Brandon Mendez

Brandon Mendez

"Finally pursuing my desired career field."

College: Business
Degree Program: Finance
Degree: Doctorate

Award: McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (2017)


Video Credit: Nia Alexander

Why FSU?

The finance faculty in the College of Business focus on corporate finance, my area of study. My initial visit to FSU and conversations with faculty in the department showed me how focused they are on their doctoral students. The atmosphere seemed, and has been, more collaborative than most universities that I was considering. In addition, Tallahassee seemed like a good place for my family.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree

I have a strong desire to know more about finance. I discussed the focus of a PhD in finance with my mentor at the University of North Florida and concluded a PhD would give me the tools I need to learn more about finance using my research as a vehicle.

A driving factor in my desire to earn a PhD is the research I conducted while pursuing my master’s degree. I researched an emerging investment product, actively managed exchange traded funds (ETFs), to determine the relationship of the expense ratio of the fund to the turnover rate within the fund. I pulled all of the data, performed the empirical analysis, and wrote the paper with the help of my professor. It was my first real exposure to academic research and was even more fulfilling when we found out the paper was accepted for publication. This research project has been the most interesting aspect of both my academic and professional careers to date.

Importance and/or impact of research and work

My research interests cover a broad range of finance topics, including corporate finance, financial statement analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and capital structure. The economy has become increasingly globalized. One result of globalization is the advent of temporary work visas. U.S. companies have been utilizing these visas for more than two decades with their use consistently highlighted by the media over the years. My research uses these visas to examine how a firm's financial position impacts its use of foreign workers.

I am hopeful that my background as both an accountant and finance student will give me a different perspective when I conduct research. My hope is to solve real-world corporate finance problems so that shareholders, stakeholders, and society can benefit from increased corporate efficiency.

Another focus in my research is the art market. It is an asset class that draws substantial investment and assets that provide aesthetic value, which is not available with traditional stocks and bonds. My research in this area focuses on how auction houses and their analysts respond when a noteworthy artist passes away. The death of an artist presents a shock to their pricing models and my work shows that the analysts tend to underestimate the sales price of artwork that crosses the auction block the year after the corresponding artist passes away.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school

Do your research on the degree you want to pursue, the school you want to attend, and the job opportunities that will be available to you afterward.

Accomplishments during academic career

I am still in the program; that is my proudest accomplishment. There is a level of dedication and commitment required for a PhD program, and I proud to say I seem to have what it takes. I am a recipient of the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship and a member of the FSU Fellows Society. The McKnight Doctoral Fellowship has allowed me to focus my attention on my studies and research, without worrying about how I will fund this pursuit. Lastly, I presented papers at the Harvard GSB Rising Scholars Conference and the Florida Finance Conference. 

Career aspirations

I am interested in pursuing a tenure-track faculty position at a research university in the United States.