Global Business Research Symposium Considers Present and Future Prosperity

St Johns Faculty posing for photo infront of presentation screen
June 23, 2019

The Peter J. Tobin College of Business’s 14th annual Global Business Research Symposium (GBRS), was hosted by Spain’s largest bank, La Caixa, at its new headquarters in Valencia on June 4-6.

The 2019 Symposium, “Remapping Global Business: What the Present Holds for a Prosperous Future,” attracted 41 active participants from six countries: France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, and the United States.

The Symposium remained multidisciplinary, allowing professionals in different fields to explore connectivity across disciplines and, potentially, to collaborate through the exchange of methodologies.  This was evident throughout this year’s Symposium, as presenters included points made in earlier sessions to support or extend the topic presented. In the experience of the Symposium organizers, such activity lends to joint works among participants, which is an important goal of GBRS. 

Two members of senior management took part with a welcome introduction and a keynote speech on financial technology as used by La Caixa, continuing one of the Symposium themes.

The Symposium commenced with a panel titled “Business and Technology: Quo Vadis?” where Jose Ivars, a director at Ria Financial, made a strong presentation -- in an almost Vincentian spirit -- on “Financial Inclusion for the Unbanked World.” This was followed by an excellent presentation by Javier Ibanez, co-founder of the Allastria Blockchain Consortium and Professor of Law at Universidad Pontifica Comillas, that focused on the many legal challenges to the use of blockchain technology.

Symposium sessions included among others, the challenging topics of international trade, sustainability and artificial intelligence in markets, endowment management, internal audit, and impacts of social media.

Two later panels focused on the role and activity of the universities including trends in education with a focus on how to engage technology in an environment of constant change. The final panel focused on a discussion of soft skills in economics and finance that improves preparation of students for future employment.

A GBRS approach to awards is that all presenters and discussants vote in the selection of best papers and best discussants. The Peter J. Tobin College of Business faculty members who received Best Paper Awards for 2019 were:

K. Thomas Liaw, Ph.D., Professor of Finance, for “Investment Strategies and Returns of University Endowment Funds;”

Biagio Pilato, Esq., Associate Professor of Law, for “Financial Institution Crime, Civil Fraud, and Accountability in Deferred Prosecution Agreements;” and

Yun Zhu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Finance, for “Shadow Banking, Money Supply, and Liquidity Transformation: Evidence from China.”

Other winners included a paper on statistical theory that pointed to two independent variables that had an insignificant effect on the hypothesis explored; yet, when the two variables were multiplied, this product effect had a highly significant impact. The explanation of this effect requires a very careful analysis of interaction between variables that could be rather complex, but useful. On the accounting side, a winning paper elegantly combined the accounting conceptual framework with ethics.

Believing that it is important that paper presenters receive comments that will improve their work to prepare them for publication, GBRS also provides awards for the Best Discussants. Tobin awardees for this distinction were: Associate Professor of Finance Mikael Bergbrant, Ph.D.; Associate Professor of Finance David Chan, Ph.D.; Professor of Economics Young Back Choi, Ph.D.; and Professor Liaw.

Photos of the Symposium may be viewed here.