Q. After working as an electrical engineer, what influenced your decision to
move into the field of higher education and banking and finance?
A. I still think that electrical engineering is an interesting area. But I believed that studying and doing research on finance could be more relevant to our everyday lives, more interesting, and thus more rewarding. Differently from electrical engineering, finance is a study of the human behaviors in financial markets.
Q. What has been your greatest challenge and greatest reward so far with teaching?
A. Bringing abstract academic expertise into classroom and explaining it with concrete real-life examples are challenging. The greatest pleasure is to see that students in my class start to understand the important concepts of finance and how the prices of assets move.
Q. At what age did you leave South Korea to come to the United States? What do you miss about home and how often do you go back?
A. I came to the U.S. to pursue a PhD in electrical engineering right after I graduated from college. I miss my family and friends in Seoul where I grew up. I am trying to visit them at least once a year.
Q. Who or what has had an influence on your professional life?
A. My two academic advisors in electrical engineering taught me what the right attitudes that researchers/teachers should have. My academic advisors in finance reshuffled my brain and shaped my way of thinking as a financial economist. The interactions with my colleagues at Weatherhead and other schools have always influenced my professional life.
Q. What are some areas of research that most interest you? Are you working on anything currently?
A. My current research areas are empirical asset pricing, big data, econometrics and network. I have multiple working papers and research projects in these areas. I also use the knowledge that I have learned from my research in my teaching.
Q. You shared with us in a previous interview that you are not an early adopter of technology, despite your background. Why is that?
A. From my college education in electrical engineering, I have learned that the prices of cutting-edge electronic devices, e.g., cell phone and laptop, always drop a lot after one year. So if I can wait one year, I can enjoy electronic devices with the same and/or better features by paying cheaper prices. So the patience can be paid back.
Q. Tell us a bit about your family, what you enjoy doing in your personal life, etc.
A. I have parents and one elder sister who has a lovely nephew. All of them are in South Korea. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, watching TV shows and documentaries, and reading books. When I was in high school and college, I was crazy about math and physics. So I have read many books in these areas. Also I am interested both in western and eastern histories.