Current PhD Students
Samuel W. Adams joined the finance PhD program in August 2019. His research focuses on bank risk management and the regulation of financial institutions. His working papers have been presented at conferences such as the Financial Management Association, Eastern Finance Association, Southern Finance Association and the World Finance and Banking Symposium. Outside of banking, Adams’ research on zero-commission trading and retail order execution costs has been cited by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Congressional Research Service and was a semi-finalist for Best Paper in Market Microstructure at the 2022 Financial Management Association conference. He received a M.S. in quantitative financial economics from Oklahoma State University and a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Arkansas. Outside of academia, Adams has industry experience as a buy-side fixed income analyst and has passed the CFA level I certification exam.
David Andrews joined the Haslam finance Ph.D. program in the fall of 2022. He received his B.A. in economics with a concentration in Chinese language from Elon University of North Carolina in 2019. Outside of academia, Andrews worked as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual, primarily helping clients achieve financial planning goals and introducing them to available personal finance tools. He also worked as a data analyst for ABB Inc's procurement department, primarily documenting the costs and hedging of materials such as steel, copper and aluminum during the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic's economic downturn. He also engaged in entrepreneurial efforts in the realm of education and content creation by both founding a tutoring service during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a multi-platform entertainment brand based on YouTube where he offered coaching and analysis for competitive gaming. Adams’ research interests include asset pricing, behavioral finance, crypto currency and alternative markets such as collectibles and commodities.
Dipesh Bhattarai joined the doctoral finance program in August 2019. His research interests center around corporate governance, particularly shareholder activism and the board of directors. His working papers have been presented at conferences such as the Financial Intermediation Research Society, Drexel Corporate Governance Conference, European Corporate Governance Institute Corporate Governance Symposium, Eastern Finance Association, Financial Management Association and Southern Finance Association. Additionally, one of Bhattarai’s working papers was featured in the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog. He is also interested in the applications of machine learning and natural language processing in corporate governance research. Bhattarai received an MBA from Mississippi State University and a B.B.A. with specialization in banking and finance from Pokhara University, Nepal.
Tim Dong is currently a third-year finance doctoral student. He has a background in programming and computational finance. Before coming to Haslam, Dong completed in internship as an auditor and worked for a hedge fund as a part-time consultant. He earned his MSc of computational finance from Rochester Institute of Technology. Dong’s research interests include cryptoeconomics (cryptocurrencies and their economics systems), decentralized finance and trust in financial systems. He often utilizes game theory and econometrics in his research. Dong’s papers have been accepted to crypto-focused conferences such as Crypto Economics Security Conference (UC Berkeley) and UWA Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.
Zhengzhuo (Zyaire) Li is currently in his third year as a finance Ph.D. Before joining the program, he worked as an accounting graduate research assistant at Wake Forest University, where he obtained his M.S. in business analytics. Additionally, LI holds a B.S. in management from Tulane University, with dual majors in finance and marketing. His research primarily focuses on empirical corporate finance, with a special emphasis on areas such as corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and innovation. He seeks to address pivotal questions related to corporate entities, aiming to provide insights that enhance decision-making processes.
Banks Osborne is a fourth-year PhD candidate who joined the finance program in August 2020. He previously worked as a data scientist and an instructor of statistics while earning his M.S. in mathematics at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he also earned his B.A. in economics and B.S in mathematics. Outside of academia, Osborne worked as a statistical consultant. His research centers on how cyber risk influences firms and financial markets, and his dissertation seeks to expand understanding of how cyberattacks affect stakeholders of targeted entities. More broadly, Osborne also enjoys researching topics related to financial technology and regulatory issues.
Wenxuan (Laura) Sun
Wenxuan Sun is a second-year Ph.D. student. She joined the doctoral finance program in August 2022. Sun holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Xi'an International Studies University and a master’s degree in quantitative finance and risk analytics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prior to her doctoral studies, Sun worked as a credit analyst, gaining valuable experience in financial modeling and credit risk assessment. Her research interests include corporate finance and corporate governance. Within the domain of corporate finance, Sun delves into subjects including capital structure and strategies for risk management. Simultaneously, her passion for corporate governance leads her to explore governance mechanisms and their influence on firm performance.