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Jianren Xu Has Focus on Risk Management Research and Student Success

April 7, 2015

A love of learning helped Jianren Xu become one of the top three graduates in his class at Wuhan University, but an interest in teaching and research became a passion that took him out of China, to New York and North Carolina, to Georgia and finally to Cal State Fullerton, where he is an assistant professor of finance.

The educator conducts research in corporate finance, risk management and insurance but he also focuses on helping students in learning what he teaches and how to use it in their career.

"My research focuses on the intersection between corporate finance and risk management and insurance," explained Xu. "Many of my studies take advantage of the unique characteristics of the insurance industry and use it as a natural laboratory to test general corporate finance questions."

"Given the recent financial crisis with bailouts of major firms, enterprise risk management – the process that proactively manages all firm risks in a holistic fashion — has become more vital than ever before worldwide," Xu said about his motivation on the studies. He currently has three research papers under review at The Journal of Risk and Insurance.

Xu has made nearly two dozen presentations at conferences. This summer, he will present at Financial Management Association European 2015 conference in Italy and World Risk and Insurance Economics Congress in Germany. He also had several invited seminars, including the one by his Alma Mater – Wuhan University earlier this year.

When it comes to teaching, Xu focuses on providing information in an approachable way.

"When I'm in the classroom I tell students that I want to be seen as a friend, that I want to understand their needs and am open to their concerns," Xu said. "Last semester, I taught at night and many of my students were working during the day, so I understood how hard it was for them.

"As their teacher, I stress that we are developing a lifelong relationship. Beyond being their teacher for one class, I can be a resource and a mentor throughout their college years and beyond."

Xu earned his master of science in risk management and insurance at St. John's University in New York, which was conveniently close to Wall Street. "It was a really good experience into the insurance industry, a good knowledge base."

Xu completed his doctorate, with concentrations in both risk management and insurance and finance, at the University of Georgia, Athens. He also holds a certificate of associate in risk management and has passed two actuarial science exams.

His experiences, not only as a student but also as a risk analyst, underwriter and account consultant — positions he held in China and New York — help him connect to those he teaches.

"I can give students good advice and they like hearing my personal experiences," said Xu.

Tags:  Academics & Research