If aspiring financial planner Brian Yu ’13 (BUS) was quizzed to evaluate his risk tolerance – a first step that clients take when working with a money manager – he would be in the risk-taking category.
Yu has a record of seizing opportunities that come his way, even if it means stepping out of his comfort zone.
A couple of years ago, he left his native Shanghai to attend UConn as a freshman in the School of Business, drawn by the school’s reputation for excellence.
“I have always been an independent person, and I wanted to immerse myself in an environment I was not familiar with,” Yu says, adding that he doesn’t have to deal with homesickness because he doesn’t experience it. “I thrive on doing what I love in college. Slowly, over time, UConn has become my home.”
He says that compared to the international high school he attended in China, UConn offers greater freedom in selecting courses he is interested in taking. “I like the versatility and flexibility of the curriculum, and taking classes outside my major hasn’t held me back from graduating on time.”
A Dean’s List student, Yu began experimenting with UConn’s management classes. “I found my classes very enlightening,” he says. “In a class about the principles of entrepreneurialism, I consulted with a real-world venture startup company. In a class about professional selling, I got hands-on experience selling software to real companies. William Ryan instructs my sales leadership class and directs UConn’s Sales Leadership Program; he brought company spokespeople/recruiters to class to describe careers in sales and give us networking opportunities.”
Yu also serves on UConn’s Business Leadership Council, which oversees all of the University’s business clubs, fraternities, and societies. And he is vice president of finance for the Student Entrepreneurial Organization, which provided him with the opportunity to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange and meet with super-grocer Stew Leonard Jr.
During his sophomore year, Yu met some people who profoundly influenced his life. He lived in UConn’s Global House Learning Community, where students interested in global issues live together in a residence hall. “It was an amazing experience,” he says. “I still keep in touch with many of the exchange students from Singapore, Ireland, and Australia.”
Also that year, he went to Central America with UConn’s Global Medical Brigades, where he and other students raised money to help pay for medicine and flew to Honduras to set up a triage for a village of over 1,000 people.
“Although I am not pre-med,” Yu says, “it was a great experience, since it opened my eyes to poverty-stricken places in the world. It drives me to do what I want to do, to help people achieve their financial goals so they can do what they want in their future.”
And last year, he emceed for UConn’s annual Asian Nite Talent Show. “It was incredibly exhilarating presenting acts before a crowded audience, learning how to ‘work the crowd’ and improvise when something went wrong,” he says.
“My experience in college has been by far the most meaningful and fulfilling chapter of my life, professionally, socially, and academically,” he adds. “My time at UConn has molded me to become a better person.”