2022 Best Undergraduate Professors: Jawad M. Addoum, Cornell University Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Jawad M. Addoum
Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

“Professor Addoum was quite literally one of the most intellectually stimulating professors I have had in Dyson, as he pushed each and every one of his students to go above and beyond the foundational concepts of finance and gain a more solid foundation of economic theory.” – Student evaluation

Jawad M. Addoum, 39, is an associate professor of finance in the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. His research focuses on portfolio choice, empirical asset pricing, and behavioral finance, appearing in leading academic journals such as the Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Review of Economics and Statistics, Management Science, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Review of Finance, Review of Asset Pricing Studies, and Financial Management.

He teaches the core finance course at Dyson. He is winner of Dyson School’s Outstanding Early Career Achievement Award in 2020 and was named a Merrill Presidential Scholars Program Faculty Honoree in both 2020 and 2021, recognizing his commitment and contribution to the educational experience of Cornell University’s most outstanding graduating seniors.


At current institution since what year? 2016


  • Ph.D. Finance, Duke University, 2012
  • B.Math. Mathematics and Statistics, University of Waterloo, 2007
  • B.B.A. Finance, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2007

List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Finance for Dyson Majors


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… In my third year of undergrad I served as a TA for a sequence of introductory business courses. We had a Christmas party where the professors and 15-20 TAs got together, exchanged gifts, and played party games. One game was answering “Most Likely To” questions. I was voted “most likely to become a business school professor.” I wasn’t yet set on it, but I had an inkling this would be my path.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My recent work is in the emerging field of climate finance, linking weather patterns and extreme events to outcomes of interest to financial economists and market participants. Broadly speaking, the most important finding is that climate change isn’t “all bad, all the time” for business outcomes. It’s much more nuanced – some parts of the economy could be damaged while others actually benefit. In turn, any policy interventions should carefully account for the distribution of consequences.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… I had no idea what stocks or bonds were before freshman year of undergrad, so I thought about careers in medicine and engineering. But once I discovered finance and understood its mathematical/theoretical underpinnings, that was it. I can’t imagine doing anything other than this.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I bring a lot of passion and energy to the classroom. Education has been my ticket in life, and I want to deliver a top educational experience for my students. That doesn’t always mean giving them what they want though – I present students with challenging and rigorous material and have high expectations. My aim is that by working hard and thinking deeply, they will come to appreciate their own true potential and be better prepared for the challenges of the business world.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Exhilarating

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Nothing really comes to mind. I love this career path.

Professor I most admire and why: If I had to pick just one person, it would be Michael Brandt, my PhD advisor at Duke. He is probably the most intelligent person I have ever worked with, yet remains incredibly down-to-earth. He was always generous with his time and support when I was a graduate student, and helped me develop confidence as a researcher and future professor. That said, there are many other professors who helped me tremendously along the way, especially the other members of my dissertation committee (Simon Gervais, Marjorie McElroy, and David Robinson) and my undergraduate advisors (Phelim Boyle, Terrence Levesque, Jock MacKay, Alan Marshall, and William McNally).


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I enjoy drawing the links between the foundational material they’ve seen in other classes – calculus, economics, and statistics, for example – and showing them how all of it comes together in understanding key concepts in finance.

What is most challenging? Assigning final grades – everybody wants an A, but not everybody earns one.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Disciplined

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Entitled

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Terrifying at exam time, but fair and generous when it comes to assigning overall course grades.


What are your hobbies? I enjoy playing ice hockey. I didn’t play much growing up, but I play in an adult league now. My daughters play as well, and I enjoy being with them on the ice as a coach.
How will you spend your summer? Summer is a great time to work on research. But I also dedicate lots of time to family fun – traveling, boating, swimming, and playing pick-up ice hockey.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Outer Banks, North Carolina

Favorite book(s): Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I rarely watch movies or shows to completion. I often just watch the trailer and then say “okay, I think I have the gist of it.” It drives my wife nuts!

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I listen to everything, but mostly talk radio while driving.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Rigor and development of deep economic understanding

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Understanding the link between incentives and observed behavior and outcomes.

I’m grateful for… I am grateful for the opportunity to grow up in Canada and now live and work in the United States, pursuing the American Dream with my wife, daughters, and mother. My mother is an ethnic Hazara, a persecuted group in Afghanistan, so I don’t take the liberty and opportunity we enjoy here for granted. I am especially grateful for my mother, who raised me by herself since I was one year old. Her tenacity in the face of incredible life challenges has always been my inspiration. She is the greatest parent I could have ever asked for, and I wouldn’t be here without her.


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