forget and formed friendships I never expected. This summer school has truly given me a new appreciation of people and a new perspective to things.  

What are your top tips for potential students?

I would advise potential students to not forget that they are in Beijing, in China. There are so many things to see, explore and experience. It is not all just about learning what is in the book. The LSE-PKU Summer School is a learning experience on its own. Being surrounded by this diverse group of inspiring people in Beijing is also unique and should be taken advantage of.

Irfan Mohamed 16.9"I enjoyed the course thoroughly as the incredible teaching faculty engaged us in exploring and learning from the real life examples of data analysis." Irfan Mohamed, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan

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What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned?

I took Big Data: Data Analytics for Business and Beyond as I was curious about data science as I was not sure whether I want to go for a PhD in Data Science or Computer Science when I finished my graduate degree. I thought taking a summer course on big data would be a great opportunity to explore that and certainly it was. I enjoyed the course thoroughly as the incredible teaching faculty engaged us in exploring and learning from the real life examples of data analysis. 

What did you think about life in Beijing?

I really enjoyed the cultural aspects of Beijing which are really different from my country. Also, it's cashless payment system.

What did you think about your fellow students?

Diversity - students ranging from the different educational backgrounds leads us to a effective discussion both in-class and after which helps me to understand the topic and ideas more effectively.

What was your overall highlight?

Interacting with the students and getting to know them, their lives and cultures and gaining useful knowledge from the course which provided deep insight about the topics covered during the programme.

What are your top tips for potential students?

The tips I would like to give to the future students is to be curious and ask plenty of questions about your course and reach out to students for some honest first-hand experience of the course. 

Florian Bornhauser 16.9"I particularly enjoyed having the time to deep-dive into the topic of data analytics and some of the relevant statistical programming tools. Having worked in business for three years post-graduation, I sometimes miss academic life – in particular having sufficient time to think about challenging topics in depth (as opposed to the constant hectic and multi-tasking of a business environment)." Florian Bornhauser, Head of Market and Competitor Intelligence, China

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What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned?

I took Big Data: Data Analytics for Business and Beyond. I particularly enjoyed having the time to deep-dive into the topic of data analytics and some of the relevant statistical programming tools (in particular, “R”). Having worked in business for three years post-graduation, I sometimes miss academic life – in particular having sufficient time to think about challenging topics in depth (as opposed to the constant hectic and multi-tasking of a business environment). Spending two weeks at the LSE-PKU summer school provided me with the opportunity to get some quality thinking time.

Some of the examples of uses of big data used in class made me think about ways how we could replicate such methods in our own company (e.g. identifying the loss risk of different customer contracts). Having brushed up my skills in “R” during the course, I will try to give some of the methods covered a try with data sets of our company.

What did you think about life in Beijing?

I live in Shanghai and I travel to Beijing for business every couple of months. Hence, being in Beijing in general wasn’t all that special. However, getting to spend two weeks inside the PKU Campus was amazing. It is so much greener, quieter, and more relaxed than the city surrounding it that it almost felt like a city getaway…

What did you think about your fellow students?

I was positively surprised about the diversity of student backgrounds. In most summer schools, the student body predominantly consists of students who are still in the process of completing their bachelor’s degree. In our class, we had several students pursuing PhDs, as well as a number of people who (like me) took a break from work. Having such a diverse bunch of students enriched the discussions we had between classmates.

What was your overall highlight?

As mentioned above, my personal highlight was being able to deep-dive into a topic of interest. Besides, I am glad to have learned how to the statistical programming language “R” for my personal research.

What are your top tips for potential students?

For our class, there had been an early announcement on recommended pre-readings. Nonetheless, most of us (including myself) students did not go through these materials before the course started. If I could do it once more, I would pre-read more: Had I done so, I would have had some more time to enjoy summer in Beijing (and spent some less time on statistics).