Faculty Spotlight- Özgür Arslan-Ayaydin

Professor Arslan-AyaydinDr. Özgür Arslan-Ayaydin is using UIC's significant diversity as a catalyst for a unique new offering in the finance department--Islamic Banking and Finance. She explains more about her background and what led her to teach this particular course. 


Dr. Arslan-Ayaydin earned her undergraduate degree in economics at Hacettepe University, Turkey, and a master's degree in finance at the University of Leicester, UK. She completed her formal studies at Hacettepe University, where she earned her PhD in finance. She was a visiting PhD student at the University of York, UK, as a Jean Monnet Scholar. Professor Arslan-Ayaydin also acts as an external evaluator and rapporteur of Marie Curie FP7 Research Projects to the European Commission.

She joined the CBA in November 2010 and teaches: Introduction to Managerial Finance, Investments, Managerial Finance, International Finance, International Financial Markets, and Islamic Banking and Finance.

What is your main area of research?

My main area of expertise is the analysis of investment decisions of corporations and the way they finance their assets through various combinations of debt and equity, which represent their total liabilities. I am particularly interested in studying how a company's value is affected by this "mix of financing" within the system by which it is directed and controlled, and in light of the relative amount of ownership claims held by management and investors with no direct role in decision making.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently, I have two ongoing projects. The first investigates whether financial markets reward environmentally conscious firms over the long term. I am also studying the relations among research and development spending, innovation, and managerial incentives for Turkish firms.

What do you like most about teaching at UIC?

I love having the opportunity to find new ways of sharing the materials and adjusting my methods to stay relevant to current students. My favorite times are when students succeed beyond what they think they are capable of achieving.

I have also had the opportunity to develop two unique classes at UIC.  Last semester, I taught "International Financial Markets." This course examines evaluation of exchange rate regiments and international financial institutions.  The main aim in this course is to develop critical understanding of exchange rates in short and long terms and how their interactions with interest and inflation rates create investment opportunities in international finance markets.

This fall, I will teach another unique class, "Islamic Banking and Finance." The recent turbulence in the global financial markets has drawn attention to Islamic banking and finance as an alternative to the western system of finance. What makes Islamic finance different from western finance is that Islamic law forbids the paying of interest. This prohibition is based on the concept that money should measure, rather than create, value. Islamic banks thus avoided many of the debt-backed instruments that severely affected many conventional banks during the recent financial crisis.

The Islamic world is the custodian of immense natural resources that back its trading and financing activities. Islamic finance has been growing 14 percent per year with Islamic finance assets exceeding $1.1 trillion in cumulative value in 2011. This enormous growth has increased demand for those familiar with this alternative system. The course curriculum does not cater only to students of Islamic faith and no prior knowledge of Islam is assumed. It should be a valuable course to anyone interested in global financial markets and systems.

Learn more about these and other finance courses in the catalog.