Lifelong Lerner: Lene Sperling

As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2023, Lene Sperling, finance and global enterprise management double major from Rauenberg, Germany, has demonstrated remarkable dedication and resilience during her time at UD. 


Sperling was nominated for this series by UD Assistant Professor of Finance Hamed Mahmudi, who said, “She got an A in my class in the Fall of 2021. Her overall GPA of 4.0 is also indicative of her exceptional intellectual ability and work ethic. Due to her outstanding grades, Lene was awarded the Department of Finance Outstanding Junior award and the Department of Business Administration Distinguished Global Enterprise Management Junior award in 2022. 


“Her achievements go beyond her studies in finance and global management, as she is also an accomplished golfer. She is a scholarship athlete and has been representing the University of Delaware Omen’s golf team since August 2019. Lene has also been a member of the Blue Hen Investment Club at the University of Delaware since 2019. In my opinion, Lene Anika Sperling’s outstanding skills are her intellectual capacity, excellent work ethic and scientific curiosity.”


Sharon Watson, UD Professor of Management, also nominated Sperling, who said, “Lene demonstrated tremendous intellectual interest and ability by always coming to class prepared, having read and taken notes on the readings, and by participating in class discussions. She took a leadership role in her team, setting meetings, creating documents and timelines, helping assign roles for projects, and offering support to teammates when they had questions.  


“As a result, her team worked extremely well together, submitting and delivering creative, analytically sound written analyses and presentations throughout the semester. As an international student from Germany and an athlete on the golf team, Lene had a lot of demands on her time but managed her work both in and out of the classroom better than most other students. It was my pleasure to write her a recommendation letter for graduate school, where I know she will be just as successful as she has been here at UD.”


In this profile, Sperling shares her favorite UD memories, how she has changed during her time at UD and her plans following graduation.


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

Sperling: When I started my first semester at UD, I was only 17 years old and in a foreign country by myself, and the only way I could communicate was in my second language. Initially, I felt overwhelmed by this new and unfamiliar experience, but I have grown increasingly confident and comfortable approaching new people and situations. Throughout my four years at UD, I have learned that I can thrive outside of my comfort zone, and I am looking forward to continuing to challenge myself in new and exciting ways. 


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

Sperling:The start of the pandemic in the spring of my freshman year was one of the most challenging times during my college experience. Within less than a week, I went from going to in-person classes and competing in golf tournaments with my team to moving out of the dorms, finishing my golf season early, and flying back home to Germany. As an international student, it felt very strange to leave the country without knowing if and when I would be able to return to the U.S., and it was not easy to adjust to online learning with a six-hour time difference. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to spend this time with my family and to have their support through it all.

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

Sperling: My favorite experience at UD has been being part of the women’s golf team and competing in tournaments and championships with my teammates and best friends. We have competed all over the U.S., so I have had the chance to see many interesting places and to meet great people that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. We have had players from five different continents during my four years here, and I feel so lucky to have built long-lasting connections and friendships with so many of them.


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

Sperling: To me, being a “Lifelong Lerner” means using the education and opportunities provided by the University of Delaware to create a successful future and a path of lifelong personal and professional growth. It also means proudly representing the University throughout my professional journey and giving back to the campus community by making myself available as a resource for current and future students. Overall, it is about recognizing the impact that the University has had on my life and using that to create value and make a positive impact on others. 


Lerner: What advice would you give to incoming freshmen to make the most out of their college experience?

Sperling: My advice would be to get involved in clubs and student organizations on campus where you can meet people with shared or similar interests. Personally, I joined the Blue Hen Investment Club during my sophomore year, and it has been a great learning experience for me and an opportunity to make valuable connections with my classmates and even alumni. If you are interested in finance, the investment club is a really great way to get involved!


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

Sperling: I took Intermediate Financial Management with Professor Hamed Mahmudi, who not only taught us a lot about finance but also gave us valuable career and life advice. He offered support and guidance as I decided on my next steps following graduation. Another class I thoroughly enjoyed was Strategic Management with Professor Sharon Watson. Her course allowed us to integrate all aspects of business and gain a comprehensive understanding of how they interact with each other. Professor Watson was also incredibly supportive in helping me determine my next steps after completing my degree at UD. 


Lerner: What are your plans following graduation?

Sperling: After graduation, I am going home to Germany to see my family for a few weeks before heading to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in July, where I will pursue a master’s degree in business analytics with a concentration in finance.



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