Ph.D. Student Spotlight: Mingwei “Max” Liang ’23 

headshot of Max Liang

Ph.D. Student Spotlight: Mingwei “Max” Liang ’23

Hometown: Foshan, China
Degree: Ph.D. in Finance (emphasis Real Estate)

Max Liang ’23 Ph.D. came to Syracuse University with a passion for finance. It wasn’t until meeting his mentor, Associate Professor of Finance Milena Petrova, that he discovered his enthusiasm for real estate research.

“I learned that real estate is essential for capital markets, making it an important area of the finance industry,” Liang says. “Real estate properties not only represent a significant store of wealth for many investors but also directly link to the collateral value of mortgage loans, which are vital to the banking system.”

Liang was able to work with Petrova to co-author research early on in his program. His study, “The effect of fair value method adoption: evidence from real estate firms in the EU,” was published in The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics in 2020. The key findings imply that the improved transparency of financial reporting due to the fair value accounting method adoption of investment properties in the EU in 2005, leads to reduced information asymmetry and increased liquidity for public real estate firms. This research contributes to the growing literature on the impact of fair value reporting, particularly on reducing information asymmetry of real estate firms.

In his current research, Liang is working on two projects. The first focuses on the essential role of media in reducing information asymmetry in the real estate market, and the second the diversification benefits of including real estate as an asset class in the investor’s long-term mixed-asset portfolio.

Benefits of the Whitman Ph.D. program include not only diving into research interests early on, but also learning with a small cohort, Liang says. He describes the five students in his cohort as excellent resources to share ideas with. Thanks to the setting of the Ph.D. program, he is able to build close relationships not only with faculty but also with peers.

Beyond the research, Liang enjoys teaching classes to Whitman and Syracuse University students. “I try to be a supportive instructor to all of my students,” he says. “I have learned how to tailor the teaching materials, adapt to student learning levels and effectively organize the class.”

He is grateful for the opportunities to work so closely with his mentor, other faculty and peers. Liang is applying for faculty positions to continue his passion for real estate.

Kimmy Kimball