The Distinguished Professorship is awarded to a senior faculty member who has demonstrated excellence and international recognition in research and creative activity, together with significant and impactful leadership in raising standards of the University with respect to research or creative activity, teaching and service.
Low Tuck Kwong Professor
Professor Sumit Agarwal tackles the big problems that directly affect society, public policy, industry and academia – and with the global financial crisis, his work has influenced policy in the United States.
His research into the home lending market help set monetary policy, regulatory policy initiatives in the US such as the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Board. In Singapore, he says his research has helped local banks gain a better understanding of the benefits of relationship lending. He adds that one bank used his research to understand how balance transfer programmes work with regard to credit cards.
Prof Agarwal is the Vice-Dean of Research and the Low Tuck Kwong Professor at the School of Business, and a professor in the departments of Economics, Finance and Real Estate at NUS. Previously he was a senior economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
“Chaired professorships are fundamental in any university setting,” he says. “They provide multi-dimensional benefits. The Low Tuck Kwong chair focuses on the environment and energy. For me it is a huge leg-up as it helps me hire PhD students and cover expenses to conduct research.”
“Universities are constrained for money, so external sources of funding help us bridge the gap between what we would like to do and what we can do. With funding, we can conduct more fruitful and rigorous research. Chaired professorships are beneficial and we need more of them.”
He now works on a very broad set of research interests, from energy, environment, water conservation and transportation policy, to superstition and the role of policy experiments in real estate markets, and consumer credit and banking policies in Asia. Prof Agarwal also tackles the issues of corruption and financial inclusion in China and India.
To that end, ‘big data’ is helping research into insider trading by studying text messages that are sent before financial results are revealed. “Now you can actually study how these corrupt networks are formed and who trades on such information,” Prof Agarwal says.
Mr and Mrs Lin Jo Yan
Professor of Banking and Finance
Professor David Reeb takes on some of the hard questions in finance that often are ignored.
“You see companies such as Coca-Cola bring out new products and even though there is mandatory reporting of research and development, none of the research on how these new products are developed is revealed by these companies. The product just appears. Why is that?” he asks.
Prof Reeb is the Mr and Mrs Lin Jo Yan Professor of Banking and Finance, and a professor in the Department of Finance at NUS Business School, an editor at the Journal of International Business Studies, and a senior fellow of the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER). Previously he was the Fuller Senior Research Fellow at Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia.
“The chaired professorship allows you to think more broadly, much more about public policy and big picture issues,” Prof Reeb says. “Also, it’s an effective way to attract talented faculty to your university.”
Prof Reeb’s research ranges from founding-family ownership to the properties of mandatory disclosure rules, spanning the roles of information intermediaries to the efficacy of international financial regulation.
“The research unit’s role is critically important in getting people to focus on creating new knowledge,” he says. “Disseminating knowledge is relatively easy; creating knowledge is challenging. The universities we think of as really good universities are the ones that are very good at creating knowledge.”
“My job is to create new knowledge and to figure out what makes finance work.”
His current projects include investigating the impact of family ownership on financial misconduct, the organisational structure of financial analysts, the nature of missing innovation data, comparative bias in global R&D efficiency, and insider trading of corporate customers and suppliers.
“Most of my research has focused on finance and accounting but more of my forthcoming research will be more policy-oriented,” Prof Reeb says.
Lim Kim San Chair Professor
Research and teaching, with the aim of improving Asian societies, are important roles for NUS Business School, according to Professor Chang Sea-Jin.
Prof Chang says he tries to inspire the faculty through intellectual research leadership that helps both the academic community and the people who will use the findings.
He is the Lim Kim San Chair Professor of Business Administration at NUS Business School and previously was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Kumho Asiana Group Endowed Chair Professor at the School of Administration at Korea University. He also was a professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University.
“As a chaired professor, I get research funding from donors. This frees me from applying for research grants every year so that I will have more time to devote to research projects,” he says. “It gives me the freedom to think about more interesting topics. It is also a recognition and an honour, and people tend to take you more seriously.”
He adds that chaired professors enhance the Business School’s visibility by interacting with the wider community through media enquiries. Prof Chang has published extensively and is an exemplary scholar and a role model for the faculty, especially the junior ones.
“My research for the past 20 years has been on the corporate strategy of Asian companies in the context of global competition, especially in the Asian context,” Prof Chang says. “My current thesis is on how the strong local companies that have emerged out of China compete with the multinational companies.”
Prof Chang’s current research focuses on understanding the process of creating operating synergies in diversified lines of business and building strong local organisations after the entry of a foreign player.
His other research interests include organisational learning, corporate growth through joint ventures and acquisitions, foreign direct investment, and comparative management studies between Japan, Korea and China.
Ultimately Prof Chang says the emphasis at NUS Business School is on finding answers to questions today that have relevance for the future.