Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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Yueliang Lu

M.S. in Quantitative Finance & Risk Analytics

Hometown: China

Prior Study: Beijing Foreign Studies University, Finance & English Language and Literature

Degree Sought: M.S. in Quantitative Finance & Risk Analytics

Department: Lally School of Management

Faculty Advisors: Prof. Aparna Gupta & Prof. Sonja Francis

Year of graduation: 2017



Background and Accomplishments:

I came from the most-known liberal arts college in China and joined the oldest polytechnic institute in the United States to pursue a Master's Degree in Quantitative Finance and Risk Analytics, a top 10 national quant program according to the TFE TIMES. Working as a Graduate Research Assistant, I won the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) Research Fellowship for my proposal, written with associate professor Aparna Gupta, titled, “Addressing Systemic Risk Using Contingent Convertible Debt – A Network Analysis.” Only six proposals were selected from applications around the world. Participating in the 2017 Chicago Quantitative Alliance (CQA) Investment Challenge, our team ranked 4 out of 50 in the Final Video Presentation. I am also a member of Masters' Scholars Research Program, a voluntary, selective program where qualifying students collaborate with faculty across the Rensselaer campus to realize practical outcomes from research.


Why did you choose to enroll at Rensselaer?

Honestly speaking, RPI is not so well-known in China as it is in America. I first heard about RPI because of Professor Aparna Gupta, the academic director of Quant Finance program. My aspirations have always been towards the application of mathematical modeling, financial engineering skills, and machine learning techniques for risk management, which requires at least three vehicles: Finance, Mathematics and Programming. Rensselaer, as the oldest polytechnic institute, provides this perfect platform for me to become what I want to be. I am impressed by the resources that Lally has offered: Center for Financial Studies, highly engaged advisory board of executives in quant/ risk professions, etc. At time I knew I could make a difference at Rensselaer. Now look how correct I am.

What are some benefits of being part of the Graduate Community at Rensselaer?

RPI values academic integrity, hard work and independency. Graduate students benefit a lot from interdisciplinary contact among different departments. I am so lucky to have some amazing talk with professors and researchers from a number of fields outside mine.

What would you tell a prospective student about choosing Rensselaer?

  • Don’t rely on the rankings too much. You don’t need a number to make you feel proud.
  • Always get to know yourself – where you come from and what you want to achieve.
  • Be an honorable person. That’s how you should interact with the rest of the world.

Describe your graduate research and its purpose/applications.

My master program does not require a research project. One of my current research is about evaluation of the effectiveness of Contingent Convertible Debt, an instrument that will automatically convert from debt to equity upon triggering, in controlling banking systemic risk measured by network models.

What are your plans following graduation? 

Following my graduation, I would like to continue my involvement in financial risk management and derivatives application. My long term goal is to become “somebody” in quantitative finance, making a positive impact globally, just like Paul Wilmott and Emanuel Derman. Also, I want to change people’s view towards the stereotype of being a quant: as a quant, we can still be humorous, eloquent, fashionable and in good shape. In a word, be fabulous.

Professional affiliations:

  • Candidate for Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Candidate for Certified Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
  • Student member of Masters' Scholars Research Program
  • Member of the Global Association of Risk Professions (GARP)

What are your hobbies/interests/special talents?

I like turning the ordinary into extraordinary, so that’s why I enjoy playing guitar, where simple chords become beautiful ballads, and baking, where flour and sugar become delicious muffins. Also, working out in the gym and doing yoga change my life.