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Hannah Li
Spotlight

Hannah Li

PhD student
Management Science and Engineering
Story originally published on Apr 2020
As an engineer, you’re taught to build things, to optimize things.

That gives you this lens for looking at the world where you’re constantly thinking of all of the ways that you could help make things better. You think of the challenges that people might be facing, and you come up with ways to overcome these challenges. It’s very easy to look at something and accept it as it is, but with the mindset of an engineer, I’m always asking myself, ‘How could this be improved? How could a better version be built?’

In grad school, my research has focused on optimizing online marketplaces. These systems touch many aspects of our lives today. We use them when we’re looking for housing or transportation or a new job. They’re important economic systems and the challenges that people on the platform face can be quite complex. I use ideas from math, statistics, economics and computer science to study these systems and to help us understand the complicated dynamics that make them function so that I might be able to propose solutions to improve how they work.

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