Name: Denis Schwirtz
Program: Fifth-year Economics and Industrial Engineering major
Hometown: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Favorite class: Behavioral Economics
Favorite professor: Dr. Whitney Buser
Internships/clubs: Credit Suisse Intern, SGG Group Intern, Morning Brew ambassador, Econ Club
Most helpful resource in the School of Economics: Connecting with professors that I took classes with. They connected me with other professors as well as research opportunities.
1. Why did you choose Georgia Tech?
From a young age I always preferred technical classes and knew that I wanted to go into STEM, specifically into engineering. As a result, Georgia Tech was always a front runner amongst the schools I wanted to attend because of its academic rigor, excellence, as well as the opportunities it would afford me. Through the connections I would make at Georgia Tech and the academic foundation it would give me, I thought it would be the school best gearing me up for success.
2. Who or what inspired you to study economics?
I was inspired to study economics late in high school because of the way my teacher at the time described it to me. He said: “Economics is about people’s interaction with value,” and that immediately made me think economics was extremely interesting and important because we live in a world that’s run through services and goods that we deem valuable. Thus, understanding economics would get me that much closer to understanding how society and the world work.
3. What’s the coolest research/project/initiative/event you’ve worked on here?
During my behavioral economics class, I was able to work on a research project about the effects of monetary priming on investment decisions. It was especially interesting to me because it allowed me to research a topic that I noticed around me in my day-to-day life. In our generation, it is not unlikely that people will see ads or social media posts about different ways to invest or save their money (especially in the age of DeFi and crypto), and researching the effects of it on people’s views about investments was extremely rewarding and engaging.
4. What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced at Georgia Tech, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced at Georgia Tech was definitely adapting during my first year. Being an international student, coming into a new country it was a little difficult to find the balance between trying to find a new social life, maintaining academic performance in a new environment (and new grading system) as well as trying to find new extracurriculars to be involved in. Nevertheless, through perseverance as well as the resources that Georgia Tech offers, I was able to carve out a space for myself in the Georgia Tech community and find the best way to improve my grades over the following years.
5. What’s your proudest achievement from your time at Georgia Tech so far?
My proudest achievement from my time at Georgia Tech occurred during a summer internship where I was able to implement knowledge I had learned in my classes to solve an issue at the office that was supposed to be out of my scope of knowledge. This made me realize that the hard work at school really did pay off at work and that if I put my mind to it, I could achieve anything.
6. What’s the biggest change you see in yourself now from when you arrived?
The biggest change I see in myself now relative to when I arrived is that I have developed a stronger work ethic while still growing my network. Through the many clubs and opportunities that Georgia Tech offers, it’s very easy to find renewed motivation to learn new things and push yourself to work on projects that will interest you. As a result, I am now a lot more prone to develop new ideas and act on them because the people I have met here as well as the projects I have worked on push me to achieve.
7. What’s your #1 piece of advice for incoming students in the School of Economics?
My number one piece of advice to incoming students is: “Don’t shy away from reaching out to faculty.” They will try and help you more than you can imagine and will connect you with opportunities you would otherwise not find, from interesting research projects to meeting other professors you can take classes with. Furthermore, learning about their success and their interests is equally rewarding and interesting.
8. What’s your biggest, craziest goal after you graduate (aka how do you want to change the world)?
My craziest goal would definitely be to find a way to reduce the inequality that exists in society (especially economically) while remaining in the frame of a meritocratic system. Specifically, I would love to work to close the wealth gap but still leave room for opportunity for people to profit (through the creation of economic value) and live their dream. A way I could do this would be by becoming the prime minister of my home country of Luxembourg.