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My short and sweet conversation with Professor Michael Peters

He wasn’t one of my favourite professors at the time, but he is definitely one now. I casually made an appointment with him to talk about my graduate school plans and some other random things.

We started off talking about the huge differences between macro and micro economics. He happily shared some of his experiences in micro and macro conferences and said after all these years, he was extremely happy that he chose micro over macro. Even in micro, there are different ways of doing things apparently. He mentioned quite a few examples from research by UBC professors, Professor Kevin Milligan’s recent support of HST and Professor Ralph Winter’s work on Yahoo! and auctions are among the most interesting ones.

And when he was talking about auctions in timber market, we had a discussion about a rather recent paper from Quarterly Economics Review and a research project by a current UBC PhD students. Then we moved on to the fabulous realm of applied microeconomics and game theory.

I asked him what courses I should take in order to be better prepared, he actually pulled out the whole econ department course schedule and read through almost all courses to give me some opinions on the content of the course as well as the background of the instructor. I have learnt more about UBC Econ department in that period than I have in the past year or so. (This is much much much more than what Arts Advising has done for me.)

And onto graduate schools, I said something about moving away from Vancouver, and he said yes, if you’ve got something in California like UCLA or Stanford, then definitely move away as sunshine never hurts anyone. And I said I would love to go to New York City and he laughed and said something like: the musicals themselves are worth it, not to mention Columbia and NYU. His comments on schools are definitely realistic, not just about academic reputation, but also the geographical location, food and people (after all, graduate school is not just about studying). Something he said about UT Austin (I’m not trying to upset anyone really), Texas got a really good programme, but face it, that’s Texas and this is Vancouver, why would you want to move anyway? which made me chuckle.

That was about 40 minutes we spent together and trust me, he was genuinely interested in what I think and what I want in my life. His encouragement and kind help mean a lot to me when I am still struggling with this whole graduate school preparation process.

P.S. Contrary to some common or not-so-common beliefs, he did love teaching and he did remember his students. He is incredibly intelligent yet he is also humble and knows his limit.