William Mann is not experiencing culture shock — quite the opposite. Despite relocating this fall to Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Mann, a finance professor, feels right at home in his new surroundings.
“It’s been great. I’m really loving it,” Mann tells P&Q. “I’m already settled in — it’s a very easy place to move to. I actually have a lot of family connections around here too, so it has felt sort of like going home.”
In addition to an undergraduate class on investments, Mann is teaching Security Analysis and Portfolio Management in the Emory MBA program this fall. In the spring he will not tech, instead focusing on research; at UCLA his research was primarily empirical, focusing on the financing of corporate investment and the real effects of collateral constraints.
His MBA class this fall, which has about 20 students, is “kind of an introduction to capital markets and investments, broadly. It’s fairly standard course, I think. You’ve probably seen many, many syllabi like it at other schools. There is a lot of information about returns on various asset classes, trends in portfolio management, trends in active versus passive management, and things like that.” It’s a change from the Corporate Finance class he was teaching in Los Angeles. “There we’d be thinking more from the financial management side of things at a corporation, thinking about capital structure and trends in capital markets like the IPO process, how that’s changing over time from the perspective of the issuer. In this class I’m teaching more from the perspective of the investors in markets.”
After five years teaching in L.A., what’s it like to move to the other side of the country and step in front of MBA students in a completely different environment?
“UCLA is a very intellectually stimulating, challenging place,” Mann says. “It was my first job, really, after grad school, first department that I worked at as a professor. And it was just continually challenging in a very, very good way — a very supportive environment. Incredibly smart people, and I just learned so much being there. And not just from the other faculty, but from the students I just learned an incredible amount, too.
“What I like about Emory is, in settling in and seeing the place as a newcomer, it’s just incredibly welcoming. There’s been just a level of support that’s unbelievable, answering questions before I even knew I had them, and smoothing the process so even though I was teaching the second I was hired, I didn’t feel any difficulty doing that. Everyone was here helping me out. The students also just have very positive attitudes and it’s already been really great interacting with them.”