Teaching excellence and financial innovation: Celebrating the remarkable career of Dr. Ranjini Jha

Thursday, June 20, 2024
Ranjini Jha speaking at a podium

By Rachel Doherty

In the bustling halls of the University of Waterloo's School of Accounting and Finance (SAF), one name stands out as a beacon of dedication, innovation and profound impact—Professor Ranjini Jha. As she approaches the twilight of her illustrious 26-year career at SAF, Jha reflects on a journey marked by a passion for finance, a commitment to education and research and an unwavering drive to inspire the next generation of financial leaders.

Jha's path to academia was anything but conventional. She was the first member of her family to attend university and holds both an MBA and PhD in Finance. After spending nearly a decade in banking, she acquired extensive experience across retail banking, credit lending and international finance. This diverse exposure laid a solid foundation for her subsequent pivot to academia, where she would leave an indelible mark.

Tim Bauer hands flowers to Ranjini Jha

You cannot find a more hard-working, selfless, kind, wise and gracious person than Ranjini and it is reflected in every act she does and every word she speaks. She has been a true leader in all teaching, service, volunteering, mentoring and so much more.

Dr. Tim Bauer (PhD’11), CPA

These experiences seamlessly translated into her role at Waterloo, where she not only imparted knowledge but also fostered a dynamic environment for research and student engagement.

"I've always loved interacting with students and seeing their growth," Jha shares, her eyes lighting up with passion. "Building the finance program at Waterloo has been a team effort, and I'm incredibly proud of how it has evolved over the past decade."

Jha's contributions extend beyond the classroom. In 2006, Jha earned her CFA designation and is a faculty mentor for the Women in Finance initiative and a key figure in establishing the Student Investment Fund (SIF) and Student Venture Fund (SVF).  She has played a pivotal role in providing students with invaluable hands-on experiences and considers these programs to be her greatest accomplishments.

“We are now competing with the top business schools in the country. I’m in awe of how brilliant our students are,” says Jha emphatically

Jha’s research, spanning topics from executive compensation to the resilience of the Canadian banking sector, has further solidified her reputation as a thought leader in finance.

Ranjini Jha holds a photo

As Jha prepares for retirement, she has one last parting gift for her beloved finance students at SAF.

A scholarship fund aptly named, The Jha Family Scholarship for Excellence in Finance, has been created to support students who have demonstrated academic excellence and are interested in pursuing a career in finance.

Jha has committed to donating her own funds with additional funding being raised by the School.

Unsurprisingly, Jha has no plans to slow down after retirement. "I’m looking forward to learning the piano, dabbling in painting and maybe some travel," she says with a smile. "It's time to enjoy a slower pace, but I'll always cherish the growth and success we've achieved at the School of Accounting and Finance."

Ranjini Jha's story is one of transformation, perseverance and unwavering dedication. Her legacy will undoubtedly inspire countless students and colleagues, leaving an enduring impact on the School of Accounting and Finance at Waterloo and the broader academic community.

"Ranjini has made incredible contributions to SAF and SVF. Her passion for student development is unmatched and many of us owe our success to her guidance. Ranjini's dedication has transformed SVF and helped countless students land their dream jobs. All of her students are deeply grateful for her support and will always cherish the lessons learned from her."

Dominic Lau (BAFM '19), Partner, Ripple Ventures