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Student Recommendations

» Student Recommendations

Program formerly known as Economic System and Design

"I came to the ESI in the fall of 2018. My background, before joining the ESI, was in finance. For me, it's a privilege to study at the ESI. The master's program at the ESI is very special. It has relatively small classes and the atmosphere is very friendly. Students are encouraged to work with their classmates and professors. There are a lot of opportunities to develop projects either by yourself or with others. The professors are here to help the students with their projects. Another special part of the ESI is its flexibility and diversity. This program is designed to focus on experimental and behavior economics. But students have other options. For example, students get the chance to take classes from other programs such as computational and data sciences.   

I had been working with different professors in different projects at the ESI. In addition, I got the chance to take classes from other programs to develop my skills in different aspects. These experiences prepare me well for my future study. After my master's study at the ESI, I continued my PhD study in computational and data sciences at Chapman University. After two years, I feel I like economics more than other fields. Now, I am about to join the PhD program in economics at Rutgers University.

I recommend the program at the ESI to everyone who is interested in experimental and behavioral economics. The nice weather at Orange County, the wonderful campus life, and the strict but valuable academic training will bring a unique and great experience to you."

-Nannan Peng, MSBCE Graduate, PhD Student attending Rutger’s University in Fall 2022.

"After two years of course work and research I have become convinced that this program is truly one of a kind. All courses had very intimate settings and thus fostered collaborative environments. Moreover, these intimate settings allowed for students to tailor coursework with professors to their areas of interest. My time in the MSESD program has not only given me an excellent education in economic systems design, but also solid foundations in operations research, statistics, and computational economics.

My time at Chapman University turned out to be much more than I had ever expected and the knowledge I gained from both coursework and independent research has prepared me well to continue my studies of economics at the Ph.D. level."

—David Munro, 2011 MSESD Graduate, Ph.D. student in the Economics Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Currently an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at Middlebury College

"Another great part of this program is its versatility. The education you receive not only prepares you for Ph.D. programs, but also for life outside of academia. While the rest of my classmates have been offered admission to Ph.D. programs in the fall, this was never something I wanted to do, and I am happy to say that I will be joining a consulting firm in Chicago as an analyst. This program is a big part of why I got that job, both in that Chapman University and ESI’s reputations got me my first interview, and additionally in that this program taught me the relevant skills to impress my potential employers when they were evaluating my ability to perform.

I loved my time at ESI, and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is interested in economics and considering a master's degree. It is useful for students looking to move into jobs and Ph.D. programs, and more than that, the experience is second to none."

—Charlie Schaezlein, 2011 MSESD Graduate, Currently a Data Analyst with A.T. Kearney

"The interaction with the other students has also been a rewarding experience. Even though people are working on different individual projects, everyone learns a lot by explaining their ideas to their fellow students and asking for feedback.

Almost every Friday a lecturer from outside of Chapman is invited to give a presentation. The topics vary, so it is a good source of ideas for research. It also gives one a clear picture of what it means to do professional, scientific work. One learns a lot by listening to the questions that ESI faculty members pose to the lecturers.

The faculty is complemented by visiting professors from other universities, who come for a couple of weeks. One is allowed and even encouraged to interact with them."
—Joseph Cole, 2011 MSESD Graduate

"At ESI you will receive the hands-on training in the world's best experimental economics lab and personal attention from professional researchers.  You will have the freedom and support to pursue what interests you about economics and develop your own projects. 

I worked with Dr. Bart Wilson to design an environment in the lab where we could test the effects of intellectual property protection.  That project resulted in a paper that I have been able to present at a conference and at another university.  Very few programs would have the resources to realize an idea like that for a Masters student." 

Joy Buchanan, 2011 MSESD Graduate, Former Research Assistant and Ph.D. student in the Economics Department at George Mason University. Currently a Assistant Professor at Samford University. 

"The Economic Science Institute was founded in 2008 by the Nobel Prize winner Vernon Smith, and a team of esteemed economic professors. By enrolling in ESI’s degree program at Chapman University, I was fortunate enough to work with each of these revered professors in one way or another.  Many of the professors have their own area of expertise, and each is more than eager to find a place in their busy schedule to assist with any questions you may have along the way.

The most superb aspect of this program is that it is not a conventional degree program taught straight from coursework.  This type of teaching is not possible in this program because each student is given the opportunity to focus their studies on a question or observation that they find personally interesting. The student’s thesis will focus on their individual question and ultimately become the culmination of their education and hard work throughout the degree program."

—Ryan French, 2010 MSESD Graduate, Currently a Software Engineer with the Economic Science Institute

"The professors in the department are not only highly regarded researchers, but passionate educators as well.  All of the coursework in the program is made up of small seminar style classes where you learn all the basics of experimental economics while working on class projects pertaining to current faculty research projects. For the thesis, students are assigned one or more faculty members to meet with on a regular basis. At this point students are given the opportunity to work on their own research project.  Throughout my coursework and thesis, faculty in the department were always willing and excited to discuss the projects I was working on.

I am beginning a Ph.D. program in the fall, and I feel that my experiences in the MSESD program will help me succeed. Working on my own thesis project taught me how to be self-motivated about my own research. I think this experience will be invaluable as I begin my own mathematics research."

—Amy Buchman, 2010 MSESD Graduate, Currently a Ph.D. student in the Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics Department at the University of Notre Dame