Finance

Current Students

Kyoung-hun Bae

Office: 3330J Van Munching Hall
Email: kbae@rhsmith.umd.edu

Kyoung-hun joined the Smith finance PhD program in 2010. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in finance both from Seoul National University in Korea. Before joining the program at the University of Maryland, he was a doctoral student in economics at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in industrial organization. His current research interests include financial economics and corporate finance.

Don Bowen

Office: 3330J - 32 Van Munching Hall
Email: donald.bowen@rhsmith.umd.edu
Student Profile: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/faculty/phd/dbowen
Personal website: sites.google.com/site/doneboweniii

Don Bowen joined the finance program in 2012 after taking graduate courses in the finance department at the University of Rochester. He received a BS in economics and a BS in finance from Arizona State, where he minored in mathematics and wrote his honors thesis on treasury auctions. His current research focuses on the intersection of IO and corporate finance.

Wen Chen

Office: 3330 Van Munching Hall
Email: wenchen@rhsmith.umd.edu

Wen Chen joined the Robert H. Smith finance PhD program in 2011. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), and a PhD in physics from University of California San Diego (UCSD). Her current research interests include market microstructure and asset pricing.

Peter Dixon

Email: peter.dixon@rhsmith.umd.edu

Peter joined the Smith finance PhD program in 2012. He received a master's in statistics-econometrics from the University of Utah where he was the 2011 econometrics student of the year. He also holds a bachelor's degree in financial economics from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Prior to joining the Smith School he worked as a financial analyst for Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. His current research interests are empirical corporate finance and empirical asset pricing.

Anne Duquerroy

Office: 3330 Van Munching Hall
Email: aduquerroy@rhsmith.umd.edu

Anne Duquerroy joined the Robert H. Smith finance PhD program in 2011. She received an MS in management from Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and a master’s degree in economics from Sciences Po Paris (France). Her current research interests include risk management, systemic risk and financial regulation.

Xiaoyuan Hu

Office: 3330 Van Munching Hall
Email: xiaoyuanhu@rhsmith.umd.edu

Xiaoyuan Hu joined the Robert H. Smith Finance PhD program in 2011. She received a BA in economics and finance from Tsinghua University in China in July, 2011. During her undergraduate study, she attended a full-time exchange program in the University of Manchester, UK. Her current research interests include empirical corporate finance, corporate governance, law and finance, and financial institutions.

Nitin Kumar

Office: 3330 Van Munching Hall
Phone: 301-314-9152
Email: nkumar@rhsmith.umd.edu

Nitin studied at the Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur), India, for his bachelor's and at the Indian Statistical Institute (Calcutta), India, for his master's degree. His current broad areas of interest are mutual funds, institutional investing and financial markets.

Jeongmin Lee

Email: jeongmin@rhsmith.umd.edu

Jeongmin Lee is a Finance PhD candidate at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. Her research focuses on financial institutions and financial stability. Specifically, she works with models of collateral circulation in the shadow banking system and studies the systemic fragility that stems from it. Her research interests also lie in asset pricing, general equilibrium, information economics and market microstructure. Prior to her time at the Smith School she earned Masters degree in Management Engineering and Bachelors degree in Mathematics at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology respectively. She was a dissertation intern at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in the summer of 2012.

Wei Li

Email: liwei@rhsmith.umd.edu
Visit Website »

Wei Li joined the program in 2008. Prior to Maryland, he obtained graduate and undergraduate degrees in engineering and statistics from Purdue, Tsinghua, and Zhejiang University. He is interested in both theoretical and empirical research on asset pricing and market microstructure.

Danmo Lin

Email: danlin@rhsmith.umd.edu

Prior to joining the Finance program in 2009, Danmo studied economics as an undergraduate student at the Central University of Finance and Economics (China), and later as a PhD student at Stony Brook University. Her previous professional experience includes organizing for the 18th and 19th International Game Theory Festival and teaching game theory at Stony Brook University. Danmo has a joint paper "Dividends and Capital Gains Taxation under Incomplete Markets" forthcoming in the Journal of Monetary Economics. Her current research interest is in corporate finance combined with an IO perspective.

Benjamin Munyan

Email: bmunyan@rhsmith.umd.edu

Benjamin joined the PhD program in 2009. He received dual BS degrees in mathematics and in economics from Arizona State University. There he was involved in many undergraduate research programs for the mathematical sciences - some of which were published or presented at undergraduate research conferences. His current research interests include market structure and theory, risk management, and corporate and international finance.

Olya Rachtchinine

Office: 3330 Van Munching Hall
Email: orachtchinine@rhsmith.umd.edu

Olya joined the Smith finance PhD program in 2011. She received a specialist degree in mathematics from Omsk State University in 1999 and MS in finance from the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith Business School in 2011. Her current research interests include financial regulation and systemic risk.

Anshuman Sinha

Office: 1308E Van Munching Hall
Phone: 301-314-9024
Email: asinha@rhsmith.umd.edu

Anshuman Sinha's research interest include asset pricing theory, debt and renegotiation, real estate economics, survival and price impact and general equilibrium theory . He has bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Delhi University. He has taught an upper level undergraduate course in international finance at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and won a top-15% teaching award in 2010.

Austin Starkweather

Office: 3330J Van Munching Hall
Email: astark@umd.edu
Visit Website »

Prior to joining the finance PhD program, Austin Starkweather spent several years working in corporate finance, mostly focused on buy-side corporate acquisition analysis, internal financial planning and credit agreement management. Before this, he spent time in China teaching English and working with a microfinance non-profit. He completed his BA in 2004 from Princeton University, majoring in economics and minoring in east Asian studies and Chinese. He speaks both Spanish and Mandarin with decent proficiency, though always appreciates opportunities to improve either. His research interests include international and corporate finance.

Onur Tosun

Office: 3330J Van Munching Hall
Email: otosun@rhsmith.umd.edu
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Onur Tosun joined the finance department in 2008. Prior to the Smith School of Business, he received an MBA degree from Bogazici University, Turkey, where he taught statistics and statistical analysis courses at the department of management. He attended Istanbul Technical University, Turkey for his undergraduate studies, attaining a bachelor of science in industrial engineering. During his undergraduate and graduate education, Onur conducted research in the fields of logistics, marketing, and finance and participated in various international conferences. He also published one of his works with the Journal of Global Optimization. Onur was awarded a full graduate assistantship and a dean's summer research fellowship for his PhD studies at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. His current research interests include empirical corporate finance: executive compensation, capital structure and corporate governance.

Admissions

Admission into most finance PhD programs is pretty competitive and Smith is no exception. We usually get about 150 applications and admit between 2 and 5 students.

Admission Mechanics: To apply for admission, please click here. Completed applications are forwarded to the finance department and considered for admission. All admitted students are offered a financial aid package that covers tuition and offers a generous living stipend.

Successful applicants: It is important to realize that the finance PhD program is not just a turbo-charged MBA degree. The PhD program focuses on independent research of an academic nature, while the MBA program is intended to train managers who must make the day-to-day operating and strategic decisions confronting businesses. The skill sets required in the PhD program are quite different.

Successful applicants tend to have intellectual curiosity, academic accomplishment, and an abiding interest in finance. We judge these attributes by having several faculty read your application packet, including past academic credentials, recommendations, statement(s) of intent, and test scores. We donot require applicants to have backgrounds in any particular fields such as economics, finance, or mathematics. What matters is the willingness and capacity to acquire the math, computational or statistical skill sets as needed during the PhD program.

Admission FAQ

Do you provide feedback about admission chances before the application is complete?

No. We do not prequalify or otherwise screen applicants. We can only review applications that are handed to us once the admissions office deems them to be complete.

Can you waive the application fees, GRE/GMAT test scores, the requirement for three letters of recommendation, or any other part of the application?

No. The finance department does not have the authority to do any of these. We only evaluate completed applications forwarded to us by the admissions office. Thus, all questions about credentials to make an application complete are best directed to the PhD admissions office.

Is there an English proficiency requirement?

Yes, for foreign applicants. The admissions office can inform you about these.

Is there a minimum GRE or GMAT score cutoff?

While many successful applicants have good test scores, perhaps in the upper 90th percentiles, we do not have minimum cutoffs. We have admitted students with lower test scores and we have also rejected applicants with excellent test scores. These scores form only one portion of your overall application package. We take all aspects of an application into account.

Do I need to have an MBA or undergraduate degree in finance or business?

No. Many successful applicants have no prior background in finance or business. They may be drawn from such areas as economics, engineering, or math. Creativity and intellectual potential matter more than particular prior backgrounds.

I can pay some or all of my way through a program. Is there a special track for me to apply to the PhD program?

No. We have a financial need-blind admissions process and for good reason. Financial constraints matter but are by no means the critical determinant of our program size. Successful PhD students require research mentoring and considerable interaction with faculty through the program. We keep the program small to ensure that each student gets sufficient attention from faculty.

What are the parameters of the financial aid that I would receive?

The exact details of the package vary from year to year and what is stated here is just indicative. Your financial aid package covers the entire academic year’s funding needs, including summer. For students entering in 2008/2009, the package includes free tuition and about $32,000 through a graduate assistantship and fellowship to cover living expenses. There is plenty (of exciting research) to do while in the program. Students are not required to work and are expected not to work outside the graduate assistantship duties while in the program.

How long does my financial aid last?

Students can expect to be supported for four years in the program, contingent on satisfactory performance and progress. A fifth year of support is often available for students who have made sufficient progress towards their dissertation. If there are exceptional personal or other circumstances, support could be considered beyond five years, but most students should expect to graduate by then.

Student-Run Funds

The Smith School sponsors three student managed investment funds, the Mayer Fund, run by second-year MBA students, the Senbet Fund, managed by senior-level undergraduate finance majors and the Global Equity Fund managed by students in the school’s part-time MBA and Master of Science in Business: Finance programs.

Note: The Senbet, Mayer and Global Equity Funds are the only investment funds run by students that are officially associated with the Smith School of Business. While Smith students might participate in other investment clubs, these are in no way affiliated with or sponsored by the Smith School or the University of Maryland. Investment clubs are subject to federal and state laws and regulations.

Student-Run Funds

The Smith School sponsors three student managed investment funds, the Mayer Fund, run by second-year MBA students, the Senbet Fund, managed by senior-level undergraduate finance majors and the Global Equity Fund managed by students in the school’s part-time MBA and Master of Science in Business: Finance programs.

Note: The Senbet, Mayer and Global Equity Funds are the only investment funds run by students that are officially associated with the Smith School of Business. While Smith students might participate in other investment clubs, these are in no way affiliated with or sponsored by the Smith School or the University of Maryland. Investment clubs are subject to federal and state laws and regulations.

Student-Run Funds

The Smith School sponsors three student managed investment funds, the Mayer Fund, run by second-year MBA students, the Senbet Fund, managed by senior-level undergraduate finance majors and the Global Equity Fund managed by students in the school’s part-time MBA and Master of Science in Business: Finance programs.

Note: The Senbet, Mayer and Global Equity Funds are the only investment funds run by students that are officially associated with the Smith School of Business. While Smith students might participate in other investment clubs, these are in no way affiliated with or sponsored by the Smith School or the University of Maryland. Investment clubs are subject to federal and state laws and regulations.

Fellows Programs

Smith Undergraduate Fellows programs are 1-2 year long reality-based learning programs that provide students:

  • Specialization in an area of business
  • Small class sizes with dedicated sections of Fellows courses
  • Opportunities to work closely with other Fellows students and faculty
  • Site visits, speaker series, and case competitions
  • Links to alumni and corporate partners

Smith students have the opportunity from their freshman year on to participate in one Fellows program per year. Students in Freshmen Fellows or one of the Smith School’s upperclassmen Fellows programs join a cohort of like-minded peers to engage in an intense study of a specific area of business, ranging from major-specific topics such as finance and supply chain to general interests such as sport management or design.

Out-of-the-classroom and reality-based learning are at the forefront of the Fellows programs. Whether through special speakers, workshops, site visits, case competitions, or networking events with corporate partners and Smith alumni, students gain practical insights into the business community.

Small class sizes in reserved Fellows sections of business courses are a hallmark of all Fellows programs, facilitating strong working relationships among Fellows students and the faculty who advise and teach in these programs.

Students engage, explore, and experience the Smith Community through Fellows!

For more information about individual Fellows programs, please visit UNet.

Department Information

Department of Finance

Department Chair
Dr. Vojislav "Max" Maksimovic 
Phone: 301-405-2125

Administrative Coordinator
Lori D. Petterson 
Phone: 301-405-2333

Academic Programs

Undergraduate Program
Email: undergradinfo@rhsmith.umd.edu

Full-Time, Part-Time, Executive and Online MBA Programs
E-mail: mba_info@rhsmith.umd.edu

MS in Business: Finance
Email: masters@rhsmith.umd.edu

PhD Program
Email: businessphd@rhsmith.umd.edu 

Lab and Funds

Netcentric Financial Markets Lab
Charles H. LaHaie, Director, Accounting and Finance Technology and Applications
Email: clahaie@rhsmith.umd.edu

Mayer Fund
Email: mayerfund@rhsmith.umd.edu

Senbet Fund
Email: senbetfund@rhsmith.umd.edu

Welcome to the Smith Finance PhD program!

Our PhD program aims to produce scholars who contribute to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in finance. Our goal is to develop students who can develop into independent thinkers and advance knowledge at the frontiers of finance. We offer students several resources. None is more important than the ongoing research interactions with faculty who are engaged in research and all of whom are committed to a successful PhD program.

This is a wonderful time to be a Smith finance PhD student. We have more than doubled in faculty size. We have benefited from a $12.3 million infusion into the Smith School PhD program and our students have been placed in tenure track positions at schools such as Georgetown, Indiana, Minnesota, and UCLA. The resources available to students include:

  • Faculty: 20+ faculty with interests in both theory and empirical work in all areas of finance, including asset pricing, corporate finance, intermediation, derivatives, mathematical finance, corporate governance, microstructure, and so on.
  • Other complementary fields: strength in supporting areas such as economics, computation, mathematics, and statistics.
  • Data: we provide an extensive set of research-quality databases and a financial market laboratory with state-of-art research capabilities.

We welcome you to explore these pages and consider becoming part of our program.

Master of Finance

Master of Science - Finance

The financial crisis on Wall Street and around the globe has forever changed the way we think about finance. The world of modern finance is now shaped by evolving regulation, globalization and a renewed focus on corporate responsibility. Now more than ever, financial planning and decision making depend on understanding and using the new ideas and tools required in sophisticated financial management. In the Smith the Master Finance (MFin) program, you’ll gain the leading-edge knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in today’s complex and networked world of finance.

You’ll also learn from some of the best financial minds in the world. Smith finance faculty have held active roles in advising large financial institutions, multinational corporations, and government and multi-lateral agencies. In addition to prestigious academic journals, their research has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other international business publications.

Core courses provide excellent fundamentals and a large number of electives allow students the flexibility to become specialists or highly qualified generalists. You’ll learn how to analyze and direct the financial decisions of an organization, and gain a fresh understanding and a deep appreciation for the theoretical foundations of finance today.

Classes are held at our Washington, D.C. campus in the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, and in College Park, which are both easily accessed from all points throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, which spans from Baltimore to northern Virginia. The Ronald Reagan Building is located within walking distance of the White House, U.S. Department of Treasury headquarters, and other important national landmarks. 

Click here to learn more about the Master of Finance program.

Finance in the MBA Program

The Master's level finance courses provide an understanding of how companies, institutions, and individuals make investments, raise capital, and manage risk in a dynamic financial environment. The investments courses provide rigorous analytical tools for the measurement of risk-return tradeoffs in financial markets, the pricing of financial securities, and the allocation of capital in the financial economy. Corporate finance and institutions classes provide an understanding of how capital is raised, risk is managed, and companies are governed in the corporate sector. The finance curriculum also provides opportunities to better understand ways in which derivative securities can be used in managing risk in corporations as well as in investment portfolios.

The Master's level finance courses can be taken as individual electives tailored to student interests or into sequences of electives relevant for career tracks often chosen by MBA students. For instance, students aspiring to be financial engineers can take quantitative courses that transform a scientific understanding of the finance field into mechanisms, products and management policies that better serve the strategic needs of business entities. Our courses also include hands-on experience in managing funds. For instance, through the Mayer Fund, select students obtain hands-on experience in securities analysis and portfolio management while earning course credit, bridging classroom theory and actual finance practice. 

Career Tracks and Electives 

Master's Level Courses

BUSI 640, Financial ManagementThe finance core. Focuses on the valuation of the real assets of firms, how they are financed, and the valuation of stocks and bonds, the primary financial assets in an economy. The core stresses the three conceptual foundations of valuation: time value of money, no-arbitrage, and systematic risk.

BUFN 740, Capital Markets Designed to deepen the foundations necessary to finance focused students. This a gateway course that is necessary for those intending to take classes in or specialize in the quantitative areas of finance including investments, fixed income, and financial engineering, BUFN 761 to BUFN 770.

BUFN 750, Valuation in Corporate FinanceAn advanced topics course in Corporate Finance dealing with valuation. Main topics will be, building pro forma statements, cost of capital, using ratios and comparables to value projects and firms, discounted cash flow valuations, WACC and APV methods of valuation and Real Option Valuations.

BUFN 751, Financial Strategy For Corporations An advanced course in corporate finance, focusing on the issues that firms face when they plan to raise external capital from financial markets. The focus is on the financing problems faced by mid-market to large firms and on capital raised from public markets. The forms of external finance vary from simple debt or equity to more complex securities that bundle financing with an element of risk management.

BUFN 752, Financial RestructuringFocuses on identifying ways to increase firm value through corporate restructuring. Specific topics include: mergers and tender offers, spin-offs, carve-outs, divestitures, takeover defense strategies, leveraged buy-outs, and international acquisitions. Additionally, the theory, practice and empirical evidence related to each of these topics will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on valuation analysis and strategic considerations.

BUFN 753, Corporate GovernanceDeals with corporate governance and its impact on shareholder value. Divergence of interests between corporate insiders and providers of funds leads to agency problems which can impair corporate performance and shareholder value. Various instruments of corporate governance - internal as well as external mechanisms - that can help align managerial incentives with those of outside investors, and hence help restore shareholder value will be studied.

BUFN 754, Corporate Risk ManagementSurveys the theory and practice of financial risk identification, measurement, and mitigation at financial and non-financial firms. Topics will include hedging with options and futures, interest rate risk management, Value-at-Risk (VaR), Cashflow-at-Risk (CaR), Earnings-at-Risk (EaR), credit risk, equity risk, commodities risk, exchange rate risk, and lessons from risk management disasters.

BUFN 755, Entrepreneurial Finance and Private EquityAn advanced topics course in Corporate Finance. The major emphasis is how financiers help growing firms - and in particular young start-ups - using different types of securities at different points in the industry's and firm's life. Financing arrangements and securities studied will include private equity funds and private financings placements, venture capital and preferred equity, investment banks through initial public offerings, private equity funds, debt and leveraged buyouts. Students will learn additional techniques that will help them understand how financiers value firms and how to understand, plan and value different financing strategies.

BUFN 760, Applied Equity AnalysisStudents will learn to analyze equity securities using the basic EIC (Economy/Industry/Company) framework used in the financial industry, paying special attention to financial statement analysis. Students also will learn the primary valuation techniques used to estimate market values for equity securities.

BUFN 761, Derivative SecuritiesStandard types of derivatives contracts are presented, and illustrated as to how they are used in practice. The theory of pricing these contracts is then presented in detail. The use of static and dynamic replication strategies, and the concept of no-arbitrage strategies is illustrated in numerous ways. Standard valuation techniques are covered, and standard formulas are presented. The theory is then applied to develop specific pricing and hedging strategies for various types of derivatives on different underlying assets. The management of the exposure of various risks is covered in detail as well.

BUFN 762, Fixed Income AnalysisDescribes important financial instruments which have market values that are sensitive to interest rate movements. Develops tools to analyze interest rate sensitivity and value fixed income securities. Defines and explains the vocabulary of the bond management business.

BUFN 763, Portfolio ManagementProvides training that is important in understanding the investment process - the buy side of the financial world. Specifically, the objective is to provide graduate-level instruction in the following topics, both in theory and in using financial markets data to test the basic theory and practice of portfolio choice and equilibrium pricing models and their implications for efficient portfolios.

BUFN 765, Fixed Income DerivativesSurveys fixed income assets and related securities such as Exchange-traded bond options; bonds with embedded options; floating rate notes; caps, collars, and floors; floating rate notes with embedded options. Also surveys advanced tools for interest-rate and fixed-income portfolio management, including the use of derivative securities, and the application of binomial trees for analysis of options, and a sound understanding of stochastic yield curves.

BUFN 766, Financial EngineeringDevelop Excel and Visual Basic (VBA) models to solve problems related to portfolio management, options valuation, fixed income securities, interest rate processes, and risk management. This course thus bridges theory with the design of algorithms and models that can be directly applied in practice.

BUFN 770, International InvestmentAddresses international stock markets, portfolio theory, international interest rates, exchange rates and exchange rate derivatives (options, forwards, and futures), exchange rate swaps and exchange rate exposure (operating, translation, and transaction), foreign investment strategy.

BUFN 771, International Corporate and Project FinanceIssues addressed will include capital budgeting, project financing, exchange rate exposure (operating, translation, and transaction), foreign investment strategy, and risk management.

BUFN 772, Bank ManagementAnalyze and discuss readings in bank management, with primary focus on the measurement and management of risk, including credit, market, and interest rate risk. Look at the management of liquid reserves. Examine the special nature of financial institutions, incorporating their functions, policies, services, and regulation. Study the evolving nature of the financial services industry, by reading the financial press and by having outside practitioner speakers. Focus is on U.S. banks.

BUFN 773, Institutional Asset ManagementExamines how money is managed by organizations such as university endowments, pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, and private equity funds. Involves a mixture of finance and economics and emphasizes the incentives professional money managers face within the context of the organizational structure in which they operate. Particular attention is paid to compensation structures and monitoring mechanisms.

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