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Spotlighted Student: Kathleen Bui '11

A small community atmosphere was an important element in a college when Kathleen Bui ’11 started seriously thinking about the type of school she wanted to attend. Appreciating small class sizes and close working relationships with faculty, she hoped to find a liberal arts college that met these requirements.

Fortunately, Kathleen heard about Haverford through her mother’s co-worker whose daughter was attending Bryn Mawr College. After visiting Haverford’s campus during her junior year in high school, Kathleen knew Haverford was the perfect place for her and chose to apply early decision.

Kathleen always enjoyed math and science, but when she took AP Economics her senior year in high school she was drawn to the curriculum. Also, being a member of Future Business Leaders of America introduced her to the world of business and finance. So, during her freshman year at Haverford she took both introductory economics courses, embracing the broad applications of economics. She also recognized the enduring career potential of a major in economics. As a result she has chosen to matriculate with a minor in mathematics and a major in economics.

Savoring its real-world approach, Economic Development and Transformation: China versus India taught by Professor Jilani, stands out as one of her favorite classes. Also, the mathematical approach of Professor Preston’s Introduction to Econometrics proved very useful in the work she did this past summer as an intern at The Conference Board in New York City.

A non-profit organization geared toward improving business performance, The Conference Board actualized ‘Consumer Confidence Index’, a well known indicator used around the world. Commuting into the city from New Jersey, Kathleen served as a summer fellow for their Mid-Markets sales department. There, she reassessed The Conference Board’s model for defining mid-market firms by empirically examining firm make up and revenues as well as Mid-Market literature and one-on-one interviews. She also assisted the sales associates target potential high growth members by analyzing firm-level data from standard databases to identify factors correlated with growth of mid-market U.S. companies. Her findings led to The Conference Board’s recent Conversation Starter report about the importance of “rightsizing” corporate boards which she authored.

For her thesis, Kathleen will explore the debate as to whether self-employment is an outcome of weak opportunities in the waged sector or rather emerges from positive prospects on the demand side. High unemployment rates have been the key characteristics of this past recession. But, there also seems to be an emergence of what may be viewed as “unintended” or “necessity” entrepreneurs, individuals who have decided to start their own businesses or pursue self-employment due to either personal job loss or discouraging opportunities available in the waged sector of the economy. Therefore, using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a longitudinal panel survey of U.S. households, she will study the factors that impact the decision to enter self-employment by specifically concentrating on the extent that these transitions emerge as the result of the economic environment measured by indicators such as local unemployment rates or local GDP growth rates.

In addition to working as a bank teller near her home town of Morris Plains, NJ, Kathleen volunteered for the American Red Cross’ disaster department. Following up with disaster victims to find out how their lives have progressed proved to be a humbling and eye opening experience. She has also been a Teaching Assistant for Professors Paul Cichello and Saleha Jilani.

As an artist who draws and paints, this creative outlet has sadly been put on the back-burner for some years but, she plans on delving back into it once she graduates.

Kathleen has secured a position with Princeton University’s Investment Company where she will work in the endowment sector, analyzing investment manager performances. After a few years of work experience she will consider graduate school to obtain a PhD in economics.

Students cross in front of Founders Hall.

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