Five Questions with Lei Li

In our Five Questions series, faculty of the University of Kansas School of Business share their insights, experiences and advice for students.

Lei Li

Lei Li is an assistant professor of finance at the KU School of Business. His research interests include empirical corporate finance, financial institutions and financial intermediation.

1. What got you interested in your field, and what has been the most rewarding part of being involved in it?

The short answer to the first question is the 2008–09 finance crisis. That crisis upended “conventional wisdom” about financial markets and financial institutions. I’m very interested in (and feel rewarded by) helping understand what went wrong before the crisis and what can be done to avoid the next one.

2. What is your favorite part about being a Jayhawk?

Strong ties between faculty, students and alumni. Plus the basketball games.

3. What would see yourself doing if you weren’t a professor?

I may be working for the Fed or some other research institution, probably working on some crisis-related projects.

4. If you could require students to read one thing before graduation (outside of your class reading), what would it be and why?

There are many. To just pick one, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. This economics book has useful, real-life applications, and it is fun reading this book.

5. What advice would you give your college self?

Get prepared physically, socially and intellectually for the uncertain (and hence, highly rewarding) future.


Li holds master’s degrees in both mathematics and economics from Brown University and earned a Ph.D. in finance from Boston College.

By Casey Gamble