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Executive Education - April 22, 2008

Interview with Frédéric Ducoulombier

In this month's interview, we speak to Frédéric Ducoulombier, Associate Professor of Finance at EDHEC Business School and Director of EDHEC Asset Management Education about the recent launch of EDHEC's PhD in Finance.

Frédéric Ducoulombier

Why has EDHEC decided to create the PhD in Finance programme and how is a PhD relevant for finance professionals?

Frédéric Ducoulombier: EDHEC Business School believes that academic research has a vital role to play in promoting innovation and constantly raising professional standards. The PhD in Finance it has organised in conjunction with the EDHEC Risk and Asset Management Research Centre is the culmination of this ambition.

The purpose of the PhD in Finance at EDHEC Business School is to help outstanding individuals become autonomous researchers and lifelong innovators by enabling them to develop the scientific background and skills required to define, conduct and complete research projects that advance knowledge and practices in the financial industry.

Doctoral studies hone a lifelong ability to approach issues scientifically and to research them thoroughly. As such, they are a critical step for practitioners who strive for constant learning and progression in their field.

What are the advantages of the programme?

Frédéric Ducoulombier: The key benefits of the EDHEC PhD in Finance are its outstanding faculty, its balanced structure, its supportive research environment, its talented and diverse participant body, and the first-rate industry relationships and global impact of the EDHEC Risk and Asset Management Research Centre. These combine to create the best opportunities for participants to hone their research expertise and prepare to shape the future of the financial industry.

How can one participate in the programme?

Frédéric Ducoulombier: The programme is uniquely offered in two tracks: a “residential track” for high-potential graduate students who will hold part-time research or teaching positions at EDHEC Business School, and an “executive track” for high-level practitioners who will keep their full-time jobs. Executive track participants will typically undertake the PhD in Finance as a critical development step towards senior positions in the financial industry, while residential track participants will generally complete doctoral studies to access academic careers in leading research and educational institutions.

How is the programme structured?

Frédéric Ducoulombier: The programme balances coursework and the dissertation to help participants acquire the tools, attitudes, and experience to develop into autonomous researchers and innovators.

The four core courses impart a thorough knowledge of financial theory and its literature and a solid comprehension of advanced analytical and research methods in financial economics. PhD candidates select five or more elective seminars and attend research workshops and presentations to acquire an intimate and detailed understanding of the most recent theoretical and modelling advances in their field of specialisation. Participants work closely with faculty and alongside the EDHEC Risk and Asset Management Research Centre to author insightful dissertations that advance financial knowledge and practices and are worthy of publication in scientific journals.

By concentrating core courses and elective seminars into residential weeks, extending the classroom over the Internet for research workshops and presentations, and adapting dissertation supervision to individual circumstances, the programme creates a rich collaborative environment amongst all the participants and close working relationships between PhD candidates and faculty. Timely completion of this challenging and rewarding programme demands that participants commit approximately 20 hours per week to readings, assignments, and independent research.

How will the programme function for active professionals?

Frédéric Ducoulombier: Residential requirements are kept to a minimum—42 days over three years—by concentrating core courses into four separate weeks, delivering elective seminars over three consecutive days in weekly blocks, and using EDHEC Business School’s state-of-the-art virtual classroom for monthly research workshops.

Core courses are given every year so that missed modules may be made up, and the portfolio of electives offered over the second and third years of the programme allows doctoral candidates to select seminars that fit their professional objectives and constraints.

Close individual work with faculty is an important part of the programme’s research coaching approach. The dissertation adviser is a world-class scholar selected for his expertise in the candidate’s field of specialisation and is responsible for advising the candidate throughout the research process, from the choice of elective seminars to the dissertation defence. Dissertation advisers commit to providing regular electronic feedback to their advisees and to offering at least two opportunities for live meetings in Europe every year.

What return on investment can a sponsoring company expect?

Frédéric Ducoulombier: Sponsoring organisations will benefit from the learning experience of their executives, whose critical thinking and analytical and research skills, enhanced by doctoral studies, will be of considerable value. With the dissertation, they will benefit from scientific research on issues of particular relevance to their business and will witness evidence of their executives’ newly acquired abilities to promote innovation in processes and products.

The programme requires exceptional dedication, but its career impact and the satisfaction of subsequent work and research on the frontiers of knowledge and professional practices will be ample reward for those who make this commitment.

About Frédéric Ducoulombier

Frédéric Ducoulombier has been a full-time faculty member of EDHEC Business School since 2002. He currently serves as deputy to the school’s Director of Research and heads EDHEC Asset Management Education. Over the last ten years, he has held positions in programme design, management, and internationalisation, and has taught finance in France and China. At EDHEC, he has unified the operations of the various MSc courses and now helps implement the school’s innovative research policy. He joined the EDHEC Risk and Asset Management Research Centre in late 2004 to launch its executive education operation which now serves hundreds of organisations throughout Europe. He holds an MSc in Management from Iéseg School of Management and a graduate certificate in East Asian Studies from Université de Montréal/McGill University as well as the Chartered Alternative Investment AnalystSM designation.

Find out more about the PhD in Finance, executive track at our next information sessions: Paris: 13 May 2008 – London: 21 May 2008 – New York: 10 July 2008

To reserve your place, please email maud.gauchon@edhec-risk.com or call us on +33 493 183 267

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EDHEC PhD in Finance