Beyond the financial numbers
“It was difficult to travel so far away from family, but the U.S. is the place to be for conducting cutting-edge research in finance.”
Jegadeesh, the Dean's Distinguished Chair in Finance at Goizueta, earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 1987. Jegadeesh previously received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management. He enjoyed growing up in India but knew the United States offered more opportunities for his career goals.
“It was difficult to travel so far away from family, but the U.S. is the place to be for conducting cutting-edge research in finance,” he said. “There was a little bit of a trade off, but here I am.”
This decision set him on the road to become a leading expert in the field of finance. Since getting his PhD, Jegadeesh has been on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California at Los Angeles before he arrived at Emory. Jegadeesh has been published in several leading finance journals, including the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics and the Review of Financial Studies.
“I did not expect this magnitude of impact, but both [my work gets] cited often even after 25 years.”
One of his more noteworthy accomplishments is a theory called “momentum” that he developed along with Sheridan Titman in 1993. They found that stock prices were a bit slow in reacting to new information and as a result a long-short strategy that purchases past winners and sells past losers earns significant profits. Subsequent research has uncovered momentum in virtually every market studied, including commodities, currencies, stocks, and bonds, and over wide-ranging periods.
Momentum has not only stood the test of time since it was released, it has flourished, and Jegadeesh’s momentum paper has well over 10,000 citations on Google Scholar. Jegadeesh explained that the evidence was persistent and robust, and it got a lot of attention from both academics and practitioners. He finds the crossover nature of his research tremendously satisfying.
He said he was “absolutely happy” that the paper got so much attention.
“I’ve written a number of papers,” he said. “You never know how much of an impact you’ll have when you start work on a project. I thought, ‘this one will have an impact,’ but I thought the same thing about some other papers that I wrote around the same. I did not expect this magnitude of impact, but both this paper and the paper from my dissertation get cited often even after 25 years.”
A guiding principle of Jegadeesh’s career is curiosity, the force that led him from India. He tells his students to be curious, find something that’s interesting and follow your passion.
“Pursue your research with passion.”
Jegadeesh also tells his students, “Early on, have a clear idea about what you are trying to do. Define your objectives, which may not be as straightforward as you may think when you actually try to write them down. What would be the takeaway if you find support for your hypotheses, and why is this takeaway interesting? Pursue your research with passion. Don’t stop in the middle.”
Jegadeesh welcomes the attention he has received from the industry, but he prefers the flexibility that academia offers to pursue his research interest, and he enjoys teaching and interacting with students. At Goizueta, he appreciates the vibrant and collegial atmosphere and the opportunity to interact and collaborate with top-notch people who share similar interests and values.
He has worked as a consultant for hedge funds and an institutional fund, and he also served as an expert witness. Jegadeesh says that “I really enjoy applying my research ideas, and what I learned from research to consulting, and see how that works in the real world.”