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Big Potential: Jiri Tresl

May 8 2012 6:00 PM
Jiri Tresl
Jiri Tresl, a finance Ph.D. student at the College of Business Administration, has covered a lot of distance in his academic pursuits. Tresl has lived in three countries and attended a variety of schools, but perhaps nowhere has his academic success flourished as it has at Nebraska.

“Nebraska offered me opportunities that no other school did,” Tresl said. “I was born in Prague, Czech Republic and moved to Berlin, Germany when I was four. I lived there until I was 14 and then moved back to Prague.”

Tresl was playing for one of the top youth soccer teams and had visions of a professional career in sports before him. Unfortunately, health issues changed his plans and he ended up attending the University of Economics in Prague. Then, one day Tresl noticed something that would change his life forever.

“I was walking down the hallway and there was a promotional poster for the University of Nebraska announcing the Robitschek Scholarship was available for undergraduate students. I applied for and received the scholarship, and came to Nebraska,” Tresl said.

During that time he switched his focus from international economics and business to finance. With the help of Dr. Tom Zorn, emeritus professor of finance at UNL, Tresl eventually applied to the Ph.D. program and was accepted in 2007.

About that same time, Dr. Emre Unlu, assistant professor of finance, joined the college. Tresl sat down with Unlu and proposed a dissertation track that evolved into an exploration of insider trading in stock markets and what firms can do to mitigate the problem.

Jiri Tresl teaching

Jiri Tresl in the classroom

“What impresses me most about Jiri is his commitment to get things done right no matter what he does,” Unlu said. “He is a good student, good teacher and most importantly a good researcher.”

Tresl has worked on several research papers at CBA, including separate articles with finance professors Dr. John Geppert, Dr. Gordie Karels and former UNL finance student, now assistant professor of management at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Payne, Ph.D.

In addition to his research abilities, Tresl also won the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award at CBA in 2012. Karels, chair of the finance department, pointed out that Jiri’s student evaluations were some of the best he has ever seen, including among tenure track professors.

“A large part of Jiri’s success in the classroom is due to the time he spends creating supplemental materials to guide students through the process of analyzing and solving financial problems,” Karels said. “Then he supplements his problems with examples drawn from popular movies, documentaries, internet financial news sites and corporate web pages.”

Next fall Tresl will begin a new and final chapter on his road to receiving his Ph.D. from Nebraska. He will participate in the Big Ten’s Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) by taking advanced finance courses at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill.

After graduation in the Spring of 2013, Tresl plans to continue to teach finance.

“I love being a professor and interacting with students,” Tresl said. “There is so much inspiration in a classroom and I would miss it if I didn’t pursue that dream.”