1. What was your role during your internship?
I was selected into the Summer Research Program in
Columbia Business School last year, and from June 2nd to
August 3rd, I spent two months at Columbia Business School
as a research assistant for Professor Patrick Bolton and
Professor Neng Wang.
The Summer Research Program (SRP) hosted by Columbia
Business School is a fully-funded research program that only
seeks exceptional undergraduate or graduate students to
engage in a variety of research projects, including possible
projects in the areas of finance, economics, marketing, management,
accounting, decision making, risk management,
and operations management. During the program, interns
work with faculty and other researchers at Columbia Business
School on a summer-long research project, gaining valuable
experience in applying analytical and quantitative skills.
My job was to work on the “Book Project on Corporate
Finance Theory” with Professor Patrick Bolton and Professor
Neng Wang. The aim of the project is to publish a new PhD
level textbook in corporate finance.
Right now, the only PhD level book on Corporate Finance
is written by Professor Jean Tirole. This classic book – unifying
fragmented topics in corporate finance into one clear,
accessible framework and enormously enhancing people’s
understanding about corporate finance – was however not
tied directly to the traditional valuation-based corporate
finance course taught in business schools. So there is still a
demand out there from researchers, doctoral students, and
instructors. The two professors’ research interests in corporate
finance naturally lent themselves to this project, as they see a
clear dovetail between research and teaching.
This new book attempts to present classic materials (tax
and incentive problems) in a systematic way and introduce
recent research progress in dynamic corporate finance. I was
required to work on literature and lecture notes, provide
feedback and convert lecture notes into preliminary draft
chapters. Much of my work involved in dealing with deep
models at PhD level.
2. How did your experience at TSE help you on the job?
The M1 courses I learnt in TSE, especially game theory and
incentive theory, helped me a lot during the internship.
Corporate finance theory is closely related to contract theory.
With what I learnt in TSE, I was able to deal with advanced
models in the lecture notes. Besides, rigorous training on
quantitative methods in TSE allowed me to learn advanced
materials quickly. This was quite helpful when I began to
work on dynamic corporate finance theory, a totally new
topic for me.
3. How did you get the internship? Do you have any advice
for students wanting to find one in that field?
Well, I actually found information about this internship on
a social network site. Then I went to CBS’s homepage and
applied. After two rounds of selection, I was in. So, use
Facebook or Renren wisely, and you will be surprised!
Again, what I learnt in TSE was very helpful during the
interview. I was able to answer three-quarters of the
questions regarding R and game theory. So I would suggest
students who want to find RA positions ensure they really
understand the material taught in class. Finally, I guess (just a
guess) that TSE’s reputation and its connection with Professor
Bolton helped me in terms of receiving the final offer.