Xiaoling Ang (BS ’05, MS ’05), PhD, works as an economist in Washington, DC.
Why economics? • In high school I was interested in public policy, and I was really interested in math, but I didn’t know how they could come together. Then, my junior year, I took an economics class.
Number cruncher • Before my freshman year, Professor (David) Mirza gave me great advice—he said that top economics programs recruit heavily on math ability. Anyone who wants to be an economist working in public policy should major or minor in math. That’s what I ended up doing at Loyola, although I took classes in economics as well.
The day-to-day • It’s all over the place. I read a lot of research articles and white papers; I do data analysis. If a policy is implemented I may use theory to figure out what possible outcomes are, using supporting evidence from similar policies. I quantify the results of actions. I dedicate time to work on independent research. I’m never short on questions, and I’m never short on data. A lot of my research has focused on student loans, mortgages, and disclosures. I’ve taught classes as an applied microeconomist.
Unlike the rest of us • I use calculus and statistics every single day.
Solid foundation • Really, what I do is a lot of writing and analysis as well as working in interdisciplinary teams where everyone’s an expert. Loyola’s Jesuit education has helped a lot in my role—it prepared me to speak to people with different worldviews and vocabularies.
Off the clock • I’m fairly involved in yoga, I hang out with friends and family, and I entertain at home a lot. This is probably overanalyzing it, but entertaining at home is a relic of dinners I had with friends at Loyola.
Back in the fold • When I came back to campus [to speak on students loans], I didn’t realize it would be such a big deal. What I really liked is a lot of students came up afterwards and asked questions. I couldn’t believe how warm the reception was.