Born and raised in Singapore, Lakshmi Balasubramanyan received her Bachelor and Master of Arts in Economics degrees from the National University of Singapore. In 2003, she moved to the United States and enrolled at Penn State University, where she graduated with her Master of Science in Finance and Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Economics degrees.
Balasubramanyan joined the Weatherhead School of Management in 2017, after spending six years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
A couple of years into teaching as an assistant professor of banking and finance, Balasubramanyan began to notice her undergraduate finance students were missing something.
“When you look at the finance industry, a lot of women make it into entry-level positions right after graduation, but what is challenging is for women to move up in their roles,” Balasubramanyan said. “I knew there was a Women in Economics
student club that was forming, so I thought there should be one for finance too.”
In the fall of 2020, Balasubramanyan championed the start of the Women in Finance club
to help students receive a better understanding of their career opportunities in finance and leverage their skill sets to achieve their goals. This is done through hosting alumni and guest speaker events, resume editing and networking meetings.
“When women see other women being successful, that’s the best role modeling you can have. Seeing is believing you can do it too,” Balasubramanyan said. “And a lot of men join too, it’s not just exclusively for women.”
Balasubramanyan has remained the faculty advisor for Women in Finance and has helped the student-led organization continue to be a resource for finance students.
Among other successes in the school, Balasubramanyan was recently nominated for two major undergraduate awards: the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring.
From sharing what her greatest reward in teaching is to her favorite outdoor activity in Cleveland, get to know more about Balasubramanyan.
What was your favorite part of the spring semester?
Getting back to in-person learning and having a classroom full of students. I was very happy to get back into the groove and be able to teach a large class and introduce the materials for in-person learning.
What is something exciting you worked on this year?
An exciting project this year was for my advanced analytics class. We had a partnership with KeyBank called, “Adopt a Class,” where representatives from KeyBank came to our classroom and presented on industry projects to my students. The first project was looking at how banks think about climate risk, especially due to climate change. They focused on how you factor climate change and climate risk into risk management practices.
What has been your greatest challenge and greatest reward so far with teaching?
The greatest challenge has been putting together remote learning materials during the pandemic and then having to come back to in-class learning and weaning off the remote-learning style. The greatest reward is interacting with students. When they come back after graduation and tell me how successful they’ve been and how they’re navigating through their career journey … it’s very rewarding.
What are some of your favorite things about Cleveland?
The Cleveland Metroparks! I enjoy hiking with my son and husband. One of our favorite hiking trails is to Blue Hen Falls and it always looks so different as the scenery changes with the seasons.
What do you love most about Case Western Reserve University?
It’s not about the bottom line or another meeting or statistic. It’s about another human being, another person, another student. I feel proud to go to work every day knowing that my teaching and interaction impacts another human being. What we do and say is going to shape their future in some form of manner. The work is very meaningful and fulfilling.
Learn more about Lakshmi Balasubramanyan