Dr Philip Drummond is a Financial Economist and Lecturer in Monash University's Department of Banking and Finance. Philip completed his PhD in Finance at ANU in 2019, and his research interests include equity markets, market microstructure and behavioural finance.
Philip also holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney. He received the award for Best PhD Paper at the 7th Annual Financial Research Network Conference, and the Best Presentation in Finance Award at the 30th PhD Conference in Economics and Business.
In his interview, Philip reflects on the unique opportunities academia has presented to him, and shares sound advice on how to choose a research topic that has longevity and meaning.
14 October 2022
What surprises or challenges have you faced since you started your academic career?
The greatest surprise I have faced during my academic career has been the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the pandemic had detrimental effects on research dissemination – as many important conferences and seminars were cancelled. Fortunately, the academic community has been able to adapt to the current situation by embracing useful communication technologies. One prominent result of this is the FINCAP Project. The FINCAP project involved more than 100 research teams from around the world testing the same set of hypotheses on the same financial dataset. I was lucky enough to be a part of this project.
Can you share with us a research project you’re currently working on and how you identified the research topic?
In one of my current projects, I am looking at market reactions to earnings announcements on the New Zealand stock exchange (NZX). In August 2020, the NZX website was attacked by cyber criminals and in response, NZX intermittently halted trading in the middle of New Zealand’s earnings announcement season. This is an interesting natural experiment as I can see whether reduced trading hours allow market participants to process earnings news with greater efficiency.
I identified this research topic by monitoring financial media.
What are your tips for a successful academic job application and interview?
- Differentiate yourself from your competitors – ensure that your application highlights the unique attributes that will enable you to create impactful research.
- Choose a research topic that has broad appeal or wide-ranging implications.
- Practice talking about research – discuss research with your HDR colleagues and supervisors as much as possible. Practice talking to strangers about research - meet with seminar presenters and visiting academics. This experience will put you in good stead for the academic job market.
Reflecting on your experiences at CBE, what advice would you give to new HDR students?
Develop a competitive advantage. First, find a research area in which you can excel. This research area should suit your academic background and natural abilities. For example, if you have a mathematics background, you could try theoretical research. If you are a creative person with an aptitude for devising innovative experiments, then perhaps you should consider experimental research.
Creating a competitive advantage also involves developing a unique skillset. A Master or PhD programme is the perfect opportunity to make this time investment. Think about accumulating new skills that will help you produce impactful research in the future.
I would advise against chasing “hot topics” or research trends. Trends change. Develop a skillset that will allow you to excel in an area of prolonged interest.
Finally, choose a research topic that you are passionate about. There is no use producing uninspiring or boring research. A compelling research topic will allow you to shine on the academic job market!