Finance professor helps publish work of alumni

Tom Patrick, professor of finance, has helped a number of senior manuscripts written for his classes reach publication in professional journals. Most recently, he guided alumni Brian Glenn (’02) with publishing his article in the “Journal of Financial Management.”

Glenn’s senior thesis, “The Mechanics Behind Investment Funds: Why Closed End Funds Provide Superior Returns,” was published in the journal in 2004. It included a statistical, analytical and literature review section, which is what Patrick requires from his students in a senior thesis.

“What I attempted to prove, and did according to the data, was that closed-end funds provide higher returns due to their structure versus mutual funds,” Glenn said. He said that closed-end funds trade like stocks on an exchange, while mutual funds continuously create and cancel shares as investors buy or sell them.

He conducted his research through e-mails to various analysts of closed-end funds in different brokerage houses, visits to Merrill Lynch’s closed-end division in Princeton, Bloomberg performance results, experienced money managers and book excerpts, Glenn said.

Glenn, who is now in the asset management division on discretionary accounts at Merrill Lynch, said he believes that being published is a credential that will help him pursue graduate school and further his career.

Patrick agreed, saying most of the College’s graduates can get accepted to a good graduate school because of work like the theses written in his classes. “It’s the difference between a decent and great graduate school,” Patrick said.

Getting articles published in professional journals can also help students get into better law schools, as Patrick said will probably happen for Michael Wood (’01).

Wood had his article, “Jumping the Bandwagon: Outside Representation in Corporate Governance,” published in the “Journal of Business and Economic Studies” in the fall of 2003.

Wood gathered data from online websites such as and looked to see how many CEOs also served on the executive boards of companies. “You could figure out what their status of the company was by looking at whether or not more of them were on the board of directors,” Wood said. CEOs who served on the board had a better idea of what the directors wanted, he said.

“It was a nice surprise,” Wood said about having his article accepted for publication. “It’s good to see that it’s out there and people are reading it.” Wood now works in the equity research department of the Bank of America Securities.

Some alumni have even presented their research from Patrick’s class at professional conferences, like Ted Repetti (’03) did. He presented his thesis, “Good Versus Evil: Who Wins in Investing?: A Study of Socially Responsible Investing Performance Compared to Socially Irresponsible Investing” at the annual meeting of the Proceedings of the Northeast Business and Economics Association.

Patrick said Repetti was not only a student surrounded by much older authors, but he was also the one with the best article.

“He had the best presentation in that session and they were still talking about it the next year,” Patrick said. “We’ve got special students here.”

Although Patrick guides finance majors in writing their senior theses by helping them choose topics that could appear in journals, he said the students complete the majority of the work.

Patrick then selects one to prepare for a journal publication review. The journal may reject the thesis, reject and ask for revisions, accept, or accept and ask for minor revisions, he said. Even when the article becomes published, the process can span a year or longer.

Although Patrick is mentioned as a co-author in each student’s published articles, he said the articles are largely the students’ work and that he only formats the article to meet the journal style requirement. “A student would not know how to go about getting published,” Patrick said.

After sending a manuscript to a journal, it goes through a process of being blind refereed, during which readers decide whether it has sufficient quality without knowing the author’s identity. Patrick said the readers have no idea whether the entrees are sent by students or experienced professionals.