Social Welfare and the College of UPenn

Why Penn?


When I was eight, as my father and I were walking down an ordinary street in Bangladesh, we passed several street vendors, all shoeless, dirty, and tattered. I halted. “Dad,” I whispered, tugging on his arm. “Do they earn enough to eat?”

My shock at such blatant disparity hadn’t dissipated by the time I’d enrolled in microeconomics junior year. Our class was engaged in a realistic game in which all 127 students managed simulated firms. Very quickly, I’d grown into the largest firm in the class. I’d become so profitable, in fact, that I had sufficient cash to purchase all of the input units for October. But what about others who have worked just as hard as I have? I wondered. If I prevented them from producing in October, many of their firms would be crippled, and some would go bankrupt. Sure, it was only a simulation, but it didn’t matter. I refused to corner the market. Instead, I continued to strategize other ways of doing business without harming other firms. To my amazement, by the end of that term, I’d not only made the most profit, but I’d also created a far more constructive environment for others. It was then that my passion for social welfare was solidified.

Today, I can’t think of a better place to study social...

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