Lifelong Lerner: Hongzhe Zhang

Class of 2023 Graduate Hongzhe Zhang

Hongzhe Zhang, a native of Jinan, China, earned a doctoral degree Ph.D in financial services analytics from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics in May 2023.


Zhang was nominated for this series by UD Professor of Management Information Systems Xiao Fang, who said, “Hongzhe has achieved outstanding success in his research. As a doctoral student in a business school, it is rare for someone to have two papers under advanced review at premier business journals. This is a testament to his exceptional abilities and dedication to his field.”


In this profile, Zhang shared his favorite UD memories, how he has changed during his time at UD and his plans following graduation.


Lerner: How do you think you have changed from your first semester at UD to now?

Zhang: I vividly remember my first semester at UD, when I was lost and overwhelmed in the vast and complex world of research. I was a novice, a beginner and I knew nothing. But I am blessed to have been surrounded by accomplished Lerner faculty dedicated to inspiring and guiding me. With their support, I sharpened my skills and learned how to conduct rigorous research. Their guidance is a beacon of light that illuminates my path, and I will forever be grateful to them for believing in me.


Lerner: What have been some of the challenges you have faced during your college experience and how did you overcome them?

Zhang: During my Ph.D. journey, I have faced several challenges, but one that stands out is the need to multitask. As Ph.D. students, we often have to juggle multiple commitments simultaneously, such as taking courses, writing papers, and teaching assistant duties. It can be overwhelming at times, but I have learned to overcome this challenge by prioritizing my time and developing a routine that allows me to balance my academic and research commitments effectively.

Lerner: What was your favorite signature UD experience and why?

Zhang: Attending the annual DSI (Decision Sciences Institute) Symposium is my favorite UD experience. What I love most about this symposium is the opportunity it provides for interdisciplinary learning and collaboration. Ph.D. students like me often become so immersed in our own research that we lose sight of our work’s broader context and impact. But the DSI Symposium enables us to break out of our silos and engage with scholars from different disciplines, who bring fresh perspectives and ideas that challenge our thinking and expand our horizons. 


Lerner: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?

Zhang: To me, being a “Lifelong Lerner” means I will carry all Lerner experiences with me for the rest of my life. The memories of the good days will continue to inspire me, and the challenges and setbacks I faced will make me stronger and more resilient. As I move forward, I will always embrace the mindset of a Blue Hen and keep seeking knowledge, growth and new experiences. 


Lerner: Did you have a Lerner professor or staff member that had a big impact on your UD experience?

Zhang: I would like to express my gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Xiao Fang. His insightful feedback, constructive suggestions, and unwavering support were instrumental in helping me refine my research, develop my ideas, and produce a dissertation that I am truly proud of. 


Lerner: What are your plans following graduation?

Zhang: I will be working as an assistant professor in information systems at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

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