Q&A with Raymond Pang

Investigating factors that can impact a financial network on a large scale

Raymond is studying for a PhD with the Department of Mathematics

Don’t expect to go from knowing nothing one day to having a research paper the next. Do it step by step and one day all the pieces will fall into place.

Raymond Pang

Raymond Pang

What are you currently researching?

My research looks at the factors which can impact on a financial network on a large scale. For example, if you have a network of banks and one bank in the network gets into trouble and defaults, my work looks at how that will affect other banks in the network.

What attracted you to this area of research?

I’ve always been interested in financial maths and particularly in this area of systemic risk.

One of the criticisms of the 2008 financial crash is that people didn’t really understand the risks involved at the time. My work looks at the mistakes that were made and how we can better regulate and enforce those regulations to ensure such an event doesn’t happen again.

How will your research improve or have a wider impact on society?

In terms of monetary policy, my research can help inform how we look at and learn from events such as the 2008 financial crash. 

In terms of mathematics, if you take away the names of the banks and the assets involved you can module my research question as a pure mathematical problem and develop methods and approaches to answer it. So, there’s a motivation outside the area of applied mathematics to develop new methods and approaches to answering difficult questions as they can be used to solve other problems.

What do you hope to do career-wise, long term?

I’d like to stay in academia and continue to develop my ideas and research in this area. I’ve also thought about working in industry, looking at systemic risk within a corporate firm, so that could be an option – depending on how I feel about my PhD by the end!

What are your top tips to prospective students on the most effective way to approach research and keep stress levels down?

When you’re starting off, there’s always a stumbling block, you’re always stuck on something. My advice would be to try and make small incremental improvements. Don’t expect to go from knowing nothing one day to having a research paper the next. Do it step by step and one day all the pieces will fall into place.

It’s also essential to take time to relax and spend time with family and friends. Although it’s important, there’s more to life than your PhD. When you work on something over and over again you just go on a loop but, when you take a break and think about other things, new ideas start to pop up again.

What resources are available at LSE to help young researchers?

My main source of help is my supervisor – the direction and support I have received has been invaluable.

The PhD Academy also have lots of events and workshops available such as mindfulness and essay writing classes which, although not directly related to mathematics, definitely help in terms of character building or getting a general sense of the PhD experience.

Other departments in the School are also very helpful in terms of support with funding or advice for international students. 

What do you enjoy most about studying at LSE?

It’s still early days but pulling together lots of disparate areas of mathematics, such as optimisation statistics, together to solve a problem is very different to what I did at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level and is exciting.

In terms of living in London, I’ve lived in London pretty much my whole live and it never bores me - there’s always so much to do!