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Master Class: Foster School amplified by nine new faculty members

The University of Washington Foster School of Business welcomes nine new faculty members for the 2012/2013 academic year. This banner year of recruiting brings serious research firepower and top-notch teaching to every department.


Sarah McVay

Associate Professor of Accounting
Glen & Lucille Legoe Professor
PhD (accounting), University of Michigan, 2004
Assistant Professor of Accounting, NYU Stern School of Business, 2004-07
Assistant/Associate Professor, University of Utah Eccles School of Business, 2007-2012
CPA (Washington), 1998
Senior Auditor, Arthur Andersen, 1998-2000
Doctoral Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, 2011
David Eccles Faculty Fellow, 2011
Expertise: earnings quality, management disclosures, and the interactions between market participants
More about Sarah McVay

Asher Curtis

Assistant Professor of Accounting
PhD (accounting), University of New South Wales, 2007
Visiting Scholar, NYU Stern School of Business, 2006
Jerome A. Chazen Institute International Visiting Scholar, Columbia University, 2006-07
Assistant Professor, University of Utah Eccles School of Business, 2007-2012
Expertise: incorporation of accounting information in capital markets, short-selling
Finance & Business Economics

Ran Duchin

Associate Professor of Finance
Marguerite Reimers Fellow
PhD (finance), USC, 2008
Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Michigan, 2008-11
Sanford R. Robertson Assistant Professor of Business Administration, University of Michigan, 2011-12
NTT Research Award, 2010
Teva Award, 2010
Expertise: corporate finance, corporate governance, political economy
More about Ran Duchin

Mark Westerfield

Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics
PhD (economics), MIT, 2004
Assistant Professor, USC, 2005-2012
FAME Research (Swiss Finance Institute) Prize, 2004
Smith-Breeden Prize, 2006
CRA International Prize, Best Corporate Finance Paper, 2007
Roger F. Murray Prize, second place, 2011
Netspar Research Grant, 2012
Expertise: corporate finance, contract theory, market formation and evolution, behavioral finance, asset pricing

Tracey Seslen

Senior Lecturer
Assistant Professor of Clinical Finance and Business Economics, USC, 2003-2012
PhD (economics), MIT, 2003
Homer Hoyt Dissertation Competition, second place, 2003
Consultant to Torto-Wheaton Research and Moody’s
Expertise: housing prices, sub-prime mortgage industry, household mobility behavior, commercial
mortgage-backed securities
Information Systems & Operations Management

Michael Wagner

Assistant Professor of Operations Management
PhD (operations research), MIT, 2006
Assistant Professor, California State University East Bay, 2006-09
Chevron Assistant Professor of Operations Management, Saint Mary’s College of California, 2009-2012
Doctoral Colloquium, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, 2004
Teaching Colloquium, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, 2007
Expertise: decision making under uncertainty, value of information in supply chain management, inventory control, resource allocation, and logistics

Foad Iravani

Assistant Professor of Operations Management
PhD (decisions, operations and technology management), UCLA, 2012
Expertise: supply chain management, strategic models in the presence of gray markets, counterfeiters and imitators, service operations, practice models in operations management

Management & Organization

David Sirmon

Associate Professor of Management
Robert Herbold Professor in Entrepreneurship
PhD (management), Arizona State University, 2004
Assistant Professor, Clemson University, 2004-06
Assistant/Associate Professor, Texas A&M University, 2006-12
Pamela M. and Barent W. Cater ’77 Faculty Research Fellow, 2009-12
Best Paper finalist, Academy of Management Review, 2010
Best Paper finalist, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2011
Strategic Management Society Emerging Scholar Award, 2011
NCAA Division I-AA National Football Champsionship, University of Montana, 1995
Brother Peter is the new UW linebackers coach
Expertise: strategic entrepreneurship; family business, boards of directors
More about David Sirmon
Marketing & International Business

Natalie Mizik

Associate Professor of Marketing
J. Gary Shansby Professorship in Marketing Strategy
PhD (marketing), University of Washington, 2002
Assistant Professor of Marketing, Columbia University, 2002-07
Gantcher Associate Professor of Business, Columbia University, 2007-11
Visiting Associate Professor of Marketing, MIT, 2010-11
Associate Professor of Marketing, University of North Carolina, 2011-12
Erin Anderson Award for an emerging female scholar and mentor, American Marketing Association Foundation, 2012
Varadaraian Award for early career contributions to marketing strategy research, American Marketing Association, 2011
AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium Faculty, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012
Expertise: branding, financial impacts of marketing, marketing metrics, natural language processing
More about Natalie Mizik


Sarah McVay: Won’t Get Fooled Again

After seeing—or, rather, not seeing—the dark arts of earnings management firsthand while working as a senior auditor at Arthur Andersen in the late 1990s, Sarah McVay dedicated her doctoral work to investigating the practice.

“One of my clients was exaggerating restructuring costs to make earnings look better, right under my nose,” she says. “I was too naïve to understand what was happening.”

Not any longer. The incident sparked her doctoral dissertation, in which she deconstructed this clever version of earnings management and published it for the world to see in the Accounting Review. The paper capped her PhD work at the University of Michigan. And while serving on the accounting faculties of NYU and the University of Utah, she published frequently in the field’s top journals with papers examining earnings quality, management disclosures, and the interactions between market participants.

Now she joins the Foster School as the Glen & Lucille Legoe Professor of Accounting, and will teach financial statement analysis to MBAs and financial accounting to TMMBAs.

A native of Portland, she views it as a golden opportunity for her and husband Asher Curtis, a new assistant professor of accounting. “The Foster School’s Accounting Department has been highly ranked for years and is well-respected around the world. And it hasn’t seen much turnover in a long time,” she says. “So, for us, this is a fabulous opportunity.”


Ran Duchin: Heavy Finance

Academic research can tend toward the esoteric. But much of Ran Duchin’s finance work is more topical than typical.

Take his recent pair of papers examining the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)—studies you may have read about in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or Washington Post.

The first demonstrated that banks exerting more active political influence were most successful at securing bailout money. The second found that recipient banks did not use the TARP funds to spur lending—as was intended—but rather took the government’s backing as a sign that it was safe to engage in even riskier investing behavior.

“Finance is actually a very applied discipline,” explains Duchin, the Foster School’s new associate professor of finance and Marguerite Reimers Fellow. “I think we don’t provide enough implications and advice to policy makers. For me, that’s what the study of finance is all about.”

Finance isn’t all that Duchin is about. The native of Israel and father of two is looking forward to enjoying the Northwest’s many assets, both natural and cultural.

He holds a special interest in Seattle’s particular cultural heritage of grinding electric guitar. Local icons Nirvana and Pearl Jam inspired his playing in a Jerusalem rock band in his younger days. And now that he finds himself living at the source, he’s anxious to be reacquainted with his axe of choice, the Gibson Les Paul.

Serious finance scholar with a bias toward grunge. Yeah, sounds like Foster.


David Sirmon: Scholar + Athlete

Sports metaphors work pretty well for David Sirmon.

The third youngest of four athletic brothers, Sirmon played baseball, hockey and football and wrestled at his Walla Walla high school, then was a star linebacker at the University of Montana, leading the Grizzlies to the 1995 NCAA Division I-AA national title (and runner-up in 1996). Now a father of five, he coaches and/or cheers on his kids in football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse. Whatever the game.

When he set out to settle a long-simmering academic debate—do managers matter?—the Foster School’s new associate professor of management set his study in the telling context of Major League Baseball. “It’s a hard question to pin down empirically,” Sirmon says.”

But baseball is teeming with data. And Sirmon’s findings shed light on when and where managers’ decisions make a measurable impact in pitching, hitting, fielding—and, by extrapolation, the workplace. “The more comparable the competition,” he says, “the more management decisions matter.”

It’s important to Sirmon that his research matters. He gave up a promising career in banking—which would have followed his father Gary, the former CEO and current chairman of Banner Bank—to pursue academic work. From his PhD at Arizona State to early faculty stints at Clemson and Texas A&M, he has published prolifically in the areas of strategy, entrepreneurship, family business, and governance. His contributions have earned him the Strategic Management Society 2011 Emerging Scholar Award—honoring the young scholar who has made the largest contribution in the field of strategic management—and the Robert Herbold Professorship in Entrepreneurship at Foster.

Sirmon’s goal is to produce work that addresses management problems of theory and reality. “Business, like sports, is both a science and an art,” says Sirmon. “The more we understand the science, the more we can inform the art.”


Natalie Mizik: The Accidental Academic

Natalie Mizik (PhD 2002) didn’t exactly dream of an academic career. “It was the last thing I wanted to do,” admits the Foster School’s new J. Gary Shansby Professor in Marketing Strategy.

But life, and love, intervened. Born in Ukraine, educated in Moscow, and headed toward a career in management consulting, Mizik’s path diverted when she met her future husband, who worked at Microsoft, while on a student exchange in the US. A few years later they married. Mizik moved to Seattle, and began doctoral studies at Foster.

She excelled from the start. After graduating in 2002, Mizik served on the faculties of Columbia, MIT, and North Carolina before rejoining the Foster School this summer. She has become the consummate academic, and a research dynamo—four times named to the faculty of the prestigious AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium.

Among her much-heralded scholarship, she has quantified the impact of marketing on a firm’s financial performance, investigated the cost of myopic management, and launched an on-going study on values voters and their brands. Now she’s moving into a new frontier in analytical marketing: natural language processing (or, how to extract useful statistical information from unstructured sources like customer reviews and media articles).

She finds that the academic life has grown on her.

“I really like what I do now,” she says. “I get to find solutions to problems that are interesting to me. I think I just got very lucky.”