University of Rochester

Sister-Sister Combo Joins Simon

Anzhela and Diana Knyazeva received their master’s degrees from Stanford University at the age when most kids have their hands out for a learner’s permit.

The Russian sisters moved to the United States in 2001 after completing their undergraduate and master’s level work in Russia.

They have traveled the world, earned their Ph.D.s (at New York University’s Stern School of Business), and wowed the faculty at the Simon Graduate School of Business.

Now, Anzhela, 22, and Diana, 20, will attempt their next feat—working as assistant professors at Simon. In addition to pursuing their own research, beginning this winter, they will be guiding graduate students through the finer points of finance. Many of their students will be older than they are, especially Diana, but the Knyazevas aren’t ruffled by that prospect.

“I don’t think my age will be a factor in my teaching,” Diana says. “What will be important is a thorough knowledge of the subjects I’ll be teaching: corporate finance and financial institutions.”

Anzhela will be teaching investments and international finance. Her recent research has focused on dividend decisions, corporate governance, and the investment choices made by firms. Diana has been exploring the relationship between various monitoring mechanisms and their implications for investments.

The two share an apartment in the Rochester suburb of Brighton, have authored papers together, and have attended all the same schools, but made clear that they don’t always come as a package deal. They travel separately for work frequently and even considered job offers in different parts of the country.

But the offer from Simon was too good to turn down. The sisters say the faculty, caliber of the program, and research opportunities drew them to Rochester.

“The faculty has been very welcoming the times I have been here,” Anzhela says.

They think future appointments may pull them in different directions, but for now they are enjoying their first appointment together.

—Kate Perry