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Best 40-Under-40 Professor Xiaoyan Zhang

Xiaoyan Zhang of Krannert is among the 40 best business school profs under 40

Xiaoyan Zhang of Krannert is among the 40 best business school profs under 40

Xiaoyan Zhang

Associate Professor of Finance

Age: 37

Institution: Purdue University, Krannert School of Management

Since: 2010

Before current institution:

Hometown: Dingyuan, China

Marital status: Married

Children: 2



Columbia University, Columbia Business School, PhD in Finance

Beijing University, BA in Economics

Courses currently teaching: 

Options and Futures

Financial Risk Management

Fun fact: 

For every eight-week class I teach, I lose 3 pounds each. I guess that’s because I talk and move a lot. Teaching definitely helps me stay healthy.

Professor I most admire:

Professor Robert Hodrick at Columbia Business School

Most memorable moment as a professor:

First, when students tell me that they found their dream jobs. Second, when they call from their work about how to apply what they learned from school to their work. Third, when past students come back to campus for guest speeches and for recruiting.

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…”

I might be back in China helping to design the reforms on interest rates and exchange rates.

Students Say:

“Professor Zhang is so good at leading the way students organize their thoughts in class that we never find it is too hard to follow up. It is usually the way the professor lays out a class that decides how many students will be inspired, and Professor Zhang is the kind of professor who can make everybody in her class like the subject.”—Chao Gao, MS(F), Class of 2014

“Professor Zhang’s class is always a ‘hot’ class. Students are eager to show their opinions and Professor Zhang is eager to respond.”—Chen Xu, MS(F), Class of 2014  

“To me, Professor Zhang is more like a friend, no matter in the class or out of the class. I benefited a lot from her and I am still benefiting. She teaches me a lot about both academic knowledge and life. She makes the course more attractive and easier to understand. She’s definitely the most popular professor in Krannert.”—Peter Chen, MS(F), Class of 2014 

The debate has been had many times over: Does the pressure to produce academic research overshadow what professors are actually hired to do? Whether it does or it doesn’t, Professor Xiaoyan Zhang is too busy excelling in both to notice. The 37-year-old is what you might call a “dual threat” business professor; a world-class scholar and teacher. The finance prof’s research on volatility and expected returns is among the most commonly cited study in financial economics in the 2000s; it has been cited over 1,200 times, according to her page on Google Scholar.

While Zhang’s research is defying conventional wisdom in finance and earning her invitations to present before the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank, her accolades as a teacher are equally impressive. She is one of just a handful of Krannert faculty members ever to achieve a perfect score of 10.0/10.0 on a multi-part student evaluation system. The average score for other instructors was 8.5.

Xiaoyan Zhang is among “The World’s 40 Best B-School Profs Under the Age of 40