Professor Fell into the Field on Accident, But has Found Purpose Teaching Finance

August 28, 2014
Dr. Costanza Meneghetti

Dr. Costanza Meneghetti is an expert in corporate finance. She teaches Ph.D. students and Executive MBA’s. She’s been published five times in four journals. She was recently promoted and received tenure at B&E.

But she didn’t know it was going to turn out this way.

Hailing from Venice, Italy, Meneghetti aspired to be an entrepreneur like her father. Growing up around his business influenced her to pursue undergraduate studies in economics and finance. Then, late in undergrad, she caught wind of an exchange program with Georgia State University in Atlanta. It was a shot in the dark, as she applied just four days before the deadline. But she was selected, and her life would be forever changed.

Dr. Meneghetti was only supposed to be in Atlanta for one year, but a mistake was made concerning her prerequisites. On the very last day to get the issue sorted out, she went to the chair of the department, who looked at her resume and said, “I’ll fix that. Would you like to join our Ph.D. program?”

“I hadn’t thought about a Ph.D. prior to that,” Meneghetti recalled. “I was just an undergrad trying to resolve visa problems. I had never thought about it before, but I liked the idea. I went back home, graduated as fast as possible, and then came back to Georgia State.”

It’s a decision she has never regretted. After finishing her Ph.D. in 2008, the job market led her straight to WVU.

“I realized this was my path,” she said.

Dr. Meneghetti was drawn to finance because of her fascination with people’s behavior and the incentives people are influenced by when they make decisions, particularly in the confines of a firm.

“I like to see how people make decisions within a firm. There are incentives that influence managers, that help explain why they behave the way they do. All of that affects the value of the firm, which affects society in general, if people want to invest in that firm or work for that firm.”

“You can see a firm as a series of relationships,” she continued. “There are customers, suppliers, employees, even unions. I love to study the interaction between these different players and what comes out of it. This is something that can be observed in real life every day.”

Although Dr. Meneghetti has a passion for the material, what she loves most is her interaction with students.

“My advisor, I remember, told me that the best way to see if you understand something is to see if you are able to explain it to someone else,” she said. “When I started teaching, there were some things I thought I knew really well, but it turned out I had some additional work to do. Sometimes, students come up with questions that are so basic but so smart – so basic that you didn’t even think about it before.”

Outside of finance, Meneghetti has many interests and hobbies. She tries to get back to Italy twice a year to spend time with her friends and family and travel with them throughout Europe. She practiced martial arts for many years and she used to play soccer. Although she doesn’t play often anymore, she still loves to exercise and is interested in learning golf. She sails and she’s also a fan of scuba diving. She’s seen sharks and manta rays in the Florida Keys, where she used to dive frequently during her time in Georgia.

She’s also an animal lover, with two cats at home. While she would love a dog, she said there’s not enough time. But she’s a frequent volunteer at Animal Friends, where she can serve the community while simultaneously getting her “dog fix.”

The path to earning tenure can be arduous, and once received it’s a massive achievement.

“It makes a big difference to know I’m going to stay long term. I really like it here, I love my colleagues, and the College is a great environment. Now, I can focus more on (research topics) I really like and be more selective (about what I research) but I still plan to do research at the same pace. They go together, teaching and research. I don’t think I could be a good researcher without teaching, but I don’t think I could teach without being a researcher. That’s the way I approach things.”