MSc Accounting and Finance, Class of 2000 and PhD in Accounting, Class of 2006
I finished my MSc degree in Accounting and Finance in 2000. It was the year the dot-com bubble burst, so studying at the LSE brought home many lessons that people outside academia were grappling with too. Our student-cohort was lucky enough to have had professors who organized their teaching around their research interests, and were acutely aware of the problems of the time. They shared with us not only the general academic literature, but their own papers as well, from seminal contributions to work-in-progress. In the class discussions and debates, we felt part of their thought process, as if we were gaining a rare glimpse into the laboratory of (social) science. We received wisdom and insights we could use to make sense of a world in economic upheaval, but also something much more lasting: a demystified perspective on financial markets and organisations.
I felt so inspired by LSE's unique combination of research and teaching of important issues that I applied for a place in the PhD programme. With a distinction from my MSc Accounting and Finance and a keen interest in risk management, I was accepted. Professor Mike Power, my supervisor welcomed me with the promise: "You have studied a lot of finance. Now we are going to turn you into a social scientist." My dissertation, "Enterprise Risk Management in Action," was the first field-based research study on risk management in financial institutions. The promised transformation took five years of hard work, but I enjoyed the wonderful research atmosphere that LSE offered: I learnt something new every day.
Now, as an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, I feel very happy to carry on with the work first inspired by my mentors at the LSE. At a time of another great economic upheaval, I hope to contribute to answering the questions that are being raised on the role of risk management in the build-up to this financial crisis, and to chart its subsequent development. I also study risk-management practices in high-risk nonfinancial organisations, such as the Mars Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, thus I find myself exploring a vast but exciting field of practices from earth-bound lenders to Mars landers and feel fortunate to have embarked on this journey at the LSE.