Hong Wan, associate professor of finance, enjoys hosting visiting international scholars and leading an annual research conference with Shanghai Normal University. 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in the central part of China, Jiangxi Province. I was born in a village in the countryside -- a village of about 100 households and fewer than 500 people.

Where did you go for higher education? 

I went to a college in Beijing. After I graduated, I worked for a couple of years to help companies in America and Europe do project financing in China. I decided I wanted to pursue Western education in business, so that's why I came to the United States in 2001. First, I finished my MBA with a concentration in finance at Virginia Tech, where I received a full scholarship. I got my doctorate from University of South Florida. I was fascinated by the financial markets, and I wanted to know more about what's behind them. That was a turning point in my life -- I switched from a practitioner to an academic.

When did you take a position at SUNY Oswego?

I am starting my 10th year. I joined the School of Business faculty in 2008. Sometimes I don't believe it, time goes so fast.

Why do you like it here at Oswego? 

I think the most important thing is the people. We have a very collegial department. On the finance side, we are a small group. Course scheduling is a big thing. We always respect and support each other with course assignments. The students are very hardworking -- it's always a joy to see. It makes me feel very privileged to be teaching at SUNY Oswego. 

What courses do you teach? 

I teach "Corporate Finance," "Multinational Financial Management," "Applied Finance Management" and "Managerial Finance." Some of my classes are undergraduate and others in the MBA program. 

What is your area of specialization?

My research area is empirical corporate finance. Some people work in theory, using mathematical models. I research large data to investigate managerial decision making. We try to define some of the corporate problems due to managerial decisions by working with financial data -- like stock prices and corporate financial reporting.

Can you give us a specific example from your published work?

We explored how the financial markets in China evaluate political connections. I co-authored a study analyzing stock market reaction to CEO succession. We found a very strong correlation between stock market reaction and political connections; if the newly appointed CEO has stronger political connections than the predecessor, then the market would react more positively.

I understand you have hosted a number of visiting international scholars here.

I have hosted seven over the years. I like to work with faculty from different cultures and regions. I try to help promote SUNY Oswego with other countries. In 2010, I hosted the first visiting international scholar, Dr. Ali Cetin from Turkey. It helps build relationships between two institutions. Sometimes, if you're really lucky, you can work on some research together. One I worked with was a visiting scholar from Hunan University, Dr. Honglin Yang. We have published four journal articles together.

This must also build friendships for you.

I'll give you an example: In the summer of 2012, we had a group of 13 faculty members visit Turkey at the invitation of the Ministry of Education. Ali took a four-hour bus from his home just to see the visiting faculty from SUNY Oswego. He contacted the tour guide ahead of time to learn our itinerary, and kept it a secret. We were so touched. His friendship is very valuable. 

And you organize a research conference for students and faculty from China? 

Yes, we do this with Shanghai Normal University. We promote undergraduate research and cultural understanding. This is a big deal for the students who are selected, at a very affordable cost. The first one was in Shanghai in the summer of 2014, then in Oswego in 2015, back to China in 2016 and the fourth one here again this year. It was first proposed by the School of Business dean (Richard Skolnik). June Dong (professor of marketing and management) graduated from SNU and had strong relationships there. She and I organized the conference. When the conference is in China, I'm the faculty leader to take students to Shanghai. We've seen more students become interested and participate. This is a good opportunity for them to conduct research in depth. Two of our students who attended this conference are now in Ph.D. programs, and two are considering one. 

What is your current research project?

It's about corporate social responsibility in regard to toxic releases. We are seeing whether institutional investors -- generally the more sophisticated investors -- have a voice in corporate environmental, social and governance policies. We analyze the relation between institutional ownership and toxic releases from facilities to which institutions are geographically proximate.

Do you have other on-campus activities you'd like to mention?

I'm on the visiting scholar committee for the Institute for Global Engagement. A few years ago, I served as faculty adviser to international business students attending SUNY Oswego, giving guidance on course selection.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I spend most of my (free) time with my church in Syracuse. I serve in a variety of roles at the Syracuse Chinese Christian Church. Other than that, I like to walk and to read. I read books in Chinese, but this year, I'd like to read more American authors, novelists.

Do you still have a residence and relatives in China?

I am a permanent resident of the United States. Most of my relatives are in China -- my parents, my siblings. Usually, I go home every summer. I just got back from there recently. My wife and son are traveling to China right now.

What else can you tell us about your family?

My wife is a nurse at a nursing home, Loretto, in Syracuse. We live in Manlius. I have two children. My son is 15 years old and my daughter is 9.