For Joseph Engelberg, the decision to pursue a career in finance was an easy one to make – it meant he would be continuing the “family business.” A native of San Diego, the Rady School professor of finance’s father worked as an accountant and introduced him to finance early on in his childhood, sparking an interest in business and leading him to earn a B.A. in mathematics and a B.S. in business administration at the University of Southern California.
While academia was not Engelberg’s initial field of interest in college, he developed a curiosity for it when he worked as a research specialist under one of his USC professors at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“It was eye-opening professionally and personally,” Engelberg said, “I’m thankful for the experiences that I was able to have because of that opportunity.”
After being exposed to the world of academia, Engleberg decided to embrace his newfound interest in research by pursuing a Ph.D. in Finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. While there, he became interested in observing the behavior of individuals within the stock market, later publishing a paper with fellow students on the effect of Jim Cramer’s show “Mad Money” had on stock pricing. His research has been referenced in publications such as the LA Times, San Diego Union Tribune, and the Chicago Sun Times.
Engleberg’s first teaching position was as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flager Business School, where he taught finance for three years. Engelberg would later return to San Diego and commit to a teaching position at the Rady School of Management, in part, because he enjoyed the school’s startup environment.
“I had a chance to really influence the direction of things with the school,” Engelberg said. “It was a unique opportunity to merge my interests in finance with the exciting world of entreprenuership.”
Engelberg’s main area of research is behavioral finance, which combines finance with insights about individual behavior from psychology. Traditionally, finance academics have thought investors act rationally when making financial decisions. Behavioral finance researchers like Engelberg think that investors are not completely rational and make mistakes which are predicted in the psychology literature. Engelberg and other behavioralists believe these mistakes can affect trading and prices in the stock market.
For anyone interested in behavioral finance or behavioral economics more generally, Engelberg recommends reading the books, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman, and, “Misbehaving,” by Richard Thaler, as they introduce the topic and describe ways in which the research has been applied to real life.
Other fields of interest Engelberg enjoys pursuing include financial media, information processing, and financial networks.