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Friday 7 March 2014 3:21pm

Matthew McCarten, PhD in Finance and Accounting Matthew McCarten, PhD candidate

“I've got my name out there now,” says Finance PhD candidate Matthew McCarten when asked about the importance of six weeks spent at the United States' prestigious Harvard Business School.

Matthew's academic supervisors Dr Ivan Diaz-Rainey, Dr Helen Roberts and Dr Eric Tan, arranged both the Harvard visit and a $1000 scholarship special travel scholarship from the ANZ Bank. While there he attended doctoral classes, presented his work at several Universities, and developed his academic research network.

“Harvard was an exhilarating experience,” Matthew says. “The atmosphere there is indescribable. It has an air about it, like everyone is operating at a higher level.”

Matthew's PhD research explores the impact of shareholder litigation on firms. He has been examining the impact of the Sarbanes Oxley Act on corporate lobbying and fraud detection, and also the impact that securities class actions have on the relationship between firms and lenders.

Using Kiwi contacts

Matthew says, “My initial Harvard contact was Paul Healy [the James R. Williston Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the Harvard Business School]. He's a New Zealander who has been at Harvard for around 20 years doing Accounting work in a similar area of research to mine. He introduced me to several PhD students and staff, found me a work space and provided opportunities for me to attend PhD classes, as well.”

While based at Harvard, Matthew presented his work at UC Davis (University of California), Boston University, New York University, and the University of New Hampshire. He says many of those opportunities sprang from the US networks of Otago's Accountancy and Finance Head of Department Professor David Lont.

Obtaining international feedback was invaluable

“Presenting at different universities with a variety of academic audiences meant I received a lot of feedback on the work that I can incorporate into it.

“The whole experience was mostly for networking opportunities, getting international exposure and getting experience outside of New Zealand. I have got my name out there now and have quite a few people to keep in touch with.

“I'm interested in continuing academic work, so, hopefully, my time at Harvard will help, as not too many people get the opportunity to visit there.”

Matthew says he gained a different perspective on research methods as a result of some of the doctoral classes he attended at Harvard.

“Harvard has this strong focus on research that has an impact on policy and practice. Most universities try to do this, but Harvard does it really well and they stay focused on it. They identify major issues, develop the research to address those issues and from there try and get the research published. They broadened my view in ways I can hopefully incorporate into my future research.”

Find out more about the Department of Accounting and Finance at Otago

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