The Winners of the AQR Top Finance Graduate Award 2015:



Svetlana Bryzgalova, PhD from London School of Economics

Svetlana is a PhD Candidate in Economics at London School of Economics. Originally she is from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia and before coming to London, she studied at Higher School of Economics, Russia, where she obtained BA in Economics (Mathematics) and MSc in Financial Economics. Svetlana is interested in macro finance, empirical asset pricing and the issues involved in the estimation of these models. She is joining the finance group at Stanford Graduate School of Business in September 2015.

Job market paper: Spurious Factors in Linear Asset Pricing Models


Benjamin Hébert, PhD from Harvard University, Department of Economics and Harvard Business School

Ben is a PhD candidate in the Business Economics program at Harvard.  His main research interests are in macroeconomics and finance. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a proprietary trader at an investment bank in New York.  He earned degrees in Physics and Computer Science as an undergraduate at M.I.T. Next year, Ben will join the finance group at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.



Sabrina Howell, PhD from Harvard University

Sabrina Howell recently graduated from Harvard University with a PhD in the Economics track of the Political Economy and Government program. Sabrina is joining the NYU Stern School of Business Finance Department in July 2015. She studies entrepreneurial finance, energy finance, and innovation. Sabrina earned her BA from Yale in 2008, where she majored in both Economics and East Asian Studies. Subsequently, she worked for Charles River Associates in Houston, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) in Washington DC, and as an intern at the White House National Economic Council. Sabrina has a special interest in China, and speaks Mandarin. She is originally from New York City, where she attended Stuyvesant High School.
Job market paper: Financing Constraints as Barriers to Innovation: Evidence from R&D Grants to Energy Startups


Lawrence Jin, PhD from Yale School of Management

Lawrence J. Jin will receive his Ph.D. in Financial Economics from Yale University in May 2015. His research focuses on asset pricing, behavioral finance, financial intermediaries, and household finance. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Tsinghua University and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Caltech. Prior to attending Yale, he spent two years as a research and trading analyst at Citigroup. His research has been published in the Review of Financial Studies and the Journal of Financial Economics. His JFE paper "X-CAPM: An Extrapolative Asset Pricing Model" received the Q-Group's 2014 Jack Treynor Prize. Next year, Lawrence Jin will be joining the California Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor of Finance.

Job market paper: A Speculative Asset Pricing Model of Financial Instability


Lawrence Schmidt, PhD from University of California, San Diego

Lawrence is a PhD Candidate in Economics at the University of California, San Diego. Next year, he will be joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at the University of Chicago. His research is at the intersection of finance and macroeconomics, with a particular emphasis on asset pricing. He uses a unique combination of theory and applied econometrics to offer a richer picture of risks faced by financial market participants--households, institutional investors, and financial intermediaries--and shed new light on underlying economic mechanisms linking financial markets with the real economy. A common thread in his research agenda is the study of conditional distributions and higher moments, with an emphasis on the evolution of cross-sectional distributions over time in response to macroeconomic events. While the majority of empirical research emphasizes conditional means and variances, other aspects of the distribution often reveal interesting asymmetries and nonlinearities which yield new insights about the propagation of aggregate shocks. Examples from his research consider the interaction between asset returns and idiosyncratic tail risk in the labor market, as well as the strategic behavior of investors during the money market panic of 2008.

Job market paper: Climbing and Falling Off the Ladder: Asset Pricing Implications of Labor Market Event Risk


Emil N. Siriwardane, PhD from NYU Stern School of Business

Emil Siriwardane is a PhD Candidate in Finance at the NYU Stern School of Business.  In recent work, he has studied how the risk bearing capacity of large financial institutions impacts the pricing of credit risk in credit default swap markets.  His other research interests include macro-finance, the pricing of tail risks, and volatility econometrics.  Emil was a finalist for the 2013 Best Finance PhD Award in Honor of Professor Stuart I. Greenbaum, and his paper “Structural GARCH: The Volatility-Leverage Connection” was nominated for the 2014 AQR Insight Award.  Prior to his graduate studies, he received a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and Financial Engineering degree from Princeton University.  Next year, Emil will be joining the finance department at Harvard Business School.

Job market paper: Concentrated Capital Losses and the Pricing of Corporate Credit Risk



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