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Meet the economics advisor: Dr YF Luk

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Want to know more about economics and the ‘bigger picture’? Meet Dr Luk, who sits on theDesk’s advisory board, ahead of our ‘Meet the Advisors’ event

Once upon a time, Dr YF Luk was hoping to help people in Hong Kong and China to ‘make good judgements’ on economic policies. He thought that ‘wrong or misinformed or immature economic policies could have disastrous effects on society and affect lots of people’ so he ‘wanted to teach economics so that more people can understand the pros and cons of policies so that bad policies could be more contained’. Dr Luk, after a long and distinguished career as an academic at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and HKU, may have achieved his dream. Meet a man who has taught thousands of young minds who have gone on to shape businesses and economies in our part of the world.

Dr Luk sits on the advisory board at theDesk co-working and events space in Sai Wan and he helps our members who want advice on economics and the ‘bigger picture’. Ahead of a special ‘Meet the Advisors’ event that we’re holding in our space on Monday May 15 for the entire Sai Ying Pun, Sai Wan and Kennedy Town neighbourhoods, the retiree-to-be tells us why he loves teaching economics to students and businesses. “I really like engaging with students who have problems, academic or otherwise,” he says. “I try to give them what advice I can, plus I help those students who are looking for career guidance. The same ethos goes for businesses who want my help. If people want to understand the current global economy, because that’s what I teach, then I can help. It’s a broad subject, of course, but if a business has an issue then they can ask me.”

“Many students today want a quick fix,” continues Dr Luk. “They want instant noodles. But I take them to a sophisticated French restaurant. I let them look at both the details and the bigger picture, like zooming in and out of an electronic map. Economics can provide a broad context for various human, social and business issues. That’s how I can help businesses. I can’t tell bosses how to run their companies but I can help them see that bigger picture.”

Dr Luk was born in Hong Kong and grew up in our city. He then went to the University of Chicago in the USA to study an economics degree before completing his master’s and PhD at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “I was thinking of studying physics before I headed to the USA,” he says. “However, once I went to Chicago, so many subjects seemed so interesting and I didn’t really know what to choose as a major. I decided economics was a more technical subject so it would be better to be taught than to learn on my own.”

After Cornell, though, Dr Luk decided to head back home to Hong Kong. “Basically,” he says, “I thought that China was embarking on economic reform and opening up, so it would need people who understood more about economics, so teaching the subject in Hong Kong would be more productive than in the USA. I was also interested in helping to blossom people’s minds when it came to understanding economic policy. If I’d stayed in the USA, then every year there would be thousands of PhD graduates in economics and I wouldn’t contribute as much as I could in Hong Kong.”

“Before I returned, though,” continues Dr Luk, “I was lucky to get a teaching job in the department of economics at the The Chinese University of Hong Kong in Sha Tin. I stayed there for eight-and-a-half years.” Dr Luk says he ‘really enjoyed teaching and learning at the same time’. He adds: “And then I went to HKU and became an economics teacher there. I’ve been there ever since.”

Dr Luk was first a teacher at HKU but then became more involved in administration, with, eventually, the last 17 years of his working life being mostly preoccupied with admin. He became the director of the School of Economics and Finance at the university, in fact, and then was the associate dean of the faculty for the past four years. He was relieved of that role but still runs an MBA programme in Shanghai aside from teaching. He retires from his full-time position at HKU this July but he’s hoping to continue teaching part-time. So tap into this knowledge when you visit our ‘Meet the Advisors’ event. You could learn a lot from Dr Luk and our advisors…

Dr Luk, in brief:
BUSINESS: Economics teacher, advisor at theDesk
AGE: 65
FROM: Hong Kong
FIND OUT MORE: Contact us at theDesk and we’ll hook you up with him or come to our…

SPECIAL EVENT: ‘Meet the advisors’
If you want to learn more from Dr Luk and our advisory board at theDesk, then come to our special event on Monday May 15, between 7pm and 9pm. Anyone can come along, as long as you RSVP. And it’s totally free! Hear from our panel of experts in law, finance, management, academics, IT and marketing, who have countless years of experience in their fields and are willing to give out advice not only to members of theDesk but to any business or resident who is based in Sai Ying Pun, Sai Wan and Kennedy Town and wants to come along to our event. Limited spaces available so RSVP to as soon as possible. See you there!

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