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Gerald Jensen: High yield

March 29, 2011
Gerald Jensen

Gerald Jensen

Summarizing the career of finance professor Gerald Jensen, one colleague drew upon the lingo of the field, noting that there are no “penny stocks” in Jensen’s portfolio.

Indeed, since he joined the faculty of the NIU College of Business in 1987, Jensen has generated high yield results. He receives outstanding reviews from students; he was a major contributor in the creation of the college’s core curriculum; and he has carved out a name for himself as one of the most prolific authors ever in the field of financial research.

“Dr. Jensen truly exemplifies the type of individual the Board of Trustees Professorships are designed to honor,” said Denise Schoenbachler, dean of the NIU College of Business. “He excels in every aspect of his job — as a teacher, as a mentor, as a researcher, as a contributor to the college and as a colleague. He is a pillar of the university and is most deserving of this honor.”

His students agree.

From freshmen new to the study of finance, to 30-year business veterans returning to secure MBAs, all praise his ability to make complex topics easy to grasp. “His enthusiasm for the subject spills over to the students, and they can’t help but be fascinated by his lectures,” one student said.

Unbeknownst to most students, Jensen influences the education of every undergraduate enrolled in the college.

He was part of a team of four faculty that led the development of UBUS 300, the nine-credit hour, cross functional course that introduces students to business principles — an effort that Schoenbachler described as “Herculean.” He was also part of the team that taught the course for its first six years, refining and molding what has become a signature piece of an NIU business education.

Jensen also guides a team of students tasked with investing thousands of dollars on behalf of the NIU Foundation. Under his mentorship, the group has out-performed the market in each of the last three years.   

While respected for his teaching, Jensen is almost in a class unto himself when it comes to research and publishing in the fields of monetary policy and security returns. In 2005, the Journal of Financial Literature ranked him in the top 1.56 percent of most prolific authors over the previous 50 years.

Jensen also has a knack for making that highly technical research accessible to lay audiences, which has made him a media favorite. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes and USA Today and has appeared on television and radio. His work has also been cited in several text books.

Additionally, Jensen is deeply involved with the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, grading and writing CFA exams and attending conferences, and each year sponsors several students who wish to join the CFA Society of Chicago, an association that he says allows him to bring the latest professional developments into the classroom.

The Board of Trustees Professorship is the latest in a long line of honors earned by Jensen. It is also one of the most satisfying because the recognition comes from peers, and it takes into account both teaching and research.

“One of the things that I like about NIU is that it gives me the opportunity to devote equal emphasis to the two dimensions,” Jensen said. “My research and my involvement with the Chartered Financial Analyst organization allow me to bring cutting-edge knowledge to the classroom and ensures that my students are up-to-date on the latest research and professional developments.”