Spring 2021 Talks

“Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy”, February 24th

Featuring Talks by:

Chengkai Li, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, The University of Texas at Arlington
Dr. Chengkai Li leads The Innovative Data Intelligence Research (IDIR) Laboratory at the University of Texas at Arlington in conducting impactful interdisciplinary research in several areas related to big data intelligence and data science. His research interests span several areas related to big data intelligence and data science, including data management, data mining, natural language processing, machine learning, and their applications in computational journalism. He pioneered the field of computational fact-checking and has produced significant research on topics related to knowledge graphs. He also led a 20-organization multi-disciplinary team of researchers and partners from academia, governments and industry to conduct an NSF Convergence Accelerator project on Credible Open Knowledge Network which aims to ensure the credibility of decision-making software powered by knowledge graphs.

 

Moderator:

Sophia N. Johnson, Ph.D.
Program for Economic Research (PER), Columbia University

 

 

 

 


“Economics in Tech and the Energy Transition”, January 27th

Featuring Talks by:

Chantal Naidoo, Ph.D.
Associate Faculty, University of Sussex; Program Director, European Climate Foundation
“Financing Energy Transitions – Theory and Examples from South Africa”
Dr. Chantal Naidoo is the program director of an energy transitions program in South Africa, that is funded by the European Climate Foundation. She has worked in national development banks, investment banks and multilateral climate funds in South Africa and abroad. She holds a Ph.D. from the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex. Her research relates to the role of financial systems in sustainability transition processes, national development banks, financing strategies for climate action and rethinking finance theories for sustainability. Her publications include policy and academic articles.
Follow on Twitter: @naidoo_chantal

 

Megan Thomas, Ph.D.
Senior Economist, Featured Merchant Algorithm, Amazon 
“Application of Economics in Tech”
Dr. Megan D. Thomas completed her PhD in Development Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined Amazon as a junior economist on the Marketing Team. Since then she has expanded her experience to applying economics to business problems in the Alexa product space, Finance and recently in Optimization. She is now a senior economist on a team that optimizes to show customers the best offer for a product.

 

Moderator:

 

Sophia N. Johnson, Ph.D.
Program for Economic Research (PER), Columbia University

 

 

 

 


Fall 2020 Talks

“Why Do Tech Companies Hire So Many Economists?”, October 28th

Featuring Talks by:

Neal Ghosh
Neal Ghosh, Ph.D.
Senior Manager of Economics in Corporate Development, Amazon
Neal Ghosh is a Senior Manager of Economics at Amazon, where I’ve worked the last five years. During that time he has taken on roles in Hardware & Devices, Real Estate, and now Corporate Development. Prior to Amazon, Neal Ghosh was the head economist for an online marketing start-up in Austin TX that provides patient recruiting and engagement services for clinical trials. He began his career in economic forecasting and policy analysis for Macroeconomic Advisers, a consulting firm in Saint Louis, MO. Mr. Ghosh holds a PhD in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and MS Finance & BA economics from Washington University in St. Louis. He is also an amateur author, and have self-published multiple novels on Amazon.com.

 

Todd Maurer
President, The Versatile Ph.D.; Founder at Edunomix, LLC
“Unbundling Your PhD: Strategies for the Private Sector”
Todd is a seasoned entrepreneur, corporate advisor, analyst and banker with 20+ years of experience across the US and global Emerging Markets. He is President of Versatile PhD, a leading career technology platform for many of the world’s top research universities and graduate students, Founder of Edunomix, LLC, a global advisory firm focused on knowledge industries, a Partner at Educated Ventures.

 

Moderator:

Sophia N. Johnson, Ph.D.
Program for Economic Research (PER), Columbia University

 

 

 

 


“Why Do (Systematic) Asset Managers Hire Economists?”, November 11th

Featuring Talks by:

 

Adam RejAdam Rej, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Capital Fund Management (CFM)
Adam Rej is an Executive Director at Capital Fund Management. He completed his PhD at Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam and he held postdoctoral positions at Imperial College London, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and École Normal Supérieure in Paris. He joined CFM in 2014 and focuses on systematic global macro research.

 

David ThesmarProfessor David Thesmar
Franco Modigliani Professor of Financial Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management; Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
David Thesmar is the Franco Modigliani Professor of Financial Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research has been published widely in leading academic journals, and focuses on behavioral economics, corporate finance and asset management. He is currently a senior research advisor at Capital Fund Management.

Moderator:

Sophia N. Johnson, Ph.D.
Program for Economic Research (PER), Columbia University

 

 

 


“The Role of Economists in the Art Market”, December 2nd

Featuring Talks by:

 

Drew Watson
Senior Vice President, Art Services at Bank of America Private Bank
Drew Watson is Senior Vice President, Art Services Specialist at Bank of America Private Bank. Based in New York City, Drew has over 15 years of experience in art auction, art finance, and arts and cultural institutions. Drew leads client outreach for Art Services to offer art collectors, their families, and advisors a tailored suite of art banking services, including art lending, art planning, consignment services and arts nonprofit services.
Prior to joining Bank of America Private Bank (formerly U.S. Trust), Drew oversaw business operations, finance, and consignment deal structuring for various sale departments at Christie’s auction house in New York. Before his tenure at Christie’s, Drew managed UHNW client relationships in a boutique wealth management firm. He began his career as a manager and consultant for arts and cultural institutions in North America and Europe. Drew earned a Bachelor of Arts in French and Art History from Columbia University in New York City, where he also participated in a joint program with The Juilliard School. He also holds a Master’s of Business Administration from INSEAD business school in Fontainebleau, France.
Drew speaks regularly on art world-related topics at art fairs, educational institutions, professional associations, and investment conferences nationwide. He is a regular media contributor to national news organizations on the intersection of art, business, and finance, and has been quoted in The New York Times.

Li Jun Xian
Partner, Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance 
Li Jun Xian is a Partner at Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, the specialty financing subsidiary of Emigrant Bank (Member FDIC, founded 1850). Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance focuses on lending secured by art, antiques, classic cars, fine wine, stringed instruments and other passion assets. She regularly advises and structures loans for collectors, dealers and gallery owners, and institutions who are seeking liquidity from their passion assets, and counsels the financial advisors, accountants, lawyers and other professionals on whom they rely.
Prior to joining Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance in 2007, Ms. Xian was a credit analyst at Goldman Sachs, where she was responsible for analyzing and monitoring the firm’s counterparty trading risk, and advising major public and private companies on capital structure decisions and their effects on credit ratings.
Ms. Xian was instrumental in the formation of Emigrant Bank Classic Car Finance in 2015. She began her career in the art world as an intern at Robert Miller Gallery and Christie’s, and is currently Treasurer of the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts). Ms. Xian graduated with honors from Dartmouth College with a degree in Economics and Art History.

Moderator:

Sophia N. Johnson, Ph.D.
Program for Economic Research (PER), Columbia University

 

 

 


“How Are Tech Firms Shaping the Future of Society and the New Economy?”, December 16th

Featuring Talks by:

 

Aritra Chakravarty
Founder and CEO, Project Imagine
AC founded Project Imagine after 13+ years in various roles at HSBC across New York, London, and Hong Kong, in Investment Banking, Private Banking, Strategy, and COO roles. In his last role there, he set up HSBC’s Wealth Digital team from scratch, building a team from 0-300 and designing and delivering seven product launches in 18 months across UK, HK, Canada and other markets. At PI, he continues to lead Product and Platform decisions, and is also passionate about many People topics resulting in key facets of PI’s culture including no-CV hiring, transparent salaries across the board, performance immunity and more. AC is an alumnus of Stanford GSB, London Business School, and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta.

 

Garrett Hagemann, Ph.D.
Senior Economist, Twitch
Presentation: “Tech Firms in the Middle”
Garrett Hagemann joined Amazon in 2018 after completing his Ph.D. In his initial position he focused on questions around advertising and advertiser behavior on Amazon. His latest role at Twitch continues to focus on advertising as well as pricing related questions. Prior to graduate school Garrett worked as an economist for the US Dept. of Transportation where worked on forecasting aggregate travel demand, aviation safety, and fuel economy standards.

 

 

Moderator:

Sophia N. Johnson, Ph.D.
Program for Economic Research (PER), Columbia University

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1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)
Mail Code 3308  
420 West 118th Street
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1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)

Mail Code 3308

420 West 118th Street

New York, NY 10027

Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
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