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5 Questions with Faculty: Aaron Brauner

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 8, 2017) — Aaron Brauner is an assistant professor of Finance in the School of Business. Three months into his career at UAlbany, he is thrilled to be back home.
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Aaron Brauner, the son of two UAlbany alumni, joined the faculty of the School of Business in August. 

“I grew up in the area and both my parents attended UAlbany so I have a strong connection to the region,” Brauner said. “That connection combined with the great reputation of the University and the collegiality within the business school are what drew me to UAlbany.”

What are you working on now?

My area of research is international corporate finance. This field examines the impact of legal, economic and political environments on corporate policy decisions. Specifically, I explore the effects that these national institutions have on firms’ use of financial markets and their choices of funding sources.

It’s an exciting time to be in this area because we finally have sufficient economic data from emerging economies to do studies that would have previously been limited to a handful of developed countries. In an increasingly globalized world, these cross-country studies are more relevant today than ever before.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

My hand was forced by the financial crisis. I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and economics when the financial crisis hit in 2008-2009. As I watched the world economy crumble and the job market for recent graduates evaporate, I wanted to know how and why this catastrophe happened. There were also no job prospects for recent college graduates in the middle of a recession which made graduate school an easy decision. Several years and one doctorate degree later, here I am.

If you weren’t teaching at a university, what would you be doing?

I am a current events and policy guy, so I would probably have sought out employment as an economist with the federal government or an international institution. My research interests reflect this as I overlap with a lot of the research coming out of agencies like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

Corporate Finance is my favorite class to teach because it is the first time the students get exposed to the nitty gritty details of running a business. The class should really be called business finance. In this course, the students put all the pieces together that they’ve learned separately to this point in business school. It is great to see the students grasp how the lessons they learned in other courses can be applied to running a business.

Who is someone that has influenced you?

My advisor in my master’s program showed me what a rewarding career academia is and encouraged me to pursue it. He took me under his wing and made me a part of his research group. He also helped me navigate applying to PhD programs. Without that guidance and advice I doubt I would be where I am today.

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