Meet the Academic - Dr Lei Fang
With a background in Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics, she tells us about her research interests and the importance of economic meaning when teaching Financial Mathematics.
When did you join Queen Mary?
I joined on the 4th Jan 2022
Welcome! How have your first few weeks been?
Fantastic! It's very different to my life as a PhD student, but I’m enjoying it. It’s my dream job.
What were you doing before you came to us?
I worked doing research and teaching at Bayes Business School at City, University of London.
Tell us about your academic journey so far.
Both my bachelor and PhD degrees are in Actuarial Science. I also spent one year working as a pricing actuary. During my academic training, I found myself enjoying research and teaching very much, so I decided to pursue a career in academia.
Within Actuarial Science, what are your main research interests?
I have two main areas of interest. The first one is systemic risk management. It's basically on what leads to financial crisis and how to control the factors which may cause it. The second one is more about the methodological side of things, which is related to machine learning applications in finance and insurance.
What has been your favourite research project you have worked on so far?
It has to be the research I did for my PhD dissertation. We used text similarity to measure the convergence of management attention across different industries, which is the antecedent of systemic risk.
What courses will you be involved in here at Queen Mary?
I am involved in two courses. The first module is Actuarial Financial Engineering and I co-deliver it with Chris Sutton. The second one is Mathematical Tools for Asset Management which I co-deliver with Linus Wunderlich.
How would you describe your teaching style and what can students expect from you?
I teach financial mathematics, which is quite different to pure mathematics, so it’s a lot about the application of maths to the financial context. Each mathematical expression has a story and I will tell students these stories. Rather than just memorising them, I want students to know the economic meaning behind what they’re learning.
Secondly, I think maths is very interesting and I want my students to enjoy learning maths. As a teacher, the most important thing is to trigger a student’s interest in maths. Therefore, I not only use vivid visual aids and storytelling to engage my students, but also invite them to apply maths to solve real-world problems.
What are you hoping to achieve in the coming months?
If a student comes and tells me they have started to fall in love with financial maths thanks to my module, that will make me very happy. It would be a huge sense of achievement.