Scarlet Fu brings Cornell devotion to financial journalism

Anxious to get their business news before Wall Street opens, early morning investors are greeted each day at 6 a.m. by Scarlet Fu '94, the chief markets correspondent for Bloomberg Television and one of the anchors of "Bloomberg Surveillance."

By the time she appears on air, Fu has already been awake for three hours, prepping the latest news, reviewing questions she'll ask her daily guests and checking in on the charts and graphs that bring her reports to life. She's also spent a half hour or so in makeup.

Although she can dissect an earnings report or chat about insider trading investigations with the best of them, Fu's background doesn't include a stint on Wall Street or a major in finance.

Instead, Fu was a history major at Cornell, but she says she graduated with "the ability to look across time periods and regions, to delve into interesting material and pull out the highlights quickly" -- skills that have prepared her well for her career as a financial journalist.

After Cornell, Fu took a position with General Electric in Hong Kong, where she rotated through several departments and started taking an interest in topics like sales reports and accounting methods. From there, she found a position at CNBC Asia in Hong Kong, where she researched and wrote financial stories for their television anchors. She eventually landed a position with Bloomberg TV in 2007, where she oversaw coverage of Asian equities, reported on the handover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997, contributed to a variety of shows and became U.S. stocks editor. She was named co-host of "Surveillance" in 2012.

Fu's Cornell connections have proven useful in her role at Bloomberg. President David Skorton has appeared on the show several times, speaking about the cost of higher education, the Cornell NYC Tech campus "and trying to get me to sing the alma mater on air," which Fu says she politely declined because "I can't hold a tune." She also has interviewed faculty members, and Burt Flickinger '80, a manager at Strategic Resource Group, a leading U.S. retail consulting firm, has been a frequent guest analyzing activity in the retail sector.

During Reunion Weekend 2013, Fu spoke on a Mosaic Forum panel, "Changing Faces in Entertainment and Media," and made time for a stop at the Cornell Store to pick up Cornell hockey gear for her children.

During her years at Cornell, Fu said she was inspired by professors who told her to "dream big" and organizations like the Asian-American Women's Group, led by students like Michelle Rhee '92, as well as a diverse slate of classes on everything from art history to science.

"Walking through the Arts Quad now, I remember my time so fondly because I had nothing to do but be totally devoted to learning," she says.

This story first appeared in Ezra Update.

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 Scarlet Fu '94 in action as one of the early-morning anchors of "Bloomberg Surveillance" on Bloomberg Television. Photo: Bloomberg Television