Dr. Ivilina Popova: Tom and Jo Roddy Professor in Finance

The Tom and Jo Roddy Professor in Finance is awarded to a member of the finance faculty who has an outstanding record of teaching, research, and service. Dr. Ivilina Popova has been at Texas State in the Department of Finance and Economics since 2008, first serving as a visiting professor before moving to associate professor of finance. She currently holds the title of professor of finance. Dr. Popova received her PhD in Operations Research from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  

Q: What are your goals and plans for the professorship?
A: My main goal for this professorship and the next 3 years is to do research and learn as much as I can about a new area in finance and technology, FinTech. I am currently in the process of learning the programming language Python and its capabilities in machine and deep learning. In the last 1 to 2 years, new research in the field of finance has started to take advantage of big data, data analytics, and vast computer power. My background in mathematics, operations research, and finance allows me to quickly jump into this new and interesting research field. 

Q: What do you think is most beneficial about the professorship? 
A: The most beneficial part is the reduction in teaching load. It frees time for research. The professorship funds allow me to attend conferences in FinTech and establish contacts with researchers in the area. I also intend to use some of the funds to run some workshops in McCoy College on FinTech.

 Q: Can you tell me some details about your research background?
A: I have two main areas of research: derivatives pricing and portfolio management. The main theme of my research is modelling the underlying processes – stock prices, commodity prices, etc. – with higher fidelity. Standard models do not allow for default risk, extreme events, and volatility regimes. I consider all of them in my research. For example, while I worked for Deutsche Bank, I developed a new portfolio allocation model using the probability of outperforming a benchmark as a risk metric. It was year 2001 when the product was developed. $6 billion eventually got managed by this product. 

Q: How did you get to Texas State? Please tell me about your journey here. 
A: I came to Texas State in 2008. My academic background includes positions at Purdue University and Seattle University. My industry background includes positions as director at Deutsche Bank in New York, as head of the equity trading desk at Koch Capital Markets in Houston, and as a partner at a hedge fund in Austin. I have graduate degrees in mathematics and operations research with applications in finance. People with such backgrounds are called “quants” on Wall Street.