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Communications and Marketing

A faculty member you should know: Muris Hadzic

Fascinated by his first finance class and propelled by the global economic crisis, Assistant Professor of Finance Muris Hadzic joined the faculty of Lake Forest College this year with the goal to make a difference in the next generation of financial leaders.

A native of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hadzic fell in love with the College at first sight and was quick to embrace the liberal arts setting. With an open-door policy and approachable demeanor, students gravitate to Hadzic’s office after classes. “We’ll talk about any topic, from courses to homework to exams to life in general,” he said, “even sports.”

That easy camaraderie helps Hadzic learn more about his students. “What they want and what they need, how I can contribute through my teaching, through my advising, through different initiatives I can put forward to make their college experience better,” he said.

After getting his bachelor’s degree in business administration/management in Istanbul at Bogazici University—the Harvard College of Turkey—Hadzic came to the U.S. to earn his MBA and PhD in finance at Syracuse University in upstate New York. This year’s newest member of the Department of Business, Economics, and Finance is a faculty member you should know:

Q: It’s unusual for an academic to have an MBA. Why did you go that route?

A: “As a teacher, it gives me that professional exposure, to some extent, which I think you need to teach students in an economics, business, and finance department. Beyond that, you also need to have exposure to real people—professionals in the marketplace—not just the academic perspective. I even wrote about that in my application for my MBA, which was a risky move. But that was my sincere plan for my career. It worked.” 

Q: What do you hope to add to the finance program—one of the top majors at the College?

A: “I’m teaching Intro to Finance, FIN 210, and Money and Banking, ECON 313. But it’s my senior seminar course—Quantitative Finance, FIN 485—that is new. In this course, I teach students to create their own trading, investing algorithm by programming that on a computer using Python as a programming language. It’s a very sophisticated class and we start from scratch. I assume no programming or computer knowledge, but basic finance knowledge. I take it from there. By the end of the course, students are able to create their own trading algorithm to buy and sell stocks based on different rules and assumptions that they can actually apply and practice. It’s basically doing a very simple hedge fund strategy. Everything we do in class is real data, a real-life approach that students can apply in the class and in their own investing.”

Q: What is your area of research and how will you involve students?

A: “My specialty is investments and empirical asset pricing, which involves using real data and doing research with that real data to estimate the proper value of stock prices, bond prices, and any other financial instruments—simple or complex. Banks and financial institutions hire people to do this: estimate the correct value of different financial assets. Knowing their correct value at any time is crucial for the functioning of the financial system. I’ve already been working with three students who approached me after taking my seminar course because they wanted to continue working with me on this. Over the summer, I’ll be working with them on this data and applying it to the programming language they learned to create different investment strategies. I also have a Richter student who will be working on the data.”

Q: What drew you to Lake Forest College?

A: “I was drawn by the academic rigor of all the professors—so many are from top Ivy League schools. I like the level of communication and the level of engagement a liberal arts school has to offer. And I love the campus and the area. After four years of living in Istanbul, I was sick of the traffic, but I also value what a big city has to offer. Lake Forest Is a really calm, nice area. My wife and I can walk to everything—even the grocery store, which is what we’re used to in Bosnia.”