Teaching Finance and Finding Adventure in “Snow City”

Si Cheng

Associate Professor of Finance

  • Faculty

I’m so happy that I took a chance on coming to the U.S. to teach, especially at the Whitman School... It’s like a big family, and there is a great sense of belonging. I look forward to seeing what will happen next.

After teaching in Hong Kong and Belfast, Si Cheng was looking for new opportunities. Having never worked in the U.S. before, she saw a post from Syracuse University’s Whitman School that not only matched her research interest but also piqued her curiosity, so she applied for a position in the Department of Finance. She joined the faculty at the Whitman School in fall 2022 as an associate professor with tenure and embarked on a new adventure in what is known in her native China as the “Snow City.” 

Prior to her arrival, Cheng was an assistant professor of finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 2016-2022 and a lecturer/assistant professor of finance at Queen’s University in Belfast from 2013 to 2016 teaching courses on financial management and capital markets. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and earned her Ph.D. in finance from the National University of Singapore.

The focus of Cheng’s research includes sustainable investing, the application of machine learning to asset pricing and the welfare implications of delegated asset management. Published in the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Management Science, Review of Finance and Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Cheng’s research has also been cited by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wall Street Journal and the Institutional Investor. In addition, she has obtained multiple competitive grants totaling more than $200,000 from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong as principal investigator. Cheng has received a number of research awards, most recently the IQ-KAP Research Prize in 2020, and she serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Multinational Financial Management and is a young editorial board member of the China Finance Review International.

Cheng brings her wealth of knowledge to the classroom at the Whitman School, teaching undergraduate students, many of whom have not yet decided on their majors. She enjoys having students from across all subjects and looks forward to the opportunity to discuss topics that give them a solid foundation for many areas of business.

“We are looking at the fundamentals of finance in this course,” she says. “We talk about topics in corporate finance that can be applied to personal finance, as well – from how CFOs make long-term investment  and the optimization and allocation of resources to how to understand home mortgage terms,, whether to lease or buy a car or even how to save for retirement. These are the topics that are important for students to know, even if they don’t decide to become a finance major.”

Cheng enjoys teaching in-person at the Whitman School, something she has not been able to do since before COVID began. “I was excited to go back into the classroom and get to see and know my students,” she says. “In the U.S., students are very responsive and tend to ask more questions. Overall, it’s been a very positive experience.”

She is very pleased to have pursued an opportunity at the Whitman School and has been busy soaking in the campus culture and the greater Syracuse, New York, area. Having attended a couple of football games at the JMA Wireless Dome, Cheng already considers herself a “big Orange fan.” And, she is well prepared for her first winter in “Snow City” with a new heavy coat, boots and gloves, even thinking about signing up for some ski lessons. 

“I’m so happy that I took a chance on coming to the U.S. to teach, especially at the Whitman School,” she says. “People are helpful and kind. Alumni come back to visit the students, and some even choose to work here, which is impressive. It’s like a big family, and there is a great sense of belonging. I look forward to seeing what will happen next.”

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