Obituary for Professor Mark Joshi

The Faculty of Business and Economics is saddened by the sudden death of internationally renowned academic Professor Mark Joshi, who passed away on Sunday 8 October.

Mark Joshi was born in 1969 and grew up in Dunblane, Scotland. After schooling in Scotland, he studied mathematics at the University of Oxford, graduating at the top of his year in 1990, then moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he completed his PhD in pure mathematics in 1994. Mark then took up a fixed-term appointment in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge where he remained until 1999. During this time he established his reputation as a mathematician with a series of publications in top journals, but with a dearth of permanent positions in pure mathematics in the UK at that time, Mark decided to reinvent himself as a financial mathematician and moved to RBS as a quant, where he spent six years. It was during this period that Mark produced his first two books, one of which, The Concepts and Practice of Mathematical Finance, has become a standard text that is used in leading universities across the globe.

The second phase of Mark’s academic career began in November 2005 when he moved to his wife Jane’s hometown, Melbourne. He was appointed at the University of Melbourne as Associate Professor in the Centre for Actuarial Studies, perhaps somewhat ironically as Mark had internships in the actuarial department for an insurance company as a student, and this experience had put him off a professional career as an actuary.  Mark quickly established himself in Melbourne as a popular teacher and a sought-after supervisor. Inspired by the many practical issues he faced at RBS, Mark and his PhD students produced a stream of papers, many of which aimed at bridging the gap between the academic and practitioner worlds. Mark was highly productive in his 12 years in Melbourne: over 50 publications, many in very highly rated journals, three new books plus a second edition of Concepts, and seven PhD graduates, with an eighth student close to submission. His performance in research was recognised by the award of the Dean’s Prize for Exceptional Distinction in Research and Research Training in 2011, whilst the award for his overall performance was promotion to professor.

Professor Mark Joshi

Mark also took on leadership roles in Melbourne. Perhaps his most noteworthy contribution was his two-year term on University Council as an elected staff member while he was an Associate Professor. Mark was also an active participant in Academic Board, serving at appeals hearings as well as regularly contributing to discussions at board meetings. He was always prepared to speak for what he believed in. Within the Faculty of Business and Economics Mark had been Director of the Centre for Actuarial Studies since the beginning of 2015.

Mark was also very engaged with the broader financial community. He ran a personal webpage which offered plenty of constructive advice to would-be quants, he was involved in open source coding projects, and he regularly consulted to banks and insurers and ran training courses.

Away from work, Mark was very much a family man who took a keen interest in the activities of his five sons. He had an unconventional view of some mainstream activities; for example, he viewed the AFL Grand Final afternoon as the perfect opportunity to go shopping in the deserted city centre.

Mark was many things to people at Melbourne: scholar, teacher, supervisor, colleague, mentor, an inspiration, and a friend.

He will be missed.