Not only is Dr Damien Kunjal celebrating graduating with his PhD in Finance at the age of 26, he also adds completing this qualification in the record time of two years to his list of achievements!
‘Whilst many people complain that their PhD journeys were daunting, my experience was a really good and short one. I enjoyed the research that I was doing so it became easy to write about it and the next step after completing my honours and master’s was to complete my PhD as part of my academic career. The goal was to complete my PhD at the age of 25, and I achieved it as I managed to submit my thesis for examination in the year I turned 25,’ said Kunjal.
The bright-spark has a track record of academic excellence having graduated with his masters in Finance cum laude in 2020, having also completed his Bachelor of Commerce (Business Finance) honours in 2019 and his Bachelor of Commerce in 2017 cum laude.
As an academic lecturing at the University of the Free State’s Department of Business Management, Kunjal is already reaping the rewards of obtaining a PhD.
‘As an academic, a PhD is vital for getting promoted and that is exactly what happened in my case as I will be joining the North-West University as a senior lecturer in July,’ he said.
On the research front, Kunjal has published papers from his study titled: The Effect of Disaggregated
‘The study fills an important research gap by exploring the influence of country risk components on the quality of Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) markets, which, to my knowledge, has never been done before,’ said Kunjal.
The findings of the study revealed that despite the growing popularity of ETFs as investment vehicles, ETF markets are not immune to the effects of country risk. Specifically, the political, economic, and financial components of country risk impact the returns, volatility, liquidity, and pricing efficiency of the ETF market. ‘However, the effects are not as clear-cut as these effects vary across market quality measures, country risk components, and ETF benchmarking styles. Therefore, investors need to carefully consider the effects of each country’s risk component on the ETFs in their investment pool in addition to primary investment considerations. I did experience a challenge in trying to get my papers accepted for journal publication because I took the PhD by publication route. However, in the end, the papers were published in journals ranked as Q1 and Q2 by Scopus.’
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan