Could you give examples of students for whom you are proud, and where they are now?
I am proud to say that I have had a large number of students who are now leaders in business, industry, and government. They work for agencies as wide as: BlackRock, Citadel, Amazon, Google, the CIA, the Federal Reserve, Yale University, MIT, Tsinghua University, etc.
Below are two examples:
Dr. Trung Nguyen – Professor at Harvard
Trung has been my student since her time as an undergraduate at Harvard University. Under my mentorship, she wrote a stellar Senior Honors Thesis, which won a Best Thesis Award across the entirety of Harvard University. She then spent a year working for me as a Research Associate under my National Science Foundation Grant, and matriculated the next year in the PhD Program in Accounting at Stanford University. Upon graduating, she had offers to join all of the top schools, and chose to return to become a colleague at the Harvard Business School, where she is now an Assistant Professor in the Accounting Department.
Dr. Johnny Kang – Head of Quantitative Research into Convertible Arbitrage at Citadel
Johnny came to me early in his PhD studies at Harvard University. It was immediately clear to me that Johnny had a love for quantitative finance, and quite a remarkable skillset for it. We crafted his dissertation around these ideas, and Johnny decided to go into quantitative finance directly after graduation with his PhD. He has since held senior positions at AQR Capital Management, BlackRock, and most recently at Citadel. He continues to gain stature in the field, and is a highly sought after portfolio manager globally in the space.
How did you tell your students about innovation and high technology in finance?
I consider it an honor to teach students of all backgrounds – from very advanced high school students, to superb undergraduates, MBA students, PhD students, top executives, entrepreneurs, and government leaders. Given this diversity, I reach my students in all different forms. I have used the Case Method of teaching often, have done in-depth Research Mentoring, and even offer an online course through Harvard-X’s Platform in FinTech.
What led to your passion in applying innovative technology within finance?
Innovation is a great disrupter in every field and finance as a field and discipline allows the world’s best ideas get the funding they need to unlock their true value for all of the world’s citizens. Given my joint appointment in both departments, and my deep research in both fields, it was a natural fit for me to research at the forefront of the intersection of the two.
My research in both finance and innovation has been supported by the numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, and has won numerous awards and best paper prizes.
Moreover, the work has been featured in top academic outlets and cited in top media such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, the Economist, Fortune, etc. I have also consulted with the top hedge funds in the industry, have advised government organizations in financial and innovation policy, and have testified as an expert witness in front of the US Congress.
All of these activities have refined and molded my research, along with my viewpoint as to how central it is to deeply understand all of the rich links between innovation and finance.