Li Tao

Li Tao
Program
MSAFA
Class Year
Hometown
Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, China
Areas of Interest
Accounting
Finance
Previous Education
Baruch College, City University of New York

What brought you to business school? Why did you choose Columbia?

Pursuing a graduate degree was always on the back of my mind, so I kept my eyes open while I was working. I chose Columbia for many reasons. First, I know, and I believe everyone else knows, that Columbia Business School is a great school for business students. Second, my mentor is a Columbia Business School alumnus, and I have visited Columbia many times during his study. Third, this program is a hybrid of PhD and MBA curriculum, focusing on value investing and fundamental analysis. I found I was very interested in the curriculum and the topics taught, and appreciated that the program provided many different course options.

What has been your favorite part of the MS experience so far?

My favorite part is the exposure to senior faculty. All my classes are taught by senior faculty in the Accounting Division who specialize in investing. The exposure to thought leaders in this field has made my experience at Columbia Business School an exceptional one. 

What is it like going to business school in New York City?

I went to business school in New York City for my undergraduate education as well and absolutely appreciated the location. Being in New York, which many people say is “the very center of business,” is a huge advantage for b-school students. People around the world fly into New York and present their businesses and ideas on or around campus. If I am interested in a certain area of business, I can always find someone, often an alumnus, working on it here in New York. The location brings life to what we have learned and discussed in the classroom and put our knowledge and lessons into practice. Beyond that, being in New York City and being able to interact with other working professionals is a great advantage for me as a young professional.

Favorite faculty/courses so far?

My favorite course so far is Professor Stephen Penman’s Accounting PhD seminar. I would say it’s the highlight of this program and provides a solid foundation to analyzing investment opportunities. As it is a PhD-level course, it’s very academic and sheds light on the theoretical basis of many investment practices.

What will you take with you?

I am reflecting seriously about my journey at Columbia Business School. I am thinking that I will be leaving with confidence, but also with more questions about my area of expertise. Coming into this program, I thought I knew everything about accounting and investing. But I discovered that there is so much more to learn. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. I hope in the future that I can attack problems and challenges with confidence and with what I’ve learned at Columbia Business School.