Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.
My academic background includes over 20 years as a finance professor. I came to Portland State University in 2001 after spending my first three years as a professor at Northeastern University in Boston. I earned my PhD in finance at the University of Utah. Prior to my doctoral work, I worked in a variety of managerial roles in the petroleum and airline industries. Earlier academic degrees include an MBA from Tulane University and a BA in business administration from Washington State University. In recent years, I have earned several professional finance credentials (CFA, CAIA, and FRM). I have published a number of research articles over the years, most of which focus on analyses of corporate risk management using financial derivatives.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?
Portland is not really a “finance” town, so I find that the marginal benefit of finance here to be really high for students. As opposed to some markets in which students perceive that their knowledge level of finance is already fairly substantial, students in Portland find the finance point of view to be unique and interesting.
What classes do you teach in the MSF program?
Over the last six years, I have been teaching Hedging and Risk Management in the MSF (formerly MSFA) program. Through the course, students gain some fundamental exposure to financial derivatives (both markets and instruments), and we use this newfound knowledge to discuss issues in historical incidents involving failures of risk management. During this academic year, I will be transitioning into teaching in the student-managed portfolio program. I expect to see a lot of the MSF students go through this program!
What are you most passionate about in your work or research?
In my mind, the most important question in finance is “what is something worth?” Valuation is a core issue that touches everyone’s life every time they make a purchasing decision. Is the price I am being asked to pay for something worth it to me? In other words, am I buying something with value > price? In finance, we typically study valuation solely from the perspective of financial assets, such as shares of company stock. But the comparison of a personal “valuation” of a product or service to the price paid is an important life skill everyday!
For you, what does it mean to redefine business and transform lives?
A business’s purpose is to satisfy a market’s unmet needs and/or wants. (For some reason, finance students do not always think of business in this way!) As such, businesses are constantly being redefined in the ways that they meet market needs and wants. Thus, in my mind, “redefining business” is merely the recognition of the statement above about the purpose of business. Reminding students of this statement and how it would reflect how we work with customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders in the context of business is my small contribution to ensuring that students remember that successful businesses are constantly seeking to reinvent themselves based on the market’s needs and wants.
Education, at its best, transforms an individual’s life by giving them the opportunity to think deeply about what they truly care about, what their skills are, and how they can combine their passion and skills into business opportunities that contribute to the vitality of our communities.
When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?
As is probably the case with many academics, I spend a lot of time thinking. I do my best thinking while I walk the hills around my neighborhood (a lot!). The side benefit is that, even if my thinking is completely unproductive, my health is better than ever. I also read a lot (pleasure and professional). Now that my wife and I are empty nesters, we are hoping to spend some more time traveling, and I am hoping to get in more ski days than I have in recent years. I am also hoping to start playing tennis again after a long hiatus.