It’s not unusual for students to change their major during college. Jixiang Fang not only changed his major, he also changed his college, and his career, and his continent.
Fang graduated from a small college in Hainan, in southeast China, with a bachelor’s degree in hotel management. He was working in the hotel industry in China when he decided he wanted to learn more about finance; he wanted to study in the United States, so he began his search.
“I was looking for a well-known, highly reputable finance program and a place with a beautiful campus in a smaller town. Through my research, I found Colorado State University,” says Fang. It didn’t take long for Fang to find he had made the right decision. “I love the atmosphere here at CSU and in Fort Collins.”
Fang began his studies in the INTO CSU program, which provides a year of intensive English classes for international students to prepare them to succeed as CSU students. INTO started on campus in 2012, and some of the first students who followed the INTO Pathway to their selected fields of study, like Fang, are graduating this spring.
Fang started the Early Career MBA in the fall of 2015, but had aspirations of transferring into the Master of Financial Risk Management program in CSU’s College of Business.
“When I was working in hotel management, many of my co-workers would talk about how finance works and how it impacts corporations. I found that to be very exciting,” Fang explains.
The director of the FRM program at the time, Associate Professor of Finance and Real Estate Hong Miao, told Fang that to transfer into the FRM program he would need to take several introductory finance and statistics courses.
“In the coming months, Jixiang kept talking to me and was on track to transfer to the FRM program,” Miao recalls. “During the process, I found that he was persistent, ambitious and hard working. He finished all of the courses I asked him to take with a 4.0 GPA.”
Once Fang was accepted into the program, his persistence and hard work paid off in the first semester with another 4.0 GPA. “He is one of the best students in the program,” Miao says. “He fell in love with finance and statistics after taking the courses and started to think about a Ph.D. program. As half-mathematician myself, I always encourage students to have a strong statistics background before considering a Ph.D. program.”
Maio suggested that Fang apply for CSU’s Master of Applied Statistics program first. Fang took his advice and while many of his classmates were enjoying their winter breaks, he hired a math professor in China to help him review calculus every day. He was recently notified of his acceptance into the program.
Fang will graduate with his Master’s in Finance this week and in August, he will start his new journey as a statistics graduate student at CSU. “I am sure he will succeed in the future. I am pleased that I admitted him into our FRM program and he discovered his passion in finance and statistics. We are in the profession of changing lives and I am proud that CSU changed Jixiang’s life,” says Maio.
And Fang’s ambitions don’t stop with his academic success. “It is my dream to one day work on Wall Street.”