Michael Wittry joined the Department of Finance at Fisher in 2019 after earning his Ph.D. in Finance and Business Economics at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also holds master’s degrees in financial mathematics and statistics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. 

Professor Wittry's research spans a variety of areas within empirical corporate finance, with a particular emphasis on capital structure and corporate governance. His latest work aims to better understand how frictions between shareholders and bondholders impact firm decision making and real outcomes. He has published scholarly articles in top finance journals such as Journal of Finance and Review of Financial Studies

Professor Wittry's academic contributions have been recognized on multiple occasions. Most recently, his paper on "Debt Overhang" won the best paper award in the Ph.D. session at the Colorado Finance Summit, and in 2016, he was awarded the Foster School of Business Dean's Achievement Award for research excellence.

During his time at the University of Washington, Professor Wittry was also recognized for his role in teaching corporate finance to MBA students. In 2018, he was a finalist for the Excellence in Teaching award, the highest form of recognition for graduate instructors at the University of Washington. Additionally, he was awarded the Foster School of Business Ph.D. Program Teaching Award. Professor Wittry teaches corporate finance to undergraduate students at Fisher.

Areas of Expertise

Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Governance


Ph.D. in Finance, University of Washington

MS in Mathematical Finance and Applied Statistics, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

BA in Business Administration, Buena Vista University


Corporate Takeover Defenses (with Jonathan Karpoff), in Handbook of Corporate Finance, David J. Denis, ed., forthcoming

(Debt) Overhang: Evidence from Resource Extraction, Review of Financial Studies, 34(4), 1699-1746, April 2021

Crisis Poison Pills (with Ofer Eldar), Review of Corporate Finance Studies, 10(1), 204-251, March 2021.

Institutional and Legal Context in Natural Experiments: The Case of State Antitakeover Laws (with Jonathan Karpoff), Journal of Finance, 73(2), 657-714, April 2018.


  • BUSFIN 4211 - Corporate Finance

    Analysis of advanced capital budgeting problems through understanding the theories and applications of capital structure, leasing and real options. Theories and applications in corporate control, corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions. Prereq: 3220, AcctMIS 2200, 2300, BusOBA 2320, 2321, and BusMHR 2291 or 2292. Not open to students with credit for 4210 or 4212.

  • BUSFIN 8240 - Seminar: Empirical Corporate Finance

    Covers empirical research and mythologies in areas related to capital structure, investment, financial distress and governance. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for 922.