Talking with … Emma Peng

Emma PengBy Victoria Cleveland, BS ’18

Have you had Emma Peng for accounting? If not, here’s your chance to learn about this member of the Gabelli School of Business faculty. Here is our conversation with this associate professor of accounting and taxation, edited only for space and clarity.


Q. Tell us about your job and what you do at the Gabelli School of Business.

A. My job is similar to the rest of the faculty members. We do three things: teaching, research, and service. I teach Principles of Managerial Accounting and Principles of Financial Accounting on the undergraduate level. I’ve been here for 11 years and have taught MBA and MS courses, too.

I spend lots of time doing research, which is the thing you need for tenure. So I teach, but most of my time is dedicated to research and service.

I participated in developing the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center, and because there is no accounting major or concentration there, I assisted with developing the healthcare management concentration. If you have that concentration, you will pretty much be guaranteed a job.


Q. What did you do before working at Fordham?

A. I was a student. I went to college in China, at Peking University. Right after graduation, I was offered a job at PwC in the Beijing office, but I also received an offer to come to the United States for a PhD in accounting. I chose the PhD. After I got my PhD from University of Oregon, I came here.

I like New York. I am Chinese, and my husband is also Chinese, so we wanted to find a place that had a lot of diversity. That was really important to us.


Q. Do you enjoy working with students? What do you find surprising or interesting about it?

A. I previously advised three students in their honors theses and found that very interesting. The students had very good ideas. One finance student was interested in mergers and acquisitions; I do compensation research, so the student did a study on whether or not CEO compensation was affected by whether their companies’ mergers or acquisitions failed.


Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your past research projects?

A. One paper of mine that has been cited a lot is about bank CEO compensation. CEOs receive a salary and a cash bonus as well as stock options. In addition, they have perks, such as a corporate jet.

What we said in that paper is that there was a big change in banks around 2007. Prior to 2000, commercial banks were not allowed to do any investment banking services. They couldn’t underwrite bonds and securities, and they couldn’t do insurance. Then, a very famous act, the Financial Institution Modernization Act of 1999, allowed commercial banks into investment banking. What we found is that bank CEOs’ compensation packages also changed a lot around this time. They started being given more stock options to motivate them to take more risks. This was more true for big banks.


Q. What do you like to do in your time away from work?

A. [Spend time with] my two sons. They are 1 and 4 years old. They are both in day care, but I have to keep very active with them when we are home, because they are always running around.


Lightning round

Q. What food is your guilty pleasure?
A. Chocolate mousse cake.

Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. The Shawshank Redemption.

Q. Where is the farthest place you’ve traveled?
A. I’ve been to three countries: China, the United States, and Canada. Alaska is farthest I’ve been.

Q. What famous person would you most like to have lunch with?
A. Warren Buffett

Q. What is your favorite spot in New York City?
A. All of the museums.


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