Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I’m Diana Barro, associate professor in Mathematical Methods of Economics and Actuarial and Financial Sciences. I teach Mathematics for economics and finance, Financial mathematics for Business, Models for portfolio management, Portfolio Insurance, International asset allocation, Static and Dynamic portfolio management on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as on the Ph.D. program.
I’m the coordinator of the bachelor’s degree program in International Trade and Tourism. My main area of interest involves stochastic dynamic optimization, applied to finance and economics. I’ve worked on applications of dynamic models for risk management, specifically for financial portfolios, and contagion models for credit risk. More recently, I’ve been centering my research around sustainability within financial decisions and the contribution of behavioral finance to the study of investment choices and risk management.
Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated in Economics and Business at Ca’ Foscari and received my Ph.D. in Mathematics for Economic Decisions from the University of Trieste. I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and the University of Padova. I’ve been a Visiting fellow at the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Optimisation Modelling (CARISMA) at Brunel University London. I have been working at Ca’ Foscari since 2005, initially as a researcher and now as an associate professor.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
Not really, or at least not so specifically. I’ve always loved studying and exploring new problems. Libraries and bookshops are among my favourite places - I find that reading a book allows me to embark on a journey towards unknown territories. A brief work experience was fundamental for me to understand that my priority was studying, so I pursued a doctorate. I was lucky enough to gain some experience in research and know that it’s what I’m most passionate about.
What do studying and researching mean to you?
The research field offers a lot of value, but it’s often an intricate path. The starting point is accessible, whether it be an idea, a question, an issue that we feel might be interesting to tackle. From there on, it is an uphill struggle; it is fundamental to persevere and not get discouraged. Teaching is also a considerable challenge that requires reinventing yourself every year to engage with the students. At the same time, teaching is a privilege because it allows you to meet new students and understand how things change through the generations. And often, interacting with students is the most gratifying experience.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their careers?
To students approaching the research world I want to say that it may sometimes be challenging; however, don’t give up. Instead, find the motivation within yourself because research is worth it.