Food for thought
When Jasmine Shu considered pursuing her PhD at the Tippie College of Business, she knew she would be a long way from home. She also knew she would have to make her decision without ever having visited Iowa City.
“I applied to schools all over the world, including some very famous schools in Asia and Europe, but I finally chose the University of Iowa,” she says. “I made a very good choice.”
Before accepting the offer to attend Tippie, Jasmine did her homework on faculty research interests and their specific research work. She also reviewed student guidance and corresponded via email with professors and former PhD students.
“The professors are so good at what they do,” she says. “During my research, I learned that Tippie was home to famous professors, like Erik Lie, a big name in corporate finance, and professors like David Bates and Ashish Tiwari. This group, with these professors, was one of the things that attracted me most.”
“Everyone I talked with spoke very highly of the PhD program and also how good it was to live in Iowa City,” she continues. “The impression I got, even having never been to Iowa or even the U.S., was that Iowa City was one of the best campus towns to live in. I did not have any concerns with adjusting to the new environment. That was a big plus."
Jasmine arrived at Tippie well versed in statistics, but also very interested in multidisciplinary research. The University of Iowa, her advisors, and her professors were able to meet and challenge her interest.
“The specific finance topic I'm interested in is asset pricing,” she says. “Three of my working papers focus on applying machine learning techniques to address investment questions, including hedge funds and mutual funds. When exploring these topics, I had support from two of my advisors, Ashish Tiwari and Tong Yao. Both of them are very, very good with hedge funds, mutual funds, and asset pricing.”
One of the biggest benefits Jasmine received from her studies was the support of professors who encouraged her every step of the way.
“They encouraged me to take courses in Bayesian analysis, offered by the Department of Statistics. And I was able to take Interpretable Machine Learning, offered by the Department of Business Analytics. By taking these two courses, plus the basic finance courses offered in our department, I was able to strengthen my skill in statistics and artificial intelligence. In the meantime, I also enhanced my understanding and knowledge in finance.”
After being at Tippie for five years, what’s next?
“I recently accepted a position at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a position with tremendous opportunity for teaching and research.”
That doesn’t mean Jasmine won’t miss her time in Iowa City…and the food.
“I will miss this life,” she says. “One month after I arrived, I had a birthday celebration in the Catlett Hall cafeteria with one of my new friends. I was so impressed. After that, I celebrated two or three more birthdays in different cafeterias on campus.”
Jasmine arrived at Tippie for her PhD. She left with a degree, expertise, and so much more. But she promises to return to visit friends and favorite professors, and just maybe to continue her cafeteria birthday tradition.