2016 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Marcus Kirk, Warrington College of Business

Marcus Kirk Florida

Marcus Kirk

Luciano Prida Assistant Professor of Accounting

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

For many, accounting is the course that leads them to concentrate on marketing. Debits and credits. Rules and exceptions. Who wouldn’t get confused by all of these complex and tedious details? But the University of Florida’s Marcus Kirk has a knack for making accounting come to life. Here, students don’t just learn  how to do the fundamentals – but engage in discussions on the why’s of accounting that help students understand the discipline in a broader business context. Kirk, who teaches the masters level Foundations of Accounting Measurement, is also a researcher who focuses on investor relations, equity valuation, and earnings management. Like any great teacher, his biggest thrill comes from receiving appreciative emails from former students.

Age: 37

At current institution since: 2009

Education:

  • D. in Accounting from Emory University, 2009
  • Bachelor of Commerce from University of Victoria, 2001

Courses you currently teach:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis

Professor you most admire: There are too many to mention, but to name one and why: the co-chair of my dissertation Greg Waymire. After my first year at Emory, I decided to transition from pursuing a Ph.D. in Finance to Accounting but I’d missed two accounting seminar courses. Kathryn Kadous and Greg Waymire both generously met individually with me over that first summer to let me catch up. Greg also built a distinguished career focusing on voluntary disclosure. However, he let his passion guide him to non-traditional research questions using whatever tools were the best fit: examples would be his paper on Neuroaccounting and an experimental markets paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He also puts his time where his mouth is being heavily involved with the American Accounting Association in various positions including past-President.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…I realized the entrepreneurial nature of being a research professor. I have the freedom to pursue any topic I find relevant and interesting. As a first year Ph.D. student in Finance at Emory, I took a capital markets seminar with an accounting professor Sudipta Basu. I loved it – both the required material and Sudipta’s bonus materials. I realized that I was split between accounting and finance and that I could exist in that overlap between them. But if I wanted to also venture outside that overlap, accounting provided a better fit with the research questions I wanted to explore.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I’d likely be involved with running a hedge fund or portfolio management.”

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: Having my family come visit me in the classroom and making sure I “randomly” chose my younger brother to quiz on accounting knowledge in front of the class.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? I’m honored to have a mix of students and faculty select me for various teaching awards at the department, college, and university levels. Seeing my first solo publication in print at the Journal of Financial Economics was a big thrill as I’d started it during my third year in the Ph.D. program.

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? There are many enjoyable aspects both from the research and teaching side. The research side gives the rare freedom of pure idea innovation – I enjoy working on my own research, but also seeing what creative ideas other professors I admire come up with. The engagement with students on the teaching side is also tremendously rewarding. In particular, I enjoy seeing the growth in my students over their time at UF and hearing about their successes both within the program and after they leave. A random email from a former student can make my day.

What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor? Trying to find parking on campus…and the grading. Always the grading.

Fun fact about yourself: In keeping with the Poets part of Poets&Quants, I’m a great grandson of John Shakespeare (William Shakespeare’s dad), making me William’s great nephew.

Favorite book: It’s impossible to choose a favorite, but some good books I’ve read recently are Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley, and How Children Succeed by Paul Tough.

Favorite movie: Are you sure this isn’t a clandestine plan to break into our accounts with answers to security questions!

Favorite type of music: All over the place. From Carmen to Clapton, Wagner to Weezer. But as a Canadian, I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out Neil Young.

Favorite television show: Anything on Netflix that I can snuggle quietly with my wife to watch on the couch after the kids have gone to bed.

Favorite vacation spot: On a boat with a pile of books, a frozen drink, family, and no place to be.

What are your hobbies? Virtually any type of outdoor activity or sport – tennis, fishing, kayaking, rock climbing, etc.

Twitter handle: I know this exists and has something to do with hashtags, but have never used it.

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…the best professors and students co-located at the multitude of main campuses spread across the Caribbean.”

Students say…

“I had the opportunity to experience Professor Kirk’s teaching last semester and it amazes me how much I learned through his innovative teaching methods and knowledgeable insights into the world of accounting. Anyone can lecture on the concepts of financial accounting, but Professor Kirk goes above and beyond the basic lecturing. He engages students with lively classroom discussions and challenging questions that truly test our ability to use textbook concepts in practical real world situations. Furthermore, Professor Kirk is an effective communicator inside and outside the classroom and sincerely respects and cares for his students.”
Jennifer Cavaretta
Fisher School of Accounting, Class of 2014

“Teaching accounting is not an easy task considering it is regarded as being a tedious and detail-oriented subject. Professor Kirk was able to entertain the class, while teaching a rigorous class schedule that included the conceptual framework of accounting, the financial statements and the accounting treatment for various assets and liabilities. He connects with his students on a personal level by showing pictures of his family, showing videos of his interests and making accounting related jokes. This helps with the effectiveness of his teaching because it keeps the class focused and attentive in his lectures. Professor Kirk’s modern and innovative teaching style is needed to keep the current generation of students engaged.”
Michael Vu
Fisher School of Accounting, Class of 2013 

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