Earning Scholarly Dividends
Dr. Rohan Williamson was a graduate student at Ohio State University when an instructor in one of his advanced courses informed the students that one person had done much better on an exam than everyone else. Much to his surprise, Williamson was that “one person.”
“I always thought everyone else understood the coursework but me,” recalls Williamson. “… I assumed it was someone else, and yet I turned out to be that person. That moment made me realize I was just as good as anyone.” It would turn out to be a career-defining moment for him.
Williamson joined the faculty of the McDonough School of Business in 1997, teaching international finance to undergraduates, and advanced corporate finance to MBAs as well as courses at the executive level.
He says the best career advice he ever received was to “measure your success or performance on the market and not your institution.” Elaborating, Williamson says, “Don’t look around at your school and be content to say, ‘I’m doing as good as the people who are here.’ You should always ask yourself, ‘What are the best people in my field doing?’ It gives you flexibility on the market, so if you don’t like it where you are, you’ll then have options.”
Williamson is currently conducting research in the areas of corporate investment decisions, foreign exchange rate exposure, corporate liquidity and governance. His work has appeared in publications such as the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance and the National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series. Williamson was a co-recipient of the 1999 Michael Jensen Prize for the best paper published in the Journal of Financial Economics in the areas of corporate finance and organizations.
“The ongoing challenge in doing research is always coming up with new ideas,” Williamson says. “You’re always asking yourself, ‘Is this interesting to anyone else but me?’ It takes an ability to look at your own work objectively. If someone looks at your work and hates it, they’re not saying they hate your children.”
— By Kendra Hamilton
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