Mei's interest in history developed at high school, and was further fostered in the Department of History and Art History at Otago. "The decision to begin my tertiary studies at Otago University was an easy one. Not only are the courses and facilities at Otago well known for academic excellence, but the campus itself is an important part of Dunedin's own history. It seemed fitting and entirely appropriate to study history at the country's oldest university".
At Otago Mei specialised in Asian history, studying "the impacts of empire, globalisation, industry, religion and the resulting dynamics between the East and the West."
Now she works in a research position at Wigram Capital Advisors Ltd, an Asian focused macroeconomic advisory company based in Dunedin, with a representative office in Beijing. "My roles within the company are to prepare data and charts for policy and economic analysis and to research current political and economic issues in India, China and Japan."
She applies her knowledge of Asian history and culture to her research work and analysis. Her history degree helps her "to contextualize economic patterns and trends through an understanding of historical significance". She also applies the lessons learnt in her history degree, acknowledging that modern issues and politics can be explained by looking towards the past. "At some point we need to retrace our steps back to find the wider contextual significance behind modern events and issues."
"Without the enthusiasm and encouragement from the history department staff I might never have developed my passion for history and research."