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Eller Finance Student Honored  with Nugent Award
Emily Huang, Eller Finance and UA Applied Math ’14

By Liz Warren-Pederson

Emily Huang. Photo courtesy Emily Huang.

Emily Huang.
Photo courtesy Emily Huang.

Emily Huang spent her early years with her father and paternal grandmother in Chengdu in southwest China. “My parents divorced when I was one, and my father worked two jobs,” she said. At the age of 15, Huang moved to Phoenix to live with her mother, whom she had not seen for eight years.

“I didn’t speak English when I first came, so I was placed into the English as Second Language program at North High School in Phoenix,” she said. “I learned English quickly enough to take IB/AP courses in my senior year and graduated cum laude.”

Huang came to the UA on a full-ride scholarship, along with her boyfriend, a senior in electrical engineering whom she has been dating since middle school.

She knew from an early age that she wanted to study finance. “I credit the game Monopoly,” she said. “I first played it when I was in third grade. When all my friends were scratching their heads about buying more houses, I discovered that buying stocks beat them all faster.” The game turned her attention to the world of finance. “Later on, I found out that I have the quantitative skills and the interactive personality for success in this field. I declared a second major in applied math my sophomore year when I decided to study financial engineering in graduate school.”

During her freshman year, Huang joined the Investments Club, and by her sophomore year, was vice president of the club. “I’ve met many industry professionals and inspiring students in this club,” she said. “They’ve become my mentors and will be points of contact later when I need to make important decisions and look for work.”

She also co-founded the Eller College Chinese Student Council her junior year. The organization aims to help Chinese international students integrate to the U.S. “I designed and presented academic integrity workshops at the orientations in August 2013 and 2014 that 200 Chinese students attended,” she said. “To help them get more involved on campus, I coordinated a series of networking events with leaders from Eller Leadership Board, Honors Students Council, and Chinese Culture Club.” In 2013, the council mustered a team of 60 Chinese students to participate in  the Eller College’s Make a Difference Day volunteering event.

“All these involvements added value to my Eller experience,” she said. “I’ve become a better leader and public speaker through those organizations.”

For two summers, Huang interned with GE Capital in Scottsdale. “The first year, I was in the risks/operations department analyzing loan documents and classifying assets lien types,” she said. “Then I was in the finance department, creating a long-term financial planning model.”

Now, as she prepares to graduate, Huang has been honored with the Nugent Award, the University of Arizona’s Outstanding Student Award. She plans to go on to grad school and has been admitted to Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Chicago. “I haven’t decided which one to go to yet,” she said.

Huang cites associate dean of undergraduate programs Pam Perry and senior lecturer in finance Thomas Gosnell as influential to her success at Eller. She also credits quadruple major Aleksey Chernobelskiy (Eller Finance, Economics, and Accounting and UA Math ’12) for his influence. “He continues mentoring me even after graduating and now works in Israel,” she said.

Looking ahead, Huang said her dream job is to become the director of an investment bank. And, she said, “I aspire to change the lives of children in poverty.”

Top image of Chengdu at night courtesy of Shutterstock.