Student Stories

Get to know our wonderful LSE Economics community!


Welcome to our new Student Stories page where you can find content written by our LSE Economics community!



Learn about the benefits of volunteering with Maya Kaul (BSc Economics)

Hi, I’m Maya, a second-year Economics student and volunteering ambassador. I began volunteering last year through LSE’s Community Engagement Programme, which allowed me to complete a consultation project for the charity Age UK Islington with a team of other LSE students. This year I’m continuing to volunteer because I’ve found it to be a great addition to my university experience, so I’ve completed training with the non-profit organisation Salusbury World to become an educational mentor for children with a refugee or migrant background. I’m also taking advantage of the one-off opportunities promoted by the LSE Volunteer Centre, like taking two hours this term to participate in a project to improve recycling on campus. These one-off opportunities are how I plan to help out several causes throughout the year without feeling overwhelmed by the time commitment.

Volunteering can be a great way to make an impact in a cause that you care about, connect with other students and the local community, and balance your degree with something rewarding and less stressful. Student volunteers often say they find their experiences not only personally fulfilling, but an asset to their future career paths as well by allowing them to develop a wide range of important skills. Current opportunities range from creating social media content for Tanzania Development Trust, to being a policy researcher for The Childhood Trust who focus on alleviating childhood poverty, to tutoring disadvantaged students through various charities. These roles and countless more are available to browse through on CareerHub, and you can even get five opportunities emailed to you every week by setting ‘volunteering’ as one of your preferences on CareerHub. If you want additional help with getting started or figuring out what role to take on next, there are appointments available to book with the Volunteer Centre coordinator to get advice and discuss any questions you may have.

I hope you feel encouraged to engage in volunteering at LSE and beyond, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy and benefit from it if you do.

Maya Kaul, BSc Economics (Year 2)


November 2021


An interview with George Waters, joint winner of the BSHM 2021 Undergraduate Essay Prize

We spoke to George Waters (BSc Economics, Year 3) about his British Society for the History of Mathematics Undergraduate Essay Prize, his love for mathematics and his favourite modules. Read his story below.

Tell us a bit more about the competition.

The British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM) have an annual essay competition for young people (with different categories for different ages). I had heard about the Society through my lecturers/teachers on the MA318 (History of Mathematics in Economics and Finance) course I took last year. They had also mentioned about the competition during the course. I was then recommended to submit my coursework essay for the prize. I decided to make a lot of adaptations, adding some sections and making the essay less specific to the module.

The competition criteria were very open, only requiring to be based around the history of some mathematics. I was told that the judges appreciated the originality of my essay!

Your essay was titled Exploring the use of mathematics to obtain consensus. What attracted you to this subject and are you able to summarise the key points for us?

After learning some basics of Political Economy in EC201, I was interested in knowing more about the history and progression of these ideas, from primitive methods to Arrow’s Theorem. My essay aims to provide a very broad overview of these developments over time, briefly considering the context and significance in the time period. This involved looking at some specific theory discoveries (including Condorcet cycles and Majority rule), and their magnitude for wider society. I hope to have portrayed why it is still important to consider where these ideas came from, and how crucial they remain to be.

How did you discover that you had won the BSHM 2021 Undergraduate Essay Prize and what was your reaction?

I had no clue when the announcement was being made, so it caught me completely by surprise! I think I was making sausage ragu on video call to my girlfriend when I heard! My housemates said I had tears in my eyes but I insist it was the chillies! I then told my parents and sister who also were over the moon.

What does winning the BSHM Prize mean to you?

It was a real confidence boost as a previously very quantitative student; to do so well in an essay. It has made me much more confident in some of the more qualitative subjects I have chosen this year.

I was invited to the BSHM event with Gresham College at the Museum of London; where I was presented with the award and given a monetary prize!

Tell us if you have a favourite LSE Economics courses and why.

Of course, MA318 (History of Mathematics in Economics and Finance) needs a mention, as a fascinating and very well delivered course. From when a friend told me about the course in first year, I knew I would take it, and I am very glad I did!

I am very grateful to those responsible for MA318; Jan van den Heuvel, June Barrow-Green and Norman Biggs. Their passion for the History of Mathematics was infectious!

Taking EC201 also gave me a lot of inspiration and insight into a wide range of microeconomic subjects, sparking an interest in political economy (which partly inspired the essay subject). I have followed up on this by taking EC302 (Political Economy) this year, which I am very much enjoying. EC311 (History of Economics) has also been very interesting so far, using a contextual approach to history that I really enjoy.

Would you like to pursue a career in mathematics or any-related fields?

Mathematics has always been a passion of mine, from early school years. In my later years at school and university I have enjoyed applying this to economics. Although I am still figuring out what I want to do, I am sure both mathematics and economics will be involved.

What are your hobbies? Are you part of any School societies?

At LSE I am the treasurer of the 93% Club, a society aiming to bridge the gap between state and privately educated students!

In my spare time I enjoy photography, cooking new dishes, listening to new music and going for long hikes in remote places!

You can read a blog version of George’s essay here!


October 2021


An interview with Michele Jacopo Maggi, 2021 ‘Chinese Bridge’ Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional Finalist

Michele Jacopo Maggi, a third-year BSc Economics student, won Most Creative Performance Prize at the 2021 'Chinese Bridge' Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional Final on 26 June 2021. With 20 years of history, the Chinese Bridge Competition allows countless students to improve their language skills while simultaneously increasing their cultural awareness and understanding of China. 

Michele spoke to the Department of Economics about his experience.

Tell us more about the competition.

The competition really came as a surprise. My teacher and tutor Hongyi Xin contacted me during the exam period about the possibility of participating in the 2021 Chinese Bridge Competition, and I immediately decided to embark on this journey. Preparation mainly consisted of 1-2-1 lessons with my tutor, followed by my own private study. The competition consisted of five sections, mostly centred around speaking abilities. There was a three-minute presentation about “One World, One Family”, six questions about Chinese culture, history, and language, an open-ended question requiring a one-minute answer, a one-minute video production introducing the contestant and their Mandarin learning experience, and lastly a talent show where I performed card magic.   

How did you discover that you had won the Most Creative Performance Prize and what was your reaction?

Prizes were released live, right after the competition ended. Honestly, I never worked so hard for something. Even though I only had 25 days of preparation, even though I only studied for only one year, my efforts were still recognised. The hardest aspect of the competition was taking into consideration all aspects and characteristics of Mandarin, such as pronunciation, tones, right pausing, fluency, grammar, wide vocabulary, sophisticated structure including fixed expressions, classic Chinese idioms, and combine them in a creative and interesting way. Facing such strong competition, managing to gain an award definitely came as a pleasant surprise.

What does winning the Prize mean to you?

It’s a milestone. Throughout my studies I never had the opportunity to confront my abilities with my peers. Winning the Prize means that I am investing my time efficiently and profitably, that my effort is not wasted. Thus what the prize means to me is motivation. It gave me additional motivation to continue furthering my studies in what I now consider one of my greatest passions.

How long have you been studying Chinese? What motivated you to study the language?

It has been a combination of many different factors. I have watched Chinese, Japanese and Korean cartoons and comics since I was young. Once I arrived at LSE, most of my friends ended up being Asians and I thus began to understand and appreciate their culture. The boredom of quarantine gave me the last push I needed to embark on this journey. What motivated me to continue my studies is feeling myself improve day by day. Stumbling upon a word I studied a couple of days before, and being able to understand something that I was unable to the day before, brings a sense of achievement that can hardly be substituted.

What was studying LN142 Mandarin Language and Society 2 (Intermediate) like? Do you have any highlights?

I had not taken a language class that wasn’t mandatory before and LN142 set a high bar. The passion of every teacher made the classes both informative and enjoyable. Being connected through WhatsApp, not only with classmates but also with teachers, made the learning experience so much more effective, especially in a year characterised by online lessons. What really surprised me was the availability of the teachers. No matter if it was morning or night, the occasions in which I had to wait more than half an hour for a reply can be counted on one hand.

Any advice for people thinking about learning another language while studying at LSE?

I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone to start learning a foreign language at LSE, both as an outside option or an optional course. The progress one can make in one single year is unbelievable. Studying outside of classes, although true for all subjects, is particularly valid with languages. Hence, my advice is to literally take any opportunity as a learning one. This obviously includes listening to music, watching movies, and reading books in the target language, but can be easily extended to finding new friends to chat and practice, both online and in-person, learning how to cook traditional food and so on. The more the foreign language becomes an intrinsic part of your life, the easier and faster learning it becomes.

Do you have plans to visit China after the pandemic? If so, what would you do first?

Yes, as soon as I have a chance I would love to go and spend some time in China, Hong Kong, or even Taiwan. Having studied the language and the culture to such an extent and then not go and experience it first-hand feels like a missed opportunity. Travelling around China, possibly studying or working there are all opportunities that I wouldn’t hesitate to grasp. 


(1) The picture where I am wearing a western-style suit was the three-minute presentation about "One World, One Family".

(2) The picture which includes that woman (who was one of the judges) is when I was asked the question on Chinese food requiring a one-minute answer.

(3) Lastly, the remaining two pictures are taken from the talent show where I performed a magic trick of my invention. During the trick, I talked about how I came to learn the language step by step. I thus talked about the four stages (Listening 听, Reading 读, Writing 写, Speaking 说 from left to right). The remaining Chinese characters were used as a symbol of my progresses in the language. The cards were previously white and then I made Chinese Characters appear. 


June 2021



LSE Team wins the International Econometrics Game

Many congratulations to Eddy Zou (BSc Economics), Brooklyn Han (BSc EME), Stefanus Phan (BSc EME) and Callum Renton (BSc EME), who have been awarded first place in the challenging international ‘Econometrics Game’ hosted by the University of Chicago’s Oeconomica Society. The team won the competition with their paper ‘Covid and the City: Intra-Hospital Transmission of COVID-19’

The Econometrics Game is a competition where teams of one to four students from top universities are given a dataset and 13 hours to devise and answer a question of economic importance. Each team must then write a comprehensive research paper. The teams judged to have the best papers are then selected to present their findings in front of a panel of judges. View the team's presentation here.

This year’s judges were 2013 Nobel Laureate Professor Lars Peter Hansen, Professor Stéphane Bonhomme and Professor Robert Shimer.

Eddy, Brooklyn, Stefanus and Callum share their experience of the competition:

'It was a brilliant experience bonding with each other, and sharing our passion for economic research together. We should say that the victory reflects not just our own efforts, but importantly a culmination of all the superb teaching and extracurricular experience that we've had at LSE. We could not have done it without the support of the department, lecturers, and class teachers throughout our degree, and we're very happy we could do LSE proud in this way.'


May 2021


PaTrek 2021: Patrick Savage (BSc Economics) and friends to take on 240-mile walk for charity

In March 2020, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma. To treat the cancer, I underwent six months of chemotherapy at the Christie Hospital and thanks to their incredible staff I'm now in remission. Without an effective treatment, I would've been left with less than a year to live; however I was incredibly lucky that this treatment was available. I know we still have a long way to go in the fight against cancer. 

To make sure we're doing our bit to ensure everyone who receives a cancer diagnosis also gets to experience the amazing feeling of beating the disease, three friends and I are doing a charity event to raise money for Cancer Research UK and The Christie Charity.  

On 22 June; Phil Saunes (Economic History), Alex Smith (Law), Jorge Stevenson (Statistics) and I will be setting off to walk the 240 miles from LSE, covering 30 to 35 miles a day, before arriving at the Christie Hospital in Manchester on 29 June. 

Beating cancer is something we can only achieve if enough funds are pledged to the goal, so a massive thank you to anyone who shares or donates! 

To get more information or to donate, please click here

Written by Patrick Savage (BSc Economics)
Photo: Patrick Savage (second from the left) and friends

 May 2021


Have you or a fellow student studying in the Department of Economics achieved something great? Are you working on something that will benefit our Economics community or others further afield? Don’t keep it a secret, let us know! Send a summary of your story idea, along with any helpful information (e.g student name and Economics programme) and photos to