Boot camp alumni comments
Below are comments from past participants in the OSE Lab Boot Camp at the University of Chicago.
It was such a great experience to participate in the OSM Macro Bootcamp. After participating in the program, I got a research assistant position simply by just showing the professor my Github and all of the cool Math/Econ/Computation we did in the OSM lab.
The OSM Lab fosters a great environment for growing as researchers in many dimensions. My technical skills have definitely improved. I'm leaving the program with very applicable knowledge in math and computational methods that I'll surely use in future research. The constant collaboration with other students was extremely valuable, too. I learned so much from my peers and am excited to have built this network of motivated students and friends. Lastly, I've connected with many of the OSM Lab faculty, a few of whom I definitely consider as mentors after working with them at the OSM Lab, and am excited to stay in contact and potentially work with them in the future.
For me the high performance computing content was the best part of the bootcamp, as I knew zero python before coming in (only worked in STATA before), and now I feel comfortable saying "I can do scientific computing in Python" in an interview. That alone would make the bootcamp worth it, and I thought the ACME exercises,while intense, were absolutely fantastic guides to Python.
The OSM bootcamp did a great job at bridging the gap between math, economic, and computational theory to their respective applications. It was great to be able to learn the theory and see how it is relevant to research. I also entered the bootcamp feeling relatively less experienced in my coding capability, but now I feel I am proficient enough to be able to do good quality research. The skills developed at the bootcamp are a great tool that I think separates the students of the bootcamp from the majority of other students around the world. Taking the time to learn these things now as opposed to having to learn them on our own in a graduate level program will give a huge advantage to us in such programs, and will help us each to become outstanding researchers.
I liked the atmosphere that pushed all of us to the limit, and making us collaborate with each other. The program shows us that we didn't have to be perfect in every subject; learning the lesson that we didn't have to be perfect in every subject and how to cooperate with each other to finish the tasks were the essence of academic researches, and they were certainly the most important lessons to me who was competition-stricken before this program. During the program, I met with various kinds of friends in other cultures, and had a lot of opportunities to exchange not only our research opinions but also practical lessons from them about economics in general. These were the experiences that will make me leap further to the next stage of my research, and I definitely want to keep in touch with them as my valuable future in my career path from now on.
I really enjoyed the way computation, math and economics were brought together for a large part of the boot camp. It made what we learned a lot more useful, applicable and exciting. It was very cool to see esoteric mathematical concepts like SVD and complex matrix operations being applied to the real world of economics or data processing through programming. I don't think I've been through a program in school where what I was learning tied in so well to the real world.
I like the fact that it brings a group of highly motivated students together to work collaboratively on learning programming, mathematics and economics. The atmosphere in the camp was really conducive towards ensuring everyone had a good understanding of all of the material.
Seeing the interaction among instructors, students, and instructors and students, it made me realize how closely connected the (computational) economics community is. It gave me a lot of perspective on paths that previous students and researchers have taken, and introduced me to a marvelous group of people beyond UChicago, some of which I will definitely stay in touch with.
My coding skills improved greatly throughout the program and really showed me how the coding could be applied to economic models. The group of students in the program was amazing and I learned a lot from the people around me not only about the topics taught in the course, but also about the other research projects that they are pursuing. I think that I have come out of the program with a very unique skill set that opens up the types of questions that I can ask in my own research and the types of techniques that I have available to answer those questions.
The collaborative nature of the lab allowed me to forge great relationships with people, working on meaningful assignments without the stress of examinations. It's a great format to keep going forward.
While the content and inspiration to do research were phenomenal, what I enjoyed most was getting to know everyone in our cohort. During the boot camp I made some of the closest friendships I've ever had, and we were only here for seven weeks time. From the (many) long hours working together on problem sets and initiating independent research projects to exploring the wonderful city of Chicago, this has one of the best summer experiences ever (and certainly the most formative). I have greatly enjoyed the content we have learned, and feel that my eyes have been opened.
The breadth of the materials and topics; witnessing the marriage of theoretical math, computation, and economics. It's particularly rewarding to combine skills honed in different classes to answer interesting questions.