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My Time at Yale SOM as a Visiting Assistant Researcher (VAR)

In the summer of 2017 I was one of the lucky 42 students who received an invitation for the summer school in Behavioral Finance. The organization of the week was truly excellent. During the week I got to know many of the other students between sessions and during the evening dinners. Most importantly, the course was well taught by Professor Barberis and the external speakers were very interesting to listen to and their topics were well-aligned with the rest of the course. Due to an overall wonderful experience at Yale and because of the great impression I got during the course of Professor Barberis’ expertise on the field of behavioral finance, I decided to apply for an exchange visit to Yale School of Management (SOM) for the fall semester of 2018.

At SOM I got to talk about my research with several professors with great expertise in the field of behavioral finance. This has been very helpful to me and I think this is also a great asset to the department. Also many PhD students are oriented towards behavioral finance and because of this, they have arranged a behavioral finance reading group where students may present their own work. The presentations range from early stage work to job market papers, which are all quite interesting as one gets to know a lot about the research others are working on. I got to present in the reading group as well and received interesting comments and valuable feedback in discussions afterwards. 

Besides the regular internal iFLIP seminars and the external seminars, I took the opportunity to audit some classes during my stay. I really enjoyed the financial economics course where both professors did a wonderful job explaining the material. Besides the course in financial economics, I also audited two courses in physics. There is no direct connection of physics with my research, though I have always had a curiosity for physics and I also think that several advancements in technicalities in finance originated from physics. I therefore chose to audit two classes. I really enjoyed these classes and who knows, at some point they might help me with my research.

During my stay I also got the opportunity to attend several conferences. First we were invited by Professor Barberis to join the NBER conference on behavioral finance in Boston. This was a gathering of many well-known professors and their expertise was also clear from the high quality of the presentations and discussions. Another conference that I attended was the PhD conference organized at Yale. It was fun to join this conference and to meet some of the students who also participated in the summer school of 2017. I liked that there were sessions per discipline such that the Yale PhD students (and visiting students like me) got the opportunity to join those sessions that were of their particular interest. The next conference that I went to was the five-star conference at NYU. There were five talks of various topics and one presentation and discussion were done by Yale faculty. Both of them were very clear and interesting.

I have learned that Yale’s geographical location is excellent, as you are reasonably near both Boston and New York and therefore you are close to several top departments. I did not think of this before coming to New Haven, though I am very happy how this turned out. Besides the conferences that I already attended, I am attending the behavioral finance conference in Miami in December and the ASSA/AFA meetings in Atlanta in January. I am really looking forward to both of them.

The main reason why I wanted to go on exchange was to learn from the professors and PhDs at Yale and mainly of their expertise in behavioral finance. I received valuable feedback and suggestions on my research which I am very happy about. Besides that, I really liked to experience living in the US and the experience has been great. Not only did I learn a lot during my time at SOM, but also the Organization of International Students and Scholars organized many social events that my wife was able to attend and she made many new friends and had a lot of fun during our stay in New Haven. For her it will be even harder to leave New Haven.

I am very grateful for Yale SOM and the ICF for giving me the opportunity for the exchange visit to Yale. I am also very thankful for Professor Nick Barberis to be my faculty sponsor and to have discussions with me about my research. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the PhD students a lot, their valuable feedback as well as the indoor-soccer that we played. I have really enjoyed my stay and hope to have the opportunity in the future to visit New Haven again.

About ICF Visiting Assistant Researchers (VAR): ICF Visiting Assistant Researchers are Ph.D. or postdoctoral students from other universities whom spend six to eighteen months visiting Yale School of Management collaborating with faculty, conducting research, attending seminars and presenting papers.  Martijn de Vries is vising Yale SOM for the Fall 2018 semester.

Martijn de VriesAbout Martijn de Vries: Martijn de Vries is a PhD in Finance at Tilburg University and was visiting Yale School of Management for the fall semester of 2018. His research interests are related to theoretical work on behavioral decision making and more specifically on applications to financial markets. In his work he considers for example how under specific biases investors updated their beliefs and how the interaction of well-established behavioral biases can explain individual investor behavior in financial markets or aggregate market behavior. Martijn de Vries obtained his BSc in Econometrics, MSc in Quantitative Finance and MPhil in Finance from Tilburg University.