The Rodney L. White Center for Financial research is committed to cultivating the next generation of finance leaders in academia and industry. We offer programs that teach, hone, and apply quantitative research skills that will advance candidates into finance PhD programs and related careers.

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Pre-Doctoral Research Associate Program

The center offers specially qualified recent college graduates interested in applying to PhD programs the opportunity to work directly with Wharton finance faculty as full-time Research Associates. Each Research Associate will work in this challenging position for 1-2 years and emerge prepared to apply for PhD programs in economics, finance, public policy, business, or other quantitative social-science programs.

Research Associates will be encouraged to be an active part of the Wharton research community, which can include attending seminars, exploring personal research interests, and taking graduate-level classes at Wharton. The Research Associates will join a cohort of pre-doctoral research associates both in the Finance Department and across other departments at the Wharton School.
Scroll down for more information and to apply for current openings.

Meet our Associates:

Pre-Doctoral Research Associate Ding Ding before a grey background

Ding Ding
Education: China Foreign Affairs U/LSE, Uchicago
Faculty Supervisors: Karen Lewis and Yao Zeng

Vitor Furtado Farias
Education: University of Notre Dame
Faculty Supervisors: Joao Gomes and Luke Taylor

Hazel He
Education: The Chinese U of Hong Kong/Carnegie Mellon
Faculty Supervisors: Allison Nicoletti and Christina Zhu

Srikur Kanuparthy smiles before a grey background

Srikur Kanuparthy
Education: U of Illinois – Urbana Champaign
Faculty Supervisors: Amy Huber and Huan Tang

Paige Stevenson smiles before a grey background

Paige Stevenson
Education: Macalester College, St Paul MN
Faculty Supervisors: Gideon Bornstein, Sasha Indarte, and Sergio Salgado

Shuman Zhang smiles before a grey background.

Shuman Zhang
Education: U Minnesota/NYU
Faculty Supervisors: Winston Dou and Marius Guenzel

Yizhong Zhang
Education: Duke
Faculty Supervisors: Lu Liu, Sean Myers, Chaojun Wang

Interested in Becoming a Pre-Doctoral Research Associate?

The Center encourages outstanding recent college graduates with an interest in pursuing a PhD in a finance related field to apply to open positions.  A complete application includes a cover letter explaining why you want to become a pre-doc, a resume/CV, and the most recent transcript.

Read about Tanvi Jindal’s journey to becoming a pre-doc. 

There are currently no openings, all pre-doc positions have been filled.

Undergraduate Research Fellow Program

Highly qualified Penn undergraduates can become Center Research Fellows. Fellows assist PhD candidates with their advanced dissertation research. This work can include building financial models and collecting and analyzing data. The PhD candidates serve as mentors, training Fellows on financial tools, concepts, and research.

Additionally, interested Fellows will have the opportunity to assist in various aspects of conference planning, including registration and attendance, for high-profile conferences, workshops and seminars. throughout the year.

The program is open to UPenn undergraduate students only.  Announcements are posted each spring and fall in specific department, Wharton School and University research opportunity websites. Position openings are ongoing. Click here to apply

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Meet our Fellows:

Arjun Agrawal smiles before an outdoor background

Arjun Agrawal SEAS’26
Computer Science and Mathematical Economics
PhD Supervisor: Jack Fu

Brianna Geng smiles before a brick wall

Brianna Geng W’26
Economics and Computer Science
PhD Supervisor: Jeanna Kenney

Ruixi Gong poses in front of a body of water

Ruixi Gong CAS/SEAS’24
Economics and Data Science
PhD Supervisor: Clara Xu

Arjun Khanna smiles in front of a brick wall

Arjun Khanna CAS’26
Mathematical Economics
PhD Supervisor: Sergey Sarkisyan

Amy Zhang smiles in front of a curtain and brick wall

Amy Zhang W’26
Finance and statistics
PhD Supervisor: Guanyu Zhou