Carnegie Mellon University
May 07, 2018

Senior April Li Receives Fugassi and Monteverde Award

By Emily Payne

Jocelyn Duffy

Mathematical Sciences’ student April Li is the recipient of this year’s Dr. J. Paul Fugassi and Linda E. Monteverde Award. The award recognizes the graduating female senior with the greatest academic achievement and professional promise.

Li is part of the Department of Mathematical Sciences’ Computational Finance program. She is a dedicated student leader who has enriched the experiences and opportunities for students in the program and across campus through her passion for computational finance. In 2016, Li co-founded the Quant Club, which has been an invaluable resource for students interested in quantitative finance.

In her role as a leader in the Quant Club, Li helped organize mock interviews on campus in fall 2017. She conducted resume workshops for students, where she used her own experience in finding internships to help students prepare for recruiting season.

Li is also president of the Sales and Trading Academy at Carnegie Mellon, and she is a member of the Mortar Board Society of Scholars. In April 2018, the Department of Mathematical Sciences hosted an inaugural “Women and Mathematics at CMU” conference that included a mini-course on connections between partial differential equations and mathematical finance. Li helped organize the conference and served as a panelist.  

April is one of those extremely rare individuals who excels at everything she does.

In addition to her student organization leadership, Li is an accomplished teaching assistant and undergraduate researcher. She conducted extensive undergraduate research on utility indifference pricing in incomplete financial models with Professor of Mathematical Sciences Bill Hrusa from June 2015 through May 2016 and served as a teaching assistant in two of his courses.

“April is one of those extremely rare individuals who excels at everything she does. She is creative, her analytical ability is extremely high, she is very skilled at coding, she has excellent mathematical intuition, she understands the interplay between mathematical models and real-world phenomena, and she is an outstanding communicator,” said Hrusa. “I consider April to be more of a colleague than a student.”

Li’s potential for professional success has been prominent since early in her undergraduate career. Following her sophomore year, Li landed an internship with Tudor Investments as a quantitative analyst in the global research department. It is unusual for a sophomore to get their foot in the door so early. Internships in the finance industry, which often lead to full-time job offers, are generally available to juniors and seniors who can begin working within a year of finishing their internships.

Li managed a similar feat her junior year by applying for an internship at four major financial institutions — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. She had offers from all four banks before mid-semester. She accepted Goldman Sachs’ offer as a sales and trading summer analyst intern in their securities division.

After graduation, Li will continue at Goldman Sachs as a sales and trading analyst in interest rates products. She is part of a new breed of traders who make decisions based on the use of sophisticated mathematical and statistical models, and who employ ideas from data analytics and machine learning, together with an understanding of financial markets and economics to guide their trading decisions.

“The scientific education that I have received at CMU will allow me to make more informed trading decisions,” Li said. “In particular, the training that I have received in the BSCF program equips me to have a solid understanding of and to be mindful of the risks associated with trading complex financial instruments.”