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Don't Fear the Teacher

Tina Deng

Tina Deng
MSF '12

Tiantian (Tina) Deng first heard about Purdue from a friend who graduated from the first class of the Master of Science Degree (Finance), or MS(F), program offered by the Krannert School. The friend specifically mentioned a faculty member—John McConnell, the Emanuel T. Weiler Distinguished Professor of Management.

Tina, who hails from central China, decided to give West Lafayette a try. And though Professor McConnell strikes fear in the heart of many students, particularly because of his infamous cold-calling, she has a different view.

“I love him,” she says. “I know a lot of students think he’s tough, but I think he’s just what we need. Many students, especially those from outside the United States, are sometimes afraid to talk in class. But Professor McConnell and the other faculty members help give us the push we need.”

The professor helped Tina in another way. One of his former students works at Stephens, a full-service, independent financial services firm offering investment banking, wealth management and insurance brokerage services.

The alum asked Professor McConnell to forward an e-mail about a job opening to his students, and Tina jumped at the opportunity. She landed a position in the financial analyst program, and will be leaving for New York City once she graduates this spring.

After earning her undergraduate degree in China and working for a commercial bank there, Tina was willing to come to the United States for her next round of education. She says the experience has been beneficial.

“In China, all of the teaching is done through lectures. Here, you work in teams to get projects done. I’ve learned a lot about teambuilding and working with people from different backgrounds. I’ve made a lot of progress since I came here,” she says, adding that the MS(F) students benefit from taking classes with Purdue MBA students.

Tina has spoken English since middle school, but her ability to speak Mandarin was important in landing her role at Stephens. Her language skills and finance knowledge have made her a valuable commodity in the job market, and she encourages other students to follow in her footsteps.

“If you want to learn about corporate finance, come to Purdue,” Tina says. “The professors here are fantastic. It’s an intense program, but you’ll learn a lot both in and out of the classroom.”