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Faculty Insights: COVID-19 and NYC

By JP Eggers, Vice Dean of MBA and Graduate Programs

The COVID-19 virus has rapidly impacted society on a global level in ways few of us could have imagined only 6 months ago.  While the fight to stem the incidence and impact of the coronavirus takes place, the fiscal and economic shocks caused by this fight and its after-effects are only beginning to be understood. In 2008, when the global financial crisis shook the business and public sectors, NYU Stern built on its expertise in financial markets, global economics, and policy in a cross-department effort to make sense of the flaws in the market structure that led to the crisis. In this crisis, Stern’s effort has been to help students and the public better understand the impact that COVID-19 is having and will continue to have on every facet of the global economy. Thus, Faculty Insights: COVID-19 and NYC was born.  

Initiated by the office of the Vice Dean of MBA & Graduate Programs on March 27th, 2020, the video seminar and policy document series has been led by Professors Batia Wiesenfeld and Viral Acharya, and Senior Associate Dean Paula Goldfarb. The first speaker was Professor Haran Segram, who discussed how fighting the invisible enemy is impacting our financial systems and economy, and even offered investing advice to students in this time of crisis. Subsequently, faculty across every academic discipline, from economics to entertainment to management, have spoken and continue to teach the Stern community twice (and sometimes even three times) weekly via Zoom. Over 2000 Stern community members attended 13 virtual events to hear these expert perspectives and have their questions heard.

Some examples of key learnings from these sessions included Nobel Laureate and Professor Robert Engle (co-director of the Volatility Institute) modeling the relations between infections and volatility.  He showcased the amazing data visualizations produced by the V-Lab and shared publicly on how COVID-19 is spreading across the globe. Recently, Associate Professor Srikanth Jagabathula shared some of the work that he has been doing (in conjunction with colleagues at NYU Courant in Computer Science) to help the state leadership in New Jersey to understand, document, and prepare for the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey.

It is important that we all view challenging times like the emergence of COVID-19 not only a threat to be dealt with, but an opportunity to learn and expand how we think about the interconnected world in which we live. At Stern, this means having access to expert faculty who have been willing to address this new challenge and share their perspective with the community. We are incredibly thankful to the generosity of our faculty who have given their time, expertise, and foresight. The series has already resulted in real-time planning for future courses focused on aspects of this current crisis and others so that we can further explore these areas as they unfold (e.g., crisis leadership this summer, and the impact on financial systems this fall). Like the global financial crisis in the 2000s, Stern faculty will use the case of this global pandemic to help current and future students think differently about the world in which we live.

Given the positive feedback on the seminar series, and the willingness of the faculty to share their perspectives, NYU Stern currently plans to continue running the sessions into the summer of 2020. Stay tuned for more of the Faculty Insights Series every Tuesday. Visit the Faculty Insights page to view the recordings from past events and to see upcoming events here:  

https://www.stern.nyu.edu/experience-stern/faculty-research/nyu-stern-faculty-coronavirus/faculty-insights-video-seminar-series

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