PhD Spotlight : Boushra El-Haj Hassan
Boushra El-Haj Hassan joined the Telfer School of Management in 2016 to pursue a PhD in management, specializing in finance. Under the supervision of Professor Shantanu Dutta, Boushra’s research examines mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in order to better understand the processes and determinants involved and their impact on firms.
Why did you choose to study finance? Any personal motivation behind your research interest in this field?
I chose to pursue a PhD in management, and to specialize in finance, because I realized that oftentimes, the success of business-related decisions boils down to their financial impact. In addition, finance research presents tremendous intersectionality with other fields, thus offering researchers an unlimited range of topics to explore, which I find very exciting.
What is your research about? What is unique or particularly interesting about your research? What will it contribute to academic literature?
My current research focuses on mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Despite the abundant literature in this area, there are still a lot of gaps when it comes to understanding the dynamics of the processes involved and the determinants of the outcomes of such deals on firms. At this stage, I aim to explore the role of investment banks in the process through a comprehensive study that aims to reconcile conflicting findings documented in the current literature. More specifically, I will focus on the role of the acquirers’ financial advisors, and the lack of evidence for the value investment banks can bring to the target side. To this end, I will use a comprehensive dataset that I collected by hand and I will develop a battery of proxies for advisor quality to investigate how advisor reputation, past performance, and activities impact M&A deal outcomes.
Have you recently published an article or presented at a conference based on your thesis research, and if so, what are some of the highlights?
My publications include two book chapters (one on cryptocurrencies and another on stock option manipulation), in addition to two papers. One of the papers I co-authored relates to mergers and acquisitions and is titled, “Does Target Geographical Complexity Impact Acquisition Performance?” It was published in Finance Research Letters. In this paper, we examine whether a target’s geographical complexity affects acquisition performance. The results show that target geographical complexity is associated with an acquirer’s lower abnormal returns and higher acquisition premiums, and therefore could hold implications for acquirer shareholders and managers when a firm is planning to acquire a complex target.
How could your thesis research influence or impact policy or the public sector, business sector, or communities in Canada?
Firms incur substantial expenses for advisory fees, especially when they opt for top-tier M&A financial advisors. By examining the role of financial advisors, and the value they add, I aim to provide some empirical evidence to inform firms’ decisions when it comes to hiring an advisor and deciding on the tier of that advisor.