BlackRock Applied Research Award

Exceptional thinking exceptional results.

Application due date: October 26, 2020 Event date: December 2, 2020

Announcement: 2020 BlackRock Applied Research Award Winner

We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2020 BlackRock Applied Research Award: Shohini Kundu in the Finance program from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business for her job market paper, “The Externalities of Fire Sales: Evidence from Collateralized Loan Obligations”. Shohini’s research interests include loan markets and network effects. Her job market paper focused on the surprising result that the structure of collateralized loan obligations (CLOs)—in particular the covenants they include—cause the struggles of one company whose loan the CLO holds to spillover and negatively impact unrelated companies whose loans are also in the same CLO. This paper helps us understand a fragility of current markets.

We also congratulate Shohini’s fellow finalists:

  • Natee Amornsiripanitch, Yale School of Management, Financial Economics
  • Bruce Iwadate, London School of Economics, Finance
  • Samir Mahmoudi, Georgia State University, Economics
  • Chase Ross, Yale School of Management, Financial Economics

What is the Applied Research Award?

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Now in its sixth edition, the BlackRock Applied Research Award recognizes the top five job market papers submitted by PhD candidates on a practical topic pertaining to financial markets, economics, investment management, or risk management.

The Award will grant $20,000 to the winning job market paper submitted by PhD candidates and $2,500 to the runners-up. Job market papers should be based on quantitative research and provide practical solutions to the challenges faced by investors and risk managers.

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2020 Academic Panel


  • Andrew Ang, BlackRock, Managing Director, Head of Factor-Based Strategies Group
  • Tim Bollerslev, Duke, Juanita and Clifton Kreps Distinguished Professor of Economics, in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
  • Janice Eberly, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, James R. and Helen D. Russell Professor of Finance
  • Ron Kahn, BlackRock, Managing Director, Global Head of Systematic Equity Research
  • Jonathan Parker, MIT Management Sloan School, Robert C. Merton Professor of Finance, Co-director of the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy

Want to apply? What you need to know:

Candidates must send their applications to applied research award by October 26, 2020.

The BlackRock Applied Research Award Academic Panel will review all submissions and notify the 5 finalists by November 25, 2020.
Finalists will be invited to defend their job market paper on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

Award determination will be made by BlackRock’s Applied Research Award Academic Panel which consists of a panel of finance leaders from BlackRock and academia.

To be considered for the award the application must contain:

    • The candidate’s PhD job market paper. Important note: we request that all names and personal references be removed from the content in job market papers to ensure an unbiased review by our committee. This includes authors(s) names and affiliations, acknowledgments, seminars/conferences where the paper was presented, etc.
    • The candidate’s resume
    • A recommendation letter from the dissertation chair
    • Confirmation of your presence in the coming job market and for the first time. This confirmation may be provided by the dissertation chair (including through the recommendation letter) or by the head of the PhD program or the school department.

*All documents included in your application should be titled beginning with your last name