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Gabelli PhD students embark on scholarly journey

Graduate | Sep 09, 2016 |
From left, Iftekhar Hasan, director of the PhD program; PhD students Jitendra Aswani, Joon Ho Kong, , and Joseph Micale; and Gabelli School Dean Donna Rapaccioli.

From left, Iftekhar Hasan, director of the PhD program; PhD students Jitendra Aswani, Joon Ho Kong, and Joseph Micale; and Gabelli School Dean Donna Rapaccioli.

The first three students in the new PhD program joined the Gabelli School of Business community in late August.

Their arrival was a celebration of sorts: the culmination of a dream of the Gabelli School faculty that was advanced by Dean Donna Rapaccioli and program director Iftekhar Hasan, PhD, among others.

The students’ path to admission was an arduous process, as they were challenged to prove their potential to be the next generation of business researchers and educators. Their work is far from over. They are entering an intensive five-year program, and they are expected to excel.

The three students have varied backgrounds.

Joon Ho Kong, from Seoul, South Korea, did his undergraduate work at Emory University, where he majored in mathematics and economics. He then earned his master’s degree in economics from Virginia Tech. Interested in wage inequality and capital structures, Kong is looking forward to the research aspect of the program.

Jitendra Aswani has a undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the National Institutes of Technology in his home nation of India. His experience at an oil company convinced him of the importance of economics studies, and he returned to school, getting a master of philosophy degree from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research. He did research there on worldwide financial crises and hopes to extend his inquiry at Fordham into how behavioral economics and finance intersect.

Joseph Micale is a Staten Island native who received both is bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from SUNY Binghamton. A runner who has completed several half marathons, Micale chose Fordham because he was excited to be part of a new program and because of the university’s location in New York City.

“These students stood out for their potential to shape the world’s future understanding of the subjects they study,” Dean Rapaccioli said.

“To be admitted to this program, students had to be the best of the best,” she explained. “We looked not only at their prior academic performance, but also the content and quality of the curricula they had completed, to make sure they were really up to the challenge.”

The PhD program is designed to develop scholars and researchers who will contribute to the academic body of knowledge and theory in two areas: capital markets and strategy/decision-making. Funding for the program came from Mario Gabelli, BS ’65, founder of the investing firm GAMCO and the man after whom the Gabelli School of Business is named.

Hasan also thanked Provost Stephen Freedman and his staff for the support they provided for the program.

Kong said he appreciated the opportunity to learn from Fordham’s “great faculty” and was excited to get started.

Then, he said words that must have been music to Hasan’s ears:

“I’m so ready to work hard.”

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