Damir Filipović

Prize in the Financial Engineering section

Damir Filipović was awarded the 2016 teaching prize in the Financial Engineering section, where he has been a professor since 2010. Head of the Swiss Finance Institute and Swissquote Chair in Quantitative Finance since 2011, Professor Filipović said he has always liked teaching – a career he started early on. “I taught my first courses when I was 22, at the high school I graduated from in St. Gallen,” he said. He went on to teach at ETH Zurich, where he earned his PhD in Mathematics, as well as Princeton University, the University of Munich and the University of Vienna. “I also worked as a consultant for the Swiss Federal Office of Private Insurance,” he added. “I’m still interested in the work I did outside of academia and have kept my contacts there to have real-world applications for my research.”

Professor Filipović currently teaches two Master’s courses in financial engineering at EPFL, Stochastic calculus II and Analysis of fixed income. When he plans his lessons, he is careful to be consistent in his approach. He explained, “I teach a type of mathematical finance. The subject requires great rigor for the final aim to be clear.”

If his students’ positive course evaluations are anything to go by, his efforts have paid off. “I’m lucky to have students who are really interested in the subject. They ask thought-provoking questions that lead to truly enriching discussions.” This back-and-forth has been as beneficial for the students as for the professor.

To maintain a high standard of teaching, Professor Filipović has taken several continuing education courses on flipped-classroom learning, in which the time spent in class is devoted to understanding and applying theoretical concepts that the students already explored outside of the class. “I try to encourage interaction in my courses and devote more time to putting theory into practice, so that I can motivate and help my students as they’re working on their exercises.”

Professor Filipović has also developed a MOOC on interest-rate modeling and directed numerous Master’s and Doctoral theses.