Megan Tobias Neely modtager årets forskningsformidlingspris for at kaste lys over ulighed på Wall Street

Forskningsformidlingspris: Adjunkt på CBS Megan Tobias Neely har vundet DSEB Research Dissemination Prize for at dele sin forskning om ulighed på Wall Street med den brede befolkning.

12/06/2023

Megan Tobias Neely

Think of a hedge fund manager – do you picture a greedy schemer, a visionary entrepreneur, or someone straight out of 'The Wolf of Wall Street'? These common images stick in people's minds, but Megan Tobias Neely, Assistant Professor at CBS, dives into the real stories of those in the hedge fund industry. In her book, 'Hedged Out,' she sheds light on Wall Street's ongoing inequality and how it impacts us all.

My focus is on doing research that matters in the real world, thinking about society in a meaningful way, so I wanted real-world experience first

Megan Tobias Neely, Assistant Professor at CBS

Megan Tobias Neely’s journey to academia was not typical. Before her PhD, she worked as a junior analyst in a hedge fund unit of a large financial firm, shaping her view on her research project.

"I wanted hands-on experience because jumping right into academia seemed too confined given my limited experience. My focus is on doing research that matters in the real world, thinking about society in a meaningful way, so I wanted real-world experience first,” Megan Tobias Neely explains.

Challenging the media's portrayal

During her time in a hedge fund, Megan Tobias Neely witnessed the 2008 financial crisis from within the financial system. She gained a first-hand look at how the financial services industry drove unsustainable lending and investing practices that created hardship for many U.S. households and turmoil in economies around the world. Contrary to the media images of Wall Street, the people she worked with were motivated to build wealth for pension funds and university endowments who work on behalf of the welfare of common workers and students.

How could people with good intentions do work that can create inequality and crises in society, she wondered. "My aim was to show what was really going on, not just the romanticised image in the media."

Moreover, as she began the work, she saw that almost all the big decisions in hedge funds are made by white men, who control 97% of the industry’s 5 trillion USD in assets, and women make up less than one-fifth of the employees. Wanting to figure out why there is not a lot of diversity in hedge funds, she started her research project observing events and interviewing about 50 people in the industry.

From wall street to main street

I think academics have a duty to share our work with society. Our research connects with people's daily lives, and it is important to understand questions that matter to them

- Megan Tobias Neely, Assistant Professor at CBS

The research project led to her book, 'Hedged Out – Inequality and Insecurity on Wall Street', gaining great attention in both Danish and international media. Megan's active communication, including media appearances, recently earned her the CBS Research Dissemination Prize for 2023.

"I think academics have a duty to share our work with society. Our research connects with people's daily lives, and it is important to understand questions that matter to them," says Megan Tobias Neely. She acknowledges the role of university presses, like the University of California Press, in boosting media coverage and making her research accessible to a wider audience.

But she did not stop there. She also took an active role, doing interviews and building a strong network with journalists.

"In my approach to outreach, I craft a set of talking points that align with how I envision communicating my research to a wider audiencedistinct from the abstract or other formal channels. These points serve as my go-to arsenal, ensuring I am well-prepared for any opportunity that arises. This strategy eliminates the need to reinvent the wheel for each outreach endeavour. I do not perceive outreach as a significant time investment,” she explains and mentions that she sees the dissemination task as an important part of the research:

What truly motivates me is recognising the societal importance behind the research. It is a concerted effort to convey a public message that needs to be heard, understood, and, hopefully, contribute to positive change.”

“Outreach is a collective endeavour”

My advice on outreach is to always keep in mind a few other scholars whose work you can share, especially focusing on someone more junior with important contributions

Megan Tobias Neely, Assistant Professor at CBS

Choosing to join CBS in 2020, Megan Tobias Neely appreciated the strong sense of community found in Danish universities.

At CBS, the sense of community drew me in. Viewing research as a collective endeavour is crucial. My advice on outreach is to always keep in mind a few other scholars whose work you can share, especially focusing on someone more junior with important contributions. It is a way to highlight and promote meaningful work in our field," she says.

Looking ahead, Megan Tobias Neely is planning a new project on an AI technology company. She wants to see how an everyday workplace shapes the technology created, specifically who decides what products they make and how it affects society.

"CBS provides an optimal environment for research that explores the societal footprint. With the upcoming AI and workplace practices project, my goal is to persist in contributing valuable perspectives to discussions surrounding equity and the broader societal ramifications," says Megan Tobias Neely.

The page was last edited by: Sekretariat for Ledelse og Kommunikation // 12/06/2023