“As my advisors often described to me, if my research question was not interesting enough to hit a newspaper’s front page, then I should not be working on that topic.”
I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. After completing my undergraduate thesis and studies in accounting and finance at Athens University of Economics and Business, I was intrigued by business academia and research, but I was not sure which path I should follow. I decided to take a couple of years before my graduate studies to experience working for large corporate organizations. I moved to Switzerland and France, where I worked in the finance units of Procter & Gamble and Microsoft, two of the most innovative intangible-driven global companies. Managing, measuring, and forecasting the future intangible value of the companies was a key part of my daily work, and I always found it interesting given the restrictions of accounting principles in fully recognizing the value of intangibles.
As my career progressed, I had no doubt that researching how companies can better estimate, understand, and exploit the full value of their intangibles would satisfy my personal aspirations and professional goals. Given my interest in conducting academic research that is valuable and applicable in the business world, joining the doctoral programs at HBS was the perfect opportunity to study an important phenomenon.
My Research Interests
My research interests focus on the salvage value of intangibles in corporate bankruptcy. More specifically, in my dissertation I examine the use of intellectual property as loan collateral to distressed borrowers that lack sufficient capital (“hard”) assets. Lending against intangibles is a recent credit market innovation, and I find evidence consistent with the fact that this credit practice has not been a negative mutation in credit markets. While commentators and business analysts agree that corporate value is now mainly driven by intangibles, using patents or trademarks as loan collateral has not received significant attention and remains a small "niche" in the credit market, mainly due to the uncertain and highly fluctuating liquidation value of these assets. Therefore, as part of my dissertation, I further conducted field studies that explore how some financial institutions value and lend against intangible asset liquidation value. Overall, I show that intangibles can have significant value upon liquidation and companies can exploit this value in the credit market.
The Accounting & Management Program
A core element of the accounting group culture is promoting research that is interesting both for academics and business managers. As my advisors often described to me, if my research question was not interesting enough to hit a newspaper’s front page, then I should not be working on that topic.
During my five years in the program, I've had the unique opportunity to work with highly influential mentors who shaped my personal and professional aspirations. All of the faculty are extremely approachable and were happy to assist me in my dissertation from advising on my empirical analysis to getting access to field studies. The business connections that the faculty have, and are willing to share, are outstanding and proved very helpful in designing my field studies. All HBS faculty share a deep commitment in growing doctoral students into future scholars.
The HBS Experience
Research data, connections with business practitioners, personal research budget, leading faculty always happy to help… these are only some of the benefits that HBS provides doctoral students who take the initiative to develop their entrepreneurial spirit and pursue their intellectual interests. The two elements that make the HBS experience truly different are the community and the resources.
The Doctoral admissions office plays a vital role in welcoming and engaging new doctoral students in the academic and doctoral community-this was very important for me as an international student. The School's interdisciplinary research orientation allowed me to develop strong ties with doctoral students and faculty that I would not have otherwise closely interacted with.
I’m joining the University of Southern California (USC), Leventhal School of Accounting as an assistant professor, teaching financial accounting and pursuing my research interests.
Advice for prospective doctoral students
Take initiative. Act as an independent entrepreneur. Engage in the doctoral community. And, do research that has a real impact in the business world.