Traversing continents to pursue financial economics

Luke Adams wearing a suit, standing in a field of sunflowers.

4 minute read

Luke Adams came to Australia from the United Kingdom (UK) to undertake a Master of Financial Economics at The Australian National University’s (ANU) College of Business and Economics (CBE).

In addition to his Master qualification, Luke completed a Bachelor of Economics through Lancaster University, UK and the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Luke was working as an English teacher in China. After the outbreak, he moved home to the UK.

He came to Australia in February 2022 to pursue the Master of Financial Economics at ANU.

Luke currently works in ANU central finance in the Financial Shared Services team. He is also the president of Yukeembruk Village, the new student accommodation on the University’s Acton campus.

In this interview, Luke describes relishing the challenges – both inside and outside the classroom.

Q. What made you decide to give up your teaching job in China and choose to come Canberra to study at ANU? What has the experience been like so far?

I was an English teacher in Nanjing, China after I graduated from my Bachelors. I loved the Chinese culture, especially the rich history amongst its cities. However, when COVID-19 arose, I left China and returned to the UK, waiting patiently for the Australian border to open. I came to ANU for the specific Master program, since I love both finance and economics, and the University’s offering is very comprehensive. The Master program here, however, is no easy feat and it has been far more intense than I could have ever imagined.

Q. What has been your most memorable CBE experience so far?

My most memorable experience so far is the entire 12 weeks of undertaking ECON 8013, Optimisation for Economics and Financial Economics – the one course that gives all post-grad economics students heart palpitations. It was memorable because of how difficult it was in its entirety. Nonetheless, we had excellent support from our lecturers, and the difficulties encouraged great bonding and support amongst the cohort. This also made receiving my results for that course my best experience – a big achievement.

Q. What was your favourite course, or who was your favourite lecturer? Tell us why either made an impression on you.

This answer follows on from ECON 8013, Optimisation. I remember listening to Dr Ruitian Lang and having absolutely no idea what was going on in some weeks due to how complex the topics were. Ruitian is such an intelligent individual and seeing him effortlessly write out multipage proofs with ease was astounding. As much as I struggled at the time of first encountering the content, I was amazed with myself that by the end of the 12 weeks and for the final exam, his teaching had entered my brain.

Q. What tips or advice would you give to future students, especially those arriving from overseas? What do students have to gain from studying internationally?

My best tip is to get involved in all aspects of the University, whether it is activities in the College, the societies or the hall you live in. I was someone who was too shy to speak to people during my undergraduate studies, and looking back on those three years, I realised I had not made the most of my time. Now that I’m at ANU, I try to find any activities I can participate in, to help me make new friends and see new places. It is essential to get away from the strict studying. It takes its toll if you only eat, breathe and sleep economics, especially at the postgraduate level, where the intensity is sky-high.

Q. Switching gears, you trekked the width of Canberra, mostly in a straight line, over 12 hours in 2022. What did you learn from this experience, and are you planning any more very long walks?

Walking across the ACT – 47km over the day—was certainly the highlight of my first year in Australia. It got lots of publicity and several interviews with the main news outlets in Canberra. This is what many people associate me with if they meet me for the first time. Most people around campus know me as the photographer and the boy who walks everywhere.

The main thing I learned was how much you can get through when you have others supporting you, doing the walk with my other friends, Anneysha, Dylan and Jasmina. We all had our low points, but were able to persist until we reached New South Wales. I hope to complete the Canberra Centenary Trail this year, a 145km walk around the entirety of Canberra.

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.