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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Academics In Industry

Paul Kedrowski at Infectious Greed writes about an interesting study in the journal research Policy:
...Researchers are more productive at producing papers when they shift from academia to industry, and then they become more productive again if/when they come back into the academic fold.

Click here for the whole piece.

Bob Anre at Truck and Barter chimes in with a possible explanation:

Maybe they got an original idea that is applicable in the real world? I find it odd that students go from undergrad directly into graduate school and expect to produce interesting research. A lot the graduate students here aren't really sure what they want to do for their dissertation. I have about twenty ideas and most of them can be traced back to my work experience in one way or another.

Click here for the whole post (the comments are particularly on point, too).

My own sense from doing financial academic research is that the best work is done by people that take the time to deeply understand the institutional details of whatever they're writing on. Unfortunately, the way a lot of my tribe try to do this is to read articles in academic journals written by academics, rather than by talking to people who are actually doing whatever they're researching.

To talk to (gasp!) actual practitioners might seem like an obvious step, but it's surprisingly rare. One of my grad school classmates did her dissertation on IPO syndicates. She spent hours and hours talking to investment bankers to see how THEY viewed the process and made decisions. As a result, she probably knows more about what IB's actually do and how they think than many who've been researching the area for far longer.

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