Associate Professor Sang Baum Kang Receives Stuart Teaching Award



By Scott Lewis

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Associate Professor of Finance Sang Baum “Solomon” Kang is the recipient of the 2021 Stuart School of Business Excellence in Teaching Award. The award was announced as part of Illinois Institute of Technology’s annual presentation of faculty teaching awards.

A member of the Stuart faculty since 2012, Kang engages with Stuart and Illinois Tech students at all levels as a teacher, independent study and dissertation adviser, research mentor and collaborator, and faculty adviser for teams in international academic competitions.

“Professor Kang combines excellent academic credentials with industry experience,” says John and Mae Calamos Stuart School of Business Dean Endowed Chair John Bilson. “At the graduate level, he has used this expertise to develop courses [that] are very popular with our students in finance and mathematical finance. His teaching ratings have always been excellent.”

His courses range from Principles of Economics, a course for undergraduate non-business majors that draws a lot of students, to graduate courses in finance such as Financial Modeling, Models for Derivatives, Math with Financial Applications, and Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives. In fall 2020, Kang introduced Energy Commodities Analytics, a new course aimed at business students who are interested in energy markets and engineering and science students who are interested in finance, which he co-designed with Bilson.

In course evaluations, students praise Kang for his enthusiasm about the subject matter, clear explanations, well-organized course materials, and projects and in-class activities that show how to apply the concepts that are being covered. “I can tell that he truly wants to be an educator and see his students learn,” one student wrote. “He will frequently go beyond the time he has set aside [during office hours], just to make sure I understand the answer to the question I had asked.”

Prior to his doctoral studies, Kang worked for nine years in the energy sector doing financial modeling and analysis for commodity traders and risk managers, including as director of structuring and pricing at PacifiCorp Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. His industry experience informs both his classroom teaching and his research agenda, which focuses on energy finance, real options, commodities, and financial derivatives.

He frequently co-authors papers with his current and former students. Most recently, a paper Kang wrote with Jian Jia (Ph.D. MSC ’20), titled “Do the Basis and Other Predictors of Futures Return Also Predict Spot Return with the Same Signs and Magnitudes? Evidence from the LME,” was published in the Journal of Commodity Markets in March 2021.

He has served since 2018 as faculty co-adviser for Illinois Tech student teams competing in the international PRMIA Risk Management Challenge—three of the teams won the regional competition—and, in spring 2021, for the first team to compete in the Climate Investment Challenge.

In the area of international study, Kang was instrumental in developing Stuart’s new dual degree programs with Yonsei University in South Korea. This partnership gives Stuart graduate students the opportunity to study in Seoul for Yonsei’s Global Master of Business Administration degree to go with a specialized master’s degree from Stuart.

He holds a Ph.D. in Finance from McGill University in Canada, as well as an M.S. in Actuarial Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an M.S. in Computational Finance from Carnegie Mellon University.

Photo: Associate Professor of Finance Sang Baum “Solomon” Kang