Fourth-year Economics PhD student, Wenting Song, focuses on the intersection of macro- and financial economics. Drawn to the field as an undergrad, Wenting enjoys the optimistic way economists model people - that everyone is doing the best they can under the constraints they face.

After completing her undergraduate studies with a double major in economics and math at Washington University in St. Louis (B.A. ‘12), Wenting went on to obtain her masters in financial economics from Oxford University (‘13) and worked as a banker at HSBC (one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world), providing cross-border banking services to subsidiaries of multinational corporations. She also has experience working in currency management and wrote research notes on the Renminbi.

It was during her time at HSBC that Wenting decided to seek a PhD in economics. While working for the bank in China, the banking sector was hit by liquidity crunches, the regulator was experimenting with capital liberalization, and there were a lot of movements in the currency. She recalls it was an interesting time: there were many issues that she did not understand, which she found fascinating and led her to pursue doctoral studies.

Wenting chose UM for her PhD and has been happy with her decision for many reasons: the program provides strong training in economics; the faculty are extremely knowledgeable and approachable; and there is strong support for female economists and graduate students. She has also found tremendous support through her peers—whom she reports as being intelligent, hard-working, and great people who have taught her a lot about economics.

Wenting has also found time to be involved in the Graduate Economics Society (GES), which, in particular, has been a great resource. She reports that, from the very moment she entered the doctoral program at UM, she has benefited from activities organized by GES—including orientation workshops and informal social events. As Wenting became more involved with the Society, she began to appreciate more the hard work by GES members to communicate student opinions in the graduate program, promote diversity & inclusion, as well as smooth transitions for new graduate students. Wenting reports her participation with the group as having been a rewarding experience.

Looking forward, Wenting is focused on understanding more about the causes of financial crises and the policy prescriptions attempting to mitigate them. Her current project studies how information imperfection in the credit market drives market participants to underestimate financial risks, which leads to over-borrowing. The project was inspired by the liquidity crisis she experienced when working in the banking sector in China, which demonstrated a disconnect between the credit market and economic fundamentals. Largely, Wenting hopes to be able to produce strong academic research and use it to aid policy making.