UBC Sauder’s rigorous PhD program attracts impactful researchers that drive change in the global marketplace. It prepares students, like Charles Martineau for ambitious roles, but also provides the framework for academic success in and out of the classroom.
When Charles Martineau decided to pursue his PhD in Finance at UBC Sauder, what he discovered was a place that coupled creative academia with a strong, supportive community.
Martineau’s first experience with research was during his Bachelor of Commerce degree at Montreal’s Concordia University where he majored in finance.
But he didn’t really consider a PhD even after he completed his Masters in International Business with a specialty in finance from HEC Montréal.
“I knew I enjoyed research, but I just wasn’t sure a PhD was for me,” he recalls. But after a phone conversation with Adlai Fisher, finance professor at UBC Sauder, Martineau says he was convinced that pursuing further academia at this school would be the “right fit” for him.
Despite not having the hard science background Martineau assumed was required for a PhD, he says the school encouraged him to embrace
his knowledge of finance and to bring a fresh approach to research in this area.
“I realized that even if you don’t have the strong technical background that might be needed for this type of program, if you bring your creativity, you can figure out how to approach a problem in a unique way and find innovations through your work.”
Working with world class researchers
Martineau’s UBC Sauder experience can be summed up in a word: collaboration.
From his first conversations with Prof. Fisher, Martineau says he felt the support from the school to pursue his PhD and it continued for the next six years.
“To have a good experience throughout your PhD you need that support not just in practical terms for your research, but you need mental encouragement too because it can be tough and you can feel discouraged at times,” he adds.
And it’s not about hand-holding, according to Prof. Fisher, it’s about motivating and challenging the students to produce often ground-breaking research.
“The support you give to PhDs can include reassuring them they’re on the right track with the research, encouraging them to explore certain areas more in-depth and relaying the experiences of previous students so they can learn from that,” says Prof. Fisher. “It’s a pretty important part of working with PhD students.”
Martineau continued to learn from his advisors while at UBC Sauder, but it was his fellow PhDs who shared with him unexpected yet invaluable skills.
“I learned a lot from other PhDs, especially the older ones, who taught me things like computer programming language to enable me to do pioneering things with my own research,” says Martineau. “It’s true that we’re competing among ourselves for jobs, but at UBC Sauder it’s a healthy competition because at the same time we’re respectful and we help each other.”
Opening doors to the world
After six years in the PhD program UBC Sauder, Martineau begins his new position this fall as an assistant professor in the finance department at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business & Scarborough campus - his top pick.
“I was restrictive with where I wanted to go,” he says, adding that he had dozens of interview requests and was able to strategically narrow down his options to what would best suit his research and teaching goals.
He adds that he will continue his work in behavioural finance and the research he started with Prof. Fisher on the impacts of media attention on financial events, its link to investor interest in the stock market and the overall impact on returns.
For Martineau, he was able to pick the school that best echoed his time at UBC Sauder and the tightknit-community feel he experienced.
“I had ten job offers to choose from and I picked the place with the most inspiring peer group,” he says. “Because I know firsthand the difference it makes in your working environment.”
"I realized if you bring your creativity, you can figure out how to approach a problem in a unique way and find innovations through your work."