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World’s Finance Thought Leaders Gather at McDonough in May

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More than 250 academics and policymakers from institutions including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the Federal Reserve Board gathered at Georgetown in May for the 2014 Finance Cavalcade, an annual meeting of academics and thought leaders in finance.

The three-day Cavalcade, which ran May 18-21, featured presentations on a range of topics from entrepreneurship and personal finance, to structured finance, housing price dynamics, credit spreads and earnings management. Several McDonough faculty participated in the conference in different capacities, serving as presenters, session chairs, and discussants.

The prestigious event, sponsored by the Society for Financial Studies, is held at a different U.S. university each year. It came to Georgetown at the invitation of its finance faculty and the Center for Financial Markets and Policy, which put together a thorough proposal to host. A large share of the undergraduate and graduate students at McDonough go on to careers in finance or consulting related to finance, and this gathering of so many esteemed thought leaders helped foster discussions on many topics that are timely in a post-financial crisis business environment.

While the conference is attended mostly by PhDs and features rigorous academic discussions, it also presents some key themes on finance that make their way directly into coursework and real-world finance. Reena Aggarwal, professor of finance and director of the Georgetown Center for Financial Markets and Policy, said she also expects the event will be “extremely helpful” in recruiting faculty to McDonough. McDonough was ranked the top undergraduate business school for finance by BloombergBusinessweek, and more than half of the school’s undergraduates enter careers in financial services.

“Conferences such as this one provide forums to discuss new research addressing the opportunities and challenges faced by global finance,” said Aggarwal, who chaired a session on Empirical Capital Structure at this year’s cavalcade. “The event helped to further solidify the Center for Financial Markets and Policy as the go-to place for thought leadership on global finance,” said McDonough Dean David Thomas, who also gave remarks

Aggarwal noted that Washington is increasingly regarded as a new “global financial hub” where important conversations take place on key policy issues related to global financial markets, leading to the development of meaningful research for financial markets, policy makers, and the international financial community. She said the finance faculty and the center plan to build on the momentum of this event by organizing other academic seminars and workshops.

Papers presented at this year’s cavalcade were selected from 653 submissions, a 42 percent increase over the number of submissions last year. The acceptance rate was 11.5 percent. Keynote speeches were delivered by FeiFei Lei, Partner and Head of Research at Research Affiliates, who spoke on the topic, From Academia to Industry; and by Toni Whited, conference chair and professor of business administration and finance at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business, whose presentation was titled Identification, and challenged traditional methodologies used for identification. Several research awards were given out by the journals published by the Society.

Other upcoming events by the center include a CEO/director roundtable on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity: A View from Policymakers, a major conference on Financial Markets Quality, and as part of the center’s Congressional Policy Briefing Series a panel on Innovations in Trading and Exchanges.