The Department of Accounting and Finance,Monash University, has launched an international initiative with the Universities of Leeds and Amsterdam to hold an annual accounting and finance doctoral symposium which will attract a wide audience of PhD students. The inaugural symposium was held at Monash's Prato Centre in Italy on 16th and 17th April 2008. Overall, 27 doctoral candidates and 12 Faculty members from six European countries, including Australia, took part in the event. Presentations were made on various topics related to the theme of capital markets research.
One of the executive members of the initiative and organiser of the inaugural symposium, Dr George Tanewski of Monash University, says the primary objectives of the symposium are to: provide a conducive forum for PhD candidates in accounting and finance while presenting their research results to an international audience outside their usual University environment; discuss the results of ongoing PhD studies in order to support future work; expose students to constructive criticism; serve as an international networking opportunity with other students at a similar stage of the participant's career; compare PhD programs of various countries; and through networking opportunities offered by the symposium, enhance Monash's international research collaboration with other institutions. Students are granted 20 minutes for their presentation, focusing on what is the main theme of the thesis (paper), what has been achieved and how the work should continue. Another 15 minutes is reserved for discussion and feedback from both prominent academics/researchers and other participants.
Dr Tanewski says the inaugural symposium has already led to a number of initiatives such as the creation of a network of PhD researchers from Monash, Leeds, Amsterdam, Salamanca and Bologna universities who will work on joint capital markets research projects as well as the development of an interactive website to enhance collaboration and networking among symposium delegates. Through this initiative, organisers plan to build-up an extensive network of European universities, which will not only strengthen Monash University's PhD programme. In the future, Dr Tanewski says that prominent tier-1 journal editors will also be invited to provide constructive feedback to students and to expose students to journal submission procedures.
For the inaugural symposium, prominent academics and researchers in the fields of accounting and finance were invited to attend the symposium to review papers and provide comments. For example, Professors Allan Hodgson, Dean at the University of Amsterdam Business School; Professor David Hillier, Head of the Accounting and Finance Division at the Leeds University Business School and editorial board member of Accounting and Finance, Accounting Research Journal, Finance Letters and African Journal of Finance and management; Julio Pindado, Professor of Finance at the University of Salamanca, Spain and Visiting Professor to the London School of Economics; Marco Bigelli, Professor of Corporate Finance at the University of Bologna, Italy, and Adjunct Professor of Corporate Finance at the Johns Hopkins University, USA, and; Professor Robert Faff, Professor of Finance at Monash University and current editor of Accounting and Finance, were some of the delegates who attended the symposium. These prominent academics not only acted as discussants, providing in-depth, constructive feedback to students but they also led plenary sessions on topics such as 'research design choices', 'generating ideas for research projects in accounting and finance' and on 'how to get your research published'.
Feedback from students who attended the inaugural symposium was overwhelmingly positive, with most students indicating that it exceeded their expectations. For example, one student wrote on the feedback questionnaire: "I got more than what I expected before attending. [The symposium provided] very good feedback from reviewers, very good organisation, very friendly environment, stress free environment for presentations, very good support from professors and very good catering"
Five students were presented with awards. Lucy Liu of Edinburgh University and Ignacio Requejo, Salamanca University, were provided awards for best paper, while Maria Strydom of Monash University and David Veenam of the University of Amsterdam Business School were provided awards for best presentation. The best proposal presentation award was given to Elirehma Doriye of Leeds University Business School.