22-11-2019

The Undergraduate Awards winner says Shue Yan can conduct research as well as other famous universities

31-10-2016

Mr. MAK Cho Kei

Mr. MAK Cho Kei, a Year 4 student of the Department of Economics and Finance, was named the Asia winner of the internationally prestigious Undergraduate Awards for a paper he wrote on happiness and sustainable development. Mr. MAK said Shue Yan’s research ability is improving and professors’ practically oriented teaching approach combined with direct instruction can be rewarding.

Mr. MAK’s paper “Associations between Happiness and Sustainability in Asian Countries” was awarded Regional Winner in Asia in the economics category. The Global Winner of this category went to a student of Stanford University, U.S.

The Undergraduate Awards was established in 2012 and has been under the patronage of President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins since then. It is the largest academic award in the world for undergraduate students, often referred to as a “junior Nobel Prize”. There are 25 categories or disciplines of the award. Awards given to each category include Highly Commended Entrants, Regional Winner (total seven regions) and Global Winner. This year a total of 5,514 papers were received from 244 universities and other education institutions.

In an interview with the Shue Yan Newsletter, Mr. MAK said he became interested in research in Year 2 and began to do some research work in Shue Yan’s research centres in the hope of learning more about research skills and extending his vision. Last year, he spotted the Undergraduate Awards on the Internet by chance. He found that many participants are undergraduate students from universities in US, European countries and Singapore but it seemed that no Shue Yan students had ever entered. So he made up his mind to try.

Mr. MAK said the idea of the topic of his paper came from two sources. One is the research output of Dr. YUEN Wai Kee, Associate Head and Assistant Professor of the Department of Economics and Finance, and Dr. LI Yi Man, Associate Professor and Director of the Sustainable Real Estate Research Centre. Their study of the happiness index and sustainability inspired him. Another source is from one of his projects in the “Issues in Development Economics” course in Year 3. After some consideration, he decided to focus his topic on the relationship between the happiness index and sustainability in Asian countries. Firstly, he used the knowledge he had gained from the courses of “Economic Modeling” and “Mathematical Economics”, which were taught by Dr. TANG Chi Ho, Assistant Professor, to guide the research. Secondly, he started to collect happiness index and economic growth figures in the targeted countries. Finally, he submitted a paper of 5,000 words to The Undergraduate Awards.

His paper examines the relationships between happiness and sustainable development. Instrumental Regression (IV Estimate) is used to have discussion on the relationship between happiness and each aspect of sustainability. There are altogether three major points that have been addressed in his paper. First, it is found that in Asia, the relationship between happiness and sustainable development is positively related. Second, there are positive relationships between happiness and every aspect of sustainability (economic perspectives, social perspectives and environmental perspectives). Third, in comparison to other regions of the world, it is identified that the significance of happiness from economic benefits in Asia is higher than in European or developed countries. However, the importance of happiness originating from social and environmental wellbeing of sustainability is lower than in European or developed countries.

Mr. MAK thanked Dr. YUEN and Dr. TANG for teaching him how to conduct mathematical analysis and advising him in conducting the research.

In early September, Mr. MAK learned that he was awarded the Regional Winner. He said he was very happy and wanted to thank Shue Yan and his teachers for their support and teaching.

“This award gives recognition to the efforts made by Shue Yan to strengthen its research ability. It proves that Shue Yan is making continuous progress and can produce research as well as other famous universities. No one should underestimate the hard work done by teachers and students in teaching and learning.” Mr. MAK said.

In November this year, Mr. MAK will attend The Undergraduate Awards Global Summit 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. He will make use of this opportunity to make friends and exchange ideas with other students. Mr. MAK said that winning the award was not so important. What was important was that he could exchange his learning and research experience with students from many famous universities and learn from them. He hoped he could keep contact with these students in the future.

Dr. YUEN Wai Kee, Mr. MAK’s mentor, said: “I am happy to learn that a Shue Yan student has won this competition. It is really an honour to have my student win such an award.”

Dr. YUEN said that Mr. MAK’s award proved that Shue Yan students have a lot of potential. “If they are motivated and willing to work hard, they will achieve good results.”

Dr. YUEN described Mr. MAK as an active and hard-working student with a creative mind. Though the time for writing the paper was tight, Mr. MAK paid attention to every stage in collecting the data and writing the paper and aimed to pursue excellence.

From left to right: Dr. YUEN Wai Kee and Mr. MAK Cho Kei

Source: October Issue 2016

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