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Sunday, June 30, 2013 - Finance professors’ intriguing research, interesting classes pays dividends for OU, students

Dr. Ranadeb Chaudhuri, assistant professor, finance, has made an indelible impression on his students, his colleagues and the complex world of finance since joining the faculty of Oakland University’s School of Business Administration in 2009.

He’s quickly carved out a long list of specialties, including asset pricing, corporate finance, financial markets and investments.

Most recently, he’s been presenting papers  at various conferences, including “What a Difference a Ph.D. Makes: More than Three Little Letters,” a study he completed with Michigan State professor Zoran Ivković, University of Illinois professor Joshua Pollet and Indiana University professor Charles Trzcinka.

The research shows that academic qualifications of money managers do matter in the money management industry.

“It started as a curious experiment and ended up as a big, feel-good story,” Chaudhuri says. “It’s nice to see money managers holding a Ph.D. degree outperform others who don’t have such a degree.”

Expertise in the spotlight

He presented the paper in March at the Finance Down Under: Building on the Best from the Cellars of Finance conference at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He feels honored to appear at this prestigious conference -- his second year in a row -- because it receives more than 300 applicants and only 20 papers are chosen.

The paper also received the 2013 Talk of the Town Paper award at the conference, an honor given to the conference’s most “buzz-worthy” paper.

“It’s a unique opportunity to get a lot of face time with the big names in the field, which also helps raise Oakland University’s visibility,” he says.

In January, he and co-authors Ivkovich and Trzcinka held the audience’s attention at the 2013 American Finance Association’s annual international meeting in San Diego, Calif., presenting “Strategic Performance Allocation in Institutional Asset Management Firms: Behold the Power of Stars and Dominant Clients.”

The research demonstrates how institutional money management firms cross-subsidize some of their more favored funds at the expense of less favored funds managed by the same firm. The piece is currently being revised to be resubmitted to The Journal of Finance. Chaudhuri has another working paper that is currently in its third round at The Review of Financial Studies. Both journals are considered to be among the top three journals in the field of finance.

 “He did a good job presenting at the conference,” Indiana University’s Trzcinka says. “I’ve seen him present before, but this was a more high pressure presentation. He had the three necessary elements -- organization, explanation and articulation. He had 20 minutes and he got the idea across pretty fast. This was an audience that had other researchers but not necessarily in this area, so there are some things that they needed to know, and he got that across pretty effectively.”

High marks from students

Chaudhuri also is known for making his courses’ heavy material easily digestible to students.

“My friend told me how good of a professor he was and that I should take him, and she was right,” says senior Rebecca Braga, accounting major, who took Chaudhuri’s managerial finance class in fall 2011.

“If you have a question, he always takes the time to elaborate and help you understand the reasons behind it so you can apply it to what you’ve learned,” Braga explains. “Not every professor does that, so he really stands out. He’s really funny, too.”

Chaudhuri has a strong quantitative background. He has an undergraduate and master’s degree in mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, followed by a master’s degree in mathematics from Purdue University specializing in computational finance. He earned a Ph.D. degree in finance from Michigan State University.

His teaching record at Oakland University is quite noteworthy. Student evaluations indicate that his scores -- including two perfect 5s -- consistently exceed the department and school average.

What he’s also proud of is the course he’s introduced on financial derivatives, a hybrid class that targets both undergraduate and MBA students.

“It’s a challenging course, one that shows breadth in the courses we offer,” Chaudhuri says. “It’s really good to have it in our portfolio, particularly as the department is looking at proposing a master’s in applied finance program.”

Leading the future

Chaudhuri is on the exploratory task force for the master’s in applied finance. He helps on other committees as well, including the finance curriculum, the finance learning assurance committee and a panel that explored Bloomberg services. 

Chaudhuri believes his drive to succeed stems from his childhood in India. “In India, there are too many qualified people and too few opportunities, so everything is an elimination,” he observes.

He aspires something better for his students. He believes that education, although a privilege, is also expensive and wants his students to maximize their investment in Oakland University.


By Rene Wisely