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The PhD class of 2017: meet the emerging scholars in management research

Tetayana Balyuk on graduation day, November 2017

When Tetyana Balyuk (PhD ’17, Finance) started her PhD program, she was well aware that the years ahead would be tough.

During her time at Rotman, she was researching relentlessly, teaching courses and raising a family. But the heavy workload and demands were all worth it, says Balyuk, who is excited about her current role as assistant professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

She is one of many from the PhD ’17 class who have landed highly-coveted faculty positions at such universities as Case Western Reserve University, City University of Hong Kong, Emory University, McGill University, McMaster University, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Ryerson University, Shanghai University of Finance, Temple University, University of New South Wales, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Waterloo.


“When I was applying to PhD programs, I was looking for the right combination of rigorous training and mentorship so that I could be on the academic career path I was aiming for.”

-Tetyana Balyuk (PhD ’17, Finance), Assistant Professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.


“When I was applying to PhD programs, I was looking for the right combination of rigorous training and mentorship so that I could be on the academic career path I was aiming for,” she explains. “I was very lucky and found all of that at Rotman.”

Producing quality research in a supportive environment

PhD students at Rotman produce high-quality work and it shows.

A highlight of the program for Balyuk occurred in her fifth year, when she was awarded the best paper on fintech by the Northern Finance Association.

“It was confirmation that I had completed meaningful research and have contributed to the field,” says Balyuk, who explored corporate finance, lending, credit risk, fintech and financial intermediation in her graduate work.


“Having the intellectual support, attention and time from faculty, no matter how busy they were, made a huge difference.”

-Ping Dong (PhD ’17, Marketing), Assistant Professor, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University


Meanwhile, some of her colleagues, including Ping Dong (PhD ’17, Marketing) and Wuyang Zhao (PhD ’17, Accounting), have attracted media attention for the academic papers they published while students at the School.

Ping DongUltimately, it was the supportive exchange of ideas that made the work possible, says Dong, whose research has been covered by the Globe and Mail and the Daily Mail, among other media outlets. As a PhD student, she examined social influence on consumer decision making, emotion and ethics in consumption, and sensory marketing.

“Students have so many opportunities to present and discuss their preliminary findings. It was very common to get valuable feedback on methods or data collection so that you wouldn’t miss important variables when designing experiments,” recalls Dong, who is now an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

“Having the intellectual support, attention and time from faculty, no matter how busy they were, made a huge difference,” she adds.

Balancing family, life and the PhD

Having support and some flexibility during the PhD program was also significant for Zhao, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Wuyang ZhaoIn his final year of the program, Zhao was also preparing for the birth of his daughter. With some advanced planning, he was able to arrange his committee meetings and final defense to coincide before and after the birth.

Despite the hectic days balancing research and parenting, Zhao says pursuing graduate studies at Rotman was one of the best decisions he made in his life. In addition to establishing a strong academic focus — his PhD research on short selling was featured in the New York Times and the Financial Post — he also credits the School for broadening his perspective, both academically and culturally.

“Toronto and Rotman exposed me to so many different perspectives, viewpoints and ideas. You can only have this PhD experience living in a multicultural city and studying in a School that emphasizes diversity and dialogue.”

Maintaining a Rotman connection

Though they’ve completed their programs and are now pursuing exciting academic careers, Balyuk, Dong and Zhao still maintain strong ties to Rotman. These former students are all actively collaborating or in touch with faculty members on new projects.


“Toronto and Rotman exposed me to so many different perspectives, viewpoints and ideas. You can only have this PhD experience living in a multicultural city and studying in a School that emphasizes diversity and dialogue.”

-Wuyang Zhao (PhD ’17, Accounting), Assistant Professor, the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin


In Zhao’s case, he set up an annual gift to the Peter Pauly PhD Fund before leaving the School.

“It’s a nice reminder about my time at Rotman,” he explains. “I owe a lot to Toronto and Rotman. This is my way of giving back and helping future or current PhD students.”


Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »

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