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Associate professor Zsuzsanna Fluck remembered as passionate scholar, mentor

By Chelsea Stein
Monday, January 9, 2023
Zsuzsanna Fluck headshot

Zsuzsanna Fluck, associate professor, mentor and friend

On Dec. 10, the Broad College lost a beloved faculty member: Zsuzsanna Fluck, associate professor in the Department of Finance.

During her tenure at Michigan State University from 2001 to 2022, Fluck was known for her expertise and passion for venture capital. In 2006, she founded the college’s Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance, and she served as its director each year since.

Through the center, Fluck advanced academic and applied research from faculty and students alike, integrating financial thinking and strategic decision making with entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Zsuzsanna was an economist with the deep understanding of markets for innovations and institutions in modern financial system and everyday life,” Andrei Simonov, chairperson of the Department of Finance, said. “She created the Center for Venture Capital 15 years ago and put all her passion and energy to ensure that the center is a success. She will be missed by students and colleagues.”

Fluck was an internationally known leading expert on topics such as venture capital, private equity, entrepreneurial finance and innovation, financial contracting and security design, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. Her work was published in top academic journals: the Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Business, the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Journal of Banking and Finance, among others.

Over the course of her distinguished career, Fluck received many prizes and awards for her excellence in research and teaching, including best paper awards from the Glucksman Institute, the Chicago Quantitative Alliance and the French Syntec Conseil en Management. Here at Broad, she was recognized with the Richard J. Lewis Quality Award in 2006 for her innovative work in the classroom teaching MBA students.

“Zsuzsanna was a consummate scholar in every sense of the word,” Naveen Khanna, A.J. Pasant Chair in Finance, said. “Her deep understanding of the role of agency and incentives in a complex world enabled her to publish cutting-edge research that gained her immense respect in the profession. She was very thoughtful, brimming with ideas and always generous with her time. I learned much from our many discussions, as I am sure many others did too.

“She had conviction of belief that one must strive for the highest possible quality in the classroom, in research and in life, and she practiced that to the very end,” he continued. “Her passion for many years has been to fundamentally understand the field of innovation, venture capital and private equity and to use the center she founded to educate students, colleagues and professionals about the forces she viewed as important drivers of decisions, compensation contracts and the ever-changing nature of this industry. Her expertise, passion and presence will be sorely missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her.”

“Zsuzsanna was a consummate scholar in every sense of the word. ... She was very thoughtful, brimming with ideas and always generous with her time.”

Beyond her academic prowess, Fluck was also a beloved mentor and adviser for all students, working with undergraduates, Full-Time and Executive MBA students and doctoral candidates. In 2019, she created the MSU Student Venture Capital Fund, in partnership with the MSU Foundation and Red Cedar Ventures, as an opportunity for students to get hands-on with entrepreneurial finance, turning their work into real investments. To date, SVCF has over 14 companies in its portfolio that have received over $150,000 of pre-seed and seed stage investments and generated over $12 million in follow-on investment.

Fluck was also passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and was an involved faculty member on campus. From 2006 to 2009, she served as a member of the university’s Women Advisory Board to the Provost, and since 2020, she was a member of the Broad College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

She earned her master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University, in addition to a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the Budapest School of Economics.

Details of memorial services are not yet available. Fluck’s passion and mentorship will be deeply missed.

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