She's been everywhere--from Shanghai to Beijing to Hong Kong to Singapore to Atlanta to New York City--but Frances Ning says that her family's frequent job-related moves left her better prepared for life's unexpected detours.
"It made me very adaptable to any environment or culture," Ning says. "Basically, you learn to perceive things in a different manner--to go with the flow. It's good to have some change once in a while."
Her willingness to explore new ideas served Ning well at Carnegie Mellon, where she found time to take violin lessons and perform with the All University Orchestra while she pursued dual bachelor's degrees in computer science and electrical and computer engineering.
"You have to make sure you take advantage of opportunities that come your way in school--in a few years' time you won't have those opportunities," she says. "Being a well-rounded person never hurts."
Ning has charted her own path since leaving Carnegie Mellon; instead of going into a computing career, she went to work for a major Wall Street investment bank, doing trading and analysis for a hedge fund. Her CS degree served her well in that job, and she encourages other young women to consider computer science, engineering, or math careers.
"They're afraid that they'll spend all their time in a computer cluster, or that there's not much interaction with people," Ning says. "Computer science doesn't limit you--it actually opens up a lot of possibilities for you. The mindset you develop at school gives you the ability to think logically and break things down. The world is getting more qualitative and quantitative, and learning to think about things in an abstract manner is a tremendous asset."
She's currently part of a hedge fund that will invest in high-tech companies in Asia and other emerging markets, and she's looking for partners for a new venture. "I want to work on a possible start-up in the area of health-care delivery--taking advantage of supply and demand to match services with providers," Ning says.
Active in the Chinese Finance Association and the young alumni committee at Choate Rosemary Hall, Ning also finds time for her favorite outdoor hobbies, including sailing, biking, snowboarding, tennis, and golf.
Jason Togyer | 412-268-8721 | jt3y [atsymbol] cs.cmu.edu