Faculty Profile: Professor Yanling Wang

by Jean Yen

Bio: Yanling Wang is an Associate Professor of economics at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Carleton University. She had worked as a consultant in the World Bank from 2001 to 2003, and as a research in the State Economic & Trade Commission, P.R. China from 1995 to 1997. She has served as the President for Canadian Women Economists Network (CWEN), and the President for the Chinese Economists Society (CES). Her research interests lie in the empirical issues related to international trade and foreign direct investment, such as knowledge spillovers from FDI and trade. Her research has appeared in journals such as Canadian Journal of Economics, International Journal of the Economics of Business, Journal of Development Studies, Review of International Economics, and Contemporary Economic Policy, among others.

JY: What is your academic background?

YW: I did my BA and MA at Renmin University of China in economics (but it was actually a degree in business as the courses I learnt were all business related. The department was later a part of the Business School after I left.). I did my PhD in economics at Georgetown University.


Professor Yanling Wang

JY: Why did you choose to teach at Carleton?

YW: I applied for the assistant professor position in international trade some 12 years ago. I am so glad that I took the offer. Carleton University presents the right package of research and teaching, and Ottawa is a great place to raise a young family.

JY: What is one of your most rewarding experiences as a professional?

YW: It is hard to name one, as it has been such a rewarding and growing experience as a professional. But if I have to, I would say seeing my research results appear in journals.

JY: What is one of your most rewarding experiences as a prof?

YW: Being a professor is the most fun part of being a professional. My classes are economics-oriented and not the natural choices for some students. However, seeing them working through the difficult process and succeed is really rewarding.

JY: What course is your favourite to teach, and why?

YW: I enjoy teaching all of the classes that I offer and the trade theory and policy class (INAF5308) is my favorite. It is the class that all students in the IEP field need to take, and thus it provides me the first opportunity to get to know the students on a weekly basis. Plus, it is very challenging from the students’ perspectives, but it is the most fundamental in international trade. Being a trade economist, if I can get the non-economics students fully on board with the trade theories, I would smile at myself.

JY: If you could be a fruit, which fruit would you be and why?

YW: I would like to be an apple. Legend has it that apples offer the most nutrients, and they are sweet and tasty.

JY: What do students need to succeed at NPSIA, or in your class?

YW: NPSIA students are smart. They came to the program with a strong purpose and clear objective. They are very disciplined and hardworking. They need to keep challenge themselves. My classes are generally not in their strong background. They need first not to be afraid, and then push themselves by working hard and working strategically.

JY: What do you wish you saw more of at school?

YW: Create Monthly Happy hour(s) so that students and faculty can mingle.

JY: Based on your field of research and expertise, what is one prediction you’ll be making about the world in 2015?

YW: The world will be flatter.

JW: Do you have a mentor, or a favourite author?

YW: Yes, I would say Dr. Maurice Schiff, a recently retired lead economist from the World Bank. Working with him at the beginning of my career, I learned a lot about writing skills to convey the messages.

JY: What is the biggest challenge in your field?

YW: It is a known fact that free trade is beneficial, but countries tend to turn protectionist at difficult economics times.

JY: If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, which meal would it be? 

YW: If I have to repeat that one meal for the rest of my life, I will make that one meal healthy, nutritious and packed with a variety of items. So it really does not matter whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner.

JY: What is your biggest pet peeve in class?

YW: I do not like to see students texting when others ask questions/or I am answering other students’ questions.


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