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Efraim Benmelech

Efraim (Effi) Benmelech
Program Director

Efraim Benmelech is the Harold L. Stuart Professor of Finance and the Director of the Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research at the Kellogg School of Management and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He formerly taught at the Harvard University's economics department. Professor Benmelech research interests are in the field of corporate finance where he studies financial contracting, securitization, bankruptcy and financial distress.

He has published numerous journal articles and was awarded the 2004 Lehman Brothers Fellowship for Research Excellence in Finance, an NSF CAREER Award, and the 2011 Brattle Prize for the outstanding research paper on corporate finance published in the Journal of Finance for his paper "Bankruptcy and the Collateral Channel." He also writes extensively on the economics of terrorism and economic history. Professor Benmelech's research on financial distress, the financial crisis and on terrorism have received wide media coverage in outlets such as Bloomberg, the Boston Globe, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, The Economist and USA TODAY. He is an Editor of the Review of Corporate Finance Studies and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Finance. He holds BA and MBA degrees from the Hebrew University and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Denise Akason

Denise Akason
Associate Director

Denise Akason is the Associate Director of the Real Estate Program at the Kellogg School of Management. She has been the co-instructor of the Kellogg-Booth Real Estate Challenge Lab, and will be teaching the Real Estate Lab-Practicum. Denise also created and taught a Sustainable Real Estate Development course, and she was a guest lecturer at the University of Florence, Italy, also on Sustainable Real Estate Development. Denise has also supervised independent studies related to real estate, and has produced real estate case studies for the Kellogg and HBS case collections.

Prior to Kellogg, Denise worked in the real estate industry for over 20 years. She began her career as a commercial office broker. She was then a commercial real estate lending officer for Mitsubishi Trust. After receiving her master’s degree, she spent eight years in real estate and litigation consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen. Denise’s experience has given her the opportunity to deal with a wide variety of property types and financial and market conditions. She also spent several years in residential brokerage and development in the Chicago area.

Denise is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the Pension Real Estate Association, the US Green Building Council, and serves on the Board of the Kellogg Real Estate Alumni Club. She has been appointed to the Illinois Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board, and she is a licensed real estate broker.

Denise received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Psychology from the University of Michigan, and her MBA from Kellogg.

Kellogg Real Estate Center
2211 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208