Prof. Jaap Bos

Jaap Bos is professor of Banking and Finance and holds the Chair of the Department of Finance at Maastricht University. He is a leading expert on financial institutions, efficiency, productivity, technical change, innovation and competition. Jaap studied International Economic Studies at Maastricht University and specialised in monetary economics. He has published a significant series of books and chapters.

 

Jaap is involved in the MaastrichtMBA programme as lecturer at the Executive MBA module on Corporate Finance and Accounting.

WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION WITH MAASTRICHT?

I’m not a city dweller by nature, but Maastricht is my adopted home town. Left the city, did many other things, and then came back about ten years ago. I like the cosmopolitan village nature of the city.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO BECOME A PROFESSOR AT MAASTRICHT UNIVERSITY?

Becoming a professor was a consequence of enjoying my job and trying to do a good job, not an objective in itself (so said the Zen master). Having said that, it’s both wonderful and a bit odd to experience how the way the world views you changes when you put on our professorial hat….

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE MBA TRACK OF THE MAASTRICHTMBA PROGRAMME?

I teach in the Corporate Finance and Accounting module, where I focus on investment analysis. In addition, together with Pomme Theunissen, I launched a new entrepreneurial finance session this year, where we introduce a lot of the alternative financing available to entrepreneurs these days, like crowdfunding, microfinance, etc.

YOU WILL BE ONE OF THE LECTURERS FOR THE NEXT EXECUTIVE MBA EDUCATIONAL WEEK ON CORPORATE FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR LESSONS DURING THIS COURSE?

Of course! I think there are two things that are perhaps a bit particular about how and what I teach in that module. The first is the way that my experience as a ‘real world’ economist, both as a former central banker and as an advisor to both government and corporations, informs how and what I teach. I like to see if I can use that experience to connect to the way that the MBA students encounter investment decisions in their daily work practice. The second is that even though I am in a Finance Department, my background as an empirical microeconomist shines through. In short, I think understanding the logic behind how financial decisions are taken is at least as important as ‘only’ knowing what formula to apply when….

SINCE THE CURRENT CRISIS WE ARE FACING HAS LOCKED DOWN THE WORLD, ORGANISATIONS CHANGED RAPIDLY. HOW DO YOU THINK THIS NEW WORLD WILL BE FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS ON THE TOPIC OF CORPORATE FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING?

Haha. I’m immediately thinking of financial institutions, in particular banks. If the last 10 years, since the global financial crisis, have shown anything, it is that the banking sector is extremely reluctant to change. I’m afraid I’m not very optimistic about the ability of banks to adjust to the new world.

AND WHAT ARE YOUR LESSONS LEARNED DURING THIS CRISIS?

Where do I start? I think the most important lesson is probably that we need more and better education, especially basic statistics. I think the extent to which the reactions of many people is a reflection of poor education is seriously underestimated. One of things I often emphasise to students is the ability to zoom in and out, going from a micro to a macro analysis, and vice versa. That is tough.

 

But, as this crisis has once again shown, it is also essential. We are not tiny islands in a giant archipelago…. Rather, we’re connected, whether we like it our not. Understanding network effects, externalities (both positive and negative), probabilities and correlations is crucial to understanding the world.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF PROFESSIONALLY?

First, my PhD students. As a professor, my PhD students are my academic children. Watching them go out in the real world and grow and become great leaders is one of the advantages of getting older. Second, in the last years I have done quite a bit of work, usually behind the scenes, helping sustainable finance initiatives take off. That is work that gives me great personal satisfaction.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE SOMETHING PERSONAL WITH THE READERS?

I thought I already did! Just kidding… What can I say? Well, maybe a fun fact is that one of my favorite ways of spending time outside the office is on horseback.

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