UTEP Finance Professor, Former Student Recognized for Outstanding Article

A work co-authored by Zuobao Wei, Ph.D., professor of finance in The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Business Administration, and Barkat Ullah, Ph.D., now an assistant professor of finance in the Graves School of Business and Management of Morgan State University, was designated as one of two outstanding articles published in 2017.

The article, “Bank Financing and Firm Growth: Evidence from Transition Economies,” was published in the Winter 2017 edition of the Journal of Financial Research (JFR), a finance publication produced by Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business.

The article examines the relationship between financing patterns and firm growth in transition economies. It also presents findings that firms using formal bank finance grow faster than those financed by informal sources.

“This is a very special acknowledgment from the Journal of Financial Research,” Wei said. “Any time your article gets recognized by a reputable journal, it’s a great honor. This is also a testament to the quality of our Ph.D. program in finance. It shows that we are able to produce students with the initiative to work with their professors to produce quality research.”

The JFR is a quarterly academic journal devoted to publishing original scholarly research in investment and portfolio management, capital markets and institutions, and corporate finance, corporate governance and capital investment.

For the honor, Wei and Ullah each received $1,000.

Wei credited Ullah with doing a significant amount of the legwork for the article. The idea for it was an offshoot of a dissertation Ullah was working on. Ullah took the initiative to gather financial data on numerous countries, analyzed it, developed a hypothesis and proceeded to test it against the research he conducted.

Wei then guided Ullah through the editorial process, providing assistance with revisions.

Their work was the first article published in the JFR by a graduate from UTEP’s College of Business Administration. Wei said the honor raises UTEP’s standing in the research realm.

“We have established our reputation in terms of research programs,” Wei said. “We have a rigorous program in finance. But it’s not just finance that is producing high- quality researchers, it’s the entire college. Our students benefit from research seminars, methodology and many other things. They are well-trained to do research.”

Ullah said the training he received at UTEP prepared him to become a dedicated researcher. He hopes the award inspires current and future UTEP students in attaining their academic and research goals.

“Winning this prestigious award was a pleasant surprise for us considering the high- quality papers published in JFR,” Ullah said. “This recognition certainly displays the excellence of UTEP faculty and graduates.”