Finance

The field of finance covers the economics of claims on resources. Financial economists study the valuation of these claims, the markets in which they are traded, and their use by individuals, corporations, and the society at large.

At Stanford GSB, finance faculty and doctoral students study a wide spectrum of financial topics, including the pricing and valuation of assets, the behavior of financial markets, and the structure and financial decision-making of firms and financial intermediaries.

Investigation of issues arising in these areas is pursued both through the development of theoretical models and through the empirical testing of those models. The PhD Program is designed to give students a good understanding of the methods used in theoretical modeling and empirical testing.

Preparation and Qualifications

All students are required to have, or to obtain during their first year, mathematical skills at the level of one year of calculus and one course each in linear algebra and matrix theory, theory of probability, and statistical inference.

Students are expected to have adequate programming skills using languages such as Fortran, C, MATLAB, or GAUSS, or to correct any deficiencies before enrolling at Stanford.

The PhD Program in finance involves a great deal of very hard work, and there is keen competition for admission. For both these reasons, the faculty is selective in offering admission. Prospective applicants must have an aptitude for quantitative work and be at ease in handling formal models. A strong background in economics and college-level mathematics is desirable.

It is particularly important to realize that a PhD in finance is not a higher-level MBA, but an advanced, academically oriented degree in financial economics, with a reflective and analytical, rather than operational, viewpoint.

Recent Journal Articles in Finance

Saumitra Jha, Moses Shayo
Econometrica. December
2019
Samuel Antill, Steven Grenadier
Journal of Financial Economics. July
2019, Vol. 133, Issue 1, Pages 198-224
Hanno Lustig, Adrien Verdelhan
American Economic Review. June
2019, Vol. 109, Issue 6, Pages 2208-2244

Recent Insights by Stanford Business

July 22, 2019
With states competing fiercely for business, even small increases in corporate rates will spur some firms to pull up stakes.
The production line sits permanently shut-down, Credit: Reuters/Rebecca Cook
July 12, 2019
Anat R. Admati explains why our financial system still struggles with misconduct.
Anat R. Admati, Credit: Nancy Rothstein
July 11, 2019
A field experiment used fake emails to measure gender and racial bias among startup investors.
Entrepreneurs work on their projects at Nailab, a Kenyan firm that supports technology startups, Credit: iStock/monkeybusinessimages