Center for Financial Studies

Fosters high-quality research and learning.

The Center for Financial Studies (CFS) of the Lally School of Management strives to foster highest-quality research and learning in the fields of financial engineering, risk management, corporate finance, financial intermediation, and capital markets.  To that end, the Center produces industry events, hosts and participates in national competitions, provides professional training and data repositories, conducts workshops, and guides research opportunities.

CFS Workshops and Seminars

Current Seminars

  • December 6, 2017 - “Universal Demand Laws and the Monitoring Device Role of Accounting Conservatism,” with Feng Chen, Ph.D., Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. The event will be held from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. on the Rensselaer campus in the Pittsburgh Building, Room 4114.

Previous CFS Workshop

  • May 5, 2017 - Quantitative Finance and Risk Analytics Workshop 2017 - Watch the video - Learn more here - In this one-day workshop, hosted by the Center for Financial Studies (CFS),  attendees learned and networked with top academics and industry experts in the financial industry, specifically in the areas of quantitative investments and risk management. 

Previous CFS Research Series Seminars

  • November 10, 2017 - "The Changing Landscape of Accrual Accounting: Implications for Operating Cash Flow Predictability," with Mani Sethuraman, Ph.D., Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Business, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 
  • November 3, 2017 - “The Lifecycle Effects of Firm Takeover Defenses,” with William C. Johnson ’95, Ph.D., Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University, Boston, Mass. 
  • October 3, 2017 - “Portfolio Optimization with Industry Return Prediction Models,” with Wolfgang Bessler, Ph.D., Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany. 
  • September 15, 2017 - "Wisdom of the Employee Crowd: Employer Reviews and Stock Returns," with Dexin Zhou, Ph.D., Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, New York, New York. 
  • March 29, 2017 - “The Multilayer Structure of the Financial System," with Dror Kenett, Ph.D., U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Financial Research, Washington, D.C. 
  • March 3, 2017 - "Credit Default Swaps and Bond Issuance Cost,” with Cihan Uzmanoglu, Ph.D., School of Management, SUNY Binghamton University, Binghamton, N.Y. 
  • February 22, 2017 - “Interest Rate Swap Market Complexity and Its Volatility Implication,” with Steve Yang, Ph.D., School of Systems and Enterprises, Steven Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. 
  • February 17, 2017 - “Volatility Forecasting: The Role of Internet Search Activity and Implied Volatility,” with Marketa Wolfe, Ph.D., Department of Economics, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 
  • January 31, 2017 - "Real Activities Management and Volatility of Operating Cash Flows: The Impact of Enterprise Systems,” with Alfred Liu, Ph.D., School of Business, University of Albany, Albany, N.Y. 
  • November 10, 2016 - "A New Non-Convex Optimization Approach (HOPE) for High Dimensional Regression in Genomic Subset Selection,” with Professor Yuji Nakagawa, Faculty of Informatics, Kansai University, Osaka, Japan.  
  • November 10, 2016 - "Product Market Peers in Lending: Information Processing Efficiencies and Proprietary Costs,” with Gaetano Gus De Franco, Ph.D., B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
  • November 9, 2016 - “The Value of Hot News: Intellectual Property and the Sell-Side Research Industry,” with Jonathan E. Clarke, Ph.D., Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga.  
  • November 2, 2016 - "CAP COM, A Case Study for Success," with Ms. Paula Stopera, President/CEO, CAP COM Federal Credit Union.  

Previous CFS Industry Speaker Series Seminars

  • November 15, 2017 - “A Public Pension Plan Overview,” with Fred Herrmann, CFA, CPA, managing director of public equities and Paul Cummins, CFA, manager of quantitative strategies. Both speakers are from the New York State Teachers' Retirement System in Albany, New York. 
  • October 6, 2017 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. - "Emerging Trend: Alternative Data for Investment," with Le Yan, Ph.D., senior quantitative researcher, Thasos Group, New York, New York. 
  • April 19, 2017 - “Energy Sector: Opportunities and Challenges in Electric Industry Sector is a Vital Part of Every Economy, ” with Ms. Narmada Nanjundan, Director of Risk, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Winchester, KY. The event is from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Low 3051, Rensselaer Campus.
  • March 8, 2017 - “Holistic Cognitive Banking: Knowledge Digitalization is the Next Asset Class, ” with Mr. Paolo Sironi, FinTech Thought Leader, IBM Watson Financial Services, Frankfurt, Germany. 
  • March 1, 2017 - “Factor Models in Equity Portfolio Management,” with Dr. Vijay Chopra, managing director of international equities, Lebenthal Asset Management, New York, N.Y. 
  • October 26, 2016 - "Leveraging Modeling and Analytical Techniques for Credit Card Business,” with Mr. Sharad Kumar ’02.   
  • October 18, 2016 - "Preparing for a Risk Career," with Dr. Lisa S. Ponti, Head of Academic and Regulatory Outreach, Global Association of Risk Professionals. 

Vision, Mission, and SMART Strategy

The vision of CFS is to become:
A leading educational center that promotes and facilitates technology-enabled and data-driven solutions for relevant and difficult decision problems in the financial services industry.
The mission of the CFS is to:
Actively participate and foster partnerships in education and innovation in addressing problems of
mitigating risks and other challenges facing the financial industry, particularly, with respect to credit and investment risk, regulatory and corporate issues, and spill-over of financial risks to other parts of the economy.
To accomplish these by 2024, several strategic thrusts (code-named SMART for Synergy, Meaningful,
Advanced, Raise, and Training) are identified:
  • Synergistic collaboration among Lally and non-Lally constituents, through CFS-based faculty affiliations and industry-partnered projects
  • Meaningful dissemination and sharing of knowledge and discovery that can impact the best practices, through topic-specific workshops and CFS participation
  • Advancement of the technological infrastructure of CFS (in hardware, software, and data access) to facilitate comprehensive solutions to financial problems
  • Raising the awareness of CFS among all students to promote wider participation for industry exposure and knowledge discovery, and in leveraging existing technological skills in a wider student population
  • Training, education, and certification of young talent in facing and mitigating tomorrow's challenges in the global financial landscape.

Research, Support, and Partnerships

CFS focuses on research related to quantitative finance, risk management, corporate finance, and capital markets. We support faculty and student research via: 
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Interaction with industry and professional bodies
  • A repository for financial data, software, and other research-related facilities at the Lally School 
CFS supports student research and hands-on experience at all levels via:
  • Technology and computer lab
  • Financial and statistics software
  • Trading lab, access to a variety of financial databases, and literature
  • Library
  • Bloomberg terminal
CFS provides a variety of interactions with industry via: 
  • Professional organizations
  • IAQF: International Association for Quantitative Finance
  • GARP: Global Association of Risk Professional
  • CQA Investment Challenge
  • Industry speaker series
  • Career fair (IAQF - end of October)
  • GARP events


CFS Training Opportunities


Student Challenges and Competitions

  • CFS Financial Modeling Competition 
  • IAQF Modeling Competition (National-level event) 
  • CQA Challenge (National-level event)
  • GARP Masters Research Fellowship (International opportunity)
  • CFA Research Challenge and CAIA activities
  • The Buttonwood Debate

Affiliations: Faculty and Industry

CFS Director:

Professor Chanaka Edirisinghe
The Kay and Jackson Tai ’72 Chair and Director of the Center for Financial Studies
Rensselaer Lally School of Management

Affiliated Faculty

Associate Professor Aparna Gupta
Director of the M.S. in Quantitative Finance and Risk Analytics Program
Rensselaer Lally School of Management

Rensselaer Department of Computer Science