MA Graduate – Class of 2016

Yixi (Sylvia) ZhaoI was raised in Shenzhen, the “instant city” famous for its extraordinary pace of development, I personally witnessed the transformation brought about by the special economic policy that established the city as one of the first SEZs in China. Drawn by tax breaks and other incentives, many foreign investment companies and enterprises have chosen to operate in Shenzhen. My hometown is a boomtown, boasting fast-paced infrastructure development, growing international trade and the geographical advantage of being near Hong Kong. I believe it was the power of financial liberalization that enabled my hometown to thrive – a process which provoked my interest in economics, particularly global economic development. During my undergrad, I interned for China Development Bank, World Bank, Deloitte Consulting (China) and Webank from Tencent. I appreciate the learning from my various internship experience and I hope I can devote my global mindset into our CGT community.

Research Interests

I look forward to working with José Antonio Ocampo, Director of the Economic and Political Development Concentration in the School of International and Public Affairs, a great opportunity for me to apply the disciplines of economics, statistics, strategic management and policy analysis in concert, as well as to serve a real-life purpose. I also want to join The Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) and focus my research on Latin America-China relations in the context of regional economic empowerment and a changing global economic structure, with special reference to China’s and Latin-America’s economic growth in the past twenty-five years and an evaluation of the possibilities of re-locating rapid economic growth and urbanization strategies to other regions.

I would like to go to pursue economic research at an international NGO. Also, I am interested in entrepreneurship and social innovation.

MA Thesis

“Are China’s SEZs a Template for Sustainable Economic Development? An Overview on SEZ Development in China and the Implications from China’s Model”


  • BA, Economics; Media Studies, University of California-Berkeley, Aug. 2011-May 2015