PhD student in management and organizations ‘21—expected
PhD in Management and Organizations, The University of Michigan Ross School of Business '21—expected; Master of Applied Positive Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania ‘14; BA, Economics, Dartmouth College ‘12
“I tried studying wellbeing in an Economics Department, and I felt like an outsider,” shares Eunbit Hwang, a native of Seoul, South Korea. She’s also an aspiring children’s book author with a love of sharp cheddar cheese and a mind for empirical data. “When I joined this Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) community, I finally felt that I belonged somewhere.” Her eclectic interests and enthusiasm for research suited the MAPP program’s combination of rigorous academics and people-oriented ethos.
Eunbit was encouraged to study positive psychology at the graduate level after attending a World Forum in India hosted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Academics from around the globe gathered to share their work on how wellbeing impacts public policy. “I knew Penn was where I wanted to pursue the degree because the students are from such diverse backgrounds. I thought that it would be an excellent way for me to broaden my horizons.”
Diving head first into her studies, Eunbit dedicated herself full-time to the degree. “I have endearing memories of Philadelphia,” she recalls, “Some days I would just drop by Marty Seligman’s office and say ‘Hi.’”
As she became immersed in her research, Eunbit knew she wanted to pursue a doctorate, “For my capstone, I did an empirical study because I was ready for a PhD. I looked at the relationships between wellbeing, self-acceptance and acceptance of others, and how those three constructs correlated based on cultural backgrounds.”
Before starting her PhD this fall at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, she’s spending her time in Seoul with her beloved dogs and writing music, “I want to produce a piece of creative work that captures the story of my 20s. I am 27 right now, and I know I won’t have this much free time soon,” she laughs.
Though a PhD is demanding, Eunbit feels prepared for the challenge, “Coming to Penn was one of the best decisions I ever made because it shaped the trajectory of my life.” And as for her work, “I want my research to be heard. I want to do research related to peoples’ lives or workplaces. In that sense, I want to be a socially responsible scholar.”