Professor Syd Howell

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Position: Professor of Financial Management
Academic unit: Accounting and Finance


Sydney Howell read English at Cambridge and gained industrial experience with Alcan, Ranks Hovis McDougall and Philips Electronic Components before completing his PhD at MBS on forecasting for inventory control. He joined MBS to teach Management Accounting and Control, including applied multivariate statistics. He spent a two year secondment to IBM's school of International Finance, Planning and Administration in Brussels in the 1980s, and has continued to teach for IBM at intervals since, in a total of 12 countries. At MBS in recent years he has developed the MBA design to include two compulsory in-company consultancy projects, respectively in the first and second years, and presently restricts his degree course teaching (other than PhD supervision and examination) to the direction of both these parts of the MBA. For MBS's executive and corporate teaching he has been closely involved in designing, negotiating and/or delivering multi-million pound ventures with Arthur Andersen, IBM, Tesco and BP. He has also worked with Banking, Insurance and Legal companies. Two of his practitioner books have been translated, respectively into into Italian and Chinese. In recent years he has been drawn into energy research, chiefly the modelling of wind and other renewables, using the mathematics of finance as a fast way to model the dynamics of physical storage systems. For this work he collaborates with the School of Mathematics, and with engineers at Imperial College and BP Alternative Energy.

Research Interests

Recent research interests focus on the use of modern financial mathematical tools to model management problems in energy systems. This work has been carried on over 4 grants in the last five years: one from DTI (in collaboration with Prof, G. Strbac, now at Imperial College), two from Joule and one from EPSRC (all in collaboration with Professor P. Duck of the School of Mathematics). This work has the co-operation and support of (among others) BP Alternative Energy, British Energy and the Battelle Institute.

In addition he is presently an investigator with responsibility for financial evaluation on the EPSRC funded SPRing consortium project, into the sustainability of nuclear power.

Papers based on this work are in preparation, and several other grant applications are planned.

Research Group(s)

Additional Information

Recent publications are in the European Journal of Finance (2008 and forthcoming) and the International Journal of Retailing (2007). The Chinese edition of 'Real Options - a guide for Executives' appeared in 2006.

Programme involvement

Specialist fields




Publication summary




Showing 30 publication(s)


  • Johnson, P., Howell, S., & Duck, P. (2017). PDE methods for stochastic dynamic optimisation: an application to wind power generation with energy storage. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. . Publication link: d751645a-bce8-4cfd-82c9-b88a682f7530



  • Liu, D., Butler, G., Hall, S., Johnson, P., Duck, P., Evatt, G., & Howell, S. (2012). Joint economic and physical constraints on nuclear power: How much uranium would be needed to decarbonize electricity supply?Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy, 226(3), 350-371. DOI: 10.1177/0957650912439158. Publication link: 5abbe112-a26f-4b85-b0d6-778cbdc217ed
  • Howell, S., & Correia, R. (2012). Patent now or later? Financing decisions, social costs and agency benefits.European Journal of Finance. . Publication link: 9a6305be-aeb1-4c87-b8ef-899e3d78d4df


  • Johnson, P. V., Evatt, G. W., Duck, P. W., & Howell, S. D. (2011). The determination of a dynamic cut-off grade for the mining industry. In Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering|Lect. Notes Electr. Eng.. (Vol. 90, pp. 391-403). Springer Verlag. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1192-1_32. Publication link: 3e06a876-ace3-4b79-8a5b-5b38051e630e
  • Evatt, G. W., Johnson, P. V., Moriarty, J., Duck, P. W., Howell, S. D., & Tonkin, C. (2011). The resource valuation and optimisation model-real impact from real options. In 35th APCOM Symposium - Application of Computers and Operations Research in the Minerals Industry, Proceedings|APCOM Symp. - Appl. Comput. Oper. Res. Miner. Ind., Proc.. (pp. 535-545). (35TH APCOM SYMPOSIUM).. Publication link: 4133c3fb-aba6-4861-a86c-b2d58acd1494
  • Evatt, G. W., Johnson, P. V., Duck, P. W., Howell, S. D., & Moriarty, J. (2011). The expected lifetime of an extraction project. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 467(2125), 244-263. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2010.0247. Publication link: 752d8ba3-8694-4ff0-bc29-308a5c65b15a
  • Howell, S. D., Duck, P. W., Hazel, A., Johnson, P. V., Pinto, H., Strbac, G., ... Black, M. (2011). A partial differential equation system for modelling stochastic storage in physical systems with applications to wind power generation. IMA Journal of Management Mathematics, 22(3), 231-252. DOI: 10.1093/imaman/dpp022. Publication link: abca81d1-d63f-46a9-b583-43986d7d74c6


  • Evatt, G. W., Johnson, P. V., Duck, P. W., & Howell, S. D. (2010). The measurement and inclusion of a stochastic ore-grade uncertainty in mine valuations using PDEs. IAENG International Journal of Applied Mathematics, 40(4), 1-7. . Publication link: 006620f6-fda8-490c-a73f-3d98e4f80969


  • Johnson, P. L., Howell, S. D., & Duck, P. W. (2009). Optimal heating or cooling of a building space under continuous time uncertainty. In host publication.. Publication link: e3d3c2ab-7d77-47b5-8c4b-f4b46fbf4334




  • Howell, S., S., . U., & Cavus, M. (2003). Factor analysis of yield curves: a new metric for comparing empirical factor solutions, and a theoretical link with contingent claims analysis. In host publication.. Publication link: 2f0d3589-4507-4b7a-a490-3015f00e80fe


  • Howell, S., S., . U., & Cavus, M. (2002). Factor analysis of yield curves: a new metric for comparing empirical factor solutions, and a theoretical link with contingent claims analysis". In host publication.. Publication link: 9f0ba273-746c-4032-b455-03406a88f30d


  • Howell, S., Stark, A., Newton, D., Paxson, D., Cavus, M., Azevedo-Pereira, J. A., & Patel, K. (2001). Real Options - Evaluating Corporate Investment Opportunities in a Dynamic World. Financial Times Prentice Hall.. Publication link: ac4474d8-ff2d-4c14-9f7e-fb286161bb5c
  • Howell, S., Bowman, E. H., & Moskowitz, G. T. (2001). Real Options Analysis and Strategic Decision Making. No publisher name.. Publication link: 60e9743f-9037-4110-98b1-d0fc1199520a


  • Howell, S., S., . U., & Armada, M. J. (2000). Variation and Covariation between Market Timing and Selectivity: an Alternative to Traditional Meta-analyis. Unknown Journal, 5 (2). . Publication link: dec58598-3833-4515-b72f-e13ddc1a6899
  • Howell, S., Stark, A., Newton, D. P., Paxson, D., & Cavus, M. (2000). Real Options - An Introduction for Executives. Prentice Hall.. Publication link: d3ea39db-f2de-49d8-8922-94201d9b316c


  • Howell, S., S., . U., & Jagle, A. J. (1998). The Evaluation of Real Options by Managers: a potential aspect of the audit of management skills. Unknown Journal, 6 (7). . Publication link: d79738bd-fae3-4218-859d-556123d3d3e6
  • Howell, S., Proudlove, N., Lehockey, M., Neely, A. D. (Ed.), & Waggoner, D. B. (Ed.) (1998). Implications of performance measurement error for a large retailer. In Performance measurement - theory and practice. (pp. 491-498). Cambridge: Judge Management Institute. . Publication link: c5bcb6b4-2d87-4d1e-ad53-af5e4ca64094


  • Howell, S., & Pike, R. (1997). Discussion of laboratory evidence on how managers intuitively value real options. Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, 24(7-8), 937-941. . Publication link: 6be07944-3665-4f3c-bf24-102f90742fac
  • Howell, S., & Lehocky, M. (1997). Pattern analysis of data for control system diagnosis. European Management Journal, 15(2), 167-173. . Publication link: 99962a89-0216-4355-acc1-5a20c3b436e0