Spotlighted Economics Student: Ben Fujinaga '21
Ben's thesis focuses on central bank communication in Japan. He will look at daily internet search data using Google trends dating back to 2004.
Economics major Ben Fujinaga ’21 has been doing his course work remotely from Ardmore, PA this semester. Although the past year has had its challenges with COVID-19, Haverford College has been a great academic experience for him.
As he ruminated about colleges during his Sophomore year in high school, academic excellence and playing on a Division III lacrosse team were paramount. Toward the end of his high school years he participated in an over-night visit with Haverford’s lacrosse team. What he found was an incredibly talented pool of student-athletes who displayed tremendous respect for others and a commitment to academic excellence.
As a freshman Ben took a diverse selection of courses. After taking Introduction to Economics with Visiting Professor Julie Becher he was hooked on economics and he knew right away he would declare the major. The curriculum flowed well, and the material resonated with his interests and learning style. Professor Shannon Mudd’s Impact Investing and Advanced Corporate Finance classes propelled Ben into learning about ethical and socially responsible financial investment decisions and ventures. Taking Professor Saleha Jilani’s Economic Development and Transformation: China vs. India class and her International Trade class expanded Ben’s interest in world economics. Blended with Professor Carola Binder’s The Federal Reserve class, Ben’s thesis emerged.
His thesis focuses on central bank communication in Japan. He will look at daily internet search data using Google trends dating back to 2004. Then, he will merge that data set with a data set of all the official Bank of Japan press releases in the same time frame. From there, he will analyze whether a specific press release, or a specific attribute of that press release (presenter, topic, location, etc.), has an effect on Google searches. Ben will be exploring a number of different possible explanations for variations in search data, including the tone of communication (Keigo or casual Japanese), presenter, and/or the economic situation the press release covers.
The Fall of his Junior year was spent in Chiba, Japan taking a variety of classes and playing on a semi-pro lacrosse team. Seeking more of an immersion experience Ben deliberately spent less time with American students studying abroad. His time on the lacrosse field provided him the opportunity to interact with native speakers, boosting his conversational Japanese. He learned a lot about himself, shirking his comfort zone, stretching his wings, and even became a Japan Lacrosse 2019 National Champion.
Summer internships have markedly contributed to Ben’s academic education. The two summers following his first and second years at Haverford he was hired as a Financial Analyst for Seattle based PrimeLine Utility Services. Honing in on his proficiency of Excel, he provided infographics and in-depth presentations for board meetings. Ben also analyzed capital expenditures, performed internal audits of subcontractors, and implemented an internal assessment tool for the acquisition of subcontractor insurance coverage.
With Professor Mudd’s help, last summer Ben interned remotely as an Analyst for GoodCompany Ventures, an advisory firm that is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and start-ups tackle social and environmental issues. Ben delved into development work, research, marketing and sales. He also designed and created a database that furnished reports and analyses of impact investing metrics.
Ben has been on Haverford’s lacrosse team since his freshman year and is a Co-Captain. Unfortunately, due to Haverford’s Covid-19 response there will not be a competitive season this year. However, Ben is committed to spending as much time as he can with his teammates and creating a positive experience for his peers. He also has served on Haverford’s Impact Investment Board and has been a Peer Tutor for Economics.
Post-graduation, Ben is pursuing entry-level opportunities at a company that provides the opportunity to leverage his education to create meaningful business decisions.