Let’s change finance – Professor Jaap Spronk’s valedictory address

Jaap Spronk, Professor of Financial Management Science at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), will give his valedictory address on Friday, 11 September 2015. During this lecture ‘Let’s Change Finance’, he will talk about the financial crises the world has been – and is still – witnessing, and re-address a question which has been raised many times already: who is responsible? Spronk will argue that both the financial research agenda and financial education need an overhaul.

Professor Spronk will not focus on the usual suspects and explanations, many of which have been taken for granted. Instead, he will address a suspect that has remarkably stayed well out of the spotlight, one which was, in his eyes, not the main culprit but at least an accomplice: his own discipline of finance and its labels such as financial management science and financial economics. And he will plead guilty.

Underlying assumptions

Spronk will argue that within this academic discipline, many issues that should have been addressed, such as non-financial impacts of decisions, were not. In addition, the issues that received attention were often framed in ways that did not really help decision-making and management because of the underlying assumptions being too unrealistic for individual decision-making. Still, over time, finance became a philosophy that influenced both the way of thinking and the behaviour of managers and organisations. Many of the issues remained untouched by financial academia. “What has been lacking in our field is academic debate and introspection relating to the impacts of the purely financial way of thinking,” says Professor Spronk. “The things we do, we do well – but then we need to do other things as well.”

Financial research agenda

During the public lecture, Professor Spronk will give an overview of what issues and aspects in finance require attention in order to bring more context into financial decisions and which of the issues that do receive attention need to be re-addressed with a different mindset – while paying attention to the impact of financial decisions. In a number of cases, Spronk will provide suggestions of how these elements could and in some cases should be reframed. His intention is to stimulate discussions with and among his colleagues. Considering the financial crises of 1998, 2008 and the euro crisis, Spronk will argue that the financial research agenda and financial education need an overhaul. He will explain why this cannot easily be achieved in the universities of today, but will add suggestions for improving university climate. The ultimate goal is to make financial and investment management more humane.

Professor Spronk will hold his valedictory address on Friday 11 September 2015 at 16:00 in the Aula (auditorium) of Erasmus University Rotterdam (Woudestein campus), Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Professor Jaap Spronk

Jaap Spronk is (emeritus) full professor of financial management science of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). Prior to joining RSM in 2008, where he was academic dean of MBA programmes until 2014, he served as the vice-dean of international new business development from 2003 to 2008, director of studies from 2003 to 2007, director division of accounting and finance from 1996 to 2003, and chairman of the Department of Finance from 1984 to 2003 at the Erasmus School of Economics, where he was full professor of finance and investment since 1982.

Spronk has initiated several important programmes for RSM and Erasmus University Rotterdam, including an MSc and a one-year executive master degree in financial management. He was member of the founding board of the Tinbergen Institute, school for doctoral studies in economics, and he participated in the European Doctoral Programme in Quantitative Methods in Management.

Being fluent in Dutch, English, French, German and Italian, Professor Spronk has assumed professorships at numerous foreign universities, including Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, and has held visiting professorships at the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland, the University of Bergamo and the University of Catania in Italy, and the State University of New York at Buffalo, USA.

He has served as an editor or numerous journals, including managing editor of the Springer Series in Financial Modelling,  associate editor of the Journal of Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis and the Revue Belge de Statistique, d'Informatique et de Recherche Opérationnelle. Currently he has editorial roles in eleven finance, banking and decision-making journals based in eight different countries.

Spronk is founder (1986) and was chairman of the EURO Working Group on Financial Modelling. He has been a member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (Royal Dutch Society of Sciences) since 1988. His international awards include the Umbra Erasmi Medal of Erasmus University in 1996, Gold Medal of the University of Crete in Greece in 1996, Gold Medal of the International Society of Multiple Criteria Decision Making in 2002, and The President’s Award of the EURO Association in 2012.

Since 2015, Jaap Spronk has been CEO of GEMFM Global Inc. based in NY, USA. He also holds a part-time Professorship at the University of Curacao. Jaap is on the Board of various companies and not-for profit organisations, and is advisor to investors, corporates and governmental organisations.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top-tier European business school and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

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