Inspiring Ideas: College of Business Administration

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Inspiring Ideas: College of Business Administration

Innovative teaching. Encouraging demeanor. A passion for the subject. Contagious enthusiasm. All of these traits help inspire students to great ideas. Here are two faculty members from the College of Business Administration whose teaching, research, and community service are both inspired and inspiring.

Mohammed Mohsin

Mohammed Mohsin, associate professor of economics, only had one name growing up in India. He was just Mohsin.

When he applied for a passport, the Indian Passport officer said they needed more than one name for his paperwork, so he added Mohammed on the spot. Now he has two first names.

It was just one step along his journey.

“I’ve been moving my whole life,” he said.

It was exciting, he said, to grow up in a small village and not know where life might lead him. His father helped him pursue his education, but it wasn’t always easy. He had to walk three miles every day to get to his high school.

As for studying economics?

“That happened by accident,” he said. He was interested in math, but friends told him economics had more practical applications. “At that time I had no idea about economics in a real-life sense. Now I am happy that I studied economics. I can do both.”

He initially studied at the University of Hyderabad in India. He then received a scholarship from the Commonwealth Scholarship from the Canadian government to go to York University in Toronto, where he earned his doctorate.

“Mohammed Mohsin makes for a great story,” said Jan Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration. “He grew up in India and, unlike most of us, experienced both extreme inflation and extreme deflation. This almost certainly influenced his interest in how inflation affects the functioning of an economy, and he is becoming an expert in this topic. He has published more than 20 articles in books and journals since joining our faculty.”

Mohsin has been at UT for twelve years. He teaches and researches international economics, macroeconomics, and monetary economics.

What he teaches is technical, and it’s easy for students to get confused, he said. He does classroom exercises to help them understand the concepts and assigns papers and projects to keep them engaged.

On the weekends, he lives in Asheville, North Carolina. He’s been an American citizen for several years, and his son was born in the United States.

“My son can’t imagine living anywhere besides Asheville,” he said.

Andy Puckett

Andy Puckett, associate professor of finance, knew he wanted to work at UT as soon as he visited campus for an interview.

“I fell in love with it from the very beginning,” he said, noting that he was particularly drawn to his peers in the Department of Finance. “We’ve got a great group here.”

Puckett was inspired to teach finance years earlier by one of his graduate school professors at the University of Georgia, Marc Lipson.

Lipson is a leading researcher in financial investing and had worked at the New York Stock Exchange. He worked closely with Puckett, and now the two conduct research together and co-author papers.

“That’s where my passion for investments-related research developed,” Puckett said.

Right now, he’s working with a different group of professors from three other schools on a paper about how large institutional investors traded during the 2008 market crisis. It will be published in the Journal of Financial Economics later this year.

“Andy Puckett is a rising star in the Department of Finance,” Williams said. “He was involved in thirty-six presentations during the past several years, and his research is published in the most prestigious journals. Add to this, Andy is exceptional in the classroom,” Williams said.

Although he spends a lot of time on research, he tries to develop a personal relationship with each of his students.

“I try to learn everyone’s name the first week,” he said.

He gives incentives for participation to help foster “organic conversation” in class, which he says “leads to a higher level of learning.”

He teaches undergraduate and doctoral courses in investments and a new undergraduate course he developed called Debt and Derivatives.

Outside of work, he and his wife Megan have two children who keep them active. He’s involved with a men’s group at his church and often goes running.

At UT, it’s his students who keep him motivated. “I get to be around energetic young men and women,” he said. “It’s the greatest job in the world.”

C O N T A C T :

Holly Gary (865-974-2225, hgary@utk.edu)

Amy Blakey (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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