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Faculty of Business
UNB Saint John

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Saiful Huq


“We all agree that the word “research” cannot have any unique meaning attached to it. Researchers, particularly in the academic world, sometimes would like to have us believe that such research needs to have an identifiable, “big-bang” impact. I think that is a myth, perpetuated to create an esoteric aura about their research endeavors. I have no such pretensions. More often than not, research is only incremental in clarifying the “truth”. To me, research simply means identifying a relevant question and seeking plausible answer(s) to it.

My journey in the world of research has taken a few detours, in some instances driven by my career imperatives. My academic mentors in the graduate school would not encourage me to use, and to torture canned data into submission to confirm my hypotheses! So, I had to spend a year in remote villages to live and interact with my research subjects to generate my “data.” I was not too happy about it, needless to say. In retrospect, I know I told a story as it happened, and not how it should have happened according to my model!

When I was working for a UN body, I did carry out independent research in such diverse areas as macroeconomic performance, financial systems in emerging economies, financing of environmental projects, and regional transport networks, among others. While I tried to follow rigorous research methodology, I had the additional burden of communicating what I found to the real world public policy makers in a way they could understand, and translate to specific actions.

Another real world event that intrigued my research curiosity was the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. I wrote a paper that did not break any new ground, and instead provided a coherent narrative of all the dimensions of the crisis. I was really happy to have used it in my international finance course.

I have been teaching a course in derivatives in UNB for a good number of years. My experience convinced me that many of the textbooks in this subject area fail to bring into focus for students the intuitions that provide the foundation of this course. I have felt the need for a student focused research that would help me develop a primer in derivatives in a minimally technical language for my undergraduate students. This work is in progress.

Another of my research interests is in the appropriate sequencing of financial market developments, with a focus on bond markets, in the developing world. In many of these countries, small investors are caught up in a speculative frenzy in stock markets in the absence of any viable long-term bond markets. This process is not sustainable. My current research is directed also at developing a model that would help us understand the impact of historically volatile US/Canada exchange rates on the trade and economic growth in Atlantic Canada.”

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