Princeton honors student in economics

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Princeton honors student in economics


Kim Jung-ho

A Korean-American student graduated with the top honor in economics from Princeton University last month, the first ethnic Korean to do so.

According to Princeton, Kim Jung-ho, 21, received the Halbert White Prize in economics at the May 31 graduation ceremony. The prize is given to the best economics graduate every year. Another 98 students graduated together with Kim from the Princeton economics department. His GPA in the department was 4.143 out of 4.3.

Princeton has one of the world’s finest economics departments, with alumni including Gregory Mankiw, former chair of the U.S. Presidential Council of Economic Advisers; Alan Blinder, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve; the former Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs John Taylor; Harvard University Professor Edward Glaser; and Halbert White, the professor at the University of California-San Diego for whom the award was named.

The school’s faculty includes Paul Krugman, a Nobel laureate in economics.

Kim said he will enroll in a graduate course in economics at Princeton on a full scholarship.

“I already took many of the graduate course classes, so I expect to be able to enroll in the doctoral program next year,” Kim said. Kim plans to study finance and macroeconomics and work as a full-time researcher - with opportunities for advancement.

“The short-term goal is to be a professor at a top-notch college, and the midterm goal is to get a John Bates Clark Medal,” he said. That honor is given by the American Economics Association to talented American economists under the age of 40.

Kim’s ultimate goal isn’t surprising: the Nobel Prize.

Kim said he has many role models in the economics world. Among them, he said, Lawrence Summers, former president of Harvard University and current director of the White House’s National Economic Council, is the most inspiring, he said, because Summers has made such a significant contribution not only to the academic world but to the real economy.

With a parent working through the various overseas branches of a large Korean company, Kim has acquired years of experience traveling overseas. He attended schools in Canada, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. That has helped him adapt to any culture or situation, he said.

“I had difficulty with my insufficient English skills when I attended middle school in Australia, but could overcome it by studying hard and dreaming of studying at a well-known U.S. college,” he said.

He said he first wanted to become an economist when he received the highest score on an economics examination in high school in Singapore.

By Choi Ik-jae []
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