Finance PhD Student Sebastien Plant Earns Runner Up Spot in BlackRock Applied Research Award

This year, Sebastien Plant, a sixth-year Wharton PhD student in the Finance Department, was one of the top finalists for the BlackRock Award. The BlackRock Applied Research Award recognizes the top five job market papers submitted by PhD candidates on a practical topic pertaining to financial markets, economics, investment management, or risk management.

His paper, Should Corporate Bond Trading Be Centralized?, shows that centralizing the U.S. corporate bond market would yield large gains in efficiency. By studying two markets where corporate bonds are successfully traded on central limit order books, he estimated that the transaction costs of U.S. corporate bonds would decrease by 70 percent on average if trading migrated from over-the-counter markets to limit order markets.

To study the social value of reforming the corporate bond market, he built a parsimonious model of centralized and decentralized trading. Estimating the scaling factors revealed that a centralized market structure would be optimal for 91 percent of the bonds studied.

Finalists were selected by BlackRock’s Applied Research Award Committee, which consists of a panel of finance leaders from BlackRock and academia. The submitted papers were assessed on a number of criterion, including the demonstration of thought leadership, a focus on a practical problem of relevance, the use of advanced quantitative techniques, the analysis of an interesting new data set, and the offering of a practical solution.

The DP Highlights Joy Lu’s Research on Cramming

Penn’s student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian recently highlighted the research that Joy Lu, a fifth-year Marketing PhD student conducted on the effects of binge watching educational videos.

By analyzing the statistics of two Penn online courses on Coursera, Lu and her advisors, Professors Eric Bradlow and Wes Hutchinson, found that those who watched many videos at the same time were more likely to complete the course but did worse on tests than their peers who watched videos steadily over time.

In an interview with The DP, Bradshaw said that it is still too early to make inferences about how cramming affects studying in general, but he expressed excitement for continuing to research the topic in the future.

Read the full article in The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Recent Applied Economics Grad Eric Moore Receives Prestigious Finance Award

A recent doctoral graduate of Wharton’s Applied Economics program, Eric Moore took home this year’s USC Marshall School of Business Trefftzs Award for best student paper at the Western Finance Association (WFA) Annual Luncheon Meeting.

Founded in 1965, WFA is a professional society for academicians and practitioners with a scholarly interest in the development and application of research in finance. The WFA Meeting is one of the most selective conferences in the field of finance.

In addition to a $5,000 prize, Eric also received a student travel stipend to present his paper “Auction-based Liquidity of Last Resort” at the WFA Meeting in Whistler on June 27, 2017.  He also accepted the Cubist Systematic Strategies Ph.D. Candidate Award for Outstanding Research at the meeting.

In the paper, Eric studied the impact of auction-based emergency liquidity at the onset of the 2007-09 crisis. His empirical design uses the presence of binding capacity constraints in the Federal Reserve’s Term Auction Facility to isolate variation in short-term borrowing through this program. He found that the growth in marginal winners’ outstanding loan commitments is about 15 percent higher than marginal losers. This effect stems through more lending: marginal winners’ loan growth was about 8 percent higher than that of marginal losers.

He concluded that these effects arose despite the ability to replicate this auction-based liquidity’s funding structure through the discount window, highlighting that banks would have relied considerably less on the Federal Reserve had the discount window been in place during the crisis.

Previously Eric was selected as one of five finalists for the 2016 BlackRock Applied Research Award, which recognizes the top job market paper submitted by PhD candidates on a practical topic pertaining to financial markets, economics, investment management or risk management.

Second-Year Matthew Caulfield Coauthors Washington Post Op-Ed on “The Business of Voting”

Matthew Caulfield, W’16, a second-year PhD student in Legal Studies & Business Ethics, recently coauthored a piece in The Washington Post with Michael Windle, WG’17, about the work they did on The Business of Voting,” a report sponsored by the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative.

Matthew, a Platt Fellow in Business Ethics, and Michael were part of a team of six Wharton School students who worked on the study, which provides a comprehensive business analysis of the structure and outlook of the voting machine industry. They carried out the research and conducted the industry analysis under the supervision of faculty director Prof. Lorin Hitt, the Zhang Jindong Professor and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions.

Given the questions of election integrity that arose during the 2016 election cycle, the study provides some insights into what is needed to innovate the industry to help improve the security, accuracy, and reliability of the nation’s election machinery.

Read Matthew’s article in The Washington Post, listen to his interview with Knowledge@Wharton, or check out the full report on “The Business of Voting.”

The DP Highlights Penn Grads Pursuing Wharton PhDs

Penn’s student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian recently highlighted Wharton doctoral students who decided to take the PhD path shortly — if not immediately — after finishing their undergraduate degrees at Penn.

A few current Wharton PhD students who first came to campus as Penn undergraduates. Photo provided by Ellen Fu

Tanya Paul, W’15, explained how her journey began in freshman year when she served as a research assistant to Andy Wu, GrW’15 — then a first-year applied economics Ph.D. student and now a member of the Management Department at Harvard Business School.

She graduated with a bachelor’s in economics in spring 2015 and was enrolled as an accounting PhD student by fall.

2014 Wharton graduate and second-year Wharton Ph.D. candidate Ellen Fu took a different path, spending two years after graduation working in the microeconomic studies function of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before beginning Wharton’s applied economics PhD program.

Read the full article in The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Wharton Doctoral Students Helping Women in Business Academia

The Wharton Society for the Advancement of Women in Business Academia is off to a fast start.
Left to right: Gemma Moran, GRW19, Lesley Meng, GRW19, Brooke Kelly, GRW20, and Basima Tewfik, GRW18. Not pictured: Edward Chang, GRW20. Photograph by Colin Lenton

Lack of mentorship, weak professional and social networks—these are just a few of the unique challenges facing women building research careers in business-related fields. To confront those obstacles and work to overcome them, our group of Wharton doctoral students founded the Wharton Society for the Advancement of Women in Business Academia (WSAWBA) in 2013.

One of the highlights of WSAWBA’s first year was a star-studded panel of female Wharton faculty members who discussed their personal experiences and offered advice on navigating the academic job market. Professors Katy Milkman, Ann Harrison, Ashley Swanson, Jessie Handbury and Natalya Vinokurova balanced levity with candidness, earning raves from a crowd of more than 70 students.

Last year, WSAWBA opened this conversation to a wider audience of faculty and students across business schools, establishing the first Women in Business Academia Conference here on campus. The event featured a wide array of keynote speakers from the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Harvard Business School, Wharton and Yale School of Management, as well as PhD student research presentations and a job-market panel. This past April, the second annual conference was even larger, with representation from 11 business schools and seminars throughout the day on topics that ranged from successfully navigating the academic job market to seeking mentors in academia to managing work/life boundaries to understanding the day-to-day life of a young professor.

Through these successful first few years, the Women in Business Academia Conference has cemented its place as an important opportunity for female faculty and doctoral students to engage in a dialogue over their identities. We look forward to fostering this conversation and providing a network for female academics during our next conference in the spring of 2017 and for many years to come.

—Lesley Meng

This story originally appeared in the fall 2016 edition of Wharton Magazine.

Wharton PhD alum, Amit Bhattacharjee, featured in Wharton Magazine

Amit Bhattacharjee for Wharton Magazine.
Amit Bhattacharjee (photograph by Stephanie Diani)

An impactful professor and a personal revelation sent Amit Bhattacharjee C04 W04 GRW12 from business back to academia.

A flower distribution company near Hoboken. A real estate startup in Manhattan. Another small business where I didn’t stick. Three years into my post-baccalaureate life, my career path was meandering. Like a lot of people in their early 20s, I felt underutilized and under-stimulated doing daily tasks that obscured deeper questions. Why were we doing what we were doing, and why did it feel disconnected from the economic principles I’d learned as an undergrad at Wharton?

In retrospect, the pull back to academia was inevitable. At the time, it felt like a lifeline. So I began taking the bus to Philadelphia for consumer-behavior seminars taught by one of my favorite professors, Americus Reed II. Less than two years later, in 2007, I was back at Wharton as a PhD candidate in the marketing department.

Something clicked when I realized that asking those questions could be a contribution in itself. As I explored how the psychology of decision-making compared to the tenets of economic theory, I began to wonder how the perspectives of psychologists, economists, businesspeople and consumers might benefit from each other. Everyone has a piece of the truth, and we can all help better understand our market society and the roles we play in it.

This approach has guided most of my ongoing research. My work examines how our moral beliefs and cultural assumptions shape our judgments and behaviors in the marketplace. For example: Why do many people perceive profit as fundamentally harmful to society, even as their consumption choices determine who benefits? And when do people view personal moral beliefs as more or less relevant to professional performance?

These sorts of questions lack easy answers but underlie much of our behavior. I’m confident that business practice can contribute to solutions for many of our thorniest social problems, but unlocking its potential is up to all of us. —Amit Bhattacharjee, assistant professor, Rotterdam
School of Management

 

Click here to read more from the Wharton Magazine

Eric Moore of the Applied Economics Department – 2016 BlackRock Applied Research Award Finalist

Finalists to defend papers in front of panel of finance leaders from BlackRock and academia

New York – November 30, 2016 – BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2016 BlackRock Applied Research Award which recognizes the top job market paper submitted by PhD candidates on a practical topic pertaining to financial markets, economics, investment management or risk management.  Each finalist will meet with a jury panel to defend their job market paper at BlackRock’s New York office on November 30, 2016. The winner will be announced at the end of that day and will be awarded $25,000 by BlackRock.
Finalists were selected by BlackRock’s Applied Research Award Committee which consists of a panel of finance leaders from BlackRock and academia. The submitted papers were assessed on a number of criterion, including the demonstration of thought leadership, a focus on a practical problem of relevance, the use of advanced quantitative techniques, the analysis of an interesting new data set and the offering of a practical solution.

The five finalists in the 2016 BlackRock Applied Research Award are:
• Adrien d’Avernas, Department of Economics, UCLA Anderson, University of California, Los Angeles (http://www.adriendavernas.com/ )
• Eric Moore, Department of Economics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (https://bepp.wharton.upenn.edu/profile/1738/)
• Pablo Slutzky, Department of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School, Columbia University (http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/cbs-directory/phd/PSlutzky17)
• Tarik Umar, Department of Finance, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago (http://home.uchicago.edu/~umar/)
• Katherine Waldock, Department of Finance, Stern School of Business, New York University (https://sites.google.com/a/stern.nyu.edu/kwaldock/ )

Congratulations, Eric! #WhartonProud

For more information on BlackRock and the Applied Economics Research Award, please visit: https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/en-us/newsroom/press-releases/article/corporate-one/press-releases/appliedresearch_US

2015 BlackRock Applied Research Award

Finance PhD Student, Andrew Wu, wins the 2015 BlackRock Applied Research Award

Andrew Wu, who is on the job market this year, won the 2015 BlackRock Applied Research Awardand will receive $25,000.

Students on the job market from top universities were nominated for the award. Finalists presented their papers at the final event in New York . At the event, the jury decided to give the award to Andrew for his job-market paper “Shock Spillover and Financial Response in Supply Chain Networks: Evidence from Firm-Level Data”.

You can see the formal announcement of this award and the results on BlackRock’s website here:https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/en-us/newsroom/press-releases/article/corporate-one/press-releases/blackrock-applied-research-award-winner_US.

You can see more information about Andrew’s work here:https://fnce.wharton.upenn.edu/profile/1661/.

Congratulations, Andrew!!

Who’s Next in Science, Tech, Engineering & Math: Meet 12 young Philly leaders (BillyPenn)

http://bit.ly/1NHQcRG

 Nora V. Becker

 Title: PhD, MD Candidate, Wharton School of Business and Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Age: 30

Who’s Next because:

Becker is a student in the combined degree MD/PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania, where she recently completed the PhD portion of her education, obtaining her doctorate in the Department of Health Care Management and Health Economics at the Wharton Business School — and she’s currently finishing her final years of medical school. Her recent paper in the journal Health Affairs about women seeing huge decreases in out-of-pocket spending on contraceptives after the Affordable Care Act received widespread attention from The New York Times to the White House Twitter feed. Becker plans to complete a medical residency program after graduation and pursue a career as a physician-scientist, combining clinical care for patients and doing research in the areas of health insurance, health policy and health economics.  Before coming to Penn, Becker worked as a staffer on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and then as an administrative assistant in the White House. Find her on Twitter at @norabecker47.