At a school known for its strength in accounting, Patrick Badolato is one of the best in a loaded faculty of talent. To be sure, the 39-year-old senior lecturer in accounting is a favorite of both his colleagues and the students at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin.
“Patrick’s mark on McCombs’ MBA programs is exceptional,” exclaims Accounting Chair Michael Clement in his nomination of Badolato. “His specialty is Financial Statement Analysis where the cases and analyses he creates not only include, but commonly precede the business news. Confirming the remarkable value he offers, his full-time MBA FSA class is the most sought-after elective and we’ve had to consistently add sections to meet demand. Many students consider his demanding and thought-provoking class the defining experience of their entire program. The ultimate team player, he’s been slotted into our hardest classes and excelled with a seemingly impossible teaching load of 56 total sections during the last three years.”
Badolato has racked up multiple Outstanding Professor awards, which is awarded by MBA students. He’s also won the Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, which is a faculty-decided recognition. And he’s been featured in multiple media outlets.
“Dr. Badolato’s teaching style is a total contrast to conventional teaching and learning. He provokes and challenges students to push them to their limits of applying thought to provide integrated reasoning,” one nominator said. “At the same time, he makes learning fun with wicked humor. Financial Statement Analysis course taught by Dr. Badolato is a fun and great learning experience of analyzing companies, by looking beyond pure financial statements numbers or ratios. It involves pealing of layers by looking at all the information and footnotes collectively, to get the real picture. Dr. Badolato was fun to learn from and an asset to the school.”
Outside of the classroom, Badolato remains active and enjoys “all forms of challenging exercise,” he says, which can include biking or running to work. He’s also been known to race MBA students on slow-moving scooters. Besides that, Badolato also says he plays Australian Rules Football with his team, the Austin Crows.
Current age: 39
At current institution since what year? 2010
Education: BS in Accounting, BS in Economics from Villanova University. Ph.D. Business Administration from Duke University (Accounting).
List of MBA courses you currently teach: Financial Statement Analysis-FSA (in our Full-time, Evening, Houston, Dallas and Executive MBA programs). I also teach Financial Accounting when needed by our department.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIFE AS A PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I do not recall any specific moment or event, but have always been attracted to understanding why and how things work and appreciate how the course I teach, FSA, applies that perspective to aspects of business performance.
If I weren’t a business school professor… Equal likelihood of either spending my days reading financial filings or removed from all of this and content building furniture and remodeling houses.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?
I aspire to challenge commonly held misconceptions and focus on current or future applications of what we cover. With each case I write or class discussion, the focus is on what are the expected pitfalls, what we may overlook or get distracted by when using financial information, and how to use information presented, even when limited, to best understand a situation.
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor:
I did not know at the start, but now greatly appreciate how much one can create inside this profession. Instead of regurgitating formulas, textbook theories or white-washed cases, there are so many opportunities to create content and fascinating examples to discuss and apply the material. While challenging, this makes the experience especially rewarding.
Professor I most admire and why:
I am deeply grateful for Professors like John Immerwahr (Philosophy) and his colleagues in the Interdisciplinary Scholars Program and Professor Noah Barsky (Accounting) from my undergrad days at Villanova University. These individuals had a huge impact on me as a person as they challenged us to think and apply the material and truly cared about their students and our learning. I aspire to give back some of the immeasurable value that was given to me.
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?
I really enjoy the diversity of students I have been able to teach across our MBA (and other) programs. With varied background, even with some of my more classic cases, such as analyzing Groupon’s IPO or dissecting the impact of Tesla’s Resale Value Guarantee program, there are always new perspectives or insights that help me better understand something or apply an issue to a related context.
What is most challenging?
I am overly excited by the opportunity to explore fascinating examples and content and have found that I struggle with someone who displays an unwavering commitment to apathy or close-mindedness; fortunately, this is rare.
While it is a pleasure to teach students who are innately open-minded and interested in the simple ideas of: Read Good. Math Good. Ask Questions, there is also a joy in inspiring a paradigm shift in individuals like #cashflowbros. The bro here is non-gendered and represents an individual who only talks in jargon, seemingly offers little to no thought or awareness of what is said, and is obsessed with parroting summary measures and mindless mechanical processes. To be clear, these #cashflowbros are not bad people; my thought is that they simply have not had the chance to see the world with clear eyes and full hearts. Once they do, they see it as a beautiful place full of challenges and opportunities for learning.
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Demanding but fair.
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies?
One main area is that I enjoy all forms of challenging exercise, from biking or running to work, (safely) racing MBA students on slow-moving scooters or playing Australian Rules Football with the Austin Crows, a perennial champion in US Footy (I am on our reserves squad, our D1 team is far too young and athletic).
How will you spend your summer?
[I slightly changed this to what do you look forward to in the future…]
I usually teach during the summers (5 sections!), but I also look forward to time with my wife and three young boys. I especially look forward to the return of sports as my older two (7 and 5) really enjoy watching, discussing and understanding basketball and football… they ask great questions, offer impressive insights, and would likely be able to hold their own in most fantasy football leagues.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: I’ve enjoyed a variety of low-key road trips and travel across different areas and states in the US.
I was a big fan of Roald Dahl’s work as a young child and am now enjoying the opportunity to read his books with my kids. Looking back, I’ve found that children’s books like these offer simple, yet timeless, lessons that are quite refreshing in the face of what can be overwhelming jargon and excessive fluff and filler… For example, in FSA we use The Three Little Pigs (the original, non-white-washed version) as an excellent example of sustainable competitive advantages and note how the wolf represents your typical con-artist with attractive-sounding, but misleading catchphrases, much like “Our mission is to elevate the world’s consciousness” and Community Adjusted EBITDA.
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?
In addition to watching NFL and NCAA football, I am a big fan of podcasts. One favorite, Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz, offers countless insightful episodes with its excellent take on a variety of topics (economics, investing, sports, data analytics) that relate to or extend a business curriculum.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?
I generally enjoy different types of music depending on what I am doing, although what is surely blasphemous for Austin, TX… I do not like live music at all.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… On one hand, I would offer that financial filings, especially S-1s, should have less filler and distracting metrics… On the other hand, the over-the-top fluff from companies like WeWork or Casper certainly makes for exciting class discussions.
I’m grateful for…My family and the opportunity to have a job where I can spend my time reading, analyzing, creating cases and then having the chance to share and learn from people who offer their own interesting and insightful perspectives.
Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:
“Patrick brings his irreverent attitude and humor to the MBA classroom, demolishing widely-held but erroneous beliefs about how to assess company performance and value.” – Brian White
“Every single MBA I knew took something valuable from his class – regardless of their background, whether CPAs or schoolteachers before coming to McCombs. Not content with outdated case studies, he writes his own and challenges students thinking on business models and financial reporting in real-time. He gives students so much more than a cursory understanding of the mechanics of financial analysis – he gives them the ability to discern what a company is trying to tell you as well as what they’re trying to hide in plain sight.” – Devin Mattson MBA Class of 2019
“Patrick brought 100% of his energy, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness to each class last year. Of all of the courses I took at McCombs, his consistently generated the most lively/animated discussions and ah-ha moments as we dove deep into financial statements and K-1s to unearth and distinguish sustainable business models and strategies from irrational hype and the occasional “dumpster fire”. Candidly, I did not expect Financial Statement Analysis to be such a thought-provoking course and consistently illicit such engaging class discussions. This was class was less about learning accounting rules, and more importantly about learning how to think critically, do the work, and be intellectually curious. I attribute the success of this course to Professor Badolato’s preparation, passion for the subject, and his desire to challenge students to be lifelong learners.” – Student from MBA Class of 2019