The School had extended online learning until the end of February.
Victoria, a Year 13 student at MIS, logged on to the Teams at 8 o'clock in the morning as usual to start a normal school day. An inbox notification popped out - it was an email from the University of London (UCL). She couldn't judge by the email subject whether it be a rejection letter or an offer. Her heart began to beat faster but finally she opened the email and saw the word " congratulations” in the opening sentence.
She was surprised by the offer in that moment, but it was well deserved, as Victoria had worked hard. In the post-pandemic era, applications for universities in the UK surged and the competition was extremely fierce. Although she had excelled in her academic achievements, Victoria still could not vouch for the certainty of the offers she would eventually receive. Fortunately, all the hard work paid off. As for now, Victoria has received four offers from University College London, the University of Manchester, the University of Toronto (with C$3000 scholarship) and the University of British Columbia. To date she still awaits her offer from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Her passion in Economics starts from her exploration in Sociology
In the beginning, Business pathway was not her first choice. It was the knowledge in Sociology that attracted her interest. She was enthusiastic to discuss on topics such as "equal rights" and "plagiarism" in a society scope on social media. ‘When people talk about these issues, they no longer pursue mundane, material matters but start to pursue deep, spiritual values,’ Victoria said. Pure theoretical research is not her thing because she believes it is much more important to put the theory into practice. However, her subject combination was rather science-related, so it was not easy for her to apply for Sociology in universities.
During her first year of IGCSEs, Victoria watched the movie ‘Wall Street’ and was shocked by the illegal manipulation of stock trades by a market tycoon. Also, she read the book ‘What Money Can’t Buy’ by Michael J. Sandel that further provoked her thoughts about ‘the boundary between ethics and the market’. As in her personal statement, she wondered, ‘Is it worth taking a risk and compromising my principles for money? Why is numerical data so attractive in the economy?’
These questions inspired Victoria to study economics to find out. She realised that economics can provide her with a brand-new perspective, from which she can investigate and solve the social problems with analytical skills developed via Maths.
The teacher at EPQ at CCA time asked them to choose a research topic based on their personal experience and interests. Victoria kept updated herself with the news of global sustainability, so she decided to write an EPQ to study how sustainability is applied in Ethical Fashion and how it helps the rural economy from an economist point of view. That was also the time when she became more intrigued by the economics.
‘An issue facing the industry is that many brands illegally employ child labour, contradicting the sustainable development goal of social equality, and should be boycotted. However, when I read The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford, I found direct boycotts can aggravate rather than solve problems. Not buying clothes from sweatshops could result in factories downsizing, and unemployment leads to poverty. With the stimulus provided by the ‘invisible hand’ of the market economy, even unethical practices can help vulnerable groups. Although this idea is persuasive, I recognize the opportunity cost of the loss of children’s potential to gain better earnings through education. As an underproduced merit good, education often triggers market failure, requiring intervention by governments through policies or incentives to reduce inequality. Intrigued by how seemingly conflicting elements interplay to form a subtle equilibrium in the economy, I aim to achieve the sophisticated grasp of economics.’ – extracted from Victoria’s personal statement.
Victoria likes to put her interest in economic theories into practice to solve problems. In a second-hand clothes donation event, she designed an effective incentive scheme based on scarcity principle to reward donors with raffle tickets rather than gifts, which allowed the boarders to own the privilege of ordering take-away, which is usually prohibited in the boarding house.
They received positive feedback and collected 300kg of clothes over a few weeks. They made contact with Alipay’s second-hand clothes platform to recycle the clothes.
From writing a paper to practice the theory in real life, Victoria has demonstrated her drive and motives of learning economics – that is to push society to move forward, whether it be a small step or a big change.
MIS has always focused on promoting global citizens. We aim to enlighten every MIS student to shoulder their responsibilities to make a difference in the world and continue their practice of goodwill in different fields throughout their life.
Her confidence has never been shaken
"I'll make a list of my learning tasks for the next day in advance," Victoria said, describing the timetable she sticks to day in and day out. "The next day, when I finish a paper or review a chapter, I will cross it off the lists and that sense of accomplishment motivates me to move on to the next task.”
Victoria is a founding student of MIS. When MIS opened in 2018, Victoria had just graduated from a public junior high school. Victoria, who received good grades in the senior high school entrance examination, decided to turn to the track of international education. Her parents chose MIS for her without hesitation. They believe that as the first authentic British boarding international school in Shenzhen, MIS can provides Victoria with a completely different learning experience from the previous public education system.
Faced with the extra time for independent study, Victoria is very calm. ‘Different from public school, in MIS I need to arrange a lot of time on my own, and everything is what I want to do, and the motivation is completely different.’
‘I self-study by researching texts and literature in the library.’ During the university application process, Victoria broke down the guidance team's instructions step by step, and prepared for various application documents and exam papers in an orderly manner. ‘MIS Library is vast, I found a book recommended by my dream university there.’ At the same time, she also read a lot of journals to enrich her academic research foundation.
Being extremely self-disciplined is what Victoria impressed her form tutor Ms Elsa most. Ms Elsa is also the university counsellor here at MIS. ‘She has strict requirements on herself, and the tasks I assign to her are always quickly responded to.’ Ms Elsa has many years of experience in university guidance and she thinks the forward-looking approach and down-to-earth practice abilities are the key to success.
When she first joined MIS, Victoria was not clear on which business pathway she would explore in the future. The School has offered her university guidance since she started her MIS journey. After a series of consultations and activities based on academic achievements, activity performance, personal interests and university induction, Victoria and her parents decided to choose Economics as her future pathway. ‘I originally wanted to study political economy, but I don't seem to be very good at public speaking and debating. I'm more suitable for research," Victoria said. ‘Nevertheless, I am still willing to take part in activities that I am not good at in school and push my own boundaries, such as the Model United Nations event.’
In the process of applying for university, Victoria followed the arrangement of MIS university guidance team, regularly reported her progress with Ms Marion, the Director of University Education Guidance in the UK and attended mock interviews. Each step she took was purposeful and carefully planned - in fact, she started to prepare for her personal statement in Term 3 when she was Year 12.
Victoria is a typical example of ‘MIS-style success in university application’ – as long as you make full use of the opportunities provided by the School and apply what the professional guidance team offer, you will be most likely achieve the offer from your dream university.
Embrace what comes unexpected
Victoria doesn't have too many prerequisites for her future. ‘I don't think too much about it. I don’t have to be working in a security company or the financial industry. Tech companies are also good choices.” Just like before she joined MIS, she also had the idea of taking the path of art – as she had a very good foundation in painting.
Embrace what comes unexpected, keep wild in imagination for the future, and at the same time make the best of the present. This builds up the greatest confidence in facing the future – being resilient, positive, and adaptable, which also demonstrates the MIS values.
Well done Victoria, and we sincerely hope that every MIS student can be successful.
在IGCSE第一年的学习过程中，Victoria偶尔间接触了电影《华尔街》。电影中资本大亨非法操纵股票交易的故事和她正在读的迈克尔·桑德尔（Michael J. Sandel）的一本书《金钱买不到什么》（What Money Can’t Buy）相互映衬，引发了她对 “道德与经济效益之间的关系” 的思考。后来，她在个人文书中提及，正是这部电影萌发了她探索经济学的兴趣：“为了钱而冒险牺牲自己的原则值得吗?” 、 “为什么数据在经济领域如此有吸引力?”……
“该行业面临的一个问题是，许多品牌非法雇用童工，与社会平等的可持续发展目标相矛盾，应该抵制。 然而，当我阅读蒂姆·哈福德的《卧底经济学家》时，我发现直接的抵制会加剧问题，而不是解决问题。 不从血汗工厂购买衣服会导致工厂裁员，失业会导致贫困。 在市场经济的‘看不见的手’的刺激下，即使是不道德的行为也可以帮助弱势群体。 虽然这个想法很有说服力，但我意识到，如果孩子们失去了通过教育获得更好收入的潜力，就会付出机会成本。 作为一种产出不足的价值商品，教育往往会引发市场失灵，需要政府通过政策或激励措施进行干预，以减少不平等。 看似相互冲突的元素如何相互作用，在经济中形成微妙的平衡。”
Merchiston International School
T: 400 867 0177 www.merchiston.cn
No. 12 Shilongzai Road, Dalang Sub-District, Longhua District, Shenzhen