Yanyuan (Helen) Ding

Postgraduate in Development Studies 2010–2011

Current Position: Research Associate at The Capital Group

Helen Ding on a boat

Why did you choose Churchill?

I chose Churchill College because of its young and vibrant community as well as great support for overseas students. For instance, it has several reputable cooperation/scholarship programs with overseas universities, such as the Wing-Yip Scholarship with Peking University where I gained my bachelor degree. I also heard before my application that Churchill College was a top-ranking college in terms of student satisfaction, which was confirmed by my own experience. I’m very glad that I made the right choice.

 What are your favourite memories from your time at College?

I think my time at Churchill College is, and will continue to be, the most memorable experience in my life. I still remember how excited I was when I first arrived at my dorm at No. 72 Storey’s Way, a big house with a lot of beautiful flowers and apple trees in the backyard.

Churchill offers great facilities for students. The college library was the place where I spent most of my time. Though Churchill is known for its strong engineering background, I was exhilarated to find its extensive collection of social science resources. Reading in the comfortable sofa on the second floor of the library and looking out of the window to the vast, beautiful parkland was my most enjoyable moment. As an amateur piano player, the grand Steinway piano in the music centre was the sweetest surprise. The music room was just a few steps away from my dorm and a place I frequented a lot outside of school.

Churchill also offered a lot of fun activities for students such as MCR pizza nights, night punting on the River Cam and formal halls where I met lots of interesting people from different academic and cultural backgrounds. The staff members at Churchill College were just amazing; I was constantly impressed by their great willingness to help. Churchill certainly has the best student service anywhere one can find.  

What have you been doing since you left College?

I came back to China after I graduated from Cambridge and joined the Beijing office of Capital Group, a leading global asset management company. I’m currently working as a research associate, carrying out China-related economic research and assisting investment efforts of our company in the Chinese stock market. I look back on my academic experience at Cambridge as instrumental in teaching me the art of critical and independent thinking, which is essential to the analytical work in my current role. In addition, I am currently leading the Beijing Chapter of the Churchill alumni group in China. Alumni events are organised throughout the year to promote interactions and strengthen the bonds among Chinese alumni of Churchill College. The Master visited Beijing in late April and we had a very enjoyable drinks reception and dinner.

Any advice for prospective/current students?

Just try to make every day count during your time at the College. I’m sure your student life at Cambridge will become the most unforgettable memory in your life. Please make sure to do the following things during your time at Churchill: walk the beautiful grounds at the back of the College (and you may get a glimpse of jumping rabbits!), have brunch at the college dining hall on Saturday (it will not let you down!), meet new friends through the JCR/MCR and read books on the sofa by the window on the second floor of the college library. You won’t regret it.

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