A Conversation with Finance Chair Viswanathan

Meet the People of Zarb: Chairperson K.G. Viswanathan, Department of Finance

[Note: This is one in a series of posts to highlight the people who contribute to making the Zarb School of Business a special place.]

Here is our Q&A with Dr. Viswanthan.

    • Could you describe the Department of Finance in terms of the undergraduate and graduate programs offered?

The Department of Finance has a dynamic, dedicated, and diverse group of faculty and students who strive to meet the challenges of the continuously evolving field of Finance.  We provide a high-quality educational experience, where graduates acquire the applied and conceptual skills needed to meet the demands of the financial marketplace.

At the undergraduate level, we offer the Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, which prepares students for careers in all areas of Finance — including Corporate Finance, Investment Banking, and International Finance — by following a rigorous and relevant curriculum.  Students are offered a wide range of courses and the flexibility to satisfy their individual interests.  We also offer a Minor in Finance for students majoring in other areas and the Certificate Program in Finance for college graduates.  Both of these allow students to develop significant finance knowledge and skills for career enhancement. 

At the graduate level, we offer several degree programs and concentrations.  The MBA in Finance and the MBA in Real Estate provide graduates with the skills to become managers and decision makers in their areas of specialization.  The MS in Quantitative Finance and the MS in Finance with two concentrations – Investment Analysis, and Financial and Risk Management – are designed to equip students with knowledge and skills that will make them financial professionals and analysts in their specializations. 

The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Corporate Finance and Investment Management enables individuals who already possess graduate degrees in business to either refocus their careers or update and expand upon specific business skill sets.

  • Tell us a little bit about the Finance faculty and yourself.

Our faculty are academics and professionals dedicated to communicating and advancing knowledge through the pursuit of teaching excellence and respected scholarship. The department’s fourteen full-time members and eleven adjunct members come from diverse backgrounds in training and cultural experiences and have the expertise to cover the broad curriculum of our program.  All Finance classes are taught by full-time faculty (who hold doctoral degrees in their area of specialization) or by highly qualified professionals who bring their industry experiences to the classroom.

The faculty’s excellent teaching credentials are strengthened by their record of scholarly publications.  In addition, faculty involvement in business, governmental, and not-for-profit organizations enhances classroom instruction.  Several of the Finance Department’s faculty hold highly-regarded industry designations such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Financial Risk Manager (FRM), Chartered Market Technician (CMT), Energy risk Professional (ERP), and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA).

On a personal note, I spent my early childhood in Malaysia and my adolescent years in India, where I completed an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering.  I then moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where I completed my MBA in Finance.  This was followed by a Ph.D. in Finance at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  I have been teaching at Hofstra for the past twenty-five years, and have been the Chair of the Finance Department for the last three years.

  • What are some of the recent achievements by the Department of Finance?

The educational and cultural experiences of the students in the various Finance programs are enhanced by their participation in various student organizations and groups that offer networking opportunities, career-related information, and participation in seminar, conferences and student competitions. The Financial Management Association (FMA) — Hofstra Student Chapter, the Association for Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), the Investment Analysis Association (IAA), the Graduate Finance Association (GFA), the Hofstra Investment Banking Association (HIBA), the Hofstra Quants and Traders (HQT), and the Alternative Investments Forum have been involved in exciting activities over the past several years and have distinguished themselves both within and outside the Hofstra community.

Department faculty are very active in various scholarly and professional activities, including organizing and participating in academic and industry conferences, participating in professional organizations, and producing high- quality research.

  •  What kinds of jobs do students get after graduation?

A degree from the Department of Finance, with its combination of theory and practice, prepares students for careers in Banking, Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance, Derivatives, Investments, and Real Estate, as well as being an excellent foundation for graduate studies.

Careers in finance are pursued in commercial and savings banks, insurance companies, brokerage firms, investment banks, mutual funds, hedge funds, industrial and commercial firms, government entities, and health care organizations.  Finance graduates seek positions as Treasurers, Credit Analysts, Loan Officers, Financial Analysts, Brokers, Traders, Financial Planners, Portfolio Managers, Operations Analysts, Business Analysts, Wealth Management Analysts, Equity Research Analysts, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Energy Risk Management Analysts.

Recent Finance graduates have been recruited by Capital One, National Grid, OpenLink, UBS, PWC, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bloomberg, Broadridge Financial Solutions, CA Tech, BNY Mellon, Groupon, HSBC, Verifone, Moody’s, China Merchant Bank, and Brown Brothers Harriman, among others.

  • What do you see ahead for the Department of Finance?

Finance, like Business in general, is experiencing significant changes in the economic, regulatory, geographical, and structural environment.  To equip our students with the necessary skills to meet the challenges in this dynamic environment, it is important that the material we teach our students and the way we teach them is relevant and current. I expect our department to be continuously updating the content in courses, the curriculum, and the method of delivering the material to the students. With the increased emphasis on ‘experiential learning’, we will be seeking opportunities for students to participate in activities outside the classroom that will better prepare them for their professional careers. Such activities will include developing expertise in using the Bloomberg System in the Martin B. Greenberg Trading room, participating in student competitions, and engaging in consulting projects with an emphasis on socially-responsible objectives.

We recently constituted a fourteen-member Finance Department Advisory Board to help us enhance students’ educational experience at Hofstra and to raise the profile of the Department.  We expect this to be a mutually beneficial engagement for the Department and Advisory Board members.

  • What is something that most people do not know about the Department of Finance?

A majority of the faculty have spent an extended amount of time in foreign countries, pursuing their educational goals and/or being employed.  The diverse cultural and educational background of the faculty in the Department makes the faculty very well-suited to educate students in a field that is truly global.

  • Any final thoughts?

We are very proud of our students and faculty and their accomplishments.  I am confident that our students will continue to excel in all of their academic and professional endeavors and that they will go on to have successful careers in the future.


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