2019 Best & Brightest: Linqing Lily Li, Syracuse University (Whitman)

Linqing Lily Li

Syracuse University, Whitman School of Management

“I am a business explorer with IT knowledge, international background, huge passion towards music, and three cats.”

Fun fact about yourself: In the past 10 years, I have studied and lived in four different countries.

Hometown: Kunming, China

High School: AUEA International Academy of Yunnan

Major: Finance, Accounting, Information Management & Technology

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Financial Modeling

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: Whitman Dean’s List, former Vice President of Professional Activities for professional fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and former Treasurer of National Association of Black Accountants.

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Ernst & Young (New York City): Risk Advisory Intern
  • MassMutual Financial Group (Hong Kong): Financial Management Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Ernst & Young (New York City): Risk Advisory and Assurance Consultant

What company do you admire most? EY because of the female leadership in the company and its initiatives for learning and development.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Joyce Zadzilka

Professor Zadzilka is a very knowledgeable professor in the field of accounting, a practical instructor, and a patient and passionate mentor to students at Whitman.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Endless help from professors and faculty members, wide alumni connections in different industries, various career possibilities, and cultural inclusiveness.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Walk out of my comfort zone and never set a limit for myself.

As an international student who was born and raised in China, I have learned to walk out of my comfort zone and try multiple things that I was not good at. An example would be public speaking in a professional presentation setting. By learning new knowledge and developing marketable skills over time, I have learned to be a servant leader, an effective communicator, and a person with cultural empathy.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice would be to spend the time to know your strengths and weaknesses. Your time is limited, and you will not become an expert in everything. The greatest thing about entering into the business world is the unlimited career opportunities that you can capitalize on if you find your strength.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? It was the enormous campus resources a student can get from a business school, which include supportive professors and faculty members, alumni connections, and various career opportunities.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…the music industry because I am a huge fan of classical music. Learning the trends and the markets in this industry can provide musicians with more opportunities for expression, bringing more entertainment into people’s lives.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mother, who is a civil engineer in China.

She made me realize how important it is to be the boss of your own money, which is to understand how to manage your asset and make wise investment. This leads me to declare my first major in finance.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am very proud of coming to the U.S. and declaring my major in business. This is a challenging but life-changing experience for me as it opened a whole new door in my life and broadened my horizon.

Which classmate do you most admire? Olivia Huang (’19). She is a smart and hard-working individual who always strives to be the best in her field. She is also the type of person who always challenges things that seem impossible and overcome multiple challenges as a business student.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents. Without their financial and emotional support of sending me abroad from China, I would never have the opportunity to learn and grow in such a dynamic and diverse business environment.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel around the world and skydiving

What are your hobbies? Piano, singing, scuba diving and swimming!

What made Lily such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Lily came to Whitman from China and has capitalized on every opportunity available to her. She has achieved academic excellence in a double major with finance and accounting paired with a dual program in Information Management & Technology; Lily is in the Renee Crown Honors Program as well.  Her program has required an average of 18 credits per semester, which seemingly leaves little time for other activities. Lily has made the time to engage in several experiential learning opportunities in order to develop professionally and personally. Some examples include Whitman on Wall Street, a Spring Break in Silicon Valley, interning at Ernst & Young and spending her Syracuse days engaged in many Whitman clubs including Beta Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Pi, National Association of Black Accountants, SU Investment Club and more. Lily came 8,000 miles from home and taught our community that you can always find time to make an impact and there is always more to learn. We look forward to seeing how Lily continues to grow as she makes her next move.”

Lindsay D. Quilty
Assistant Dean
Undergraduate Programs


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.