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Aug 5, 2019 2019-08 Faculty Finance

Gies "a perfect fit" for professor Qiping Xu

Every year, exceptional students from around the world come to Gies College of Business, drawn by its phenomenal reputation, and driven by a passion to excel. As someone who once made a similar journey, Qiping Xu can relate.

Xu, who joins Gies as an assistant professor ofQiping Xu 09 finance, moved to the US from China in 2007 to pursue a master’s in economics. And even though she had studied at a school that emphasized western economic traditions, stepping off the plane was like stepping into bold new world. “I thought Columbus, Ohio, was like the most exciting place that I had ever seen,” laughs Xu. “It’s hilarious now in retrospect to think about it, but it really was just about the culture shock.”

Since those early days, she’s earned a PhD from the University of Chicago, taught finance at Notre Dame, and endured enough winters to be considered a bona fide Midwesterner. But she’s still able to empathize with students arriving on campus from very different worlds, including a large percentage at Gies who are the first in their family to pursue a higher degree.

“I was the first one to go to college in my family. So was my husband. So we both know how much that changed our life path and career trajectory,” said Xu.

Xu’s husband, Stefan Zeume, is also joining Gies as an associate professor in the Department of Finance. It’s an exciting opportunity for both of them who, until now, have been teaching at different schools. “It’s really hard to get a joint offer these days, especially with both people doing research in similar fields,” said Xu. “We couldn’t be luckier to move into a department that we both really love.”

While the joint offer was a definite plus, it wasn’t the only driving factor. “In terms of research, Gies is just a perfect fit for me,” explained Xu, who says she is excited about all the new faculty joining Gies in her field, as well as the big names who are already here. “If you are a researcher, this is exactly the environment you want. The inspiration, the possibility to work with your colleagues — for me that’s a major attraction.”

Xu’s research interests lie at the intersection of public policy and empirical corporate finance. Some of her recent papers have examined the impact that local taxes have on the demand for skilled labor, how inexperienced judges affect bankruptcy outcomes, and refinancing and maturity management in the corporate bond market. Her paper “Kinky Tax and Abnormal Investment Behavior,” which examined how firms accelerate capital purchases near fiscal-year end to reduce taxes, won the Charles River Associates Award for Best Paper on Corporate Finance from the Western Finance Association.

When she’s not conducting research, she’ll be teaching classes in finance. While the exact courses haven’t been determined yet, she looks forward to helping the next generation of finance leaders find their purpose and pursue their passion. For Xu, there’s nothing more fulfilling than providing students with information that’s useful and relevant to their careers. “I feel like I’m making a difference,” says Xu. “I totally love it.”