Despite studying Chinese in high school, East Asian Studies was not even in my top 20 major choices coming into college. Moreover, although I selected it as my major after sophomore year, I still had not taken a single EAS-listed class at Princeton. However, it was a natural choice. I had spent the summer after my freshman year doing Princeton in Beijing (PiB), Princeton’s intensive Chinese language immersion program. Then, I decided to intern in Beijing after sophomore year through Princeton’s International Internship Program (IIP).
When making my choice, I knew that EAS would satisfy my desire gain domain knowledge over highly contemporary subject matter. Through the EAS department curriculum, I have been able to discover more about subjects that I knew would interest me (e.g. Japanese culture) and those that I had no clue were intriguing (e.g. Chinese gender and sexuality). In my fall junior independent work, I explored the unique characteristics in Chinese web entrepreneurship that emerged after the economic reform, helping Chinese tech giants to conquer their international foes on Chinese soil. For my spring junior independent work, I looked at the effect of guanxi
-based institutional business practices on Chinese failures in private M&A involving Western companies. Both of those papers can be viewed on my site, http://www.princeton.edu/~mnkatz/
My senior thesis will focus on comparative trends in Chinese and American intellectual property infrastructures. Through the assistance of the department, I will be returning to China over winter break to interview subjects about how these changes have affected the Chinese innovation culture amidst high innovation aspirations from the government. Overall, the EAS department has both provided me with an amazing learning environment and equipped me with critical-thinking skills that will serve me well in any profession.