February 6, 2017 | Author: Helen Hoover | Category: N/A
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1 GUIDE FOR PhD STUDENTS IN FINANCE The PhD program in Finance is a full-time program, which means that students are req...


GUIDE FOR PhD STUDENTS IN FINANCE The PhD program in Finance is a full-time program, which means that students are required to take courses on a full-time basis, then take and pass the comprehensive exam, and then focus on the dissertation on a full-time basis. For the typical PhD student who enters the program with a master’s degree in business or in economics, the program is likely to take about 4 years of full-time study (including summers). OVERVIEW OF REQUIREMENTS The PhD requirements in the Department of Finance include: *course work *passing comprehensive exams *having your dissertation proposal approved *completing and successfully defending your dissertation. Most Finance PhD students may be required to register for more credit hours than the total specified minimum by the College of Business over the 4-year period. Specifically, they are required to take at least 9 credit hours in Fall and in Spring while enrolled fulltime, and normally take 6 credit hours of course work in each of their first two summers. They typically must register for 9 credit hours for the course FIN 7978 in the semester when they are taking comprehensive exams and developing ideas for their dissertation (typically in Spring semester of their third year). They cannot sign up for dissertation credit hours in that semester because they have not been admitted to candidacy until after they pass comprehensive exams. They typically register for 9 credit hours of dissertation credit in Fall and in Spring of their 4th year. Overall, this results in 84 credit hours. Furthermore, there may be situations in which specific Finance PhD students could be required to take additional course work beyond what is normally required, depending on their background. COURSE REQUIREMENTS PhD students in finance typically take 57 credit hours of coursework prior to taking dissertation credits. If you perform well in all of your courses while taking the full load each semester (including in the summer), you should complete all of your course requirements over a period of 2.5 years. The list of required courses is provided below. Notice that there are 20 courses listed, but you can skip FIN 6806 if you already had the financial management (corporate finance course) at the MBA level. For any other courses on the list that you had in your master’s program, a substitute course will be required in place of the course that you already had.

Grade TOOL COURSES – 18 credit hours 1. QMB 7565 Research Methods


2. ECO 6403 – Advanced Mathematical Economics 3. ECO 6426 – Advanced Econometrics 4. ECO 6424 – Topics in Econometrics 5. ECO 6115 Advanced Microeconomics 6. Course in University Teaching FINANCE COURSES – 33 credit hours 1. FIN 6515 Investment Management 2. FIN 6246 Financial Markets 3. FIN 6436 Financial Management & Investment Decisions 4. FIN 6537 Risk Management 5. FIN 6605 Multinational Finance 6. FIN 6806 Corporate Finance 7. FIN 6804 Financial Theory 8. FIN 7247 Seminar in Capital Markets 9. FIN 7449 Seminar in Corporate Finance Theory 10. FIN 7527 Seminar in Investments 11. FIN 7932 Seminar in Current Financial Research: International Finance ELECTIVES – 6 credit hours 1. 2.

Two elective courses are required. Students are encouraged to pursue elective courses that would provide the best complement to their other skill sets. The elective courses must be approved by the Finance PhD Advisor. Any PhD student who is not keeping up with course work during the semester may lose the assistantship. PhD students in Finance are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 every semester in the program. This minimum may be higher than that required by some other departments in the College of Business or other colleges. If a PhD student receives a grade below a B in any course, or receives a grade of Incomplete that lasts one month beyond the semester, the PhD committee in the Finance Department will evaluate the student’s progress to determine whether the assistantship should be removed, or whether to recommend academic consequences. For information


about possible academic consequences, please visit the university catalog’s Academic Policies and Regulations section under Additional Policies for Graduate Students. Communication Requirement It is important that PhD students can speak and write English. Required papers for courses require proper English grammar and clear communication since this is also necessary when submitting research papers to pursue publication. Sufficient English skills may also be necessary to perform well on class participation, presentations, and exams. When PhD students write papers or their dissertation, proper English grammar is required. It is the responsibility of the student, not the professor or the dissertation committee, to ensure proper English grammar. PhD students need verbal communication skills because many courses require communication in class.

ASSISTANTSHIP ASSIGNMENT For students who receive an assistantship, Dr. Zarruk (the department chair) will give you your research assistant assignment. You should contact him via email ([email protected]) or stop in the Finance dept. on the Boca Raton campus to see him. If you prefer to meet with him in person, it is recommended that you call (561-297-3995) or email to make an appointment. There is a tuition benefits policy that explains the conditions for PhD students on an assistantship to receive tuition waivers. See Research Assignments Regarding research assistantships, the normal required work time is 20 hours per week. You should be able to work out an arrangement with the faculty member you work for so that you do not have to travel far to do your research assistance work. If there is some work that requires you to be in the FAU library or a specific computer lab, you may want to structure your hours so that you devote much of your research assistantship time on one day to minimize traveling. Developing Teaching Skills In your first or second semester, you will be assigned 10 hours per week to develop your teaching skills, and this will replace 10 hours of your research assistance assignment in that semester only. In that semester, you will be assigned by Dr. Zarruk to sit in on a course (FIN 3403) the entire semester that is taught by a professor. You can learn a lot from monitoring HOW an experienced faculty member teaches, even though you will likely have your own style when you teach. Since you are getting paid 10 hours per week in that semester to develop your teaching notes, you need to do this assignment in order to retain your assistantship. You will be asked to submit your notes to the PhD Finance advisor and/or to a faculty member for whom you are working on a periodic basis. Your


development of teaching notes will allow you to be more prepared when you are assigned to teach courses in the future (see below). Before your first semester begins, ask Dr. Zarruk (the department chair) for: (1) a copy of the FIN 3403 textbook and teaching supplements like an instructor’s manual, which he will provide to you for free. (2) a copy of the model syllabus for that course that you would follow when you teach in the future. It shows the allocation of time toward various finance concepts. You should obtain this now, because it can guide you as you develop your teaching notes for FIN 3403. Dr. Zarruk may also have some other advice for you regarding the development of your teaching skills. A course on teaching in a university environment is required of all PhD students. This course is intended to help you develop your teaching skills.

Teaching Assignment PhD students are commonly expected to teach courses as a condition of their assistantship, and must be able to clearly communicate to undergraduate students when teaching courses. The transition from research assistant to teaching commonly occurs in the second year. If PhD students are unable to clearly communicate as part of their teaching requirement, they could lose the assistantship. You may be assigned teaching assistant work for a very large class, in which you would cover duties such as answering questions by students at office hours or in a finance lab with smaller groups of students. If you are assigned to teach courses, the teaching load is typically a total of three courses over the fall and spring semesters, such as 1 in fall and 2 in spring, or vice versa. If you are assigned to teach a class, you are expected to teach the content specified in the model syllabus. This is important because it ensures that all undergraduate students are receiving the proper content so that they have the background to perform well in higher level finance courses. You are expected to show up and be on time for each class, and to maintain standards. You are expected to give exams and grade them on timely basis. You should not make the test bank or an instructor’s manual accessible to students because other faculty members may be using them for exams and graded assignments. At the end of the semester, you should assign grades that are in line with the demonstration of knowledge by the students. Your syllabus should communicate the general schedule of the classes, and the exam dates, and the weighting of all specific tasks (such as a required paper or class participation) that you use when assigning your final grades. There is a set of teaching tips that was created by the finance department. PhD students can obtain this list from the finance Dept. Chair or the advisor to finance PhD students. Seminar for International Teaching Assistants


All International Teaching Assistants are required to successfully pass a Panel Review prior to beginning their teaching assignments. To pass the Panel Review, each International Teaching Assistant must give a Panel Presentation, consisting of a tenminute lecture. Additional details about the Panel Review and Presentation are provided in the Panel Review section below. Some students may be eligible to waive participation in the SITA program and can make this request by completing Form 13 - Request to Waive SITA Training. Note: Students must meet all requirements listed on Form 13. Those students requesting a waiver will have the opportunity to pass the Panel Review prior to the start of the SITA program. See for details.

Qualifying to Teach Various criteria are considered by the Dept. Chair when selecting PhD students to teach:  must have at least 18 hours of credit in graduate finance courses,  must have sufficient knowledge to teach finance,  must be capable of communicating finance concepts in a manner that is understandable to undergraduate students. Overload Teaching The assistantship provides income for the fall and spring semesters. Since there is no additional income guaranteed in the summer, make sure that you budget your money properly. In some cases, an adjunct teaching position is available in the summer that may pay about $3,000 for a course. Some PhD students have attempted to pursue teaching an overload course or some extra work to make more income than what is provided by the assistantship. Obviously, there is a tradeoff involved here. Making a little extra money could backfire if it adversely affects your performance in your courses, your assistantship work, your comprehensive exams, or your dissertation. It may also get in the way of various activities that could enhance your marketability, such as submitting papers to journals. Finally, it may even slow your progress toward the completion of your degree, which means that your pursuit of a full-time job may be delayed. When FAU finance PhD students enter the job market, some students are much more marketable than others because they have dedicated more time toward the activities that build their resumes. The investment of your time to build your resume during the PhD program can result in more job opportunities and better job offers.

PLAN OF STUDY All degree-seeking graduate students on an assistantship should have an approved Plan of Study on file with the Graduate College no later than the second semester. Students submit the Plan of Study by going to MyFAU and following instructions to complete the


electronic Plan. All students receive written confirmation when their Plan of Study is approved by the Dean of the Graduate College. If for any reason your Plan of Study is changed, this would require the submission and approval of the Form 9 - Revision to Existing Plan of Study. Revisions need only be filed once and may be submitted during the final term the student plans to graduate, prior to the Application for Degree deadline. The Revision to the Plan of Study is located at students/graduateforms/index.php.The Revision form should be submitted to the PhD Office, 101 Fleming West (Bldg. 23). COMPREHENSIVE EXAM The comprehensive exam is offered to students who are in good standing, are nearing the completion of their course work, and do not have any incomplete course work from previous semesters. The advisor for finance PhD students notifies students about the date of the written exam, the general format of the exam, and faculty participants who make up the exam. Students should make sure that they are available on the date in which the comprehensive exam is scheduled. If students finish their course work in the fall of their third year, they would likely take the exam in December of that semester in which they are completing the course work, or possibly in early January. The exam normally focuses on content from the PhD seminars. The exam is typically scheduled for 2 days, 4 hours each day, although the specific format can change. The exam is typically created and graded by faculty members in the department of finance who have most recently taught the PhD seminars to the students who are taking the exam. Students can contact those faculty members who are making up the exam to inquire about the format of the exam, and the material that they should study for an exam. The faculty members who grade the exam will attempt to complete the grading within three weeks after the exam. Students who do not pass the exam (or a portion of the exam) will be expected to completely retake a new comprehensive exam, a portion of the exam, an oral exam, or some combination, depending on the specific situation. If a student is required to retake all or part of the written exam, the second written exam will be offered within three months. If a student fails the written exam a second time, the faculty involved in the grading of the exam along with the Finance PhD Committee will decide whether the student should be allowed to take the exam a third time. They may require various conditions that a student must meet before taking the written exam a third time, such as retaking specific course work. If students receive a marginal pass on the written exam and showed specific deficiencies on their exam (for example, very weak performance on a specific topic that was an integral part of the exam), they may be required to take an oral exam. The oral exam will normally be offered within three months of the written exam.


One or more of the faculty members who grade the written exam conduct the oral exam, and also grade this exam. The general content of the oral exam will be communicated to the student near the time that the oral exam is scheduled. The content of the oral exam is focused to ensure that the student eliminates specific deficiencies that were detected in the written exam. If a student fails the oral exam, a second oral exam will be scheduled within three months of the first oral exam. If the student fails the second oral exam, the faculty members involved in the grading of the exam along with the Finance PhD Committee will decide whether the student should be allowed to take the exam a third time, or would have to retake the written exam. ADMISSION TO CANDIDACY PhD students who have completed course work and are about to register in a new semester in fall or spring need to be aware of the guidelines for admission to candidacy. If you have completed course work but have not yet successfully passed comps and been officially admitted to candidacy, you are not permitted to register for dissertation credits. Consult with your advisor, who will likely recommend that you register for nine credits of FIN 7978. If after passing your comprehensive exams, you do not have a dissertation idea and committee at the beginning of the semester, you cannot register for dissertation hours. You should sign up for 9 credit hours under the course FIN 7978, and work on developing your dissertation ideas in this semester. If you recently took comps and have received notification that you have completely passed comps, and if you have a dissertation idea and a committee, you should complete the Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree form ( which certifies that you are eligible to register for dissertation credits. The Admission to Candidacy form requires you to list the title of your dissertation, and the faculty members who will serve on your dissertation committee. Have the form signed by each of those faculty members, submit the form to the PhD Office where it will be signed by the Associate Dean of the College of Business and sent to the Graduate College for signature of the Dean of the Graduate College. You are not required to retain the dissertation title that you specify on this form.

DISSERTATION The dissertation is a major part of the PhD program. It is sometimes perceived to be a very comprehensive paper, commonly ranging between 150 and 200 pages. It should represent original work that contributes to the foundation of knowledge on a topic in finance.


The time needed to complete the dissertation (on a full-time basis) is about 1.5 years but it varies among students. Since you register for full-time dissertation credits, you are expected to be focused full-time on the dissertation. You should avoid distractions such as teaching overload courses. If your dissertation progress is slow, this typically delays the time at which you can start a career, so teaching extra courses during the dissertation stage may have a large opportunity cost. The chair of your dissertation committee grades your dissertation each semester, based on your progress during the semester. The chair can consider the dissertation committee’s assessment of your progress when assigning a grade. You need to make substantial progress on your dissertation to receive a grade of “satisfactory” on your dissertation credit hours. If you do not make substantial progress on the dissertation, you would receive a grade of “unsatisfactory.” Under these conditions, the PhD committee in the Finance Department will assess the situation. Possible actions might include a recommendation of dismissal, the elimination of your assistantship or tuition waivers, required remedial work to remove whatever deficiencies may have caused the unsatisfactory performance on your dissertation, or some combination of these actions. If you are not making substantial progress toward the completion of your dissertation when you are signed up for dissertation hours, your assistantship may be discontinued.

Registering for Dissertation Hours You will ultimately need to register for a total of at least 18 dissertation credit hours to satisfy the degree requirements. If you have met the required credit hours for the PhD program as stated on your Plan of Study, but have not finished the dissertation before the graduation deadline in a given semester, you must sign up for at least one dissertation credit hours in the following semester (and apply for full-time status, if applicable).

Dissertation Committee You should start thinking about a dissertation topic well before you are at the point when you can devote all your time to it. Try to develop a tentative dissertation topic before asking faculty members to be on your dissertation committee, since the topic may influence the appropriate members for the committee. The committee consists of a minimum of at least 3 Graduate Faculty members ( Your committee will likely have a large impact on the structure of your dissertation. While general guidelines for a dissertation are provided here, your committee may have additional suggestions regarding the structure that are not mentioned here. Once you have a tentative dissertation topic, identify a faculty member who you would like to serve as the chair of the dissertation committee, and who fits the research background of the dissertation topic. Discuss your idea with that faculty member. You can determine whether that faculty member may serve as chair. Once you select a faculty


member who agrees to be the chair of the dissertation, you and that faculty member can discuss other faculty members who might fit the research topic and be willing to serve on the committee. You should then meet with other faculty members to explain the general dissertation idea, and ask if they would be willing to serve on the committee. Some faculty members may not serve on dissertation committees if their job assignment is not research related. Also, some faculty members may decline the offer to be on a dissertation committee, as they may have many other assignments that would limit their ability to participate on the committee. Alternatively, they may believe that their background would not be of value in guiding the development of a specific dissertation topic. Once the dissertation committee signs your Admission to Candidacy form, the committee is not changed unless those committee members initiate the change. While PhD students can select their dissertation committee in the manner explained above, they cannot dismiss committee members. In rare instances, a committee member may initiate the request to be removed from a committee, if they think that their involvement will not be beneficial, or for other reasons. For example, a committee member might initiate a request to withdraw from the committee for health reasons. If you have an issue, such as a specific requested revision in the dissertation by a committee member that is extremely difficult to do, you should discuss the issue with the chair of the committee, who can attempt to seek a proper resolution with committee members. In many cases, an issue results from a misunderstanding and can be resolved or avoided with clear communication by the student and by committee members. Organization of the Dissertation Proposal Once the committee approves the general idea of the dissertation, the dissertation proposal can be developed. The chair of your dissertation committee will likely have much input into how you structure the dissertation, including the proposal. The proposal explains the motivation, literature review, hypotheses, research design (which includes sample selection and methodology) necessary to test the hypotheses. These sections might be partitioned into chapters. For example, the motivation may be Chapter 1, the literature review may be Chapter 2, the hypotheses may be Chapter 3, and the research design may be Chapter 4. These chapters would ultimately be part of the final dissertation as well (although some revisions may be made in these chapters, even after the proposal is approved). After the dissertation proposal is approved, the results may be provided in Chapter 5, and the implications may be provided in Chapter 6. Some dissertations represent a set of 3 essays on a broad topic, in which each essay is a narrow topic. For example, a broad topic might be Restructuring by Technology Firms, which consists of 3 essays: (1) effects of international acquisitions on the operations and performance of technology firms, (2) effects of divestitures on the operations and performance of technology firms, and (3) effects of restructuring on the executive compensation of technology firms. If the dissertation is structured by essays, the chapter


organization of the dissertation proposal may be as follows (although there are many exceptions to this generalization): Chapter 1: Brief introduction and motivation for studying the broad topic. Chapter 2: General literature review of the broad topic. Chapter 3: Hypotheses (preceded by the literature directly related to each hypothesis), and research design of essay 1. Chapter 4: Hypotheses (preceded by the literature directly related to each hypothesis), and research design of essay 2. Chapter 5: Hypotheses (preceded by the literature directly related to each hypothesis), and research design of essay 3. With this structure, once the proposal is approved, the results of each essay would be added to the chapter focused on that essay, and implications of all 3 essays may be provided in a final Chapter 6. Components of a Dissertation The key components of a dissertation include the following: Motivation. Explain in general terms how your topic differs from the existing related research (without getting too focused on the details of all related research). If a dissertation is not properly motivated, it will not be approved by a committee. While faculty members may have different views about proper motivation, an obvious key is that the paper contributes substantially to the existing literature. Thus, a study that repeats what was previously done a few years ago is unlikely to be viewed as a major contribution, unless there is good reason to repeat the research. A dissertation topic might result from previous research that you did for a course. However, a dissertation should not be a consolidation of papers or analyses that you did while you were taking courses. The dissertation should reflect new work, not work that you already did for courses. When you first explain your proposed topic to your committee members, you should tell them if there is any overlap between your previous work and your dissertation topic. In addition, you should state this in your dissertation motivation section so that your committee fully understands the degree of any overlap that may exist between your previous work and your proposed dissertation topic. Literature Search. It is your responsibility (not the dissertation committee’s) to ensure that your dissertation is not repeating existing studies. There are many situations in which students had to redo a part of their dissertation because they did not carefully search the literature when creating their idea. They missed some studies that were in the top journals, and therefore wasted much time working on a study that was already done. 1. If you have a rough idea of what you want to do, first determine whether the data are available if you pursue this idea. I mention this first, because if you cannot obtain the data to do the study, there may be no reason to conduct a review of literature.


2. Determine what key terms would be in any abstract of related articles. For example, if you are doing a study on dividend policy, the related literature would surely have the word “dividend” in the abstract. The downside is that there will be hundreds of articles with this search term and if you try to reduce the list with an extra term (such as “dividend policy”) you may lose some important articles on your list. My suggestion is to accept the longer list and simply screen through it. Many of the articles will probably not be directly related to your purpose. Some search terms have alternative words that are used in studies instead. For example, studies on acquisitions may use the term tender offers or takeovers instead, so a search of the term “acquisitions” will miss some articles. The term “abnormal return” might be called valuation effect or wealth effect or prediction error in some studies. You can just repeat the search with the other terms. 3. Go to SSRN ( and go to the Financial Economics Network (FEN) and insert your search terms. Screen through the abstracts that are listed. This site has abstracts of many unpublished (working) papers. You should cite any closely related papers, and make sure that you are not repeating what they are doing. Reviewers of journals will likely go to SSRN when reviewing a paper to recognize what other related working papers are in circulation or submitted to journals. 4. Go to search engines such as ABI Inform in the electronic library of FAU. You can screen out the magazines to focus only on the scholarly journals, but the practical magazine articles can offer some practical insight that you may not get in the scholarly journals. 5. There is always a chance that there is some literature that you missed simply because your search terms were not included in their abstract. One solution is to review the titles of articles of each issue of the main journals. Whether you do this with hard copies in the library or do it online, it takes about 20 seconds per issue to read the titles and determine if there are any articles in each issue that might be related to your topic. Some new topics may not require you to go back very far. For example, exchange-traded funds have only existed since about 2000 so the research on them is only since that time. However, they are very similar to mutual funds, so the mutual fund research would have to be assessed in earlier years. The following journals are the most widely cited in Finance: Journal of Financial Economics (JFE) Journal of Finance (JF) Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis (JFQA) Review of Financial Studies (RFS) In addition, these other finance journals are widely circulated: Journal of Banking and Finance (JBF) Financial Management (FM)


Journal of Financial Research (JFR) Journal of Corporate Finance (JCF) Journal of Empirical Finance (JEF) Financial Review (FR) Most importantly, your committee might have specific recommendations regarding the key journals that should be closely reviewed. If your paper is focused on a discipline such as Accounting, the set of key journals would differ from the list of journals mentioned above. 6. Another source of working papers is the set of academic meetings. In the finance field, here are the main association meetings where many working papers are presented: Financial Management Association (FMA) American Finance Association (AFA) Western Finance Association (WFA) Southern Finance Association (SFA) You should go to the web site of the association and determine if the papers from the last (or upcoming) meeting are posted there. If so, you can skim the paper titles to determine if there is any working paper presented at the meeting that is related to your idea. 7. In some cases, you might realize as a result of your search that you need to change your original idea. If so, you might still be able to salvage your literature review if you focus on the same general topic area. 8. If a published paper that suddenly appears, you should mention it to your dissertation committee. They may offer some advice on how you can work around that article to ensure that your work is separated from the published paper. You may be able to avoid this situation if you do a thorough check of working papers. Hypotheses. Describe the relationships that you expect to find when conducting your analysis. Your dissertation committee members may suggest the format you use, such as formal structure of hypotheses, etc. Methodology. Include a step by step explanation of what you intend to do and clear description of your sample; describe the proxy used for any characteristic that you identify in your hypotheses. The research methods courses that you take in the PhD program should have given you the ability to develop the methodology and conduct the analyses. Developing the Dissertation Proposal You can discuss with the chair of the committee how to proceed with the development of the proposal. Typically, the student creates a draft that contains the parts described above, and the chair may initially offer some feedback. The student will make several revisions of the draft based on suggestions by the chair. The chair typically indicates when the


student should distribute the proposal to the other committee members. The committee members will normally suggest revisions to improve the proposal, and the student can make revisions based on the suggestions. The dissertation process normally involves several revisions. The dissertation committee should try to respond quickly when providing feedback on your dissertation. Yet, dissertation committee members have other obligations that may prevent immediate feedback. Therefore, dissertation committee members may take a week or longer to review whatever you ask them to review. Also, dissertation committee members are sometimes out of town, which may delay the feedback. Try to work efficiently by submitting one part of the dissertation to the committee, while working on another part until feedback is provided. The dissertation committee may offer other ways in which you can continue to make progress while waiting for feedback on the submitted portions of the dissertation. Presentation of the Dissertation Proposal Once you have made all the revisions to the proposal in a manner that is satisfactory to the committee, a dissertation proposal presentation is scheduled, in which you present the proposal to faculty and other PhD students in the college of business. The presentation is normally about 30 to 45 minutes, followed by questions or comments from the audience. The dissertation committee meets immediately after the presentation is over, and decides whether any revisions to the dissertation proposal are necessary. For example, the committee may decide that the proposal is acceptable, contingent on the inclusion of some suggestions that other faculty members made during the presentation. The committee communicates these revisions, so that you can make these revisions. In this situation, there is no need to do another presentation of your dissertation proposal. You would just need to complete the revisions that are requested by the committee. Completion of the Dissertation Once the committee approves the proposal (even if subject to a few additions), obtain the data and conduct analysis that is necessary to complete the dissertation. Even after the dissertation proposal is approved, there will likely be several phases of the review process, in which the committee reviews the dissertation, and provides suggestions, and you make revisions in response and resubmit another draft to them, and so on. Dissertation Defense Once you have completed the dissertation in a manner that is satisfactory to the committee, a date is set in which you can present the dissertation to the committee and other faculty members and PhD students who attend. During this so-called dissertation defense, faculty members may have questions or offer comments. After the proposal defense, the dissertation committee meets to determine whether any other work needs to be done, and communicates this to the student. It is not unusual for the committee to determine that some additional minor changes are needed in response to suggestions offered by faculty members during the dissertation defense. This does not mean that the dissertation defense was a failure, but is simply a phase of the dissertation process.


Since dissertation committee members are commonly out of town in some parts of the summer, try to organize your work so that you give them sufficient time to review your work.

How Your Dissertation Progress Affects Your Marketability You should be in a position to have your dissertation proposal completed by the end (summer) of your third year. If you plan to seek a university position, and stay on track, you would interview at the Financial Management Association (FMA) meeting in October of your 4th year for positions that would begin in the following summer or fall. That is, if you finished the course work in 2.5 years, and passed comps near the time that you completed course work, you would have about 6 months before the June deadline to submit your resume to the FMA web site. Ideally, you should have your dissertation proposal approved by the summer or early fall before the FMA meeting, because this will make you more marketable when you interview at the FMA meeting. This will lead to more job interviews at the FMA meeting, and means that you will likely be invited to more campus interviews. A university that has a job opening will normally interview about 15 to 25 candidates at the FMA meeting, and based on those interviews, will invite about 2 to 4 of those candidates to their campus for an on-campus interview. The resume that you submit to the FMA web site is very important because universities commonly make hiring plans in the summer one year before the job position actually begins. They review the resumes on the FMA web site when deciding which candidates to interview at the FMA meeting in October. Universities carefully assess the likelihood that candidates will have completed their dissertation by the time they are supposed to take a job, because the universities want to only interview candidates who are likely to arrive with their PhD. If your dissertation proposal is approved by the time you submit your resume to the FMA web site, this is beneficial. It means that you have at least a year to complete all the dissertation requirements before actually taking a job at a university. Thus, universities are more likely to interview you because you have much time to complete the dissertation requirements before you would be taking a job. An obvious goal is to get many interviews at the FMA meeting, which increases your probability of being invited to more campus interview. Some of FAU’s finance PhD students have had interviews with more than 25 universities at the FMA meeting. Others have had fewer than 10 interviews. Your marketability is partially due to market conditions, which means the number of universities that are hiring (demand for PhD candidates) in the year that you are in the market, relative to the supply of other PhD candidates who are trying to get a job. But your marketability is also influenced by your progress on your dissertation as of the time that the universities assess your resume, and at the time you have campus interviews. PhD candidates who have not made much progress on their dissertation proposal might not get any interviews from universities. [Other factors are also relevant, such as your performance in the program, your teaching performance, and your research publications or submissions to journals.]


Example of a Common Dissertation Dilemma Here is one common trend that has occurred with some PhD students (at many universities). John Doe (name is fictional) is a PhD student who worked diligently on his dissertation, and in March, he receives a job offer from Florida University (name is fictional). The job starts on August 20. Florida University says that the offer is contingent on John Doe having his degree when he starts the job, or the salary will be reduced by $20,000. John gladly accepts the job offer in March, as he expects that he will easily be able to complete the degree before then. However, his dissertation progress is slower than he expected for the following reasons: *he had not already collected all of the data and experienced some data problems, *he took some time off because he no longer felt pressure to demonstrate his weekly progress in order to receive a job offer, *he felt that he still had much time before the August 20 deadline. In July, John still had a lot of work left. He emailed his latest work on his dissertation to the committee members on July 10, hoping that he could finish by August 1. Two of the committee members were out of town, one member was focused on unrelated research that had a specific deadline, and the other was teaching a short course that was condensed into a 10-day period. John expected that the committee members would always be available to immediately respond to his drafts, and therefore was disappointed that he received no responses for two weeks. He was disappointed even further when the committee members still required the same revisions that they had requested months ago. John’s logic was that he needed to ignore these revisions because he has a deadline and needs to finish his dissertation now. He had also applied for graduation in the summer and therefore told his committee that he needs to complete the dissertation for this reason as well. Had John done the work that was requested 2 months ago, he may have received approval from his committee to defend the dissertation and a date could have been set. The committee responded to John on July 25, and explained to John that they would review the next draft once John made the revisions that he was supposed to make. As it turned out, John ultimately completed his dissertation on September 25. John needed about 3 weeks to properly complete the work that was requested. Then the committee took about 2 weeks to review these revisions. Then, a date was set for the dissertation defense about a week after the committee agreed that John was ready to defend. Then at the dissertation defense, there were a few good suggestions on how John could improve the dissertation, which required some minor revisions. John made the revisions a week later, and the committee reviewed those changes over the next week, and signed off on the dissertation. Then John had to ensure that the format of the dissertation was consistent with the guidelines required by his university. The point of this example is to be realistic about meeting a deadline. If you ensure quality control as you make the revisions requested by the committee, allow enough time for the committee to review the dissertation, schedule a defense date in a timely manner, and allow time for possible changes resulting from the dissertation defense, you are less likely to be disappointed. Given the various phases of the dissertation, it is wise to strive for a completion date that is 3 months ahead of the actual deadline you have set for yourself.


Time Management during the Dissertation The process from the formation of the dissertation committee until it is completed normally takes at least one year, and takes more than one year in many cases. Some dissertations are never completed. To ensure completion of the dissertation, students should try to avoid distractions such as teaching overload courses while they are working on their dissertation. There is an obvious tradeoff here, as teaching extra courses generates more income. However, if the dissertation is delayed, this typically delays the time at which students can start a career, so teaching extra courses during the dissertation stage may have a large opportunity cost. As mentioned earlier in this guide, the PhD program is not only full-time for course work, but is also full-time for the dissertation stage. When you register for dissertation hours on a full-time basis, it is expected that you will be working on your dissertation full-time. Make sure you have read the details regarding this requirement. Satisfying Deadlines to Complete the Dissertation Given the various time periods needed for the dissertation writing process explained above, you need to be organized and disciplined to complete the dissertation in a timely manner. The process is explained here to avoid any misunderstandings about how the process works. Thus, if you want to complete your dissertation by a particular date, consider the different time lags involved in the process above. From the committee’s perspective, the dissertation will not be approved just because the student says he or she needs to graduate by a specific date. The dissertation will be approved once the student has completed the work specified in the proposal in a suitable manner by following the sequence of steps mentioned above. The best way for a student to meet a particular deadline for finishing the dissertation is to start far in advance of that date and to be organized and disciplined in getting the work done. Format of the Dissertation There are specific guidelines regarding the format of the dissertation (see Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines information on the Graduate College website: Your dissertation committee is not responsible for assessing your guidelines or ensuring that you followed the guidelines. It is highly recommended that you follow the required format when you begin your dissertation and continue to follow that format so that you do not have to revise your format later in order to satisfy format requirements. STRIVING FOR ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS The ultimate objective of most students pursuing the Finance PhD at FAU is to attain a teaching/research position at a university. Their marketability would be enhanced if they are able to get articles published in academic journals. This task is achievable. Some of the possible means for doing research that may be published are:


(1) Any paper required for a class may be structured to be submitted to a journal. After having the paper evaluated by the professor who assigned the project, students can make final revisions and submit the paper to a journal. (2) If their schedule permits, students may consider taking an independent study to do a research project assigned by a professor, or to work with a professor in co-authoring an article. They do not necessarily have to sign up officially to work on a project with a professor, but should not pursue the opportunity unless they feel you have some free time to do the research. While a published article or two is worth pursuing, it should not interfere with other course work. A published article means nothing for a student who is unable to maintain an adequate grade point average.

PHASES OF THE PhD PROGRAM Here are the typical phases of the PhD program (although there are exceptions): 1. Students typically begin the program in fall and finish course work at the end of fall semester in their third year. They typically take comps at the end of fall semester of their third year. 2. In the spring semester of their third year, they start working on their dissertation proposal. They sign up for dissertation hours on full-time basis and are expected to be working on the dissertation on a full-time basis, except for work associated with their assistantship. If they are properly focused, they should be able to complete their dissertation proposal by the summer or early fall, and have it approved by their committee by then. 3. After the dissertation proposal has been defended and approved by the committee, students focus on completing the dissertation by doing the tasks as described in the dissertation discussion. Thus, the main functions in this phase are running analyses and writing up the results. During this phase, students are typically going on some campus interviews, which can be time-consuming. This slows down the progress on the dissertation. Ideally, you should attempt to have most of the dissertation completed before the semester in which you are interviewing. It allows you more time to prepare for campus interviews. In addition, you can demonstrate how much of your dissertation has been completed during your campus interviews, and therefore prove that you will easily complete the dissertation before taking a job with the university. Therefore, a goal is to have most of the dissertation completed by the beginning of the spring semester of your 4th year.

This time line summarizes the 3 phases:


Course work --------------- Comps

Develop Proposal ---> ---> Complete Dissertation _____________________________________ ______________ _____________ Fall Year 1 End of Fall,Year 3 Spring Year 3 to Fall Year 4 to Fall Year 4 Summer Year 4

WHEN TO INTERVIEW Ideally, students should have their dissertation proposal completed and approved by their dissertation committee by the time they submit their resume to the FMA web site (about June) or at least by the time of the FMA meeting in which they pursue interviews. Students often need several months to complete the dissertation proposal. For example, students who finish course work in December and take the comprehensive exam shortly after that point are usually in good shape by the time they go to the FMA meeting in the following October. If you have not developed your dissertation proposal before the FMA meeting, you may not be as marketable, meaning that you receive fewer interviews at the FMA meeting, or fewer on-campus interviews after the FMA meeting. In addition, the likelihood of finishing the dissertation by the summer following the FMA meeting in which you pursue interviews is reduced if you do not have the dissertation proposal approved by then (and this is why some universities might not want to interview candidates who are in that position). Whatever job opportunities do occur may not be as desirable as if you had your dissertation proposal approved before pursuing interviews at the FMA meeting. You may think that you can take an undesirable job this year and then go back in the market in the following year. However, there are significant time costs and transactions costs associated with two moves in two years. Also, some universities may be concerned about a candidate who takes a job at one university and then is immediately back in the market, seeking to switch universities. They may wonder why you would be satisfied at their university if you are already dissatisfied with your first job. So there can be a negative signal associated with trying to quickly jump from one job to another. You may think that you have nothing to lose by pursuing interviews at the FMA meeting even if you do not have your dissertation proposal completed, since you could repeat the process in the following year if you do not receive a good job offer. However, when your resume is being circulated two years in a row, some universities may wonder why. They may presume that you were not wanted by other universities, or that you set expectations to finish your dissertation that were not realistic, and that could create a bad first impression. It is difficult for students to pass up the chance to take a job that pays more than their present wage. However, it sometimes makes more sense to defer the interviews even if it means that you will not take a faculty position until a semester or two later. Here are the potential benefits of deferring your pursuit of interviews until you have your dissertation proposal completed. First, you may receive more interviews once you do pursue


interviews at the FMA meeting. Second, you may receive more on-campus interviews. Third, you may receive job offers from more desirable universities. Fourth, your salary offer may be higher if your resume is more impressive and your dissertation progress is better. Fifth, you are more likely to have completed your dissertation, which allows you to get a better start once you do take a position at a university.

FACULTY PRESENTATIONS The Department of Finance periodically interviews a PhD student or faculty member from another university for a faculty position. They are usually asked to present one of their research ideas. In addition, research papers may also be periodically presented by the Finance faculty. PhD students present their dissertation proposal and their defense. Students are invited to show up for these presentations. The main benefits of such a presentation to PhD students are (1) it indicates the types of research ideas that are being used for the dissertation, and may even lead to a dissertation idea, and (2) it allows PhD students to see how some people presenting an idea handle themselves. PhD students may learn from watching others. ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF FAU FINANCE PhD PROGRAM GRADUATES Graduates from the PhD Program in the Department of Finance have had their research published in numerous academic journals, including Journal of Banking and Finance, Financial Management, Journal of International Money and Finance, Journal of Financial Research, Financial Review, Financial Analysts Journal, Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Journal of Financial Services Research, and Review of Financial Economics. In addition, our graduates have received research and teaching awards. CHECKLIST OF DEADLINES AND PROCEDURES Here is a checklist to remind you about some common deadlines/procedures that may apply to you in this or other semesters. Please keep this checklist and monitor it periodically. a. Contact Info: Are your current PhD email address, mailing address and phone number on file with the Office of the Registrar and the PhD Office? Please contact Judith Benson at [email protected] or (561-297-1176in the PhD Office (101 Fleming Hall West) with any changes. b. Course Registration: Check with your respective PhD Faculty Advisor in your department several weeks before the upcoming semester to determine what courses you should take next semester. Email Judith Benson with the courses you are planning to take so that permits can be placed in the system for 7000-level courses. You can register for 6000-level courses on your own. c. Paying Fees: If you are on stipend and are receiving tuition waivers, you must pay your fees when designated, usually the week after the regular student deadline for paying fees. That is when the waivers are applied. You may contact the PhD Office for the exact amount of your waivers and the time frame for paying your fees. d. Plan of Study: All degree-seeking graduate students on stipend should have an approved Plan of Study on file with the Graduate College no later than the second semester. Graduate students not on stipend should have their Plan of Study submitted half-way through their required course work and before enrolling in thesis/dissertation credits, if applicable. Students not on stipend


must have an approved Plan of Study on file with the Graduate College prior to the term in which they intend to graduate. To file the Plan of Study go to MYFAU and follow the directions to complete the electronic Plan. All students receive written confirmation when their Plan of Study is approved by the Dean of the Graduate College. ( e. Admission to Candidacy: If you have completed all course work and passed your comprehensive exams, you should submit the form for Admission to Candidacy. This means having your dissertation committee and your dissertation title. (Please note that you must provide original signatures for your faculty committee members on the Admission to Candidacy Form). In addition to the Admission to Candidacy form, there is now a second form, Research Compliance and Safety, Form 12, which addresses whether you are using human subjects in your research. This form must also be submitted even if you are not using human subjects in order for you to be officially admitted to candidacy. You can obtain these forms on-line. The Candidacy Form must be submitted to the Graduate College and approved by the Graduate Dean for you to be officially admitted to candidacy. Once you have completed these forms and have obtained all the signatures, the forms should be submitted to the PhD Office where it will be signed by the Associate Dean of the College of Business and then sent to the Graduate College for the signature of the Dean of the Graduate College. f. Dissertation Guidelines: When you are working on your dissertation, you should follow the guidelines for the dissertation, which can be accessed from the FAU website:

g. Graduation Deadlines: As you anticipate defending your dissertation and graduating, you must pay careful attention to the various deadlines as established by the Graduate College. To view important deadlines and information about your graduation term, visit:


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