SFI@USI PhD candidate, Alessio Ruzza, shares insights about his experience presenting a poster at the AFA in Chicago.
What are your top three recommendations for PhDs preparing to present a poster at the AFA Poster Session?
1. Have a strategy to attract people's interest, e.g. emphasize your results on the poster with a wise use of colors. I have seen some students offering donuts to those stopping by, maybe that's too much.
2. Just present the motivation, the main results, and the conclusion. A few tables are ok, but all robustness checks and math appendices are just taking space. Remember, you are there to provide comments and clarifications.
3. You don't know who is in front of you when you are presenting, give a good presentation to all of them and avoid quick dismissals (in my case the man who showed up when I was quite tired and about to leave was the chief economist of a regulatory agency).
What are the three most useful outcomes of presenting at the AFA Poster Session?
1. Top scholars are there, so it's a good chance to receive feedback and gauge their interest in your research.
2. PhD students from different universities attend, so you can compare both the quality and the focus areas of your own research with theirs.
3. You can practice your "sales pitch" a lot of times. Once on the market, you need a good one to grab the attention of the interviewers.
How soon would you recommend that PhDs consider presenting at a poster session?
Poster sessions are good for presenting preliminary and incomplete research papers, so I would recommend that PhDs consider this kind of presentation as soon as they have a draft with an outline of the idea, some results, and a message to deliver. A poster session forces you to present the idea in a sharp and succinct way, which is a skill that a PhD student should learn as early as possible.
How would you summarize your research in non-technical terms and what is the relevance of your research for society/industry?
My research is about the proper functioning of the corporate bond market which is relevant for institutions like pension funds and insurance companies. My findings suggest that when corporate bond dealers face a possibly informed counterparty, they tend to shift the risk of informed trading to their clients without offering them a compensation for liquidity provision. This behavior is more present during turbulent times, when informed trading is more harmful. To overcome this conflict of interest, I propose some new regulations which aim to protect liquidity providers.
Read more in the paper, “Agency Issues in Corporate Bond Trading”.
For highlights from other AFA/AEA poster presenters visit the 2017 AEA Poster Videos.