Dr. Bruce Haslem
Associate Professor of Finance
"I teach the same material on campus that I do online, and nothing is left out. You will be pressed for time, and that is normal. But in the end, you didn't buy a degree; you earned it."
- Ph.D. in Finance – Indiana University
- B.S. in Finance – Utah State University
Publishing multiple papers in top-rated journals. I don't know that anyone outside of academia ever reads them, but it isn't expected from faculty at schools with a teaching focus like SUU. After teaching the same two classes for many years at Florida State, a highlight was coming to SUU where I could teach multiple classes based on my research and professional experiences. While at SUU, I have taught 12 different classes, both face to face and online, at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
In which online degree program do you teach?
Which MBA class do you teach online?
FIN 6100: Advanced Managerial Accounting; FIN 6750: Investments; FIN 6850: Valuation
What do you want students in your courses to learn? What is the learning outcome or objective?
My objectives depend on which course you are taking. All students have to take FIN 6100, and I hope that every student coming out of this class will be able to use the tools they learn to analyze the business decisions and investment opportunities they face. In FIN 6750, the focus is gaining a better understanding of financial markets, how assets are traded on these markets, and what determines the value of those assets. FIN 6850 is a class completely focused on valuation; while this is covered at a basic level in the previous two classes, this class goes much more in-depth to explore how the valuation models we introduced can be adapted for use in valuing firms and projects that are a bit messier than usual.
Why did you start teaching?
Because I like sharing what I know with others. Additionally, it is a great job for an introvert like myself, in that I am talking to people in the context of something I know very well, and often by email. The perfect job.
What advice would you give to those considering the Master of Business Administration – Finance Track online program?
Definitely consider what you want to gain by obtaining an MBA based on what it is that is keeping you from being as successful as you want to be. If it is a lack of skills, then an online program can certainly provide that. If it is a credential that hiring managers are looking for in order to get that job, online can provide that as well. Finally, be aware that you are doing a semester's worth of work in seven weeks. I teach the same material on campus that I do online, and nothing is left out. You will be pressed for time, and that is normal. But in the end, you didn't buy a degree; you earned it and will deserve the confidence you feel as you apply the skills you learned in the workplace.
What qualities make someone particularly successful in finance?
You will quickly learn that there is often no right or wrong answers in finance. We come up with models to value things in an uncertain environment. At the end of the day, the process will give you a result, but not a certain answer that is guaranteed to be correct. Sometimes the correct decision doesn't work out, and sometimes bad decisions do.
So a certain ability to deal with uncertainty is a must, and the ability to confidently present your conclusions goes a long way in a finance career. Whether you are discussing a financial plan with clients, asking a bank for a loan, or placing a value on a hotel for potential investors, you have to have confidence that the models you used are appropriate, that the inputs you have chosen for those models are reasonable, and that your conclusions are correct.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that people finance face today?
There is more information than ever, better ability to model outcomes using technology than ever, and more money available from more sources than ever. Despite this, the outcomes of financial decision making aren't necessarily any better. Thus, when people suggest using robo-advisors to manage your money at a much lower cost, or that you should just invest in the safety of index funds instead of hiring a financial advisor, it is hard to argue against it.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb
Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.
There is absolutely nothing interesting about myself. My most unique accomplishment was beating the expert level of Minesweeper (does anyone still know what that game is?) in 72 seconds. If you take the time to place the flags on the mines, you will never make it.