Texas Tech University

Ph.D. Alumni Spotlight: Nga Nguyen

Kaitlin York

Nga Nguyen


How did the Rawls College prepare you for a successful professorship at Marquette University?

Marquette University and other similar schools value candidates who can balance both teaching and research. My experience at the Rawls College prepared me to balance and manage both teaching and research expectations. I started teaching in my second year in the program which improved my teaching skills.

In terms of research, my first experience was to work with a Rawls College professor as a research assistant which I started from day one as a Ph.D. student. I also took several finance seminar classes which exposed me to different topics in finance. This was especially helpful in narrowing down a research area of interest. I also attended the regular finance department seminar series which provided the opportunity to see current research presented by scholars from other universities. My best experience, however, was working on my summer papers and class projects that could be turned into working papers.

What research projects did you work on as a Rawls College Ph.D. student?

Incentives, Termination Payments, and CEO Contracting (with Stuart L. Gillan). Journal of Corporate Finance 41, 445-465. (started as a summer paper). 

On the compensation and activity of corporate boards. Journal of Corporate Finance 29, 1–19. (One of my dissertation essays)

The information content of option ratios (with Ben Blau and Ryan Whitby). Journal of Banking and Finance 43, 179–187.

What teaching opportunities were you awarded and how did they help shape you as a teacher?

I taught the same class several times starting from my second year in the program. The ability to develop a course and then improve it over time was a valuable experience and prepared me for the academic job market. Several professors took time to visit the class and provided helpful feedback. I also received the Teaching Effectiveness and Career Enhancement (TEACH) Scholarship which allowed me to participate in teaching programs and further develop my teaching skills.

What advice do you have for students deciding where to pursue their Ph.D.?

Talk to the professor who is in charge of the PhD. Program and those whom you want to work with to get more information. Also, talk to senior Ph.D. students in the program to get their perspective, a sense of collegiality among students and insights as whether the culture of the program is a good fit for you.

What do you believe were the best aspects of the Rawls College Ph.D. program?

Having the opportunity to work with faculty and students who had a passion for teaching and research was the best aspect of the program.

How were your interactions with fellow Ph.D. students and Rawls faculty as a student, and do you continue to have relationships with them now?

I made several good friends with both finance and non-finance Ph.D. students. I still keep in touch with many of them.

How have the experiences you gained at the Rawls College continue to impact your teaching and research today?

One of the biggest impacts in terms of research was to find areas that interested me. I was fortunate to be able to do that and work on joint projects with several professors. This was an invaluable opportunity to learn about the research process.